May 2007


Call for applications to attend Fifth Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-Ended Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions
15 October – 19 October 2007, Montreal, Canada

The Secretariat to the Convention on Biological Diversity will support the participation of a number of indigenous and local community representatives to the upcoming Fifth Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-Ended Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions to be held in Montreal from 15 to 19 October 2007.

Applications close on 15 July 2007.

Download the notification here…

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Chavez hails pope’s ‘rectification’ on conversion of natives
Yahoo News

CARACAS, VENEZUELA: Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez on Friday hailed what he called Pope Benedict XVI’s move to “rectify” comments the pontiff made on the religious conversion of natives in Latin America. The pontiff had said on the last day of his May 9-13 trip to Brazil that “Christianity was not imposed by a foreign culture,” drawing a sharp reaction from leaders of indigenous groups. Chavez last week called on Benedict XVI to apologize for offending native peoples during the pope’s recent trip to Brazil to reach out to Latin American Roman Catholics. Apparently in response, the Pope has said during his weekly general audience that one cannot “ignore the suffering and the injustices inflicted by the colonisers on the indigenous populations, [whose] fundamental human rights were often trampled on”.More…

US and Japan seek support for whale hunting by indigenous groups
ZeeNews.com

ALASKA, USA: The United States and Japan may be on opposite sides of the whaling debate but they have a common aim — gaining support for whale hunting by their indigenous and coastal communities. Ahead of annual talks of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) starting in Anchorage this week, the United States, a strong opponent of commercial whaling, is nevertheless wooing members of the polarized 75-nation body to maintain bowhead whale hunting quotas for native Alaskan communities. On the other hand, Japan, spearheading the pro-whaling group, is making a feverish pitch to allow its traditional coastal communities to catch an unspecified number of Minke whales under the same IWC rules that permit the Inupia and Yup`ik peoples of Alaska to hunt the giant creatures. Even though the IWC, which regulates whaling and is in charge of conservation of the mammals, imposed a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986, it has a policy of allowing people in countries such as the United States, Russia and Greenland to hunt otherwise protected whales to satisfy longstanding cultural and subsistence needs. More…

Crafts in Kyrgyzstan: A Look at Creative Small-Entrepreneurs
NewEurasia (Blog)

KYRGYSTAN: Crafts development in Kyrgyzstan was fostered by the need for employment and profit-creation. When Soviet economic structures fell over night in Kyrgyzstan, women and men were left unemployed, without the security once offered by the planned Soviet system. At this time, development organizations played a pivotal role in the development of these entrepreneurs. Organizations like Aid to Artisans began to show local women that the crafts they were making for their families (felt-rugs, weaving, embroidery, etc.) could be sold for profit. Foreign aid organizations working with local experts introduced the idea that there was a market for all these formerly home-centered crafts. Women could capitalize on the ancient skills at which they already excelled. More…

Tribal Link Foundation, UNDP, Aveda and Partners Discuss the Opportunities and Challenges of Indigenous Entrepreneurship
SocialFunds.com

NEW YORK, USA: The Aveda Corporation is partnering with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Equator Initiative, Tribal Link Foundation, the Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme, and the World Intellectual Property Organization to discuss options and opportunities for the future of indigenous entrepreneurship. “As stewards of the Earth, Aveda’s indigenous partners help ensure that our ingredients and products are both high quality and high integrity,” says Aveda President Dominique Conseil. This year’s dialogue, Indigenous Entrepreneurship: Opportunities and Challenges, will shed light on diverse issues currently facing indigenous entrepreneurs. Indigenous leaders will discuss opportunities and challenges in partnering with donors, lending institutions, business development agencies, and private corporations. More…

The International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO) Task Force on Traditional Forest Knowledge will be soon hold its North America regional conference, Sharing Indigenous Wisdom: an international dialogue on sustainable development, in association with the College of Menominee Nation’s Sustainable Development Institute (the hosts of the meeting) and the U.S. Forest Service. This meeting will be held in Green Bay, Wisconsin, from 11-14 June 2007. This is the second of a planned series of regional conferences that the IUFRO Task Force on TFK will be organizing worldwide over the next 2-3 years. The first regional conference (Europe) was held in Florence last June.

IUFRO Task Force on Traditional Forest Knowledge website…
Sharing Indigenous Wisdom Conference website…

UNPFII – Sixth Session

Opening statements and speeches:


UN Press releases – Daily reviews:

  • 14 May: Indigenous peoples distinct cultures erode without respect for rights
    “Without access to and respect for the rights over their lands, territories and natural resources, indigenous peoples’ distinct cultures — and the possibility of determining their on development — become eroded,” said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Chairperson of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, as she opened the Forum’s sixth session. More…
  • 15 May: Land rights linked to sacred responsibilities to the world
    Indigenous peoples’ right to lands, territories and natural resources was the basis for their collective survival, as it was inextricably linked to their right to self-determination, free pursuit of appropriate development and sacred responsibilities to the world, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues was told today. More…
  • 16 May: Speakers call for increased recognition of indigenous rights and protection of traditional knowledge
    Speakers representing indigenous collectives from all regions of the world — from South-East Asia to East Africa to North America — called for broad adherence to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which included an article guaranteeing the participation of indigenous peoples in their own development and urged the protection and promotion of their traditional knowledge. They stressed that native communities lived in harmony with, and close dependence on, biological resources, and States should, therefore, make use of their traditional knowledge, especially concerning the conservation and sustainable use of those resources. More…
  • 17 May: Forum discusses way global anti-poverty goals can better reflect socio-economic interests of native, tribal peoples
    As the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues today began consideration of how global efforts to implement the Millennium Development Goals could better reflect the unique socio-economic interests of native and tribal peoples, representatives of indigenous organizations and traditional bodies within national Governments argued for, among other measures, creating more accurate census records and stepping up efforts to preserve endangered traditional languages. More…
  • 18 May: Indigenous face poverty – even extinction – at hands of indifferent governments and profit-hungry coporations
    Increasingly cut off from lands, resources and traditions vital to their well-being and survival, tribal and native peoples in all regions of the world now faced marginalization, poverty, disease, violence –- and, in some instances, extinction as a people –- at the hands of indifferent Governments and profit-hungry corporations, the top United Nations expert on indigenous rights, Rodolfo Stavenhagen, Special Rapporteur of the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, warned today. More…
  • 21 May: UNPFII Meeting progress
    Launching today’s discussion on Asia, Ganesh Thapa of the International Fund for Agricultural Development In Latin America and Asia, said that the Fund generally operated within five key areas of intervention: securing access to natural resources such as land, forests and water; promoting indigenous women; promoting sustainable resource management; institution strengthening; and blending traditional knowledge systems with modern technology. More…


Selected articles:

  • Opening two week session, UN indigenous forum tackles land, resource issues UN News Centre: Addressing the opening session, General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa said that much remains to be done. “[Indigenous peoples] are often dragged into conflicts and land disputes that threaten their way of life and very survival. Indigenous peoples also suffer from a lack of access to health care, and education.”But she cautioned against casting indigenous peoples as victims. “They are a dynamic collection of communities,” she said. “Their knowledge, culture and environmentalism offer lessons that all of us can learn from.” More…
  • Indigenous ways of life threatened by massive land-clearance for biofuel crops Al Jazeera: Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, chairwoman of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, said the explosion of biofuel crop cultivation threatened to destroy native cultures by forcing them into big cities. More…

Australian indigenous burial site ‘most significant find yet’
ABC News

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA: An Indigenous burial site in the sand dunes of western Queensland’s Simpson Desert is being hailed by an archaeologist as one of the most well preserved ever found. Archaeologist Giles Hamm says the site is at least several hundred years old and its undisturbed condition makes it a very rare find. Of particular importance are 20 kopi caps placed over the grave, which were objects of mourning worn on the heads of grieving relatives for weeks or months after a death. More…

New Bills in Sri Lanka soon to protect indigenous ayurvedic medicinal resources
Sri Lankan Sunday Observer

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA: Around 50 Bills will be presented in Parliament this year to protect indigenous ayurvedic medicinal resources from being exploited for commercial use locally and abroad, said Minister of Indigenous Medicine Tissa Karaliyadde addressing the launch of the ‘Ayurveda 2007’ National Indigenous Healthcare Exhibition in Colombo. More…

Brazil Indigenous Groups Fault Pope Talk
Associated Press

SAO PAOLO, BRAZIL: Indian rights groups are criticizing Pope Benedict XVI for insisting that Latin American Indians wanted to become Christian before European conquerors arrived centuries ago. The pope told a regional conference of bishops in Brazil that pre-Columbian people of Latin America and the Caribbean were seeking Christ without realizing it. But Paulo Suess, an adviser to Brazil’s Indian Missionary Council, said Monday that the comments fail to account for the fact that Indians were enslaved and killed by the Portuguese and Spanish settlers who forced them to become Catholic. More…

Indigenous people benefit from link to land
The Australian

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: Indigenous people who care for their environment are healthier and happier, a new study has found. Initiated by traditional owners from western and central Arnhem Land, the research assessed the health outcomes of indigenous people compared with their involvement in natural and cultural resource management. Researchers from Charles Darwin University (CDU), the Northern Land Council and the Menzies School of Health Research explored Aboriginal “caring for country” practices. They also investigated the close connections between indigenous people, their ancestral lands and the impacts this had on the health of landscapes as well as the physical health and well-being of populations. More…

Indigenous women overcome multiple obstacles
International Labour Organization

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: Indigenous peoples around the world suffer from discrimination in the world of work, but indigenous women can be particularly hard hit by the double whammy of ethnicity and gender. Traditional knowledge and values, coupled with economic support from governments, NGOs and agencies such as the ILO, provide indigenous women with unique opportunities to better themselves, their families and their communities. Jessie Fredlund of the ILO Gender Bureau and INDISCO looks at the problem and finds some success stories in Bangladesh. More…

Drylands are not the same as badlands
EurekAlert

DURHAM NC, USA: Drylands, where 38 percent of the world’s population lives, can be protected from the irreversible damage of desertification if local residents and managers at all levels would follow basic sustainability principles, according to a panel of experts writing in the May 11 issue of the journal Science. The report also encourages tapping the knowledge and memory of people who live on drylands. More…

Plans to revitalize indigenous language in Taiwan
The China Post

TAIPEI, TAIWAN: The government is planning to launch a six-year indigenous language revitalization plan aimed at conserving and revitalizing dying aboriginal mother tongues, the Council of Indigenous People (CIP) reported yesterday. Under the language revitalization plan, expected to kick off next year, efforts will be made to help convert indigenous people’s verbal languages to written texts, said Wang Chiou-i, chief of the CIP Education and Culture Department. Wang said it would take immense government resources to collect and preserve the indigenous mother tongues, some of which are on the brink of extinction, before transforming them into dictionaries or digital archives. More…

Kenya climate change: an opportunity for change
Africa News

HAARLEM, NETHERLANDS: A combination of social, political, economic and environmental forces is rapidly changing the worlds of many communities living in arid and semi arid areas of northern Kenya and affecting the way they use and manage their resources. The first major pilot drought preparedness program funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Organization (ECHO) forms a new international outlook for future generations in Elemi triangle in term of coping with drought. The project aims at improving drought resilience among pastoralist communities, gives practical information and implements mitigation interventions on how to prepare for changes in weather patterns. It uses a combination of both technology and available traditional knowledge to model future responses to the devastating negative impacts of drought, including: water shortage, resource based conflicts and sustainable use of natural resources available. More…

Sixth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Special theme: Territories, Lands and Natural Resources

14 May – 25 May 2007 (New York, USA)

More than one thousand indigenous representatives from all regions of the world are converging on the United Nations today to engage with government representatives, senior UN officials, civil society and academia to state their views, voice their concerns and suggest solutions regarding lands, territories and natural resources.

The Sixth Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues opens in New York on 14 May and runs for two weeks. This year’s theme goes right to the heart of indigenous peoples’ efforts to gain recognition for their rights, and will focus on indigenous rights to lands, territories and natural resources. Other key issues include indigenous peoples in Asia; data collection and disaggregation; status of implementation of recommendations from previous sessions in the areas of economic and social development, environment, health, education, culture and human rights; and the Millennium Development Goals. Reports of three regional meetings from Africa, Asia and Latin America on Indigenous Peoples and Indicators of Well-being will also be discussed.

“With the increasing desire of states for more economic growth, senseless exploitation of indigenous peoples’ territories and resources continues unabated,” – Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Item 4 of the Agenda on Millennium Development Goals includes a concept paper on Indigenous Traditional Knowledge prepared by the Secretariat, on the scope of a study to investigate to what extent customary laws pertaining to indigenous traditional knowledge should be reflected in international and national standards addressing traditional knowledge. It includes an analysis of indigenous customary law as a potential sui generis system for protecting indigenous traditional knowledge.

Visit the UNPFII-6 site…
Download the Report on Indigenous Traditional Knowledge…

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