Resources

Request for Consideration of the Situation of Indigenous Peoples in Merauke, Papua Province, Indonesia, under the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s Urgent Action and Early Warning Procedures. 31 July 2011

This request concerns the situation of the Malind and other indigenous peoples of the Merauke District, Papua Province, in the Republic of Indonesia. The Malind and others are presently experiencing and are threatened with additional and imminent irreparable harm due to the massive and non-consensual alienation and conversion of their ancestral lands and forests by the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate project (“MIFEE project”).

Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: an opportunity to influence GEF policy, Jen Rubis

As awareness of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has grown, we as indigenous peoples have actively sought the implementation of this document in all institutions, policies and programmes that have the potential to impact us. To be able to address the exclusion that indigenous peoples face at the grassroots, we have consistently fought for the right to full and effective participation in mechanisms that affect us. Moving the battle upstream is not easy as we have to educate ourselves in a language and cultural environment that is far removed from our own processes of participation and decision-making. It takes time away from the priority – the persistent violation of our rights and resources at the community level.

Could land reform succeed where conservation has failed?

Conservation organisations have been making great strides towards recognising that protected areas must respect the rights of indigenous peoples as enshrined in international law, including the right to give or withhold their free prior and informed consent to the establishment of new protected areas in their customary territories. Yet in practice conservation organisations often continue to exclude local people from using forest and other resources, and only consult them after they have drawn up management plans rather than jointly writing them.

Guest article from the Nishnawbe Aski Nation of Canada - "Expropriation of Indigenous Lands for Government Designated Protected Areas in Northern Ontario, Canada"

Canada’s Auditor General commented in her June 2011 report that living conditions in First Nations reserves are still much worse than elsewhere in Canada. Reflecting on her ten years in office, she argued that a fundamental change is needed to address this issue. In 2010, Canada finally endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) after being one of four governments to vote against it during its passage through the General Assembly in 2007.

Looking Ahead – Regional workshop on Gender and Land Tenure in Africa

A regional workshop entitled ‘Gender and land tenure in Africa’ will take place from July 26 to 29, 2011 in Edea, Cameroon. Organized by Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), the Réseau des Femmes Africaines pour la Gestion Communautaire des Forêts (REFACOF), and Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), this workshop’s goals include creating a discussion forum on gender, rights to land, and forest resources in Africa and clarifying the applicable legal framework and protection mechanisms created to secure the rights to land and resources. This workshop will also provide an opportunity to share information on land and forest reforms that are taking place in several African countries. It will bring together approximately thirty participants, including representatives from forest communities and indigenous peoples. 

Ugandan Batwa complete 3-D Model of their Bwindi Forest ancestral area

In 2009 a group of Batwa representatives from Uganda travelled to Ogiek communities in Kenya to learn about their situation and the different advocacy strategies they were using. One of these strategies was the use of Participatory 3-Dimensional Modelling (P3DM), which helped the Ogiek engage Kenyan agencies on their rights to their ancestral territory, the Mau Forest. The Batwa walked away from this visit impressed by the simplicity of the P3DM technique and hopeful of replicating it in their own context.

Two years later in June 2011, the Batwa, with support from the ARCUS Foundation, began their own three-dimensional modelling of their ancestral territory, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.  More than 100 representatives from the Batwa communities surrounding Bwindi, including youth, elders, women and men attended the exercise over a three-week period.

‘No signing of REDD contracts in Madre de Dios and San Martin’: Indigenous organisations call on their communities to exercise caution

San Martin and Madre de Dios are the two regions earmarked for the development of pilot REDD activities in Peru. Both regions are facing an avalanche of over 20 REDD projects oriented towards the voluntary carbon market. Many of these sub-national REDD+ projects are descending on the ancestral territories of indigenous peoples including the Shawi, Awajun and Kechwa in San Martin, and the Ese Eja, Yine, Shipibo, Amahuaca, Arakambut and Machiguenga in Madre de Dios. In Peru, approximately 20 million hectares of indigenous territories have no legal recognition which means that REDD may often pose a threat rather than an opportunity.

Congo Basin Forest Peoples, Rights and Delivery of REDD Benefits

Forest Peoples Programme staff recently visited forest communities in Equateur province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), who they have been supporting since 2009 with information-sharing and consultation meetings related to REDD and conflict prevention. During training and project monitoring visits FPP and our local partner CEDEN (Cercle pour la defense de l'environnement) held public meetings with around 2000 forest people from across the Lac Tumba conservation landscape.

Draft concept note for pilot Whakatane Assessments now open for feedback

Update 3rd August 2011

The concept note for pilot Whakatane Assessment has been finalized. You can download it here

As mentioned in Forest Peoples Programme’s February E-Newsletter, a meeting was held at the IUCN CEESP Sharing Power conference in Whakatane, New Zealand, January 2011, between indigenous representatives, the chairs of three IUCN commissions (CEESP, WCPA and SSC) and sub-commissions (TILCEPA and TGER), key staff of the IUCN secretariat (the Director of the Environment and Development Programme and the Senior Adviser on Social Policy), and other staff from IUCN, Conservation International and Forest Peoples Programme.

The main outcome of the meeting and subsequent follow-up discussions was an agreement to implement a series of measures to review the implementation of resolutions related to indigenous peoples adopted at the 4th World Conservation Congress (WCC4) in 2008 and to advance their implementation should there be a gap.

Input into the proposed Global Environment Facility environmental and social safeguards

The process of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) developing safeguards continues. In April this year an initial draft was released, and with minimal consultation, sent to the GEF Board for approval in May. The indigenous peoples’ focal points to the GEF, the GEF-NGO Network, other indigenous organizations and Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) all provided detailed input into the GEF Council deliberations, arguing strongly that the safeguards were not sufficient and would not act to improve development or environmental outcomes.