November 2012

Post-2015 and Indigenous Peoples: E-discussion
PFII release, 27 November 2012

NEW YORK, USA: This e-discussion on inequalities and indigenous peoples in the post-2015 development agenda begins on 27 November and will continue for three weeks. It is the sixth in the series of discussions, and aims to galvanize dialogue and discussion in framing the post-2015 agenda. It is co-moderated by UNICEF and the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The recommendations emerging from the e-discussions will be part of a synthesis report that will be presented to a high-level meeting in Denmark in February 2013 on Inequalities. The report will also be provided to the high-level panel on the post-2015 development agenda appointed by the UN Secretary-General. Representatives of civil society, academia, the UN, governments, the private sector and other interested individuals are invited to visit the discussion forum to participate. Visit the discussion website … Read the SPFII release …

Seventh Session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage
3-7 December 2012 (Paris, France)

The meeting’s agenda includes the examination of almost 60 nomination files that are now available online: eight related to the Urgent Safeguarding List, two to the Register of Best Safeguarding Practices, 36 to the Representative List and 10 requesting financial assistance for safeguarding plans or inventories. The Committee will also debate on the 16 new periodic reports submitted by States Parties on their implementation of the Convention at the national level. Discussions will be audiocast in English, French and Spanish. Visit the meeting’s website, including links to nomination proposals …

The Living Convention on Biocultural Diversity
Harry Jonas, J. Eli Makagon and Holly Shrumm, Natural Justice, October 2012

The Living Convention on Biocultural Diversity: A Compendium of Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Communities’ Rights Relevant to Maintaining the Integrity and Resilience of Territories and other Biocultural Systems contains a compilation of international legal provisions organized into categories of rights that support the stewards of biocultural diversity. It is intended to serve as a useful resource for Indigenous peoples, local communities, NGOs and others who want to reference and use international law at the national and local levels. It is divided into three parts: part I groups provisions from various international instruments under headings referring on specific rights; part II sets out the rationale and methodology of the research undertaken to develop the Compendium; and part III sets out a number of key questions raised by the Compendium concerning, for example, the utility of integrated rights approaches, how international law can be reformed, and how national governments can better uphold their international commitments. It then suggests initial activities that could further deepen the analysis and ways to address the current weaknesses in the development and implementation of international law so as to better support the integrity and resilience of biocultural diversity.

This is the first draft of the publication, and the authors welcome critical inputs. Read the release by Natural Justice … Download the publication [pdf] …

REDD+ and Indigenous Peoples: Analysis of the upcoming UNFCCC negotiations in Doha, and identification of possible policy options
Francesco Martone, Forest Peoples Programme, November 2012

The purpose of this note is to identify some key issues and opportunities for indigenous peoples in the Doha Climate Change Conference, currently being held from 26 November to 7 December 2012 in Doha, Qatar. It focuses on REDD+ and the Green Climate Fund. REDD+ is being discussed and negotiated in two tracks: The Ad Hoc Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) that has mostly dealt with the issues of REDD+ and results-based financing, and the SBSTA (Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice) that deals with methodological aspects related to REDD+, most notably, providing guidance on key matters such as Safeguard Information Systems, Reference Emission Levels, Forest Monitoring Systems, and drivers of deforestation. The COP is expected to deliver some decisions and guidance on these matters. REDD+ might also be discussed with reference to the Green Climate Fund, more specifically the possibility of supporting the call for a REDD+ window in the Fund. The Green Climate Fund will also report to the COP about progress in its establishment and adoption of operational modalities after the first two Board meetings that took place in August and October 2012. Download the briefing note [pdf] … Follow the IISD RS coverage of the Doha Climate Change Conference …

Community guidelines for accessing forestry voluntary carbon markets
Ben Vickers, Eveline Trines and Erica Pohnan
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, 2012 | ISBN: 978-92-5-107322-3

These guidelines intend to help smallholders and indigenous and local communities in the Asia-Pacific region to access the forestry voluntary carbon markets. Such communities control large areas of the most environmentally valuable forest areas in Asia-Pacific through formal or customary systems, and are considered to be at the greatest risk of losing out as this new market is being created, or to put forests and their livelihoods at risk. The aim of the guidelines is to create a more even playing field so that these communities and the groups that work on their behalf can make the most of the potential benefits and avoid the dangers of this new market. It is noted that local forest owners and the communities to which they belong must retain control of the decision-making processes. The publication examines a wide range of issues, including free, prior informed consent, land tenure issues and forest use rights, and benefit-sharing. Download the guidelines [pdf] …

Snakes and folk tales meet science in disaster warning
SciDev.Net, 22 November 2012

KATHMANDU, NEPAL: On 26 December 2004, an earthquake off the west coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra triggered the devastating tsunami that killed around 230,000 people. No official tsunami warning system was in place to prepare countries for the disaster. However, several indigenous communities in Indonesia and Thailand, as well as India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands, survived because folk tales they had listened to all their lives alerted them to the dangers of shaking ground and the eerily retreating sea. Snakes and folk tales — coincidence, or experience and knowledge which, linked to the insights of science, can offer people around the world significant protection against disasters? Increasingly, the answer from scientists is: yes, we can learn from indigenous knowledge. Jiba Raj Pokharel, professor of engineering and director of the Centre for Disaster Studies, Nepal, certainly has. He draws many of his ideas for early warning systems from local knowledge, including snake alerts. But it’s not just a matter of taking local knowledge and inserting it into scientific preparedness plans. Traditional knowledge doesn’t always reduce communities’ vulnerability to natural disasters, and may not adapt fast enough to changing social and climatic dynamics, points out London-based risk reduction specialist and co-founder of Secure Futures, Jessica Mercer. And scientific knowledge may ‘clash’ with local understanding of disasters, and thus be rejected by communities. Read the article …

Information Sharing Event on the Nagoya Protocol on ABS
26-27 November 2012 (Montreal, Canada)

Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Peoples’ Issues
28-30 November 2012 (Montreal, Canada)

The 2012 annual meeting of the Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Peoples’ Issues (IASG) will address, among other items, the Group’s responses to current and previous recommendations of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to the Group and the UN system; opportunities for inter-agency collaboration and possible strategic directions; and implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including through the UN Development Group and its guidelines on programming at the country level on indigenous issues. The meeting will be preceded by an information-sharing event on the Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit-sharing, which will examine the Protocol’s main provisions, with a focus on those of particular relevance to indigenous and local communities, and the role of indigenous and local communities in the Protocol’s implementation. Visit the IASG meeting webpage … Visit the ABS event webpage …

Internship available at the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
UNPFII Secretariat, 15 November 2012

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK: An internship position (JO #25905) is available at the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Applications should be sent via the UN recruitment system and a copy also sent to bernardi (at) The deadline for applications is 29 November 2012. Further information …

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