Delegates at the 8th Southeast Asian regional conference on Human Rights and Business in Chiang Khong, Thailand have released the Mekong Statement, committing to strengthening collaboration on confronting human rights abuses related to business activities in the region.
FPP and Natural Justice organised a joint submission to the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in response to a request for contributions from Parties and stakeholders about the CBD’s programme of work that deals with traditional knowledge about biodiversity (Article 8j).
With generous assistance from the Rights and Resources Intiative (RRI) and IUCN’s Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP), Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) supported Thai and Kenyan partners to attend the 5th IUCN World Conservation Congress (WCC5) from 6-15 September in Jeju, South Korea.
The following article, by Maurizio Farhan-Ferrari, Coordinator of the FPP's Environmental Governance Programme, has just been published on the Landscapes Blog for People, Food and Nature:
Since its inception at the IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) ‘Sharing Power’ conference in Whakatane, New Zealand, in January 2011, the Whakatane Mechanism has been piloted in two places: at Mount Elgon in Western Kenya and most recently in the Ob Luang National Park in Northern Thailand.
In January, indigenous peoples’ organisations sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra, asking her to take immediate action to redress the forcible expulsion of Karen people from their ancestral territory in north-western Thailand, which is now overlapped by the Kaeng Krachan National Park.
According to sources that have visited Kaeng Krachan National Park and collected information, the harassment of Karen villagers has been going on for some time and became severe in May, June and July 2011, when many of the villagers’ houses and rice stores were burned and money, jewellery, fishing and agricultural tools were stolen by a group comprising National Park wardens and military forces. As a result, some of these villagers moved away and are now staying with relatives elsewhere and a number of them (allegedly around 70 people) are hiding in the forest in fear of meeting government officers, and are without sufficient food and shelter.
Inter Mountain Peoples’ Education and Culture in Thailand Association (IMPECT) are looking for Anthropology, Education and other human sciences students interested in volunteering 7 weeks of their time in an indigenous community school in Northern Thailand. If you want to have a real encounter with indigenous people in Thailand, while contributing towards better education for its children, this assignment is for you. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to live in a small community and be hosted by one of its families.
Recent work carried out by various indigenous peoples, such as community mapping and documenting traditional resource use, has resulted in interesting insights into the different gender dimensions in their customary use of biodiversity. In many indigenous communities, there are clear divisions in men’s and women’s roles and tasks relating to biodiversity use. This article shares some examples from case studies carried out by the Wapichan people from South-west Guyana and by the Karen and Hmong people from Northern Thailand.
Indigenous peoples’ representatives met with Chairs of Commissions of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other conservation organizations, for a high-level dialogue during the Sharing Power conference, in Whakatane, New Zealand, on January 13th, 2011. IUCN agreed to review the implementation of resolutions related to indigenous peoples taken at the 4th World Conservation Congress (WCC4) in 2008, in Barcelona, Spain, and to advance their implementation. These resolutions, along with the Durban Action Plan and the Programme of Work on Protected Areas of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), are often termed as the “new conservation paradigm”. They are crucial for ensuring that conservation practices respect the rights of indigenous peoples and their full and effective participation in policy and practice. Unfortunately, the actual implementation of these decisions in support of indigenous peoples has been very patchy. The information gathered by the IUCN review processes will feed into its 2013-2016 Programme, to be discussed and adopted in September 2012 in Jeju, Republic of Korea.
Specifically, the meeting participants agreed that IUCN will:
· Reinforce its multi-level process (encompassing international, regional, national and local levels) to assess and advance the implementation of the “new conservation paradigm”. This process would focus on specific WCC4 resolutions relevant to indigenous peoples.
· Implement pilot assessments of protected areas at the local level that should be carried out by teams composed of indigenous peoples, IUCN national and international offices, government officials and other relevant actors. The pilot assessments should specify recommendations to address gaps between the observed practices and the ‘new conservation paradigm’. The findings will be reported in national workshops, which will then explore ways to implement the recommendations from the assessments. The assessments would also bring examples of successful projects and best practices to the international community.
· Carry out a review of the implementation of each of the WCC4 resolutions relevant to indigenous peoples, based on information from commissions and regional and global thematic programmes. This review will identify gaps and make recommendations to address them, which will be included in IUCN’s 2013-2016 Programme.
· Submit reports on these matters to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the CBD.
· Spread awareness of WCC4 resolutions on indigenous peoples to all national IUCN offices.
· Improve the coordination between regional and national IUCN offices and indigenous peoples’ organizations.
Will conservation organisations finally take practical action to implement agreed commitments that recognise the rights of indigenous peoples in protected areas?
Our last E-newsletter (April 2010) reported that a group of indigenous experts on sustainable use issues within the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the '10(c) team', planned to highlight the link between secure land and resource rights and the protection and maintenance of customary sustainable use of biological resources by indigenous and local communities. This was to take place at the 14th meeting of the CBD's Subsidiary Body on Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-14) in Nairobi, Kenya (10-21 May). Unfortunately, in the event, delegates did not follow the indigenous experts' proposals to include concrete text on this issue in the final SBSTTA recommendations. Discussions on the use and management of wildlife ('bush meat') also caused indigenous peoples great concern and created impassioned debate.
Click here for FPP & Partners' 'CBD COP 10 - Nagoya Blog' to follow indigenous peoples and local community representatives in Nagoya online.
For all forest peoples, the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), starting today, October 18, 2010 in Nagoya, Japan, is a critical one: their governments will make new agreements on the conservation, use, and development of the world’s natural riches. As most of these resources are found in indigenous peoples’ territories, the future directions of the Convention will have far-reaching impacts on forest peoples’ lands, livelihoods and way of life. Will forest communities’ positive contributions to global biodiversity receive the attention they deserve and will their interests and rights be respected? Or, will they be limited to a few minor paragraphs in the Decisions of COP 10?