As part of its project: "REDD financing, Human Rights and Economic Development for Sustainable Poverty Reduction of forest communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)", Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), and its local partners in the DRC have published the first volume of a new book series titled Forêts Africaines.
The considerable threats faced by the forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo continue to draw global attention because of the crucial role these large forests play in regulating the global climate. Estimates indicate that the forests of the Congo Basin as a whole capture and store about 10 to 30 billion tons of carbon, an increasingly significant ecosystem service in light of concerns about climate change. In recent years, projects aimed at the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) have been developed to provide financial incentives based on performance to the owners of large areas of forests in order to reduce the loss of forests and promote the improvement of carbon stocks through conservation and tree planting.
This toolkit provides information on the protection of the right to land, territories and natural resources in international and regional law in Africa. Its aim is to provide NGOs with concise and accessible information about the legal framework that exists for the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities in DRC with regard to their lands, territories and natural resources. It also provides useful information on the international and regional mechanisms which NGOs, and the indigenous peoples and local communities they work with, can use in order to claim their rights and advocate for the DRC government to respect its legal obligations at the international and regional level.
In 2011, the World Bank Group (WBG) adopted a Framework and Strategy for investment in the palm oil sector. The new approach was adopted on the instructions of former World Bank President Robert Zoellick, after a damning audit by International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) semi-independent Compliance Advisory Ombudsman (CAO) had shown that IFC staff were financing the palm oil giant, Wilmar, without due diligence and contrary to the IFC’s Performance Standards. Wilmar is the world’s largest palm oil trader, supplying no less than 45% of globally traded palm oil. The audit, carried out in response to a series of detailed complaints from Forest Peoples Programme and partners, vindicated many of our concerns that Wilmar was expanding its operations in Indonesia in violation of legal requirements, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standards and IFC norms and procedures. Almost immediately after the audit was triggered, IFC divested itself of its numerous other palm oil investments in Southeast Asia.
By Samuel Nnah Ndobe. The notion of indigenous people has sometimes been controversial in Africa. There are some opinions that consider all Africans as indigenous people liberated from colonial powers, while others simply stress that it is very difficult to determine who is indigenous in Africa.
Public indignation about the depredations of ill-regulated business has led to a growing recognition of the responsibilities of businesses to respect human rights, as well as the need for stronger regulations to improve the way products are made and ensure that environments and peoples’ rights are respected and protected. There is now greater awareness that what is urgently needed is strengthened environmental stewardship and land governance, reforms of land tenure, and improved enforcement of revised and just laws.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) is nearing completion of its new set of environmental and social safeguard policies. The AfDB is currently the only multilateral development bank without a standalone safeguard policy on indigenous peoples, and the new environmental and social safeguards are not expected to change this. This is despite strong advocacy from indigenous peoples’ organisations in Africa, and despite the existing jurisprudence and standards on indigenous rights in the African human rights system.
As multiple international agencies adopt and update their social and environmental policies, this special edition Forest Peoples Programme E-Newsletter reviews experiences of communities and civil society with the safeguard policies of various international financial institutions.
This video, produced by the UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI), includes interviews with individuals from various NGOs, including FPP and Sawit Watch, during the Public Forum on Inclusive, Sustainable Foreign Direct Investments in Agriculture in South East Asia which took place in Bangkok in March 2013.
The "land grabbing" in Africa and elsewhere often triggers conflict, an underreported financial risk.
Samuel Nguiffo is the Secretary General of the Centre for Environment and Development (CED), Cameroon. He is currently being sued by the government of Cameroon for tarnishing the state's reputation when he advocated against an oil palm plantation concession.
This document, and the consultations on which it is based, is intended to enable communities in Sime Darby affected areas in Grand Cape Mount, Liberia, to have their voice heard at the national level, so that government law and policy (in particular that relating to land and natural resources) can in future fit with community customary practices and community self-determined development priorities, and prevent future conflict of the kind experienced in relation to the Sime Darby concession in Grand Cape Mount.
Instances of conflict between communities and large-scale agricultural concessions have recently brought the issues of land and human rights into focus in Liberia, and throughout Africa.
Ngoyla-Mintom is a forested mountainous region which derives its name from two districts in two regions of Cameroon: Ngoyla in the Eastern Region and Mintom in the Southern Region. This rainforest has gained fame through being targeted for various purposes by different actors, including the Cameroon government, private companies and the international community. In recent months, Ngoyla-Mintom has gained the reputation of being a previously unexploited forest bloc, which has very rapidly aroused the interest of Cameroon’s Ministry of Forestry who are interested in selling parts of the forest at auction to private logging companies.
In 2011, the private Canadian company Ecosystem Restorations Associates (ERA) signed a management contract with the government of the DRC for a former logging concession of almost 300,000 hectares that adjoins the western reaches of Lac Mai Ndombe in Bandundu Province. The aim of this agreement was to prepare the concession for sales of carbon on the international market. Up to 50% of this concession overlaps the customary lands of local and indigenous communities. ERA is now in partnership with Wildlife Works, a large REDD+ project development and management company.
Whenever someone remarks that a solution is being frustrated by ‘lack of political will’, I automatically ask myself: whose is the political will and what are the interests pushing for the opposite?
The purpose of this request is to bring to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UN CERD)'s attention the imminent enactment of a new Forest Law in Cameroon. The submitting organisations (Okani, CED and Forest Peoples Programme) highlight that both the process of reform and the contents of the proposed new law are racially discriminatory towards indigenous peoples.
Cameroon’s 1994 Forest Code is being reformed and civil society has serious and urgent concerns about the process by which the reforms are taking place and the content of the draft reform proposals.
A gender workshop organised in Kisoro, south-western Uganda, from the 19-21 November 2012 that aimed to initiate indigenous people in general aspects of gender, has ended successfully.
The workshop was facilitated by the United Organisation for Batwa Development in Uganda (UOBDU) and Forest Peoples Programme and hosted fifty Batwa men and women from the districts of Kanungu, Mbarara, Kabale and Kisoro. Youngsters aged 14 - 20 also attended the workshop.