"The annual thematic report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, which he will present to the Human Rights Council in September 2013, addresses issues related to extractive industries and implications that they have for the rights of indigenous peoples.
This report summarises the findings from an independent assessment by Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) of the processes employed by Herakles/SGSOC to obtain the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of communities to be affected by their palm oil development project in Mundemba and Nguti Subdivisions in South West Cameroon. This assessment is framed in terms of the obligations on the company and government of Cameroon to comply with international law with respect to protecting community rights, and especially the need to secure the FPIC of local and indigenous peoples over the development of their customary lands.
Mutual recognition, mutual respect and mutual benefit are among the desirable attributes of all human relationships. Indigenous peoples and other forest peoples also expect these qualities in their relationships with others – be they governments, private corporations, NGOs or other indigenous peoples’ organisations and communities. This issue of Forest Peoples Programme’s E-Newsletter reports on the state of various relationships between forest peoples and different institutions – as these are forged, tested or broken –in the course of assertions for upholding basic human rights, social justice and solidarity.
Fifteen organisations working with indigenous women, including Forest Peoples Programme, have joined forces to emphasise the injustice and multiple forms of discrimination suffered by indigenous women in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (the Committee). States are required to submit reports to the Committee every four years, describing legislative, judicial, administrative or other measures they have adopted to implement the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (the Convention). The DRC’s report will be examined by the Committee on 11 July 2013 in the presence of a delegation of Congolese government representatives. The proceedings can be watched live online at: http://www.treatybodywebcast.org/.
Celebrating 10 years of defending forest communities’ rights and forest conservation in the DRC
Le Réseau pour la Conservation et la Réhabilitation des Ecosystèmes Forestiers (Réseau CREF) is a non-profit organisation which was founded on 20 May 2003 in Kanyabayonga, Lubero Territory, in North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It is a network of non-governmental organisations covering six territories (Walikale, Masisi, Nyiragongo, Rutshuru, Lubero and Beni) and three towns (Beni, Butembo and Goma) in North Kivu Province, DRC. Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) first started working with Réseau CREF almost two years ago when, in 2011, Réseau CREF became one of the partner organisations involved in the FPP project on ‘REDD financing, Human Rights and Economic Development for Sustainable Poverty Reduction of forest communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo’.
On the occasion of its 10th anniversary in May 2013, Réseau CREF Director, Alphonse Muhindo Valivambene, was interviewed by FPP about Réseau CREF’s mission, its objectives and future plans:
As part of its project on ‘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 partners in the DRC: Actions pour les Droits, l’Environnement et la Vie (ADEV), le Centre d’Accompagnement des Autochtones Pygmées et Minoritaires Vulnérables (CAMV), le Cercle pour la Défense de l’Environnement (CEDEN) and le Réseau pour la Conservation et la Réhabilitation des Écosystèmes Forestiers (Réseau CREF) have developed a set of posters on the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). By combining pictures and short pieces of text, the posters depict the stages of a process that respects the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities to free, prior and informed consent with regard to projects likely to affect their lands, territories and natural resources.
Letter to request that the situation of indigenous women of Cameroon be included in the list of questions arising from the Cameroon government's periodic report, for the attention of the pre-session working group (57th Session of the CEDAW Committee)
In preparation for the United Nations World Conference on Indigenous Peoples to be hosted by the UN General Assembly in 2014, Indigenous Peoples meeting in Alta, Norway, have reaffirmed their inalienable rights to self-determination and to sovereignty over their natural resources.
Introduction: We Indigenous Peoples and Nations (hereinafter referred to as Indigenous Peoples) representing the 7 global geo-political regions including representatives of the women’s caucus and the youth caucus have gathered in the traditional territories and lands of the Sami people at Alta, Norway.
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.