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”.
Key decisions on REDD+ adopted at the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP19) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Warsaw, and future UNFCCC climate negotiations and financing commitments by donors, such as the United Kingdom, will pose further significant challenges for indigenous peoples' rights and its advocates.
Following up on our previous E-news article that looked ahead to the 8th meeting of the CBD Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions (WG8(j)-8) and the 17th meeting of the CBD’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-17) held in October 2013 in Montreal, Canada, we now provide a brief update on some main outcomes of relevance and importance to indigenous peoples.
“We have never conserved. It is the way we live that conserves. These customary bylaws we have had forever, but we have not written them down until now."
Recognition of the social and environmental impacts of large-scale land conversion to monoculture plantations such as oil palm has led to numerous voluntary sustainability standards, including the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), to adopt the concept of High Conservation Values (HCVs). These are defined as the critical social and environmental values in ecosystems and landscapes that long-term multi-stakeholder processes have collectively identified as the key values to be conserved and enhanced in the management of natural systems.
The Centre for the Environment and for Development (CED) has published a new guide on forest monitoring for use by local communities. The aim of the guide is to inform and raise awareness of the benefits of forest monitoring by communities, and to present the main methods and necesssary tools to ensure good forest governance. It is intended to provide local forest communities with the necessary skills and tools to effectively identify and denounce activities of illegal forest exploitation taking place around them.
NORTH SUMATRA, Indonesia, (Tebtebba Indigenous Information Service) – Manuhap Pandiangan easily climbed a 10-inch-diameter straight tree through two small pieces of two-foot long hard wood tightly fastened around the tree with a nylon rope. Then he uttered some prayers, and—around the tree up to about over 20 feet (5.88 meters) high—pierced the tree’s bark with a sharp knife, leaving several wounds on the tree’s bark.
The text of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the decisions of the Conference of the Parties and its subsidiary bodies use the phrase ‘indigenous and local communities’. At its ninth session in 2010, the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) called upon the parties to the CBD “to adopt the terminology ‘indigenous peoples and local communities’, as an accurate reflection of the distinct identities developed by those entities since the adoption of the Convention almost 20 years ago.” At its tenth session in 2011, the UNPFII further stated that “Affirmation of the status of indigenous peoples as “peoples” is important in fully respecting and protecting their human rights”.
110 representatives of indigenous peoples, community mapping experts and members of support NGOs and academia from 17 countries in Asia, Latin America, the Pacific, North America and Europe, gathered together from 25 -28 August 2013 in the traditional territory of the Batak at Lake Toba in Indonesia, to share and learn from their diverse experiences in community participatory mapping as an instrument to help them assert and claim their rights to lands, territories and resources.
The principle that the enjoyment of human rights is both the means and the goal of development, highlights the importance of human rights monitoring as a means for empowering rights-holders to exercise their rights, whilst holding States and other actors accountable for their human rights obligations.
A record of the 58 resolutions and recommendations by the World Conservation Congress of most relevance to indigenous peoples. Despite having affirmed the need to respect the rights of indigenous peoples in conservation strategies for over 30 years, the World Conservation Union has failed to enforce this commitment on the ground.
"GENEVA (07 August 2013) –States need to do more to honour and strengthen their treaties with indigenous peoples, no matter how long ago they were signed, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay has said in a statement to mark International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on 9 August.
“Even when signed or otherwise agreed more than a century ago, many treaties remain the cornerstone for the protection of the identity, land and customs of indigenous peoples, determining the relationship they have with the State. They are thus of major significance to human rights today,” she said.
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.
In March 2013 a delegation of six members of the Organisation of Kalin’a and Lokono peoples in Marowijne (KLIM) from Suriname travelled to the South Central and Deep South regions of Guyana to visit the Wapichan and Makushi people (united in SCPDA, the South Central Peoples Development Association) to exchange experiences and approaches related to community resource mapping and territorial management planning. The exchange visit between the Forest Peoples Programme partners demonstrated the great value and benefits of community-to-community learning. This was a long-standing wish of KLIM and SCPDA and was made possible through a grant from Siemenpuu Foundation.
FPP and Natural Justice organised a joint submission to the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in response to a request for contributions from Parties and stakeholders about the CBD’s programme of work that deals with traditional knowledge about biodiversity (Article 8j).
The inaugural Conference of the World Indigenous Network (WIN) took place in Darwin, Australia from 26 to 31 May 2013. The WIN conference was designed to build a strong foundation for an innovative and enduring network of land and sea managers, with a programme aimed at coming together, connecting and sharing stories and experiences of indigenous peoples and local communities who have an active role in managing natural environments. Read more about the WIN here: http://www.worldindigenousnetwork.net/
Partners of the 10c network also contributed to the WIN Conference workshop ‘Connecting indigenous, traditional and local knowledge and science – such as in IPBES – what’s in it for knowledge holders?’. The workshop looked at the conditions that make knowledge exchanges between indigenous and local knowledge and science respectful and mutually supportive for indigenous peoples and local communities and their partners. Examples were presented from the Philippines, Kenya and Thailand of indigenous methodologies for mapping and monitoring knowledge as bases for decisions and actions regarding lands, territories and resources. An overview of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) was provided including the need for it to become a truly diverse knowledge platform that transcends science and embraces multiple expertise, perspectives and knowledge holders.
Mr Stephen Harper
Canada Subject: Canada’s withdrawal from UNCCD