The 9th RRI Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change, co-organized with Forest Peoples Programme, Tebtebba and Forest Trends, took place in London, UK on 8 February 2011. The Dialogue drew together a number of key actors involved in REDD, including representatives from Indigenous Peoples organizations, governments of UK Mexico and Norway, the banking sector, NGOs and researchers.
The consensus emerging from the discussion was that REDD should not proceed before clear safeguards are put in place. Gregory Barker, British minister of State, Department for Energy and Climate Change outlined that before REDD projects take place, it is crucial to assess drivers of deforestation, secure clarity of land tenure and ensure equitable benefit-sharing for Indigenous Peoples. To that end, he assured that the UK government will apply safeguards in bilateral REDD agreements with Indigenous Peoples and local communities. Despite this commitment he avoided mentioning whether the UK would push for stronger safeguards in the readiness processes of the World Bank’s FCPF initiative.
29 indigenous women from 10 different countries across the Asia Pacific region met in Manila, Philippines, in November 2010, to discuss the challenges indigenous women and their communities face in relation to their land rights. The workshop was collaboratively held by the Asian Indigenous Women’s Network (AIWN) and Forest Peoples Programme (FPP). Land rights across the region, indeed the world, are of central importance in ensuring that indigenous peoples are able to survive as culturally distinct peoples. Asia and the Pacific contain a huge array of circumstances for indigenous peoples, from indigenous majority countries like Fiji in the Pacific to countries in mainland Asia where indigenous peoples are not even recognized by their governments.
In January the World Bank and its private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), released a substantially revised draft of their framework and strategy for engagement in the palm oil sector. The text, circulated for 30 days of public comment, is due to be submitted for approval - after revisions based on any comments received - to the President and Board of Directors in March or April 2011. If the text is approved, the World Bank will then end the worldwide funding moratorium for palm oil projects that it agreed to in 2009 after an internal audit (carried out in response to FPP and partners’ complaints) revealed major violations of due diligence and serious social and environmental impacts.
The controversial palm oil producing company, Sinar Mas, was in the news again as a long standing land dispute on one of its estate escalated into a police shooting in which 5 local community members were seriously injured. The conflict occurred in the province of Jambi on the island of Sumatra when unarmed local community members were attacked without warning by members of one of the mobile police brigades called in by the Sinar Mas-owned subsidiary, PT Kresna Duta Agroindo. The Sinar Mas group is Indonesia's largest palm oil conglomerate and has been blacklisted by some major US and European palm oil processors, owing to reports of repeated violations of social and environmental standards.
Working closely with partners in Indonesia, Forest Peoples Programme helped convene a global meeting of The Forests Dialogue about how to make sure that the right to ‘Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)’ is respected in Indonesia. The four day field dialogue held in Riau Province on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, in October 2010, brought together over 80 participants from a great variety of backgrounds including indigenous peoples, representatives of local communities, non-governmental organisations, international financial institutions, government agencies and the private sector. The meeting was the first in a planned series of field dialogues which have the main aim of exploring how in practice government agencies, commercial enterprises and non-government organizations should respect the right of indigenous peoples and local communities to give or withhold their free, prior and informed consent, as expressed through their own freely chosen representative organisations, to activities that may affect their rights.
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination responded to the Urgent Action submission with a letter issued to the Government of Papua New Guinea in March 2011:
Comments by international and Indonesian indigenous peoples, smallholders and non-governmental organisations on the 6th January 2011 consultation draft World Bank Group Framework and IFC Stratgy for Engagement in the Palm Oil Sector.
This document contains Volume IV of the series of compilations of United Nations human rights bodies’ jurisprudence pertaining to indigenous peoples and covers the years 2009 and 2010. It includes all of the UN treaty bodies and the recommendations of the Human Rights Council's Universal Peer Review mechanism.
Also see Volume I: 1993-2004, Volume II: 2005-2006, Volume III: 2007-2008 and Volume V: 2011-2012 under related reports.