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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Status and Trends in Traditional Occupations

Forest Peoples Programme

2 May, 2016

Status and Trends in Traditional Occupations

FPP has produced a new report presenting the outcomes of preliminary research on the practice of traditional occupations in indigenous and local communities. While the rapid assessment only provides sample insights (from 17 experts in 13 countries), it brings together unique and diverse stories, experiences and views on these occupations from a ground-level perspective.

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Press Release: Wapichan people in Guyana join Global Call to Action on Indigenous and Community Land Rights to boost efforts to secure their lands

7 March, 2016

Wapichan GCA

Georgetown, March 3rd: More than one hundred people from 15 communities of the indigenous Wapichan people of the South Rupununi District of Guyana, South America, have gathered on 2nd and 3rd March to celebrate joining a global campaign in support of indigenous peoples and community land rights.

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Conserving injustice: The unnecessary ongoing eviction and displacement of Sengwer communities in Embobut

14 December, 2015

The Sengwer community at Embobut has been dispersed, with most still living in their forests and glades high in the Cherangany Hills despite the evictions by the Government’s Kenya Forest Service (KFS). There they hide from the forest guards’ harassment, from having their now makeshift and temporary homes burnt and basic household property destroyed, as well as from being threatened with arrest despite the existence of a High Court injunction forbidding such harassment and evictions.

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Forest Peoples Programme Dialogue on Community-based Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV)

14 December, 2015

MRV Meeting participants

From 16-19 Nov. 2015, FPP in collaboration with its local partners working across the Africa region organized in Yaoundé in Cameroon a meeting on Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV). The objective of this MRV meeting was to develop a common approach to community-based monitoring and set out appropriate indicators and tools for MRV that FPP and partners can mainstream throughout various initiatives on the ground to secure the rights of forest communities.

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CBD meetings highlight the vital role indigenous peoples and local communities play in biodiversity conservation and sustainable use

14 December, 2015

Chief Kukoi (Tony James) presenting the work being carried out by the Wapichan people in Guyana in relation to community mapping

Between 2nd November and the 7th November 2015 the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) and the Ad Hoc Open Ended Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) met in Montreal.

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United Nations recognises sustained work of Wapichan people to defend land and forests

30 November, 2015

Paris, 26 November 2015 – The Wapichan people in Guyana, South America, have received the prestigious Equator Prize from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in recognition of their prolonged efforts to legally secure their ancestral lands and conserve extensive rainforests and diverse wildlife habitats in the South Rupununi.

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Press Release: The Wampis nation of the Peruvian Amazon declares the creation of the first autonomous indigenous government in Peru

30 November, 2015

**PRESS RELEASE: For immediate Release**

The Wampis nation of the Peruvian Amazon declares the creation of the first autonomous indigenous government in Peru to defend the totality of their ancestral territory covering 1.3 million hectares of tropical forest.

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Community-based monitoring and information systems (CBMIS) in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

Maurizio Farhan Ferrari
Caroline de Jong
Viola Stella Belohrad

23 November, 2015

 

M. F. Ferrari et al., 'Community-based monitoring and information systems (CBMIS) in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)', Biodiversity, 16:2-3, pp. 57-67, 2015

Abstract

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SDG Indicators Position Paper from the Indigenous Peoples Major Group

26 October, 2015

The position paper of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group and their recommendation on indicators to monitor the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. This document will be submitted to the meetings of the UN Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Issues (October 22-23) and the UN Inter-agency Expert Group on SDG Indicators (October 27-28) leading towards the adoption of SDG indicators in March 2016.

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Where They Stand

Fred Pearce
Forest Peoples Programme

26 October, 2015


Where They Stand details how Wapichan people in South America use modern technologies in struggle to secure land rights

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