Tuesday, July 31, 2012

IPACC Workshop in Pretoria

Photo from www.ipacc.org.za
Lesle Jansen of Natural Justice participated in a workshop hosted by Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC) in Pretoria from 23-25 July. IPACC is a network of over 155 organizations in 22 African countries working towards the recognition of indigenous peoples in Africa. The workshop focused on indigenous peoples’ rights and recognition in South Africa and took place at the University of Pretoria. The participants included the representatives of the National Khoe-San Council (comprising the Nama, San, Cape Khoe, Koranna and Griqua), counterparts from the San and Nama community in Namibia and Botswana, and San youth from the Khwattu Cultural Centre. 

The workshop reviewed the current negotiations by the National Khoe-San Council and the United Nations norms and standards regarding indigenous peoples. It further reviewed the pending National Traditional Affairs Bill that will be giving formal recognition to the Khoe and San traditional leadership amongst others. The second day was an interactive session with the different government ministries. The workshop saw a presentation on UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People’s foundational principles of self-determination and indigenous institutions and shared platforms for policy dialogue. The last day ended with a mapping of the way forward in addressing the issues the Khoe and San community continues to face.

Siu Community Petition on Lamu Land

The Siu community in Lamu, Kenya, have taken the step of developing and signing a petition, presented to the Kenyan National Assembly on 21 June 2012, on the irregular allocation of land in Lamu. 

The petition, signed by 294 members of the Lamu community states: 

"We, the undersigned citizens of Kenya who are residents of Siu Town in Lamu and squatters, draw the attention of the House to the following: 

That aware that a committee with a membership of seven people was established in Lamu; whereas the committee was created to facilitate land re-settlement of all landless people in the area, on the contrary, the committee has allocated most of the land to members themselves, their family members, relatives and friends as well as foreigners at the expense of more than 300 residents who are landless; 

whereas the committee was to facilitate the landless to be resettled, there has emerged an agency operating for rich people from Lamu and other areas willing to buy land from the region at some fee;

whereas the land from Kwang’ombe Area which is within Siu Location was allocated to Rasini residents of Faza Locations and such complaints were made to the office concerned, but nothing has been done to date. 

Therefore, your humble petitioners pray that Parliament and the Committee concerned, investigates the matter with a view to establishing genuine squatters and issuance of title deeds in an equitable manner to the residents and cancellation of all title deeds which have been irregularly issued and your petitioners will ever pray." 

Submission of the petition encouraged discussion within the Assembly, with recognition by members that the people of Lamu need protection from land speculators.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Public-Private Exchange on ABS in Mozambique

From 24-26 July, Gino Cocchiaro of Natural Justice participated in the Public-Private Exchange on ABS Implementation for the Southern Africa Region, which took place in Maputo, Mozambique. The meeting was jointly organized by the ABS Capacity Development Initiative, Phytotrade Africa and the Union for Ethical Biotrade. The meeting followed Phytotrade Africa's Annual General Meeting and was attended by representatives from the South African government, companies, co-operatives, associations, research and other organizations involved in biotrade and natural products’ research, development and commercialization. The focus of the discussion was on the practical methods of implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing in the SADC region.

Natural Justice presented on its work with communities involved in ABS and biotrade, which includes the development of specific biocultural community protocols, assisting in biocultural dialogues and supporting biotrade.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

New film: "Palawan: Our struggle for nature and culture"

Ancestral Land/Domain Watch (ALDAW), a local network of indigenous people struggling for the protection of their ancestral lands against large-scale corporations in the Philippines, has produced a short film entitled "Palawan: Our struggle for nature and culture". The synopsis is as follows:

The struggle to save Palawan (known as the Philippines’ Last Frontier) is not only about saving trees and rare species. It is also about nourishing the Filipino cultural heritage, so powerfully represented by those indigenous communities that - after escaping Spanish and American colonization and while resisting the new ‘mining imperialism’ now - continue to represent the 'living roots' from which all Filipinos originate. According to the filmmakers, environmental plundering by mining companies is not only a crime against nature but it is also a crime against culture, a sort of genocide that annihilates the most profound roots of the Filipino's history and ultimately plunders the cultural heritage of the whole nation. In this film, Kawali, the mythical ancestor depicted by Batak narrators, emphasises humility and trust towards the supernatural beings in charge of animals and plants. On the contrary, the attitude of Kawali’s brother-in-law comes to represent the epitome of inappropriate behaviour, such as the lack of respect towards the mystical keepers of animals and here, specifically, towards the “father of bees”, a relationship that contemporary Batak continues to restore though the lambay ceremony. The sudden switch between the narration of the Batak myth and the threats posed by mining companies serves to introduce the advocacy efforts of ALDAW.

ALDAW would like you to circulate these links amongst your friends and networks and kindly consider signing the following online petitions:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New RRI Report on NRM

With increased pressures upon the environment, and growing awareness of the need to engage broader populations in conservation efforts, the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) has released a new series of papers which spotlight women activists involved in natural resource management (NRM) in Nepal, Indonesia and China, along with more general research on the intersection of NRM and gender in Asia. The compilation is entitled ‘The Challenges of Securing Women’s Tenure and Leadership for Forest Management: The Asian Experience.’ The research focuses on status of forest tenure rights and gender rights in the case studies considered, and illustrates that ‘exclusion and inequality on gender grounds are still rife and complicated by the intersection of cultural and social norms, economic pressures, and inadequate legal and institutional frameworks.’ 

The summary of the research can be downloaded here. The full document can be downloaded here. The RRI press release and the individual briefs can be found here.

Monday, July 23, 2012

New Film on BCPs

As biocultural community protocols continue to spread around the world as means of community self-articulation and legal protection, a new film entitled ‘Biocultural Community Protocols: Articulating and Asserting Stewardship’ has been released. The film was directed by Sanjay Barnela and produced by Natural Justice in collaboration with Moving Images, India. The film was funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation

The film follows the experiences of two communities, the traditional healers of Bushbuckridge, South Africa, and the Raika community of Rajasthan, India. The film can be accessed here. Read more about community protocols here. The Bushbuckridge BCP can be downloaded here and the Raika BCP can be downloaded here

Friday, July 20, 2012

New Paper on Traditional Resource Rights

Traditional resource rights (TRRs) are an integrated rights approach developed by Darrell Posey and colleagues in the 1990s. TRRs emerged as the result of an explicitly political legal project to more accurately reflect Indigenous peoples' and local communities’ views and concerns, and focused on integrating otherwise disparate legal regimes, instruments, and provisions. Posey describes TRRs in the seminal paper Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Resource Rights as constituting "bundles of rights" already widely recognised by international legally and non-legally binding agreements. TRRs, therefore, recognizes the “inextricable link between cultural and biological diversity and sees no contradiction between the human rights of Indigenous and local communities, including the right to development and environmental conservation.” 

The paper entitled: 'Recalling Traditional Resource Rights: An Integrated Rights Approach to Biocultural Diversity' by Natural Justice's Harry Jonas and Holly Shrumm provides an overview of the concept and suggests that TRRs are worthy of reengagement and reconceptualization in the current context. The paper is available here.

New UNEP Global Environment Outlook

The Earth System is the basis for all of the consumption and work undertaken by the 7 billion human beings who now live on earth. Through increased exploitation of the earth’s resources, the Earth System’s ability to sustain human existence is rapidly deteriorating. The fifth United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Environment Outlook (GEO), released this month, traces the state and trends of the global environment through a wealth of data, information and knowledge about the environment. It also links this information to potential policy responses and provides an outlook into the future of the environment. 

The GEO is divided into three sections. The first, the state and trends of the global environment, uses the drivers, pressures, state, impacts and responses (DPSIR) analytical framework to investigate the latest state and trends of the global environment under the themes of atmosphere, land, water, biodiversity, and chemicals and waste. The second presents an appraisal of policy options that show potential for enabling the accomplishment of internationally agreed goals. The final section considers options for a global response. 

Natural Justice team members Johanna von Braun, Kabir Bavikatte and Holly Shrumm contributed to chapter five of the GEO which focuses on global threats to biodiversity. Natural Justice partners Bas Verschuuren (ETC COMPAS) and Ashish Kothari (Kalpavriksh) also contributed to chapter five. 

The full GEO can be downloaded here. Chapter five on biodiversity can be downloaded here.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Continuing Negotiations on Traditional Cultural Expressions Legal Instrument

The World Intellectual Property Organisation’s (WIPO) Intergovernmental Commission’s (IGC) negotiations on the draft text of an international legal instrument on the protection of traditional cultural expressions (TCEs) continued from 13-17 July, 2012. The WIPO Secretariat announced that good progress was made on the definition of protectable TCEs, the identification of beneficiaries, and exceptions and limitations to the scope of protection. An informal expert group has been established to reduce the number of options in the text. The text will be shared with the WIPO General Assembly as a work in progress when it meets in October 2012. The General Assembly will consider the need for additional IGC meetings and decide whether to convene a Diplomatic Conference. 

There is still no consensus on whether the negotiations will result in three separate instruments on genetic resources, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, or if there will be one combined instrument. There is also disagreement around the nature of the instrument(s), namely whether they will be legally binding or not. 

While representatives of indigenous peoples were allocated a greater role in the discussions, they were not able to achieve the changes in the WIPO rules that they sought. The Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus released a closing statement expressing their disappointment that the IGC ‘has not substantive and concrete steps to ensure the full, equal, and direct participation of Indigenous Peoples in WIPO Processes that affect us.’ 

A summary of the proceedings can be found here. The meeting documents can be found here. The Indigenous Peoples' Caucus's closing statement can be found here

Greenpeace Panel on India's Nuclear Liability Act

On 16 July, 2012, Greenpeace India held a panel discussion at the National Law School of India University in Bangalore to explore issues surrounding the nature of supplier liability under the recent Nuclear Liability Act 2010, as well as the disjuncture between the purpose of the Act and its proposed rules of implementation. The rules limit the right of recourse of the operator (ie the right of the nuclear operator to sue the supplier in case the incident of a disaster was due to the fault of the supplier such as faulty material with defects). 

Natural Justice’s Arpitha Kodiveri highlighted the reasons and consequences of such a disjuncture between the rules and the Act and engaged with the students on possible ways to bring this issue to light. The rules are being discussed in the monsoon session of Parliament. 

The panel discussion concluded with few key observations: 

• The proposed rules should be amended to give effect to the purpose of the Act to allow operators to sue nuclear suppliers in case of nuclear damage caused due to their negligence; 

• Measures should be taken to create financial security measures and insurance facilities for operators so that they can bear the cost of a nuclear incident without causing suffering to the victims of such incident.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples

With the threats faced by indigenous peoples and minorities increasing, Minority Rights Group International (MRG) has released its annual “State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples Report.” The report finds that “the scale and severity of the threats to indigenous peoples and minorities have reached new proportions, due to an unprecedented demand for the world’s remaining resources.” 

The report “provides concrete evidence of how the generation of vast revenues from logging and dams, oil and mineral extraction, coastal tourism, fish farming, conservation parks and large-scale agriculture, is often at the expense of the rights of indigenous peoples and minorities.” According to the report, “despite a wave of new commitments from governments and corporations, the revenues from natural resource development continue to flow out of the regions where poor communities live, while the harms stay behind.” 

The report can be downloaded here. The global press release can be found here. MRG can be found on Facebook (here) and Twitter (here).

Monday, July 16, 2012

Policy Brief on IPRs and Rio +20

In the aftermath of the United Nations Convention on Sustainable Development (Rio +20), Ahmed Abdel Latif of the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development has prepared a policy brief entitled ‘Intellectual Property Rights and Green Technologies from Rio to Rio: An Impossible Dialogue?’ The brief considers the absence of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) out of Rio +20 relative to the 1992 Conference on Sustainable Development. It examines why common ground was not found at Rio +20. 

The brief “seeks to answer these questions by examining the evolution of the global debate on IPRs and green technologies from the Earth Summit in 1992 to Rio+20. It then makes some suggestions about how to foster a more constructive dialogue on this issue in the aftermath of the Rio+20 Summit.” 

The brief can be downloaded here.

E-Module on TK and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity

Natural Justice has developed a number of draft e-learning modules to support communities developing biocultural community protocols (BCPs) to increase their understanding of key international legal frameworks, concepts and programmes. These modules supplement ‘BCPs: A Toolkit for Community Facilitators’. 

The second module in this series examines international law’s recognition of and protections for communities’ traditional knowledge and sustainable uses of biodiversity. Traditional knowledge, innovations, and practices (often referred together as ‘traditional knowledge’) are developed and nurtured over many generations. They are underpinned by spiritual beliefs and customary laws that reinforce communities’ identities, cultures, and ways of life. They enable communities to live within the natural limits of specific territories, areas, or resources upon which they depend for livelihoods and wellbeing. They are also integral to Indigenous languages, spiritual beliefs, and culturally appropriate education, health, and nutrition. 

There are several international agreements that address traditional knowledge and customary sustainable uses of biodiversity. The focus of this module is the most prominent agreement, the Convention on Biological Diversity. From the outset of the Convention, the Preamble recognizes “the close and traditional dependence” of many Indigenous peoples and local communities on biological resources. Thereafter, two Articles in particular grant important rights to Indigenous peoples and local communities: Article 8(j) on traditional knowledge, innovations and practices; and Article 10(c) on customary sustainable uses of biodiversity. 

The module can be downloaded here. The BCP Toolkit can be downloaded here. The documents are not final and any comments can be directed to Holly Shrumm (holly (at) naturaljustice.org) and Harry Jonas (harry (at) naturaljustice.org).

Friday, July 13, 2012

Asia-Pacific Preparatory Workshop for COP11 Concludes

From 9-12 July in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Holly Shrumm (Natural Justice) served as a resource person for a preparatory workshop for representatives of Indigenous peoples and local communities in Asia and the Pacific. The workshop was organized by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and hosted by the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and the Indigenous Peoples' International Centre for Policy Research and Education (TEBTEBBA). The first two days of the workshop focused on:
  • An introduction to the CBD and mechanisms for participation of Indigenous peoples and local communities, including the Voluntary Fund and the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity;
  • Articles 8(j) and 10(c), including draft Decisions arising from the 7th meeting of the Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions; and
  • 2011-2010 Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and Aichi Targets, with particular focus on Articles 11, 14, and 18.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Asia-Pacific Preparatory Workshop for COP11 Begins

From 9-12 July in Chiang Mai, Thailand, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is holding a workshop for representatives of Indigenous peoples and local communities from Asia and the Pacific in preparation for the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP11). The provisional agenda includes an introduction to the CBD and mechanisms for participation of Indigenous peoples and local communities; Articles 8(j) and 10(c); the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan and Aichi Biodiversity Targets; the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing; and preparatory discussions for COP11 in October.

The workshop is co-hosted by the Indigenous Peoples' International Centre for Policy Research and Education (TEBTEBBA) and the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact. Holly Shrumm (Natural Justice) is attending the meeting as a resource person, particularly on community protocols.

Friday, July 6, 2012

UNDRIP E-Module for Communities

Natural Justice has developed a number of draft e-learning modules to support communities developing biocultural community protocols (BCPs) to increase their understanding of key international legal frameworks, concepts and programmes. These modules supplement ‘BCPs: A Toolkit for Community Facilitators’. 

The module on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) seeks to provide insight into UNDRIP’s provisions and how they can be applied by communities worldwide It is targeted at communities who identify as Indigenous Peoples, who have a close relationship with a territory or resource, who have historically faced issues regarding that territory or resource, and/or have an interest in asserting any of the rights set out in UNDRIP. 

With approximately 370 million Indigenous Peoples spread across 70 countries worldwide who have historically been marginalised, the process of drafting UNDRIP began in 1985. It was adopted in 2007. While the Declaration elaborates a fairly comprehensive set of individual and community rights for Indigenous Peoples, its impact remains limited as it is not binding and has limited time to achieve changes. The module seeks to support communities to find relevant rights and to begin making these protections material. 

The module can be downloaded here. The BCP Toolkit can be downloaded here. The documents are not final and any comments can be directed to Holly Shrumm (holly (at) naturaljustice.org) and Harry Jonas (harry (at) naturaljustice.org).

Endogenous Development Training in Techiman, Ghana

The Natural Justice team and a number of its partners from Kenya, South Africa and Namibia attended a one week Certificate Program in Local and Indigenous Knowledge for Community-Driven Development in Techiman, Ghana from 24-30 June, 2012. Coordinated by the Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development (CIKOD) in collaboration with the University of Cape Coast and Water Aid in Ghana, the course introduced the concept of "endogenous development", an approach to social and economic justice that involves strength-based development "from within" ensuring initiatives are community-driven and based on strengths that contribute to their own socio-cultural, economic and political development. 

The course began with an introduction to endogenous development, perspectives on indigenous sciences, the local knowledge of each participant and expectations of the course. Participants visited the nearby Forikrom community where they were introduced to the traditional chiefs and elders, traditional foods made by the community, the sacred sites and surrounding ancestral caves, and local eco-farming. Members of the community presented on successful endogenous development processes utilised by the community, including the work of Traditional Authorities and HIV/AIDS, interfaces between traditional and modern medicines, and the Forikrom Eco-cultural Tourism project. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Second Intergovernmental Committee on the Nagoya Protocol

Kabir Bavikatte of Natural Justice participated in the second meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee on the Nagoya Protocol (ICNP 2) in Delhi from July 2-6, 2012. Kabir participated at the ICNP 2 in his capacity as the legal advisor to the African Group of parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. The key issues that were negotiated at the ICNP 2 dealt with cooperative procedures and institutional mechanisms to promote compliance with the Nagoya Protocol, the global multilateral benefit sharing mechanism, the access and benefit sharing (ABS) clearing house, financial mechanism and resource mobilization. 

At the ICNP 2, Natural Justice and the Berne Declaration also organized a side event that screened the film ‘Rooibos Robbery’ which deals with Nestle's biopiracy of South African genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge and can be viewed here. The side event included a presentation by Morten Tvedt of the Fridtjof Nansen Institute on the Norwegian law on ABS as one of the first user country measures and inputs from Muleso Kharika, Director of Resource Use at the South African Department of Environmental Affairs. Copies of the film were also distributed amongst the participants of ICNP 2.