Forest Peoples Programme Supporting forest peoples’ rights

Environmental governance

Most of the planet's areas of high biological diversity are located within the territories of indigenous and tribal forest peoples, who have been managing the environment through their own systems based on traditional knowledge, practices, rules and beliefs for generations ('customary use'). Yet in many countries forest peoples do not have secure tenure over these areas and are denied access and use of their territories because of inadequate government policies, extractive industries’ activities, or conservation initiatives, such as protected areas. At the same time, many indigenous territories are increasingly threatened by unsustainable activities such as logging, mining, and plantations while the communities are not, or are only minimally, involved in official decision-making and management of these areas.

Forest peoples who are facing such challenges are taking action to protect their rights and negotiate better access and greater involvement in the management of natural resources in their territories. Their initiatives include community resource mapping, documentation of customary sustainable resource use, development of community-based territorial management plans, and strengthening of community institutions and decision-making mechanisms. They advocate for recognition of land and resource rights with local and national authorities and work to achieve enhanced understanding and application of FPIC in conservation and/or development initiatives related to resources on their lands. These initiatives are supported by FPP.

A particular focus of many forest communities is to challenge top-down models of conservation that restrict their access and livelihoods, and violate their rights. They work to promote the application of a rights-based approach to conservation, which respects their rights in conservation initiatives. With support of FPP, they research to what extent international guidelines and agreements on protected areas related to indigenous peoples’ rights are being put into practice at international, national and local levels, and advocate for national reforms in protected area policies. They also raise their concerns and propose alternatives in international standard-setting processes, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Relevant resources

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COP12 Agrees on the use of “Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities” in Decisions and Secondary Documents under the Convention of Biological Diversity

14 November, 2014

With the theme “Biodiversity for Sustainable Development”, the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD COP 12) was held from 6th to 17th October 2014 in Pyeongchang, Korea. The meeting aimed at raising international awareness on the essential role of biodiversity and its contribution to sustainable development, as well as at highlighting biodiversity in the context of the post-2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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Launch of the Whakatane Mechanism and new publication

12 November, 2014

Friday 14th November 17.30 to 19.00, at the WIN Pavilion

A Mechanism for promoting rights-based conservation through practical implementation of IUCN Resolutions, including redressing historical injustices and securing communities’ rights to their lands and territories.

Three pilot Whakatane Assessments are in progress in Kenya, Thailand, and DRC, and another in preparation in Indonesia. These will be presented and discussed at this official launch of the Mechanism, chaired by Aroha Te Pareake Mead, Chair of CEESP.

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DRC: Conservation authorities will reconsider communities’ role in conservation in controversial new rainforest reserve

4 November, 2014

Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo: WWF and the DRC government’s protected areas authority have agreed to reconsider the status of a controversial protected area after meeting yesterday with representatives of local communities who were threatened with loss of their lands and access to natural resources on which they depend for their livelihoods and survival.

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International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) Statement to the Press, Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea

13 October, 2014

IIFB Press Conference 2014

Press release from the press conference held by IIFB at the 12th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The press release addresses an impasse that has emerged within the negotiations concerning the use of the terminology "Indigenous Peoples and local communities" to replace the current phrase "indigenous and local communities".

IIFB Press Statement

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Deforestation, REDD and Takamanda National Park in Cameroon - a Case Study

Samuel Nnah Ndobe and Klaus Mantzel

9 July, 2014

Deforestation, REDD and Takamanda National Park in Cameroon - a Case Study

While focusing in particular on the German financing of rainforest protection in Cameroon, this report also covers the broader issue of how Cameroon’s forest policies are shaped by the REDD process. It takes a case study approach, examining the way such forest protection policies impact on local communities by focusing in on the specific example of those communities whose land has been overlaid by the Takamanda National Park.

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Indigenous Rights a "Bridge to the Future"

19 May, 2014

Indigenous peoples from around the world have historically struggled for the recognition of their rights and the protection of their ancestral territories upon which they depend for their cultural, physical and spiritual wellbeing.

The continuous struggle and the urge of being recognised as peoples and nations brought indigenous peoples representatives together for the first time at the United Nations (UN) in Geneva in 1977. This year marked an inflection point for the contemporary history of indigenous peoples worldwide.

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Sungai Utik Declaration - on the roles of young men and women as next generation indigenous leaders

Sungai Utik

14 April, 2014

Sungai Utik Declaration

The Sungai Utik Declaration was the outcome of young indigenous leaders training. The declaration was formed in a highly collaborative drafting process, which followed five days of deep reflection by over twenty young indigenous leaders from Indonesia and the Phillippines.

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FPP E-Newsletter February 2014 (PDF Version)

FPP

18 February, 2014

FPP E-Newsletter February 2014

Dear friends,

The UN General Assembly during its 69th session, on 22-23 September  this year, will convene a high-level plenary meeting - the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples  – to review the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) since its adoption in 2007, and to identify outstanding issues and actions pertaining to indigenous peoples and development.

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Looking Ahead: International workshop on Deforestation Drivers and the Rights of Forest Peoples, Indonesia

14 February, 2014

An international workshop organised by Forest Peoples Programme and Pusaka will bring together forest peoples, governments, NGOs, international agencies and forest scientists from Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America on 9 -14 March 2014 in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.

The aim of the workshop is to share lessons and generate recommendations on effective measures to stem deforestation, promote human rights and secure local livelihoods. 

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