Thursday, May 29, 2014

Update from Permanent Forum on World Conference on Indigenous Peoples

In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly resolved to hold a high-level plenary meeting, to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP), in 2014 (Resolution 65/198). Currently, the WCIP is scheduled to take place on 22-23 September 2014 (official web link). In 2012, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/296, commonly known as the "modalities resolution," which among other things provides that discussions during the WCIP would be "co-chaired by one Member State and one representative of indigenous peoples." 

Despite the modalities resolution, however, establishing the exact procedure for the WCIP has been fraught with conflict, with disagreement regarding the manner in which Indigenous peoples would participate in the process. Indeed, the North American Indigenous Peoples' Caucus has called for the cancellation of the WCIP and withdrawn from the Indigenous Global Coordinating Group (GCG) formed to lobby for the full and effective participation of Indigenous peoples in WCIP processes. Although great effort was expended by Indigenous peoples and states to reach consensus, the exact details of the process for the WCIP remained unknown heading into this year's UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (Forum) beginning 12 May.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Community Protocols and Fracking - NJ Holds Another Meeting with Nelspoort Community Members

Following on from an initial meeting with community members in Nelspoort in March, Stephanie Booker and Marisa Choy of Natural Justice held a further meeting with a range of community members from Nelspoort, Western Cape, on the potential impacts (positive and negative) of fracking in the area.

Supported by Southern Cape Land Committee, the meeting was an opportunity to share, discuss and interrogate information currently being circulated, as well as ideas within the community of the benefits and disadvantages of fracking activities in the town. It was also an opportunity for communities to discuss the information that they need to better understand how fracking can impact on their lives and livelihoods.

Monday, May 26, 2014

ASEAN Social Forestry Network Conference and CSO Forum held in Sabah

Member states, civil society organisations (CSOs), and community representatives from across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region have come together in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, for a series of meetings under the ASEAN Social Forestry Network and the theme "Enhancing Livelihood and Conservation Benefits from Social Forestry towards a Green ASEAN Community".

From 21-23 May, Holly Jonas (Natural Justice) joined more than 50 ASEAN-based organisations in the 3rd Annual CSO Forum, which was hosted by the Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme (NTFP-EP), Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS), and Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), with support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The CSO Forum reviewed implementation of country-level roadmaps, shared support strategies, and developed working papers (on community economies and livelihoods, forest tenure and access rights, safeguards, and governance mechanisms) as the basis of CSO engagement in the 5th ASEAN Social Forestry Network Conference that followed on 24-25 May. The CSO Forum underscored that Indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities are "partners, not threats" in forest conservation and that secure land and resource tenure are essential prerequisites to conservation and livelihoods alike.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Convening Stakeholders: An Inspiring Solution for Protected Areas Governance in Southern Africa

Protected areas can and do contribute to both improved livelihoods and improved conservation, but biodiversity continues to decline across most the Southern African region. A new strategy for protected areas for this region is therefore urgently needed. 

This is one of the most important messages highlighted by the participants at the High Level Dialogue on Improving Protected Area Governance for Livelihood Security and Biodiversity in Southern Africa (21-22 May 2014, Windhoek, Namibia). A report of the dialogue is available hereMore on the Dialogue.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Natural Justice Contributes Chapter to New Book on Indigenous Peoples' Access to Justice

On 19 May 2014, the Columbia University Institute for the Study of Human Rights held a side event during the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to launch a new book, "Indigenous Peoples' Access to Justice, Including Truth and Reconciliation Processes." The book arises out of an Expert Seminar on the same subject, held at Columbia University  from 27 February to 1 March 2013 that was co-hosted by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the International Center for Transitional Justice and Columbia University.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

UNPFII 13th Session: Report by Mr. Cecil le Fleur, the Chairperson of the National Khoi & San Council (NKC)

Dus die interim Verenigde Nasies se Permanente Forum rondom Inheemse Mense se Kwessies verslag van die Nationale Voorsitter, Mr. Cecil le Fleur, van die Nationale Khoi & San Raad gedateer 

19 May 2014.
Geagte Raadslede

Groete hier uit New York.

Ek het reeds ons voorlegging in die VN Permanente FORUM gelees. Dit was goed ontvang deur meeste inheemse verteenwoordigers hier. As ek dit so stel, bedoel ek diegene wat persoonlik by my so aangedui het.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

UN Permanent Forum Holds Dialogue with United Nations Agencies and Funds

May 15, 2014 marked the fourth day of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (Permanent Forum). The afternoon session of the fourth day was dedicated to a comprehensive dialogue with United Nations agencies and funds. Several UN agencies and funds gave statements, as did indigenous representatives.

Of particular note were statements by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the World Bank. The FAO provided an inter-agency statement on behalf of UNEP, IUCN/WISP, IFAD, and ILC regarding sustainable pastoralism and the post-2015 agenda. In that statement, the FAO affirmed that pastoralism is a sustainable livelihood and that two decades of research supported pastoralism as an economically viable livelihood that caused less degradation than intensive livestock production.

Friday, May 16, 2014

International Land Coalition 2013 Annual Report Released

The International Land Coalition (ILC), of which Natural Justice is a member has released its 2013 Annual Report. The ILC has 152 member organisations in 56 countries, representing diverse interests and entities from national civil society organisations (CSOs) and grassroots movements to international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and United Nations agencies, all with a common agenda to work together on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable people to make tangible progress in achieving secure and equitable access to land.

UNPFII 13 Side Event – Indigenous Peoples' and Community Conserved Territories & Areas (ICCAs)

On Wednesday 14 May 2014, the GEF Small Grants Program hosted a side event jointly with UNDP, Natural Justice, the ICCA Consortium, WAMIP, UNINOMAD Iran and Cenesta to address ICCAs and how they support appropriate governance in line with Articles 3 to 6 and 46 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration). The event highlighted experiences from the field, with case studies from Iran, Chile, and Australia.

13th Session of UNPFII: African Caucus responds to the World Bank on the Safeguard review process

Mr Kanyinke Sena delivers the African Caucus' response
The African Caucus would like to raise the following two issues of concern in regards to Indigenous peoples of Africa.

First, Indigenous peoples in Africa are alarmed with new developments unfolding in the World Bank safeguard review process. Recent statements made by Mark King, Head of Safeguard Review, suggest that the World Bank is reluctant in applying its ‘Stand- alone policy for Indigenous peoples’ in Africa due to the concerns raised by a few governments in relation to the term ‘Indigenous’.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Namibia Accedes to the Nagoya Protocol

Namibia has become the 35th country to accede to the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

With this accession, Namibia is now officially a Party to the NP under the Convention of Biological Resources (CBD). 

Natural Justice takes this opportunity to congratulate Namibia on the superlative work done towards this accession, and commits to supporting their ongoing work in meeting its obligations under the Protocol.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Call for Applications: Lawyer/ Legal Expert – South Africa

Natural Justice: Lawyers for Communities and the Environment, is a pioneering international team of legal practitioners. We conduct comprehensive research on environmental and human rights law, support communities and local organisations, provide technical advice to governments and intergovernmental organisations, and engage in key international processes in pursuit of environmental and social justice. Natural Justice currently works in Africa, Asia and Latin America and has offices in South Africa, Malaysia, India, and New York.

What are we looking for?
Natural Justice has been working with communities, NGOs and government agencies in South Africa since 2007. Due to increasing demand from our partners, we are seeking a full-time lawyer or legal expert to support our work with communities impacted by extractive industries and infrastructure projects across the continent. The successful candidate will be expected to begin work immediately and be based in Cape Town for an initial period of at least six months, with the possibility of extension.

Call for Applications: Research and Policy Officer (Kenya)

Friends of Lake Turkana (FoLT), is a grassroots organization founded in 2009 whose mission is to foster social, economic and environmental justice in the Lake Turkana Basin. FoLT do this through protecting and conserving Lake Turkana, the Lake Turkana Basin and its environment; advocating for the rights of the Turkana Basin communities; increasing the participation of communities in environmental protection policy formulation, sustainable management and wise use of natural resources; and lobbying for increased participation of communities in the development and governance of their resources.

Natural Justice: Lawyers for Communities and the Environment is a young and fast-paced non-profit organisation specialising in human rights and environmental law. We are a pioneering international team of legal practitioners, who conduct comprehensive research on environmental and human rights law, support communities and local organisations, provide technical advice to governments and intergovernmental organisations, and engage in key international processes in pursuit of environmental and social justice. Natural Justice currently works in Africa, Asia and Latin America, with its headquarters in Cape Town and regional offices in Malaysia, India, and USA.

13th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues opens in New York

The 13th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) opened on the 12th of May in New York City. The annual two-week event is the highest UN body on which Indigenous peoples and their supporting organizations, intergovernmental organisations and governments come together to discuss issues of importance to Indigenous peoples. It functions as an advisory body to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), providing expert advice and recommendations on indigenous issues to the Council, as well as other UN agencies, funds and programmes.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Call for Applications for Volunteer Internship: Natural Justice, India

Natural Justice: Lawyers for Communities and the Environment is a non-profit organization registered in South Africa, with offices in India, Malaysia and New York City. We assist communities to engage with legal frameworks to secure environmental and social justice. Our mission is to facilitate full and effective participation of Indigenous peoples and local communities in the development and implementation of laws and policies relating to conservation and customary uses of biodiversity and the protection of associated cultural heritage. Natural Justice works at the local, regional, national, and international levels with a range of partners.

Natural Justice (India) is inviting applications for volunteer interns to support our work around extractive industries in Orissa. This project is part of an inter-regional action-research project with case studies in five countries across the world, including India. The project explores the development and use of bio-cultural community protocols as a tool to facilitate conflict transformation by enabling communities to engage constructively with extractive industries and other external actors, to secure their rights and interests.

Duration: We would prefer the internship to begin on 10th June 2014, for a minimum period of 3 weeks, but the position may be open beyond that.

Location: Please note that the intern will be required to work out of Bangalore, India for the entire duration of internship.