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.
Community representatives from across Liberia assembled in Bopolu City in Gbarpolu County on 27 – 29 November, to discuss the impacts of palm oil agricultural concession developments taking place in Liberia on land already used and owned (customarily or otherwise) by communities. Over 150 community delegates from the counties of Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Gbarpolu and Sinoe attended the meeting jointly organised by the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI), the Save My Future Foundation (SAMFU) and the Social Entrepreneurs for Sustainable Development (SESDev).
The importance of ensuring respect for the rights of forest peoples’ to control their forests, lands and livelihoods, becomes ever clearer and yet more contested. As the articles in this edition of our newsletter starkly reveal, land and resource grabs are not just being imposed by commercial developers but are being actively promoted by governments, whose principle responsibility should be to protect the rights of citizens. Yet these same impositions are also being resisted, sometimes at great personal cost, by local communities and indigenous peoples.
Statement and Declaration by Affected Community members from Sime Darby and Golden Veroleum Oil Palm Concessions – Three Day Conference in Bopolu City, Gbarpolu County
Nigerian NGOs and community leaders have filed a formal complaint with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil challenging the proposals of the palm oil transnational Wilmar International to expand its operations in Cross River State in the Southeast of the country.
As part of its REDD+ preparation, Cameroon submitted on 6 August 2012 the draft of its REDD Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) to the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) managed by the World Bank.
Following the recommendation of the national validation workshop held in Ebolowa, Cameroon in June 2012, members of Cameroonian civil society met as part of the Forests and Communities Platform (Plateforme Forêts et Communautés) from 11 to 13 September 2012, to analyse the strengths and areas for improvement of the R-PP.
Indonesia’s largest palm oil company, Sinar Mas, ran into trouble recently when communities in Liberia complained about a 33,000 ha.