Resources

UK Government insists on respect for rights in World Bank Palm Oil strategy

In response to questioning from the Forest Peoples Programme, the UK Government has affirmed that the World Bank's revised strategy on palm oil, which is still being revised, must secure community tenure and Free, Prior and Informed Consent. The Government supports legal reforms where these rights are not secure. The UK Government says it supports the temporary ban on World Bank Group funding for the sector and wants this freeze maintained until an adequate strategy has been developed and reviewed by the Board of the World Bank.

Indigenous Peoples' Human Rights Defenders Network website launched on December 10th, 2010

http://www.iphrdefenders.net is dedicated to help advance advocacy for indigenous peoples' rights and issues in the Asia region. Contributions of articles, statements, photos, videos and other documents on human rights are welcomed. This website will be linked to the main Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) website and the main website of the Asia Human Rights Monitoring System (ARMS) project of the Southeast Asia e-Media Center based in Malaysia.

Joy and disappointment go hand in hand at the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity

In the early morning hours of Saturday 30th October, after two weeks of intense, late-night sessions and down-to-the wire negotiations, the Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) at their 10th Conference (COP 10), adopted a “package” which consists of a protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, a new Strategic Plan, and a strategy for the mobilization of resources to effectively implement the convention. In addition, more than forty other Decisions were adopted, including Decisions on: Biodiversity and Climate Change; Protected Areas; Sustainable Use; and Traditional Knowledge, Innovations and Practices. Indigenous peoples celebrated some victories, but also returned home with concerns.

Guyana’s forest and climate plans continue to generate controversy and sideline indigenous peoples

While the President of Guyana was named a “Champion of the Earth” by the UN earlier this year in relation to his efforts to secure international support for forest protection and “low carbon” growth, some indigenous leaders and civil society organisations both inside and outside the country continue to expose and challenge the deep contradictions in the government’s forest and climate plans. In June 2010, the President of the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) made a strong statement to the Sixth Participant’s Committee meeting of the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) in Georgetown, asking why key land rights issues raised repeatedly by APA have still not been addressed in the Guyana Forestry Commission’s (GFC) latest REDD+ readiness proposals.

Indigenous Peoples in Paraguay seek solid guarantees for the protection of their collective rights in national REDD planning processes

Indigenous Peoples and indigenous organisations in Paraguay have worked hard in 2010 to obtain guarantees from the government and the United Nations that any policy, decision or initiative relating to REDD readiness will respect their collective rights, including rights to land and the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). Through its participation in the national REDD Committee, for example, the Coordinadora por la Autodeterminación de los Pueblos Indígenas (CAPI) has stressed that the UN-REDD programme must comply fully with its own Operational Guidance on Indigenous Peoples. At the same time, CAPI has insisted that the government must fulfil its obligations under international and regional human rights treaties that the country has ratified. 

Global Environment Facility finally plans to adopt social safeguards

In October 2010, the head of the GEF, Monique Barbut, announced that the GEF would be developing safeguard policies. These safeguards will address the environmental and social impacts of projects, and specifically address the particular concerns of indigenous peoples. The safeguards will apply to all of the GEF’s Implementing and Executing Agencies and an external institution, or agency of some form, will monitor compliance. Indigenous peoples have seized this opportunity and have developed and presented a proposal to the GEF Council, outlining how a policy addressing their concerns could be developed.

Press Release: Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Agrees to hear case of Indigenous Peoples in Raposa Serra do Sol, Brazil

 

After years of waiting, during which they suffered from violent attacks and the degradation of their ancestral lands, the Ingaricó, Macuxi, Patamona, Taurepang and Wapichana indigenous peoples of Raposa Serra do Sol received a favorable decision by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.  During its last session at the end of October, the Commission issued an admissibility decision in their case against the Government of Brazil. In doing so, the Commission signaled not only that the Government’s treatment of indigenous peoples in Raposa may constitute a violation of their human rights, but that the Commission is now ready to enter its final stage of review of the case and issue a concluding report.

Indigenous peoples strive for recognition of their rights as international agencies scramble for REDD+ deal

While inter-governmental climate negotiations (UNFCCC) still face major stumbling blocks to achieving a global agreement on climate change finance, independent initiatives on REDD+ have multiplied in the past few months. At the same time, indigenous peoples continue to express concerns that insufficient measures are being taken to respect their rights. The Governments leading the ‘Interim REDD+ Partnership’, for example, have held meetings in recent months that have not given enough space for indigenous peoples’ participation. Meanwhile the key donor agencies in the ‘Partnership’ are seeking to harmonize their REDD-related activities and finance: the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) has responsibility for ‘readiness planning’ and preparation activities (the so-called ‘first’ phase’) and then a ‘third phase’ of actual REDD actions; the World  Bank’s Forest Investment Programme (FIP) has funds for a ‘second phase’ of  implementing the ‘readiness plan’; and UN-REDD, which deals with measuring, reporting and verification (MRV), stakeholder engagement and indigenous peoples’ participation.

Slow progress in climate negotiations towards Cancun. REDD+ related outcome still unclear - risks dilution of language on indigenous peoples’ rights, safeguards.

Governments met in Tianjin (China) in early November for a UN Climate Talks session to prepare for the Conference of the Parties (COP16) taking place in Cancun (Mexico) in December. No real advancement was registered towards a legally binding agreement, with parties postponing any decision on emissions reductions to 2011 at COP17, and governments remained reluctant to make strong commitments on safeguards for REDD+. COP 16 was expected to deliver a series of COP Decisions including “Readiness phases of activities that contribute to mitigation actions in the forest sector (REDD plus).” However, the Chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA), Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe, is now aiming at a single COP decision encompassing topics on which she believes progress has been achieved (including REDD+).  

Teribe people of Costa Rica demand their rights in relation to the Diquís Dam

For over 40 years, the Costa Rican government has planned the construction of one of the largest hydroelectric dams in Central America. The plan has been modified several times due to serious criticism for its potential negative environmental and social impacts – especially on indigenous peoples. In 2008, the government of Costa Rica declared the Diquís Dam as being of public interest and national convenience, giving full support for its construction. The proposed Diquís Dam will flood more than 10% of the traditional and titled lands of the Teribe people and more than 5% of those of the Cabécar People. The Teribe people consider the Diquís Dam as a grave threat to their survival as a people, since the Teribe total around only 750 individuals.

Press Release: Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Agrees to Hear Case of Indigenous Peoples in Raposa Serra do Sol, Brazil, November 15th, 2010. Rainforest Foundation US and Forest Peoples Programme

 

After years of waiting, during which they suffered from violent attacks and the degradation of their ancestral lands, the Ingaricó, Macuxi, Patamona, Taurepang and Wapichana indigenous peoples of Raposa Serra do Sol received a favorable decision by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.  During its last session at the end of October, the Commission issued an admissibility decision in their case against the Government of Brazil. In doing so, the Commission signaled not only that the Government’s treatment of indigenous peoples in Raposa may constitute a violation of their human rights, but that the Commission is now ready to enter its final stage of review of the case and issue a concluding report.

The Ancestral Forest in Sanjan Land

This article comes from our partners Institut Dayakologi and is taken from an original article by Dominikus Uyub in the Kalimantan Review magazine, in November 2010.