Resources

Pilot Whakatane Assessment in Ob Luang National Park, Thailand, finds exemplary joint management by indigenous peoples, local communities, National Park authorities and NGOs

Since its inception at the IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) ‘Sharing Power’ conference in Whakatane, New Zealand, in January 2011, the Whakatane Mechanism has been piloted in two places: at Mount Elgon in Western Kenya and most recently in the Ob Luang National Park in Northern Thailand.

Karen People forcibly expelled from the Kaeng Krachan National Park in Thailand

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.  

Peer-reviewed CIFOR and World Bank studies find that community-managed forests are better for conservation than strict protected areas

Two peer-reviewed studies published recently show that strict conservation is less effective in reducing deforestation than community forests that are managed and controlled by Indigenous Peoples and forest-dependent communities within multiple use systems (e.g. IUCN categories V and VI)

One study, by Porter-Bolland et al. from CIFOR, is a statistical analysis of annual deforestation rates as reported in 73 case studies conducted in the tropics. They find that deforestation is significantly lower in community-managed forests than in strict protected forests.

The other study on forest loss undertaken by the World Bank Independent Evaluation Group (authored by Nelson and Chomitz) finds that some community-managed forests are located in areas with higher deforestation pressures than strict protected areas. Taking this into account, they find that community-managed forests are much more effective in reducing deforestation than strict protected areas (cf. summary table, p9). Where there is data, they find that forest areas managed and controlled by Indigenous Peoples are even more effective.

Could land reform succeed where conservation has failed?

Conservation organisations have been making great strides towards recognising that protected areas must respect the rights of indigenous peoples as enshrined in international law, including the right to give or withhold their free prior and informed consent to the establishment of new protected areas in their customary territories. Yet in practice conservation organisations often continue to exclude local people from using forest and other resources, and only consult them after they have drawn up management plans rather than jointly writing them.

Guest article from the Nishnawbe Aski Nation of Canada - "Expropriation of Indigenous Lands for Government Designated Protected Areas in Northern Ontario, Canada"

Canada’s Auditor General commented in her June 2011 report that living conditions in First Nations reserves are still much worse than elsewhere in Canada. Reflecting on her ten years in office, she argued that a fundamental change is needed to address this issue. In 2010, Canada finally endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) after being one of four governments to vote against it during its passage through the General Assembly in 2007.

Draft concept note for pilot Whakatane Assessments now open for feedback

Update 3rd August 2011

The concept note for pilot Whakatane Assessment has been finalized. You can download it here

As mentioned in Forest Peoples Programme’s February E-Newsletter, a meeting was held at the IUCN CEESP Sharing Power conference in Whakatane, New Zealand, January 2011, between indigenous representatives, the chairs of three IUCN commissions (CEESP, WCPA and SSC) and sub-commissions (TILCEPA and TGER), key staff of the IUCN secretariat (the Director of the Environment and Development Programme and the Senior Adviser on Social Policy), and other staff from IUCN, Conservation International and Forest Peoples Programme.

The main outcome of the meeting and subsequent follow-up discussions was an agreement to implement a series of measures to review the implementation of resolutions related to indigenous peoples adopted at the 4th World Conservation Congress (WCC4) in 2008 and to advance their implementation should there be a gap.

International Union for the Conservation of Nature takes positive steps towards realising indigenous peoples’ rights in conservation

Over the last 10 years, governments and conservation organisations have made significant commitments at the international level to promote participatory conservation, and uphold the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities in protected area policies and activities. But, on the ground, progress to implement these commitments has been very patchy. In many cases, protected areas are still imposed through top-down policies and approaches, leading to the displacement of indigenous peoples, curtailment of their livelihoods and conflict over resources.

Press Release: International Union for the Conservation of Nature to review and advance implementation of the ‘new conservation paradigm’, focusing on rights of indigenous peoples. January 14, 2011

Indigenous peoples’ representatives met with Chairs of Commissions of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other conservation organizations, for a high-level dialogue during the Sharing Power conference, in Whakatane, New Zealand, on January 13th, 2011. IUCN agreed to review the implementation of resolutions related to indigenous peoples taken at the 4th World Conservation Congress (WCC4) in 2008, in Barcelona, Spain, and to advance their implementation. These resolutions, along with the Durban Action Plan and the Programme of Work on Protected Areas of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), are often termed as the “new conservation paradigm”. They are crucial for ensuring that conservation practices respect the rights of indigenous peoples and their full and effective participation in policy and practice. Unfortunately, the actual implementation of these decisions in support of indigenous peoples has been very patchy. The information gathered by the IUCN review processes will feed into its 2013-2016 Programme, to be discussed and adopted in September 2012 in Jeju, Republic of Korea.

Specifically, the meeting participants agreed that IUCN will:

·       Reinforce its multi-level process (encompassing international, regional, national and local levels) to assess and advance the implementation of the “new conservation paradigm”. This process would focus on specific WCC4 resolutions relevant to indigenous peoples.

·       Implement pilot assessments of protected areas at the local level that should be carried out by teams composed of indigenous peoples, IUCN national and international offices, government officials and other relevant actors. The pilot assessments should specify recommendations to address gaps between the observed practices and the ‘new conservation paradigm’. The findings will be reported in national workshops, which will then explore ways to implement the recommendations from the assessments. The assessments would also bring examples of successful projects and best practices to the international community.

·       Carry out a review of the implementation of each of the WCC4 resolutions relevant to indigenous peoples, based on information from commissions and regional and global thematic programmes. This review will identify gaps and make recommendations to address them, which will be included in IUCN’s 2013-2016 Programme.

·       Submit reports on these matters to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the CBD. 

·       Spread awareness of WCC4 resolutions on indigenous peoples to all national IUCN offices.

·       Improve the coordination between regional and national IUCN offices and indigenous peoples’ organizations.

Why sustainable use should be prioritized over protected areas

One of the only successes touted by the CBD is the increase in protected areas (cf. BGO3). At the same time, all the other indicators point to increase in biodiversity loss. Anyone who has either common sense or a PhD in statistics will realize that this means that protected areas, as currently designed and implemented, do not effectively protect biodiversity. Have a look at the links to the graphs linked at the bottom of this page to make up your own mind.

Indigenous peoples raise concerns over failure to meet protected area participation and benefit-sharing targets at Convention of Biological Diversity's SBSTTA-14 and in response to Global Biodiversity Outlook 3

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).

FPP series on Forest Peoples and Protected Areas

This series of eight country studies and a synthesis report review the progress of the application of indigenous peoples' rights with regards to protected areas since 2003. By considering the views of governments, funding agencies, conservation organisations and indigenous peoples' organisations, these studies assesses the extend to which recommendations and resolutions from the Durban 2003 World Parks Congress, the 4th World Conservation Congress in Barcelona and the Convention on Biological Diversity have been followed up on and enacted.