Local Biodiversity Outlooks are an opportunity for all organisations and networks of indigenous peoples’ and local communities working on biodiversity issues to showcase their work.
This technical submission into the CBD process for elaborating a post-2020 global biodiversity framework provides views from the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity, the International Women’s Biodiversity Network, Forest Peoples Programme, and several indigenous peoples' organisations and networks.
What are the prospects for securing the land rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, and women in the foreseeable future?
Significantly, the report of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, under Goal 1 to “End Poverty”, sets a target to “Increase by x% the share of women and men, communities, and businesses with secure rights to land, property, and other assets”.
Mutual recognition, mutual respect and mutual benefit are among the desirable attributes of all human relationships. Indigenous peoples and other forest peoples also expect these qualities in their relationships with others – be they governments, private corporations, NGOs or other indigenous peoples’ organisations and communities. This issue of Forest Peoples Programme’s E-Newsletter reports on the state of various relationships between forest peoples and different institutions – as these are forged, tested or broken –in the course of assertions for upholding basic human rights, social justice and solidarity.
A disappointing outcome for indigenous peoples at the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP11) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Hyderabad, India, 8-19 October 2012: Parties failed to adopt a decision to update the CBD’s terminology ‘indigenous and local communities’ to ‘indigenous peoples and local communities’, due to the resistance of a few Parties.
The importance of ensuring respect for the rights of forest peoples’ to control their forests, lands and livelihoods, becomes ever clearer and yet more contested. As the articles in this edition of our newsletter starkly reveal, land and resource grabs are not just being imposed by commercial developers but are being actively promoted by governments, whose principle responsibility should be to protect the rights of citizens. Yet these same impositions are also being resisted, sometimes at great personal cost, by local communities and indigenous peoples.
International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) at Convention on Biological Diversity
11th Conference of the Parties, Hyderabad, India. 8th-19th October 2012. Opening Statement
Many decisions of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) contain language on indigenous peoples and local communities*, for instance on their full and effective participation, impacts on their lands and livelihoods, the value and contribution of their traditional knowledge and customary sustainable use, and the need for support in capacity building.
"Since almost a decade back, the Resilience and Development Programme (SwedBio) and partners such as Forest Peoples Programme, Tebtebba Foundation and the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) have been working for strengthening governance in indigenous territories based on customary sustainable use. The work by SwedBio and partners was initiated by supporting good cases, including presenting them and describing the key factors for success behind. These pilot cases, covering a broad range of social ecological systems, have successively formed a base for building better international policies that adopt customary sustainable use (CSU) as a means for strengthened resilience of biological diversity and contribution to human wellbeing among indigenous peoples and local communities."
In January, indigenous peoples’ organisations sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra, asking her to take immediate action to redress the forcible expulsion of Karen people from their ancestral territory in north-western Thailand, which is now overlapped by the Kaeng Krachan National Park.
According to sources that have visited Kaeng Krachan National Park and collected information, the harassment of Karen villagers has been going on for some time and became severe in May, June and July 2011, when many of the villagers’ houses and rice stores were burned and money, jewellery, fishing and agricultural tools were stolen by a group comprising National Park wardens and military forces. As a result, some of these villagers moved away and are now staying with relatives elsewhere and a number of them (allegedly around 70 people) are hiding in the forest in fear of meeting government officers, and are without sufficient food and shelter.
At the recent meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Working Group on traditional knowledge, innovations and practices (Article 8(j) and Related Provisions) , which took place in Montreal, Canada, from 31October to 4 November 2011, Forest Peoples Programme and indigenous and local community partners, alongside the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB), engaged in discussions with delegates and others about the development of a new “Plan of Action on Customary Sustainable Use”. This Plan of Action is intended to become a new major component of the already existing Programme of Work that serves to preserve, respect and maintain indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ traditional knowledge, innovations and practices that are related to sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity.