Thursday, May 30, 2013

World Bank Steps Up Discussions with Indigenous Groups at this Year's UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Photo Credit: UNPFII
During this year’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues the World Bank engaged with Indigenous Peoples in a number of formal and informal sessions. Formally these engagements took place during plenary sessions of the Permanent Forum and informally during side events and organized dialogues. The size of the World Bank's team attending the Forum, which came up to 30 people in comparison to just a handful during last year's event, demonstrates the increased relevance the institution places on recognizing indigenous peoples as an important constituent in its work. 
The World Bank’s most important item of engagement was the review process with respect to its social and environmental safeguards that the World Bank is currently undertaking, which include a policy on indigenous peoples (Operational Policy 4.10). As the current policy was drafted in 2005, many of the numerous comments made by Indigenous Peoples during the discussions related to a demand to bring the policy in line with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP 2007), including the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). Furthermore, representatives called on the World Bank to not only examine the impact of UNDRIP on OP 4.10 but on all of the Bank’s policies.  It was highlighted that the importance of updating OP 4.10 cannot be overestimated, as in 2012 alone the safeguards were triggered by 20% of all World Bank projects, not including projects where they potentially should have been triggered but were not.

World Indigenous Network Conference 2013

The World Indigenous Network Conference, held in Darwin, Australia, brought together over one thousand indigenous people and local community land and sea managers from the 26th to the 29th of May. The meeting provided an opportunity for indigenous peoples and local communities to share their experiences on community based natural resource management techniques through the hundreds of presentations that took place over the 4-day meeting. The presentations highlighted the growing emergence of community led conservation, which has concurrently demonstrated stronger community identity, culture and livelihoods. Keynote speakers at the event included Professor James Anaya, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Professor Anil Gupta, founder of the Honey Bee Network and Dr. Taghi Farvar, President, Indigenous Peoples and Community Conserved Territories and Areas (ICCA) Consortium. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

African Caucus Meets with UN Special Rapporteur

Prof James Anaya
Photo Credit: UN
During the twelfth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) held in New York, representatives of indigenous peoples and organisations may request a meeting with the UN Special Rapporteur, Prof James Anaya, concerning matters falling within his mandate.
On Monday, 20 May 2013, on acceptance of their request for a meeting, the Southern African delegation of the African Caucus, accompanied by the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (OSISA), represented by Mr Delme Cupido, and the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC), represented by Mr Joram Usep, met with Prof Anaya.  The meeting took place in the United Nations building before the opening of the Twelfth Session of the UNPFII.
Among the delegation was the Chairperson of the National Khoisan Council (NKC), Mr Cecil Le Fleur, who raised the concerns of the Khoi-San peoples in South Africa, in particular, the lack of implementation of the recommendations made to the South African government in 2005 by Prof Anaya’s predecessor, Prof Rodolfo Stavenhagen.   At the conclusion of the meeting, Prof Anaya asked that the NKC put together a report on these concerns which he will consider and take up with the South African government. 

United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Enters Second Week

The twelfth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) is currently taking place at United Nations headquarters in New York City from May 20 to May 31. The UNPFII is an advisory body to the UN Economic and Social Council, which is the UN platform on economic and social issues. The UNPFII brings together Indigenous peoples, governments, UN agencies, NGOs, and other stakeholders in unique fashion to collaborate on issues faced by Indigenous peoples. Natural Justice is attending the UNPFII and undertaking a number of activities, including supporting the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC) and the National Khoi-San Council, as well as launching the second edition of the Living Convention. This year, Mr. Kanyinke Sena, a former IPACC Executive Committee member, has been nominated as the Chair of the UNPFII. 

This session of the UNPFII is billed as a Review Year, and is addressing a number of different issues, including health, education, culture, human rights, and the World Bank. On Thursday, May 23, the UNPFII held a half day on the African region, where, among other things, a study on resilience, traditional knowledge and capacity- building for pastoralist communities in Africa was addressed. Natural Justice also helped in the preparation of statements on the Khoi-San communities as well as the World Bank that were read during plenary sessions of the UNPFII. During the second week, the UNPFII will address, among other issues, a Consolidated report on extractive industries and their impact on indigenous peoples, as well as the future work of the UNPFII.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Economics and the Common(s): From Seed Form to Core Paradigm

From the 22nd to the 24th of May, Gino Cocchiaro (Natural Justice) and Britta Rutert (Natural Justice Associate based in Germany) attended a meeting on the commons hosted by the Heinrich Boell Foundation in Berlin, Germany. The meeting sought to show the wide array of commons based methodologies, develop a coherent narrative of these methodologies and plan the next steps for action. To do so, the conference had 5 main streams: 1) Integrating theory and practice in the management of natural commons; 2) Doing away with labour: working and caring in a world of commons; 3) New infrastructures for commoning by design; 4) Commoneering Money, Markets and Value; and 5) Treating Knowledge, Culture and Science as Commons. 

The meeting was attended by commoners from a range of backgrounds and countries, who all shared their own experiences in protecting the commons. Natural Justice has been involved in this particular commons discussion since 2010, given the importance of commons systems to indigenous peoples and local communities. We would like to thank Heinrich Boell Foundation for supporting our participation to attend the meeting. 

Ensuring Climate Finance Effectiveness in Africa

Kulthoum Omari, Heinrich Boell Foundation

From 21-23 May, Cath Traynor (Natural Justice Associate) participated in the “Ensuring Climate Finance Effectiveness in Africa” workshop in Magaliesburg, South Africa, organised by the Heinrich Boell Foundation, Pan African Justice Alliance, and Transparency International Kenya. The workshop provided a platform for civil society actors and other stakeholders in the region to share experiences, strategies and tools and improved the capacity of participants to play a more active role in the governance of climate finance on the African continent.

Participants discussed the importance of civil society influencing effective policy development, and exerting their watchdog role in the monitoring and implementation of climate finance. Experiences of monitoring national climate finance governance were shared from Kenya, Senegal and Zambia, amongst others. Relevant tools for capacity building and mechanisms for monitoring and oversight were discussed. Key issues raised included:

  • Applying lessons learned from finance monitoring in similar spheres, for example, Overseas Development Aid;
  • Opportunities for civil society organisations to influence climate finance have increased in recent years, however, advocacy is required to enhance and broaden these spaces and create new ones;

Friday, May 24, 2013

Natural Justice attends Fracking and Agrarian Transformation Dialogue

On 22 and 23 May 2013, Stephanie Booker of Natural Justice attended the Fracking and Agrarian Transformation Dialogue hosted by the Southern Cape Land Committee (SCLC) in Steytlerville, Eastern Cape.  Attended by 55 community members, farmworkers, local and national non-government organisations, environmental activists, academics and international guests, the dialogue was an opportunity to discuss potential fracking in the Karoo and unite together to form a common viewpoint on fracking.  The objectives of the two-day dialogue were three-fold:
  • To strengthen the voice of local communities who bear the brunt of the impact of fracking on their health and their environment;
  • To develop a coordinated fracking response with a transformative agenda;
  • To link with other national and international initiatives aimed at mobilising and strengthening the voice of people whose lives are impacted upon by mining, oil and gas.
On the first day of the dialogue, presenters discussed the complex context within which the fracking debate takes place in South Africa, as well as particular insights on agriculture and food, the environment and workers' rights.  The second day was spent discussing participation in decision-making, Southern African solidarity, the impacts of fracking on communities around the world, including the U.S. and Europe.

A clear statement on fracking was agreed to by participants and this can be found here.

Natural Justice thanks Southern Cape Land Committee and the participants of the dialogue for an insightful meeting.

WIPO launches Draft TK Documentation Tool-Kit at UNPFII in New York

Photo credit: Q"apaj Conde
The World Intellectual Property Organization organised a side event during the Twelfth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues discussing the complex issue of documenting traditional knowledge (TK) and challenges and opportunities. During the side event WIPO presented its “Draft WIPO Traditional Knowledge Documentation Toolkit” which sets out practical information on safeguards and best practices for the protection of indigenous peoples´ intellectual property interests before, during and after TK documentation.

The program was moderated by Mr. Rama Rao Sankurathripat (Director, Cooperation Office WIPO) and featured the following panelists:

Mr. Q”apaj Conde, WIPO Indigenous Fellow, Aymara, Pluninational State of Bolivia.
Ms. Yolanda Teran, member Red de Mujeres Indígenas por la Biodiversidad, Kichua, Ecuador.
Ms. Lucy Mulenkei, Executive Director of the Indigenous Information Network (IIN), Masai. Kenya
Mr. Tuomas Aslak, Co-chair of the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus, Sami, Findland. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

NKC Calls on South African Government to Implement Recommendations from Former Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Issues

On Wednesday, 22 May 2013, on the topic of human rights, and during the Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Issues, Prof James Anaya, Mr Cecil Le Fleur, delivered a statement on behalf of the National Khoisan Council in South Africa.  In the statement, Mr Le Fleur called upon the South African government to urgently implement the recommendations of the former Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Issues, Prof Rodolfo Stavenhagen set out in his report on his mission to South Africa.  He said that although South Africa is now a free country, it cannot be a true democracy if the Khoi-San peoples are not afforded the right to self-determination as envisaged by the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
In Mr Le Fleur acknowledged the progress made on the proposed Bill on Traditional Affairs by the South African government thus far, but expressed concern about the length of time it is taking the government to enact this legislation.  In addition, the proposed Bill does not adequately address the historical differences between the Khoi-San peoples and the other dominant tribes in South Africa, and the enactment of the Bill in its current form would lead to an unfair and inequitable outcome. 
In conclusion, the statement called for the following recommendations:

Statement by Africa Caucus at UNPFII

Baba Festus
The Twelfth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) is currently underway in New York.   Issues of health, education, culture and human rights are the central themes that the Forum will be focusing on in this session. 

During the discussions on education on Tuesday, 21 May 2013, the African Caucus, in a statement to the Forum, advocated for culturally sensitive education for Indigenous Peoples, and recommended: 
  • The introduction of mother tongue education from a young age.
  • A curriculum that respects cultural diversity and does not subordinate indigenous knowledge systems
  • That traditional knowledge be equitably integrated into the mainstream curriculum
 The Africa Caucus called on states to enact legislative frameworks that enables the implementation of their recommendations, and asked that UNESCO and UNICEF provide guidance on how to  implement them.  The statement was delivered by Baba Festus, a Khomani San from South Africa.

Spatial Planning for Conservation and Sustainable Development in Sabah

On 23 May, Holly Shrumm (Natural Justice) attended a day-long meeting on spatial planning for conservation and sustainable development in Sabah, Malaysia, which was organised by Hutan and the Malaysian branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Malaysia). With an overall emphasis on establishing the technical information-base for a holistic landscape approach to planning, participants highlighted the following points, among others:
  • The need for a multi-stakeholder integrated approach with a common vision and concerted strategy that focuses on connectivity, viability, complementarity, target-setting, and cost-efficiency (known as 'systematic conservation planning'),
  • The need to fill knowledge gaps in the spatial data such as location of 'good quality' forests, social-cultural values, and distribution of biodiversity and threats to it,
  • The importance of providing technical inputs into the draft 20-year Sabah Structure Plan, including social safeguards in line with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and
  • The importance of also planning for governance, management, implementation, and enforcement.
Participants also discussed unique considerations required for marine spatial planning, impacts of climate change (particularly on plant life), implications of different definitions of 'forests' (for example, if oil palm plantations were to be included), and the need to protect islands and mangroves from further developments.

Natural Justice Attends Documentary Screening at UNPFII

Filmmaker Nilson Tuwe Huni Kuin
On Monday, 20 May 2013 Johanna von Braun and Laureen Manuel of Natural Justice attended the screening of a documentary film produced by, Nilson Tuwe Huni Kuin, an Indigenous filmmaker. The screening of the film was a side event to the Twelfth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), arranged by the UNDP’s Equator Initiative in collaboration with the Tribal Link Foundation.  

Mr Tuwe, the son of a traditional chief of the Huni Kuin peoples, is also a forest agent and indigenous youth leader from Acre, Brazil.  As a recipient of a Tribal Link Foundation Fellowship, he came to New York to study English, film-making and editing  with the purpose of raising awareness on the situation of indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation in the Amazon. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Online Debate on RSPO and Palm Oil Sustainability

Darrel Weber, RSPO Secretary General
On 21 May, Holly Shrumm (Natural Justice) joined an online debate hosted by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) on a range of questions concerning palm oil sustainability. The debate was moderated by acclaimed writer and journalist Fred Pearce and the speakers included Darrel Weber (Secretary General, RSPO), Robert Hii (Outreach Manager, Palm Oil Consumers Action), and Lorinda Jane and Michelle Nicol (Products on Australian Shelves that Contain Palm Oil).

The discussion revolved primarily around the following topics: 
  • Challenges, including the complexity of the supply chain, lack of consumer confidence in RSPO-certified palm oil in certain 'developed' markets, and the overall balance that needs to be struck in multi-stakeholder processes between high standards and participation of key players in an evolving industry;

Natural Justice Attends Twelfth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

The Twelfth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) opened on Monday, 20 May 2013 at the UN General Assembly Hall in New York.  The opening address was delivered by Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Mr Wu Hongbo, who also facilitated the ceremonial handing over of the baton of chairmanship by Grand Chief Edward John of the Tl’azt’en Nation in northern British Columbia, Canada to Mr  Kanyinke Sena of the Ogiek Community in Kenya .  Mr Sena is the first African elected to serve as chair for the UNPFII.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Regional Workshop on awareness raiding and capacity-building to support the ABS mechanism under the Nagoya Protocol, Chengdu, China

Arpitha Kodiveri of Natural Justice attended the Regional Workshop on awareness raiding and capacity-building to support the ABS mechanism under the Nagoya Protocol held in Chengdu, China between the 15th- 17th of May,2013 which was organized by ICIMOD. The workshop sought to bring together regions concerned with issues of biodiversity conservation and traditional knowledge across the Hindu Kush Himalayan landscape. Key representatives from Pakistan, Bhutan, India, China, Nepal and Myanmar presented efforts in their countries to set up domestic legal frameworks to facilitate the process of access and equitable sharing of benefits as proposed by the Nagoya Protocol. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Participatory photography workshop held in Melangkap, Sabah

On 16 May, Borneo Conservancy Initiative and Natural Justice co-organised a participatory photography workshop with the five villages of Melangkap in Sabah, Malaysia. The workshop was facilitated by Remmy Alfie Awang, a Global Diversity Foundation community researcher from the nearby village of Bundu Tuhan. Remmy led the community participants through an introduction to digital cameras, the basics of taking pictures, and a practical session around Melangkap Kapa. The participants will be using photography to document and communicate various aspects of their communities, traditions, and ways of life as part of a broader process to develop a community protocol, which is supported by the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme of Malaysia. Additional workshops on photo editing as well as participatory video and mapping are currently being planned.

We are very grateful to Remmy for leading such an excellent workshop and to all of the participants and our hosts in Melangkap Kapa!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Natural Justice Attends Meeting of the Working Group on Extractive Industries

Following the Secretariat of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights' press release on 25 April 2013, Stephanie Booker of Natural Justice attended a meeting of the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations in Pretoria, South Africa on 6 May.

In line with the Working Group's mandate to request, gather, receive and exchange information and materials, participants gathered from a number of civil society organisations around Africa to provide inputs into discussions on impacts of extractive industries in South Africa.  It was also an excellent opportunity to learn more about the mandate of the Working Group, and its work plans in the coming years.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Deulahudi Villagers Map Their Claim Under Forest Rights Act

Deulahudi, a small tribal village in Hrichandanpur Block of Keounjhar District n Odisha, India assembled for a participatory mapping exercise of their Community Forest Resources on 28th April 2013. The gathering was a field exercise carried out in their traditionally protected forest. The village is inhabited by the Kolha (also known as Munda or Ho) Tribe, recognized as one of the 62 Schedule Tribes in Odisha. According to village elders, the village consists of 40 households which are the descendants from 12 original families that settled in the village four generation back. The livelihood of the community is mostly based on gathering forest products.

Damburu Munda, Secretary of Forest Rights Committee of the Village, shared that while 59 individual forest rights claims were filed, only 44 titles were issued to the claimants for cultivation on forest land by district administration. They do not know the reason why the rest of the claims were not recognized.The villagers identified their Traditional Boundary with the prominent land marks and put it in the Sketch Map. They are collecting around 32 different minor forest products such as the mahua flower, mushrooms, char seed, siali and sal leaf (used as leaf plate), bamboo, tendu (fruit and leaf) within their customary boundary. The Forest Protection Committee is named after the village deity, Maa Disauli.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Conservation & Society Special Section on Community-based Conservation

The latest issue of Conservation & Society (an open-access interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development) contains a special section on community-based conservation. The introductory article, entitled "Conservation as if People Also Mattered: Policy and Practice of Community-based Conservation" by Ashish Kothari, Philip Camill, and Jessica Brown, sets the stage with the following abstract:

"Community-based conservation is being increasingly recognised as a major global force in the protection and sustainable management of ecosystems and species. Yet documentation of its main achievements and shortcomings, and the key issues it faces, is still at a nascent stage. This paper introduces the concept and experience of two forms of community-based conservation: Collaborative Management of Protected Areas (CMPA), and Indigenous Peoples' and Local Community Conserved Territories and Areas (ICCAs). It explores the emergence of these approaches in the context of global international conservation policy. Reviewing four case studies that were presented at a symposium convened at the Bowdoin College (Maine, USA, in November 2008), and drawing from the discussion during that session, it identifies some key lessons and principles that are likely to be applicable to community-based conservation across the world."