Call for Participation: Open consultation on the document “Indigenous peoples’ rights to lands, territories and resources”
International Land Coalition, June 2013

ROME, ITALY: The ILC has circulated a draft scoping study, prepared by Birgitte Feiring, which will be open for comments until 8 July 2013. After the review process, suggested changes will be considered and the text published and distributed as a perspective paper. The study presents an overview of UN mechanisms on indigenous peoples, and examines land and resource rights under several international and regional instruments, as well as institutional policies of financial institutions. It examines three key thematic issues concerning indigenous peoples’ land rights, including: gender, indigenous and community conserved areas, and climate change and REDD+. Read the call for comments … Download the draft study [pdf] …


Traditional Cultures Can Show Wasteful World How to Preserve Food
UNEP press release, 21 May 2013

NAIROBI, KENYA: From condensing the meat of whole cow to the size of a human fist, to preserving seabirds in sealskins, there are hundreds of ways in which traditional cultures can teach the wasteful developed world how to preserve and conserve one of our most-precious yet most-squandered resources: food. Each year, an estimated one third of all food produced – an astonishing 1.3 billion tonnes, worth around US$1 trillion – ends up rotting in the bins of consumers and retailers or spoiling due to poor transportation and harvesting practices. World Environment Day 2013, whose global host is the government and people of Mongolia, is focused on the new UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) campaign “Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint,” which is aimed at slashing this wastage. As part of the celebrations, UNEP asked people to submit examples of traditional ways in which food is preserved. The ways that indigenous peoples create preserved dishes are as many and varied as the cultures and food sources that form the basis of the recipes. Read the release … Visit the Think.Eat.Save website … Visit the UNEP webpage on traditional food preservation techniques …

Slow Food and FAO join forces: Three-year agreement to target smallholders, biodiversity
FAO news release, 15 May 2013

ROME, ITALY: The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the international non-profit organization Slow Food signed a Memorandum of Understanding aiming to promote more inclusive food and agriculture systems at local, national and international levels. Actions aim to boost incomes for small farmers and rural communities by promoting traditional cooking and locally produced food. Activities under the agreement include the protection of traditional food products and the promotion of culinary traditions as well as the cultural heritage of rural communities. Specifically, Slow Food can help produce inventories of local, indigenous and underutilized species that are potentially important to food security, thus supporting FAO’s role in revaluing and promoting neglected crops. Read the news release …

The Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol: Why Intellectual Property Still Matters
17 May 2013 (UNU-IAS, Yokohama, Japan)

This seminar by Kiyoshi Adachi from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) will highlight recent work by UNCTAD on the policy space available for countries to use selected intellectual property tools in support of the international access and benefit-sharing system. Further information …

Experiences and Lessons of Dynamic Conservation and Sustainable Development  from Asian GIAHS Pilot Sites
28 May 2013 (UNU-IAS, Kanazawa, Japan)

Six pilot sites in China and two in Japan have been designated by FAO as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) sites for dynamic conservation and adaptive management. In addition, more sites in China and Japan are under consideration for GIAHS designation, and an application is also planned for a Korean site. This workshop will bring together experts from China, Korea and Japan, as well as local residents, to share experiences and lessons learned regarding biodiversity conservation and rural development. Further information …

Greek Gene Bank’s Struggle Indicative of Changing Times
IP Watch, 17 April 2013

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: In this article, Paraskevi Kollia draws attention to the situation of the Greek Gene Bank, established with assistance from FAO and holding a significant amount of plant genetic resources, including traditional plant varieties developed by farmers. She highlights current financial and administrative challenges due to budget cuts, while noting that, on the other hand, informal seed exchange networks organized by smallholder farmers and citizens have sprung up all over the country, assuming an active role in the preservation and enjoyment of traditional seeds. Such networks meet regularly and exchange seeds, information and cultivation practices, while raising awareness on the impacts of IPRs on the conservation of plant genetic resources. Read the article …

Tenure of Indigenous Peoples Territories and REDD+ as a Forestry Management Incentive – the case of Mesoamerican countries
Adriana Herrera Garibay, FAO
UN-REDD, October 2012

Published by the UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD), this report draws on case studies from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama to demonstrate how land tenure rights are linked to incentive mechanisms for good forestry management. The report specifically examines REDD+ and payments for ecosystem services, highlighting successful examples of payments for ecosystem services in Costa Rica and community forestry in Guatemala. The report concludes that criteria for successful incentive mechanisms include: the provision of clear economic incentives; the ability to demonstrate community and livelihood benefits; ethnic belonging and associated agreement on resource use rules; and a strong sense of community or communal living. It further examines Mesoamerican advances in recognizing indigenous territorial rights and environmental policies, including development of land tenure institutions and legislation in the region, as well as opportunities and limitations for REDD+ processes in the indigenous forest territories of Mesoamerica. Among the conclusions, it is stated that efforts to implement free, prior and informed consent with indigenous peoples will not be entirely successful unless accompanied by measures to strengthen trust in and legitimacy of government actions within indigenous territories. In addition, the experiences of payments for ecosystem services and regularization and tenure over land and natural resources have shown the need to strengthen governance within the territories. Particular emphasis should be placed on communication processes for the entire population; the development of internal statutes or regulations to support local self-regulation practices for territorial management; and organizing land planning in a participatory way. Download the publication [pdf] …

Guidelines on Free, Prior and Informed Consent
UN-REDD Programme, February 2013

These guidelines outline a normative, policy and operational framework for seeking and obtaining free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) in the context of REDD+. They are the result of a series of regional and international consultations with indigenous peoples, forest-dependent communities, practitioners and experts, and further analysis, pilot-testing and consensus-building. The document is defined as a “working final” version, meaning that there will be periodic updates to this version, based on the application of the guidelines, increased informa­tion and experience related to the application of FPIC more generally, and continued input and feedback from governments, indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities, practitioners and experts. The guidelines address: a definition of the elements of FPIC; the UN-REDD programme policy on applying FPIC including what is required of partner countries, when is FPIC required and at what level it is applied, who seeks and who gives consent, and what should be the outcome of the FPIC process; the operational framework for seeking FPIC; and national-level grievance mechanisms. A list of annexes address, among other issues, indicative steps for a REDD+ process to respect the principle of FPIC, the role of facilitators, and tools and resources. The guidelines are accompanied by a “legal companion” providing details on international law and jurisprudence related to FPIC.

It is noted that international law has now recognized that FPIC is a legal norm imposing clearing affirmative duties and obligations on States. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) includes seven provisions expressly recognizing the duty of States to secure FPIC from indigenous peoples in circumstances ranging from population relocations, the taking of cultural, intellectual, religious and spiritual property, any damages, occupation and uses of their lands, territories and resources, before “adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures,” and prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources. The UNDRIP elaborates on the application to indigenous peoples of human rights already affirmed extensively in treaties ratified by the majority of States. As such, to the extent that the duties and obligations as expressed in UNDRIP as already binding on States, they merely need to look to the Declaration to assist them in understanding how such rights might be protected for indigenous peoples as collectives, as well as their individual members. In addition, international courts and human rights bodies in Africa and the Americas have made it clear that regional human rights instruments recognize States’ duties and obligations to secure FPIC.

Putting REDD+ Safeguards and Safeguard Information Systems Into Practice
UN-REDD Programme, February 2013

The UN-REDD programme has also released a report titled “Putting REDD+ Safeguards and Safeguard Information Systems Into Practice,” which highlights policy considerations related to country-level safeguard systems in line with the UNFCCC Cancun Agreement. The report provides a framework and information on instruments to assist countries in the development of effective and efficient REDD+ safeguards. It considers a number of steps in the development of safeguard systems for REDD+ including: defining social and environmental objectives; assessing potential benefits and risks from REDD+; assessing current safeguard systems; drafting a strategic plan or policy; and establishing a governance system.

Download the guidelines on FPIC [pdf] … Download the legal companion to the UN-REDD Programme guidelines on FPIC: international law and jurisprudence affirming the requirement of FPIC [pdf] … Download the report on country-level safeguard systems [pdf] …

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