June 2012


The Future We Want
Outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development
20-22 June 2012 (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

In the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20), entitled “The Future We Want”, participating heads of State and Government and high-level representatives agree to, among other issues: stress the importance of the participation of indigenous peoples in the achievement of sustainable development, and recognize the importance of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the context of global, regional, national and subnational implementation of sustainable development strategies; in the context of green economy policies, enhance the welfare of indigenous peoples and their communities, other local and traditional communities and ethnic minorities, recognizing and supporting their identity, culture and interests and avoid endangering their cultural heritage, practices and traditional knowledge, preserving and respecting non-market approaches that contribute to the eradication of poverty; in the context of food security and nutrition and sustainable agriculture, recognize the importance of traditional sustainable agricultural practices, including traditional seed supply systems, including for many indigenous peoples and local communities; and in the context of biodiversity, recognize that traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous peoples and local communities make an important contribution to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and their wider application can support social well-being and sustainable livelihoods.

The outcome document was negotiated in a series of formal and informal sessions. However, several issues remained controversial, and Rio+20 delegates eventually accepted a compromise, albeit weakened, text proposed by the Brazilian hosts. Download the outcome document [pdf] …

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Indigenous Peoples International Conference on Self Determination and Sustainable Development
17-19 June 2012 (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

The Indigenous Peoples’ International Declaration on Self-Determination and Sustainable Development highlights culture as a fundamental dimension of sustainable development; full exercise of indigenous peoples’ human and collective rights; and strengthening diverse local economies and territorial management. Participants commit to define and implement their own priorities for economic, social and cultural development and environmental protection, based on traditional cultures, knowledge and practices and the implementation of the inherent right to self-determination; revitalize, strengthen and restore institutions and methods for the transmission of traditional knowledge and practices, focusing on transmission by women and men elders to the next generations; restore knowledge and trade exchanges, including seed exchanges, among their communities and peoples reinforcing the genetic integrity of biodiversity; and stand in solidarity with each other’s struggles to oppose projects that threaten their lands, forests, waters, cultural practices, food sovereignty, traditional livelihoods, ecosystems, rights and ways of life. With regard to UN processes, they insist on full and effective participation in all discussions and standard-setting activities regarding sustainable development, biodiversity, environment and climate change, and for the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in all processes. Read the Declaration …

Indigenous Peoples Global Conference on Rio+20 and Mother Earth
13-22 June 2012 (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

The Kari-Oca 2 Indigenous Conference at Rio+20 has also issued a declaration. Read the TK Bulletin post on the Kari-Oca 2 Declaration … See list of indigenous peoples’ events at Rio+20 …

Second Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing to the Convention on Biological Diversity
2-6 July 2012 (New Delhi, India)

The second meeting of the Open-ended Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol (ICNP) on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will be held from 2-6 July 2012, in New Delhi, India. It will be preceded by a capacity-building workshop on ABS, co-organized by the Secretariats of the CBD and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR), held from 30 June-1 July 2012.

The meeting will continue consideration of items discussed at ICNP 1, held from 5-10 June 2011, including: modalities of operation of the ABS clearing-house; measures to assist in capacity building, capacity development and strengthening of human and institutional capacities in developing countries; measures to raise awareness of the importance of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge; and cooperative procedures and institutional mechanisms to promote compliance with the Protocol and address cases of non-compliance. In addition, it will consider the need for and modalities of a global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism; elaborate guidance for the financial mechanism and for resource mobilization for the Protocol’s implementation, and will develop a budget for the biennium following the Protocol’s entry into force; and prepare for the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol by considering its rules of procedure and a draft provisional agenda. Visit the meeting’s webpage … Follow the meeting’s coverage by IISD Reporting Services …

Biodiversity and culture: Exploring community protocols, rights and consent
Krystyna Swiderska, Kanchi Kohli, Harry Jonas, Holly Shrumm, Wim Hiemstra, Maria Julia Oliva (eds)
Participatory Learning and Action 65, IIED, June 2012 | ISBN 978-1-84369-851-7, ISSN 1357-938X

This special issue of Participatory Learning and Action explores two important participatory tools that indigenous peoples and local communities can use to help defend their customary rights to biocultural heritage: i) community protocols – or charters of rules and responsibilities – in which communities set out their customary rights to natural resources and land, as recognised in customary, national and international laws; and ii) free, prior informed consent (FPIC) processes, in which communities decide whether or not to allow projects affecting their land or resources to go ahead, and on what terms. The issue reviews 14 cases of communities in Asia, Latin America and Africa in developing and using these tools in a range of contexts, including: developing mechanisms for access and benefit-sharing (ABS) for genetic resources and traditional knowledge; confronting threats from mining and protected areas; and improving forestry partnerships. It also looks at government experiences of establishing institutional processes for FPIC and benefit-sharing. It identifies practical lessons and guidance based on these experiences and aims to strengthen the capacity of a range of actors to support these rights-based tools effectively in practice. The special issue aims to provide guidance for those implementing the Nagoya Protocol on ABS, and other natural resource and development practitioners, and to raise awareness of the importance of community-designed and controlled participatory processes. Download the publication [pdf] …

Using Biocultural Community Protocols to Implement MEAs and UNDRIP at the Local Level for Sustainable Development
Krystyna Swiderska, IIED, June 2012

This workshop report from the ISE (International Society of Ethnobiology) Global Coalition for Biocultural Diversity Congress (24th May 2012, Montpellier, France) focuses in particular to the CBD and its Nagoya Protocol on ABS. This informal dialogue on community protocols brought together representatives from the CBD Secretariat, the African Group, indigenous organisations, NGOs, researchers and donors. It explored the role of community protocols in implementing Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), indigenous peoples’ rights, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and sustainable development. On the basis that the Nagoya Protocol, in Article 12, requires countries to “endeavour to support” the development of community protocols for ABS by indigenous and local communities, the workshop sought to improve understanding and dialogue amongst the different actors, to identify ways to strengthen support for community protocols as a way to revitalise the implementation of MEAs at local level, and share practical lessons for their development and use. Download the report [pdf] …

Book launch “Weathering Uncertainty: TK for climate change assessment & adaptation
UNU press release, 13 June 2012

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL: Published by the UNU Traditional Knowledge Initiative and UNESCO, the book “Weathering Uncertainty: traditional knowledge for climate change assessment and adaptation” was launched at the International Council for Science’s Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development, held in parallel to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Authored by D.J. Nakashima, K. Galloway McLean, H.D. Thulstrup, A. Ramos Castillo, and J.T. Rubis, the book draws attention to a rapidly-growing scientific literature on the contribution of indigenous and traditional knowledge to understanding climate change vulnerability, resilience and adaptation. It aims at strengthening consideration of indigenous knowledge in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to be released in 2014. In its Fourth Assessment Report, IPCC recognized traditional knowledge as “an invaluable basis for developing adaptation and natural resource management strategies in response to environmental and other forms of change.” Despite this recognition, indigenous knowledge has remained largely outside the scope of IPCC assessments.

Speaking at the launch, Gretchen Kalonji, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for the Natural Sciences, emphasized that the book “underlines the critical role that indigenous peoples and local communities can play in ongoing international efforts to monitor the progress of global climate change impacts and to develop capacities to respond.” Professor Govindan Parayil, UNU Vice-Rector, added that the drafting of the book had encouraged an interaction among IPCC authors, climate scientists, indigenous experts, and community representatives, stressing that such a collaboration “is providing important support for effective adaptation action on the ground.” Read the UNU press release … Download the book [pdf] …

Rio Conventions Pavilion: Africa Day and Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Day
IISD RS Rio Conventions Pavilion Bulletin, 14 June 2012

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL: On Thursday, 14 June 2012, the Rio Conventions Pavilion convened for Africa Day, and Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Day. A session addressed the contribution of traditional knowledge to climate mitigation and adaptation. Panelists addressed, among others, a Conservation International project supporting the recovery and restoration of indigenous lands in the Kaingang territory in Brazil, and the UNESCO Climate Frontlines project supporting the voices of indigenous peoples and promoting TK in climate policy. Discussion highlighted the many misconceptions at the heart of mainstream approaches to supporting TK; the need for support programmes to strengthen local governance capacities; and the need to strengthen learning alliances between indigenous and academic communities. Read the Bulletin … Visit the Pavilion website …

Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development: Thematic session on indigenous knowledge and science
ICSU, 13 June 2012

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL: Building upon the outcomes of the Planet Under Pressure session on Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainable Futures (London, 28 March 2012), the panel considered how global environmental governance has been and continues to be transformed by an expanding engagement amongst local and indigenous knowledge holders, the scientific community and decision-makers. The panel also explored the increasing collaborative engagement of indigenous and scientific knowledge holders in the equitable co-production of new knowledge to inform innovative solutions to complex sustainable development challenges. The session brought forward the following recommendations: Beyond acknowledging the value of indigenous knowledge, the scientific community and policy-makers should recognize and actively engage with indigenous knowledge holders as actors in their own right; science should move beyond an approach of validating and integrating indigenous knowledge, towards embracing knowledge co-design and co-production that bring scientists and indigenous knowledge holders together on an equitable and mutually-respectful basis; action to sustain the dynamism and creative force of indigenous knowledge must begin within indigenous communities and be based upon fostering sound and culturally-appropriate modes of knowledge transmission. Of particular importance is the re-design and re-orientation of formal and non-formal education to recognize indigenous languages, epistemologies and pedagogies; recognition of the diversity of knowledge systems, whether scientific or indigenous, each with their distinct histories, ontologies, epistemologies, modes of transmission and communication, value systems and worldviews, is critical for a productive engagement amongst knowledge holders that may generate innovative solutions to complex sustainable development problems; and these processes must be based upon the full and effective participation of indigenous knowledge holders, and the respect for the rights of their societies and cultures as outlined within the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Further information …Download the Co-Convenors’ recommendations [pdf] …

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