Our last E-newsletter (April 2010) reported that a group of indigenous experts on sustainable use issues within the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the '10(c) team', planned to highlight the link between secure land and resource rights and the protection and maintenance of customary sustainable use of biological resources by indigenous and local communities. This was to take place at the 14th meeting of the CBD's Subsidiary Body on Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-14) in Nairobi, Kenya (10-21 May). Unfortunately, in the event, delegates did not follow the indigenous experts' proposals to include concrete text on this issue in the final SBSTTA recommendations. Discussions on the use and management of wildlife ('bush meat') also caused indigenous peoples great concern and created impassioned debate.
Messe Venant, Forest Peoples Programme's Cameroon Field Officer highlights the importance of bushmeat for the Baka in Cameroon in a recent article on the BBC website.
"Everything we need, we go into the forest - for food or anything else," he said. "The principal source of protein for the Baka is bushmeat."
Paragraphs 39-40 contain recommendations towards the rights of Batwa women.
The Batwa of south-west Uganda, through their organisation, the United Organisation for Batwa Development (UOBDU), officially opened their new joint tourism venture with the Uganda Wildlife Authority on July 1st, 2010. A related news article “Trail of hope for Uganda's lost Pygmy tribe” in The Guardian, 17 July, 2010, notes that “...for the first time, the Batwa have a stake in the conservation and management of the national park, even though they still live outside it.” Click here to read the full Guardian article.
In July 2010, Baka, Bagyeli and Bakola forest people – together with their local support NGOs – conducted consultations in southern Cameroon to inform their communities about potential REDD projects. They were very clear that climate change was already affecting their lives and that they fear REDD projects might not benefit them. Indeed, there are about seven REDD projects currently planned in Cameroon. According to recent FPP fieldwork, in at least two of the projects, the local communities have not even been informed. See a related press release
Synthesis Paper - Customary sustainable use of biodiversity by indigenous peoples and local communities: Examples, challenges, community initiatives and recommendations relating to CBD Article 10(c)
A Synthesis Paper based on Case Studies from Bangladesh, Cameroon, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, Suriname and Thailand.
Participants in a workshop held on 30 June 2010 in Yaounde have called for concrete measures to recognise the rights of forest peoples in all REDD policies and actions. They have challenged the flawed finance mechanisms of REDD in Cameroon.
Click on 'DOCUMENT' for full press release
Focusing on the the Dzanga-Sangha Protected Area Complex in CAR, this briefing highlights some key issues that need to be addressed to ensure that potential plans for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) are sustainable and are developed in a way that respects human rights.
Most of the world's biodiversity targets have not been met. This is the key message of the third edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3), presented at the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD)'s 14th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-14). The report does, however, choose to highlight the expansion of protected areas as a positive accomplishment. For indigenous peoples this is a cause for concern - not a success - as the establishment and expansion of protected areas still largely takes place without their participation and consent. This concern was underlined in the conclusions of the in-depth review of the implementation of the CBD's Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA).
The right of indigenous peoples to give or withhold their free prior and informed consent to projects, laws and policies that may affect their rights is affirmed in international law. Making this right effective is more challenging: and what should private sector companies do to ensure they respect this right? This 'scoping paper'has been prepared by FPP for The Forests Dialogue to stimulate an interactive discussion about how to respect FPIC in practice among all those concerned about forests and rights.
Scoping paper prepared for The Forest Dialogue's (TFD) FPIC Initiative.
Three indigenous leaders, Margrite Akom, Jeanne Noah and Mathilde Zang, from a remote forest near the UNESCO World Heritage Dja Reserve, Cameroon, were key figures in the development and construction of a Rainforest Garden at Chelsea Flower Show, London, from 25 to 29 May 2010. This garden highlighted their communities' traditions and concerns to the international media and wider public. At the event, the leaders spoke with the Queen, press and public, eloquently explaining the pressures they face including the discrimination and violation of their rights, the impact of industrial expansion and deforestation, and the loss of access to forest biodiversity upon which communities rely. Maps, developed by the Baka illustrating their traditional use of the forest for subsistence, were also incorporated into the garden. Margrite, Jeanne and Mathilde work with the African Indigenous Women's Organisation (AIWO) in Yaounde, Cameroon and were assisted by Aisha Aishatou from AIWO.
"We are excited about this garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. It provides a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness among the wider public about the many challenges facing African forest peoples. These include discrimination and violation of their rights, the impact of industrial expansion and deforestation, and the loss of access to forest biodiversity upon which communities rely."
Cameroon's periodic State report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) was presented at the 47th Ordinary Session held in May 2010 in Banjul, The Gambia, May 2010. A network of Baka, Bakola, Bagyeli and Bedzang peoples submitted an alternative report which broadly fed into the discussions and the Concluding Observations adopted by the Commission.
At its 76th session held between 15 February and 12 March 2010, the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) examined Cameroon's 15th to 18th periodic reports. Numerous violations of indigenous peoples' rights (particularly those of the Baka, Bakola, Bagyeli and Bedzang people) had been raised in an earlier report submitted to the Committee by a network of NGOs from Cameroon. The information communicated by civil society informed the dialogue between the Committee and the Cameroonian State. The Committee then issued a series of recommendations pertaining to the situation of the Baka, Bakola, Bagyeli and Bedzang peoples in Cameroon, which included the right to education, access to justice and safety in protected areas.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has recently submitted its Readiness Preparation Proposal for REDD (R-PP) to the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility. Considering that a successful outcome relies on ensuring effective participation by forest communities, indigenous peoples and civil society across the vast extent of the DRC's rainforest, this briefing asks: has the DRC followed best practice in this respect, as a UN agency is now claiming?
FPP: Rights, forests and climate briefing series
The Democratic Republic of Congo has recently submitted its Readiness Preparation Proposal for REDD (R-PP) to the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). Considering that a successful outcome relies on ensuring effective participation by forest communities, indigenous peoples and civil society across the vast extent of the DRC's rainforest, this briefing asks: has the DRC followed best practice in this respect, as a UN agency is now claiming?
Read the Briefing by Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), Centre d'accompagnement des Autochtones Pygmées et Minoritaires Vulnérables (CAMV) and Cercle pour la Défense de l'Environnement (CEDEN).
In December 2009, the Batwa community in south-west Uganda and their own representative organisation, the United Organisation of Batwa Development in Uganda (UOBDU), continued their efforts to secure their rights by holding a series of meetings with local and national level government representatives.