Forest Peoples Programme Supporting forest peoples’ rights

International processes

International biodiversity, environment, or conservation policies, whether binding or intentional, are very relevant for indigenous peoples as they set the standards that should be applied by governments and organizations throughout the world. Indigenous peoples and local communities are taking action to ensure that their rights are placed at the centre of policies aimed at halting global biodiversity loss, and to highlight the underlying causes of the problems. FPP supports indigenous peoples’ advocacy and representation in international fora.

The most relevant international processes are the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The CBD is a UN Convention that was opened for signature at the the Earth Summit in 1992 (together with the Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC)) and came into force in December 1993. The CBD has several thematic programmes, such as forest biodiversity or marine and coastal biodiversity, and several cross-cutting issues, such as protected areas, sustainable use of biodiversity, and traditional knowledge, innovations and practices. Every two years, Parties to the CBD pass decisions at the Conference of the Parties (COP). In between COPs, there are various smaller meetings that focus on particular issues. Decisions of the CBD are binding, which means that governments have to carry out the provisions they contain. The IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) is a worldwide network aimed at nature conservation. The IUCN World Conservation Congress (WCC) is the highest organ of IUCN that convenes every four years. In the Members’ Assembly, resolutions and recommendations are adopted which guide IUCN’s policy as well as influencing many other organizations around the world.

Indigenous peoples participate actively in both processes, where they aim to influence policy- and decision-making and bring in their local concerns and solutions. They also carry out work to track and assess national and local level implementation of agreements achieved at the international level, and call responsible authorities and organisations to account where situations so require.

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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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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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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FPP E-Newsletter December 2013 (PDF Version)

Forest Peoples Programme

3 December, 2013

FPP E-Newsletter December 2013

Dear Friends,

What are the prospects for securing the land rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, and women in the foreseeable future?

Significantly, the report of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, under Goal 1 to “End Poverty”, sets a target to “Increase by x% the share of women and men, communities, and businesses with secure rights to land, property, and other assets”.

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Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Update: Outcomes of recent meetings

27 November, 2013

Following up on our previous E-news article that looked ahead to the 8th meeting of the CBD Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions (WG8(j)-8) and the 17th meeting of the CBD’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-17) held in October 2013 in Montreal, Canada, we now provide a brief update on some main outcomes of relevance and importance to indigenous peoples.

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Chepkitale Ogiek community document their customary bylaws for the first time in order to ensure the continued conservation of their ancestral lands and natural resources

26 November, 2013

Mount Elgon Chepkitale

VIDEO: The Customary Bylaws of the Ogiek of Mount Elgon

“We have never conserved. It is the way we live that conserves. These customary bylaws we have had forever, but we have not written them down until now."

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Convention on Biological Diversity: no more excuses to postpone adoption of term ‘indigenous peoples’

1 October, 2013

The text of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the decisions of the Conference of the Parties and its subsidiary bodies use the phrase ‘indigenous and local communities’. At its ninth session in 2010, the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) called upon the parties to the CBD “to adopt the terminology ‘indigenous peoples and local communities’, as an accurate reflection of the distinct identities developed by those entities since the adoption of the Convention almost 20 years ago.”[1]  At its tenth session in 2011, the UNPFII further stated that “Affirmation of the status of indigenous peoples as “peoples” is important in fully respecting and protecting their human rights”.[2]

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FPP E-Newsletter October 2013 (PDF Version)

Forest Peoples Programme

1 October, 2013

FPP E-Newsletter October 2013

Dear Friends,

The principle that the enjoyment of human rights is both the means and the goal of development, highlights the importance of human rights monitoring as a means for empowering rights-holders to exercise their rights, whilst holding States and other actors accountable for their human rights obligations.   

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