BBC reports oil palm take-over of native lands in Sarawak

BBC World News reports that an oil palm plantation now owned by the Malaysian IOI Group has taken over Kayan people's lands without their consent. According to the BBC reports, the Kayan have been fighting the case in the courts for 11 years. IOI is one of the founding members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Widespread support for customary sustainable use at CBD meeting in Montreal

The recent sixth meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity's Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions (WG8(j)-6) took place in Montreal from 2-6 November 2009. Parties acknowledged the importance of customary sustainable use of biological resources by indigenous peoples and local communities and agreed that this should receive more attention in the implementation of the whole Convention. Indigenous participants were satisfied with the meeting's outcomes and commented that their timely input and preparations had paid off.

Wapichan people (Guyana) present community map to international audience at CBD meeting

After years of hard work, the Wapichan people of southern Guyana have finalised their community map, which demonstrates the full extent of the Wapichan territory and the customary use of the land and resources by the Wapichan communities. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions (WG8(j)-6) meeting in Montreal was used as an opportunity to present this map to the public. The international audience was greatly impressed by this community-based initiative and praised its value.

Barcelona Climate Change Talks Update: December 2009

The climate talks that took place in Barcelona from 2-6 November 2009 confirm that achievement of a legally binding agreement cannot be expected in Copenhagen. REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries) is likely to be one of the most significant outcomes of COP15, but doubts remain on the definition of forests and the prohibition of forest conversion. Language on indigenous peoples' rights has been retained but still needs to be improved.

Companies clear 'High Conservation Value (HCV) areas' in Indonesia

Companies in Indonesia have been allegedly clearing designated 'High Conservation Value (HCV) areas', rather than managing them appropriately in order to maintain or enhance the identified values of the area. HCV areas include areas important for communities' livelihoods, identities and environmental services.

New film exposes the privatisation of Indonesia's coastal forests

'Selling the Seas', a film produced by The Ecologist Film Unit with the Indonesian NGO, KIARA and FPP exposes the growing public opposition to the Indonesian government's plans to clear a further 700,000 hectares of coast, much of it mangrove, threatening the livelihoods of fisherfolk and other coastal peoples. KIARA demands that northern supermarkets and certifiers pay more attention to the harsh social and environmental costs of inappropriate, industrial shrimp and prawn production. Link to the film on The Ecologist website