In accordance with Article 62 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, States Parties to the Charter are required to submit every two years, a report on the legislative or other measures taken, with a view to giving effect to the rights and freedoms recognised and guaranteed by the Charter.
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.
Celebrating 10 years of defending forest communities’ rights and forest conservation in the DRC
Le Réseau pour la Conservation et la Réhabilitation des Ecosystèmes Forestiers (Réseau CREF) is a non-profit organisation which was founded on 20 May 2003 in Kanyabayonga, Lubero Territory, in North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It is a network of non-governmental organisations covering six territories (Walikale, Masisi, Nyiragongo, Rutshuru, Lubero and Beni) and three towns (Beni, Butembo and Goma) in North Kivu Province, DRC. Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) first started working with Réseau CREF almost two years ago when, in 2011, Réseau CREF became one of the partner organisations involved in the FPP project on ‘REDD financing, Human Rights and Economic Development for Sustainable Poverty Reduction of forest communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo’.
On the occasion of its 10th anniversary in May 2013, Réseau CREF Director, Alphonse Muhindo Valivambene, was interviewed by FPP about Réseau CREF’s mission, its objectives and future plans:
As part of its project on ‘REDD financing, Human Rights and Economic Development for Sustainable Poverty Reduction of Forest Communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’ Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) and partners in the DRC: Actions pour les Droits, l’Environnement et la Vie (ADEV), le Centre d’Accompagnement des Autochtones Pygmées et Minoritaires Vulnérables (CAMV), le Cercle pour la Défense de l’Environnement (CEDEN) and le Réseau pour la Conservation et la Réhabilitation des Écosystèmes Forestiers (Réseau CREF) have developed a set of posters on the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). By combining pictures and short pieces of text, the posters depict the stages of a process that respects the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities to free, prior and informed consent with regard to projects likely to affect their lands, territories and natural resources.
As part of its project: "REDD financing, Human Rights and Economic Development for Sustainable Poverty Reduction of forest communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)", Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), and its local partners in the DRC have published the first volume of a new book series titled Forêts Africaines.
The considerable threats faced by the forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo continue to draw global attention because of the crucial role these large forests play in regulating the global climate. Estimates indicate that the forests of the Congo Basin as a whole capture and store about 10 to 30 billion tons of carbon, an increasingly significant ecosystem service in light of concerns about climate change. In recent years, projects aimed at the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) have been developed to provide financial incentives based on performance to the owners of large areas of forests in order to reduce the loss of forests and promote the improvement of carbon stocks through conservation and tree planting.
This toolkit provides information on the protection of the right to land, territories and natural resources in international and regional law in Africa. Its aim is to provide NGOs with concise and accessible information about the legal framework that exists for the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities in DRC with regard to their lands, territories and natural resources. It also provides useful information on the international and regional mechanisms which NGOs, and the indigenous peoples and local communities they work with, can use in order to claim their rights and advocate for the DRC government to respect its legal obligations at the international and regional level.