Progress made on recognising rights of communities - World Conservation Congress motions

Progress made on recognising rights of communities - World Conservation Congress motions

Progress has been made on the issue of recognising the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities where protected areas have been created on their lands.

Ahead of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s World Conservation Congress, Forest Peoples Programme put forward a motion to strengthen the practice of the Whakatane Mechanism, which uses fact-finding field missions and multi-stakeholder meetings to resolve conflict between different parties in complex situations and so achieve a win-win for communities and conservation.

As the results of the motions were today revealed, the motion – Motion 80 – was passed by a majority of 497 to 20, with 326 abstentions.

The approval of this motion will help raise awareness of the Whakatane Mechanism as a tool that has proved successful in resolving conflicts in areas which have been given official ‘protected’ status, while also being the ancestral homes of indigenous peoples and local communities. These communities’ way of life frequently integrates traditional conservation methods, and the mechanism is a way to bring the parties together in a peaceful setting to understand different perspectives and seek a resolution that meets the needs of all.

Motion 29 was also passed, by a count of 637 to 20, with 186 abstentions. This motion called for recognition that many indigenous peoples and local communities care for, self-govern, protect, sustainably use, restore and enrich their territories.

As part of its work, Forest Peoples Programme supports communities whose very traditions and way of life also conserve the land they live on. This could include acting on community generated sustainability bylaws and so arresting charcoal burners and elephant poachers – as the Ogiek community at Mt Elgon in Kenya do; or using traditional hunting methods that support sustainability – such as hunting without weapons like the Selkup in north Siberia. 

It is essential that people realise that conservation methods are continually carried out by indigenous peoples and local communities, and this should be celebrated and learned from, rather than ignored and replaced. 

We are delighted that more steps are being made in this direction.

The motions in full:

080 - Enabling the Whakatane Mechanism to contribute to conservation through securing communities’ rights

NOTING that it has been estimated that most of the existing protected areas contain lands or territories and resources of indigenous peoples and rural communities;

NOTING that the Whakatane Mechanism is a response to the call of the IUCN World Conservation Congress at its session in Barcelona, Spain (2008) for the Director General and Commissions to identify and propose "mechanisms to address and redress the effects of historic and current injustices against indigenous peoples in the name of conservation of nature and natural resources" (Resolution 4.052 Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples);

RECOGNISING the importance of fully respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities relying on protected areas;

NOTING the efforts of the Conservation Initiative on Human Rights to develop tools and approaches to support the above;

WELCOMING the establishment of the IUCN Environmental and Social Management System, and in particular the potential role of its Standards on Access Restrictions and Indigenous Peoples in ensuring the full respect of the rights of indigenous peoples and rural communities in IUCN conservation projects; 

WELCOMING also the standards of the IUCN Green List of Conserved and Protected Areas and their approach and potential utility for safeguarding human rights in protected areas;

WELCOMING the endorsement by the 12th Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD Decision XXII/12, Pyeongchang, 2014) of the Plan of Action on Customary Sustainable Use, which includes guidance to Parties and other relevant stakeholders to draw upon existing tools in identifying best practices in relation to protected areas and customary use of biodiversity, including the Whakatane Mechanism;

NOTING that the IUCN World Conservation Congress at its session in Jeju, Republic of Korea (2012) welcomed the work being developed through the Whakatane Mechanism in Resolution 5.097 Implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as “a significant contribution to the Programme’s "rights-based and equitable conservation" undertakings and One Programme approach”;

NOTING that three pilot applications of the Mechanism have so far been undertaken: in Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Thailand; and

HIGHLIGHTING that appropriate recognition and support to the territories and areas conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities (ICCAs) within state-governed protected areas would allow the restitution of any collective governance rights and responsibilities to the relevant peoples and communities while supporting and safeguarding conservation; and ALSO NOTING that the establishment of shared governance mechanisms could be a means to support the recognition and protection of indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ rights in protected areas;

The World Conservation Congress, at its session in Hawai‘i, United States of America, 1-10 September 2016:

1. REQUESTS the Director General, drawing advice from the Steering Committee of the Whakatane Mechanism, IUCN Council, Commissions, Members, and relevant partners, as appropriate, to:

a. Engage with the Global Environmental Facility in identifying  funding opportunities for projects that include approaches contained in the Whakatane Mechanism, in line with GEF-6 Programme directions and the upcoming GEF-7 phase, and explore as well other potential sources of funding; and 

b. Include progress of the Whakatane Mechanism in IUCN’s regular reporting to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues;

2. INVITES the CBD to take account of the Whakatane Mechanism, particularly in its implementation of Articles 8(j) and 10(c) and its Programme of Work on Protected Areas;

3. INVITES Member as well as non-member States and other actors to:

a. raise awareness of the Whakatane Mechanism, including through documenting and disseminating information about its implementation and its benefits in favour of biodiversity conservation; and

b. take action, as appropriate, to implement the CBD Plan of Action on Customary Sustainable use, particularly task 3, including promoting, “in accordance with national legislation and applicable international obligations, the full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities, and also their prior and informed consent to or approval of, and involvement in, the establishment, expansion, governance and management of protected areas, including marine protected areas, that may affect indigenous and local communities”; and

4. ENCOURAGES parties to the Whakatane Mechanism processes in countries where such processes are ongoing to share information and lessons learned with the Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) and the Steering Committee of the Whakatane Mechanism, to support its further development and application.

029 – Recognising and respecting the territories and areas conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities (ICCAs) overlapped by protected areas

RECOGNISING that many indigenous peoples and local communities care for, self-govern, manage, protect, sustainably use, restore and enrich – in one word ‘conserve’ – all or parts of their territories and areas, including commons, sacred sites, and locally managed marine areas, in ways that meet IUCN definitions of indigenous peoples' and community conserved territories and areas (ICCAs), IUCN and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) definitions of protected areas, and the CBD’s use of the term "other effective area-based conservation measures";

CONCERNED that government-designated and privately protected areas often overlap with ICCAs without appropriately recognising and respecting them;

RECALLING IUCN's affirmation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and of indigenous peoples' collective rights and responsibilities with respect to their territories, lands, water and resources, including within protected areas, and additional prerogatives and responsibilities relevant to participating fully and effectively in protected area governance;

RECALLING that IUCN and the Parties to the CBD affirm the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities to participate fully and effectively in protected area governance and that IUCN guidance encourages fostering governance diversity, quality and vitality in protected and conserved areas;

RECALLING Resolution 5.094 Respecting, recognizing and supporting Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Territories and Areas (Jeju, 2012), including its call for recognising and supporting ICCAs "in situations where they overlap with protected area or other designations";

NOTING Recommendation 4.127 Indigenous peoples' rights in the management of protected areas fully or partially in the territories of indigenous people (Barcelona, 2008), which calls for indigenous peoples’ governance of Indigenous Conservation Territories when protected areas fully or partially overlap with those territories;

MINDFUL OF Resolution 4.038 Recognition and conservation of sacred natural sites in protected areas (Barcelona, 2008) and Recommendation 5.147 Sacred Natural Sites – Support for custodian protocols and customary laws in the face of global threats and challenges (Jeju, 2012), which call for recognition of custodians’ care and protection of Sacred Natural Sites in protected areas;

WELCOMING recommendations of the IUCN World Parks Congress (Sydney, 2014) to recognise and support ICCAs both "within and outside protected areas" and to ensure collective governance rights in overlap situations (Stream 6) and "ensure Indigenous governance of protected areas" in their traditional territories (Stream 7);

RECALLING that the Durban Accord and Action Plan and the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Programme of Work on Protected Areas recognise ICCAs and indigenous peoples' and local communities' right to participate in protected area governance;

ACKNOWLEDGING that Native Hawaiian people lived in areas of Hawai'i now designated as national parks and other protected areas and may continue to maintain or wish to restore ICCAs in them; and

APPRECIATING the work of the ICCA Consortium;

The World Conservation Congress, at its session in Hawai‘i, United States of America, 1-10 September 2016:

1. REQUESTS the Director General, Council, Commissions and Members, together with the ICCA Consortium and relevant partners, to:

a. develop, disseminate, and urge implementation of best practice guidance on identification, recognition, and respect for ICCAs in protected area overlap situations;

b. require appropriate recognition and respect for overlapped ICCAs before including any protected area in IUCN’s Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas or before advising the granting of World Heritage status, including by ensuring that the custodian indigenous peoples and/or local communities maintaining these ICCAs give their free, prior and informed consent to the proposed designation;

c. encourage indigenous peoples' organisations and networks and the Whakatane Mechanism to support the recognition and respect of ICCAs overlapped by protected areas, including recognition of indigenous peoples' continuing governance and management of them;

d. encourage the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity to implement existing CBD decisions as well as best practice guidance on identifying, recognising, and respecting ICCAs overlapped by protected areas as a means of implementing Articles 8(j) and 10(c) of the Convention, meeting the Aichi Biodiversity Targets 2011-2020, and advancing the Programme of Work on Protected Areas, the Plan of Action on Customary and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity, and the 2014 Chennai Guidance for the Integration of Biodiversity and Poverty Eradication, among other relevant CBD decisions;

e. encourage agencies and donors to promote recognition and respect of overlapped ICCAs and to assist their custodians in including them in the World Database on Protected Areas and the ICCA Registry with their free, prior and informed consent;

f. encourage the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other relevant rights monitoring mechanisms to take ICCAs into account in their work, including by promoting good practices that affirm and secure rights by appropriately recognising and respecting ICCAs overlapped by protected areas; and

g. report annually on the above actions to the IUCN Council, biennially to the CBD, and in IUCN’s annual report to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues;

2. CALLS UPON IUCN Members, non-member States, and other actors involved with protected areas to develop and implement laws, regulations, agreements, protocols, plans, and administrative procedures and practices that appropriately recognise and respect ICCAs overlapped by protected areas; and

3. CALLS UPON IUCN Members and Parties to the CBD, in collaboration with the CBD Secretariat and other relevant actors, to include reporting on the implementation of best practices in recognising and respecting ICCAs overlapped by protected areas in CBD Parties' reporting to the CBD Secretariat, including in national reports, progress reports on achievement of the Aichi Targets (particularly Target 11), reports on implementation of the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas, and the Global Biodiversity Outlook.