Customary practices of indigenous peoples in spotlight at upcoming CBD meeting

Customary practices of indigenous peoples in spotlight at upcoming CBD meeting

The sustainable customary practices of indigenous peoples, the subject of Article 10(c) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), will be one of the main topics at the upcoming meeting of the CBD Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions (WG-8(j) 6) in Montreal from 2-6 November 2009. A key question on the agenda asks how Parties to the Convention can improve implementation of this important article. The message of indigenous and local communities, submitted ahead of the meeting, is that secure rights to land and resources is a necessary condition to achieve effective implementation of Article 10(c).

Discussion will focus on how Article 10(c) - which states that Parties shall protect and encourage indigenous and local communities' sustainable customary practices and use of biological resources - can be further advanced and implemented as a matter of priority. Outcomes from this meeting will form the basis for a COP decision at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Japan, October 2010.

During the last few months indigenous and local communities from Bangladesh, Guyana, Suriname, Cameroon and Thailand have, with FPP, submitted '10(c) case studies' to the Secretariat and participated in an online forum to suggest answers to the question above. These fed into a note by the Executive Secretary in preparation for the WG-8(j) 6 meeting. One clear message in this note is that providing access to lands and resources and involving indigenous and local communities in decision-making and management of these resources is critical and that secure land tenure is an important mechanism for providing access, enhancing local management and supporting customary use.

In Montreal FPP and its partners hope to highlight these challenges. Both in the official meetings as well as in side events, representatives and leaders of indigenous and local communities will provide insights about their customary management systems and illustrate the important link between customary sustainable use and secure rights to land and resources. We want State Parties to realise that without meeting the conditions above, effective implementation of Article 10(c) is not possible and that they must start acting upon this.