Resources

African Civil Society Organisations boycott World Bank consultation in Nairobi. Position Statement of African Civil Society Organisations for the IFC Safeguard Policy Review Consultation in Africa, November 29-30, 2004

We, the undersigned African civil society organizations, working on and interested in extractive sector issues have decided not to officially participate in the IFC consultative process for Africa, held on November 29 and 30, 2004 in Nairobi, Kenya because of insufficient time and information on the process.

Village Forest Protection Committees in Madhya Pradesh: an update and critical evaluation

Introduction

Formalised by the Government of Madhya Pradesh in 1991 and funded by the World Bank from 1994 to 1999, Joint Forest Management (JFM) in Madhya Pradesh has been the subject of great controversy within Adivasi, activist and academic circles, and has lead to strong Mass Tribal Organisation opposition to the project at state level. Although JFM claims to promote greater participation and benefits to communities, in many cases its underlying objective has been to reduce the dependence of Adivasi communities on the forests they have managed for centuries, and to curtail their rights to their lands and resources. Its implementation rests on the formation of Village Forest Protection Committees, through which government and development aid funds are channelled for ‘forest management’ and village-level development works. Since Bank funding ended in 1999, the Village Forest Protection Committees (VFPCs) in Madhya Pradesh have been largely non-functional. Nevertheless the JFM policy and project have left a legacy of Adivasi disempowerment and community-level divisions [documented in reports such as Sarin et al, 2003 [1] , the Summary Report of Jan Sunwai (Public Hearing) on Forest Rights at village Indpura, Harda District, 26 May 2001, etc.] which are still affecting communities.

Conservation and communities in Central Africa - The need to secure indigenous rights and biodiversity, May 2004

Opportunities at the 5ème CEFDHAC - Conférence sur les écosystèmes de forêts denses et humides d'Afrique centrale

This report was produced with the generous support of Comic Relief

This briefing for the 5ème CEFDHAC Conference highlights key areas of concern related to the rights of indigenous forest communities in Central Africa who face serious discrimination from society, are treated as inferior and exploited by their neighbours, and are persistently neglected by development projects. The number of national and transboundary protected area projects in Central Africa is growing rapidly to respond to heightened threats to forest biodiversity, and conservation organisations are working hard to generate the necessary resources to enable these projects to be more sustainable. However, many of these conservation projects overlap lands owned or claimed by local communities, especially an estimated 500,000 indigenous “Pygmy” hunter-gatherers living in the CEFDHAC countries, and the impacts of conservation on these communities are often very severe, placing these indigenous communities’ needs squarely on international donors’ poverty alleviation agendas. Work over the past four years by FPP and its partners shows how widely agreed international principles recognising the rights of indigenous peoples to use, own and control their traditional territories, and to protect their traditional knowledge and skills, and which espouse the development of working partnership with indigenous people based upon the principle of full informed consent, are not being applied properly by governments and conservation agencies, even though they have already been agreed by them. The reasons for this failure are complex, and related to the need for revision of conservation project practices and legislative measures concerning communities’ land rights. This briefing concludes that solutions supporting community rights and biodiversity are now within reach. This conference is an important opportunity to promote a shift in favour of both communities’ rights, as well as the long-term and sustainable conservation of biodiversity. FPP will continue to support efforts to help its partners in CEFDHAC participating countries to develop the necessary dialogue with conservation organisations on these issues in order to promote both the interests of their communities and the protection of their environment. 

Press release: UN Racial Discrimination Committee recommends Suriname's urgent action to recognize and respect the land and resource rights of indigenous peoples and Maroons

The forested interior of Suriname is home to Amazonian Indians and so-called Maroons, descendants of escaped African slaves who recreated societies in Suriname’s hinterland in the 17th and 18th centuries. These peoples have long complained that they suffer persistent and pervasive racial discrimination that is particularly evident in the government’s failure to recognize their rights to their ancestral lands, which have instead been parcelled out to loggers, miners and as protected areas. Last week, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination agreed with them for a second time in a year.

A guide to indigenous women's rights under the international convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women - 1st Edition

Indigenous women have long been subject to multiple forms of discrimination. One form of recourse is The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women – one of the six core international human rights instruments. A recent complaints procedure permits indigenous women, in certain countries, to complain about violations of their rights. This guide demonstrates how to gain redress.

73 pages