A toolkit to support conservation by indigenous peoples and local communities: building capacity and sharing knowledge for Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Territories and Areas (ICCAs)
C. Corrigan and T. Hay-Edie
UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC), 2013

Developed by the UNEP-WCMC in partnership with UNDP, and launched at the WIN Conference, this new toolkit presents sixteen case studies highlighting innovative tools and approaches that local communities have developed to address critical challenges affecting their indigenous peoples’ and community conserved territories and areas (ICCAs). The toolkit includes a diverse set of resources organized around five key themes: documentation, management planning, monitoring and evaluation, communication, including TK management, and finance and values. The publication also offers a suite of tools to support the effectiveness and viability of ICCAs as governance structures for the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems. Download the toolkit [pdf] … Read the UNDP press release …

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 …

Global biodiversity panel urged to heed local voices
SciDev.Net, 3 May 2013

PARIS, FRANCE: A stakeholder meeting of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) was held from 29-30 April 2013 in Paris, France. A key issue that emerged was how to involve voices from the global South, including those of indigenous communities, traditional and local knowledge holders, women, and civil society organizations. Experts are concerned the panel could become ensnared by northern government agendas, private-sector lobbying or the interests of the vocal conservation sector, at the expense of livelihood concerns and biodiversity priorities of local communities in the developing world. And many insiders are worried that the IPBES bureau and multidisciplinary expert panel are already too skewed towards conventional scientific voices and government ministries, and are failing to represent more diverse voices and communities in developing countries. 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] …

Custodian Farmers of Agricultural Biodiversity: Policy support for their roles in use and conservation
11-12 February 2013 (New Delhi, India)

Hosted by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Bioversity International in collaboration with Indian partners, this workshop brought together farmers and researchers, to discuss their perspectives on the use and maintenance of agricultural biodiversity. The 20 South and Southeast Asian farmers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Nepal and India, were each considered important members of their communities for their cultivation and conservation of diverse, rare or wild species of crops and fruit trees. The workshop represented an important first step in confirming the term ‘custodian farmer’ and their distinct and crucial role within agriculture. Custodian farmers are an integral part of community-based diversity management and often the focal point for the informal exchange of seed and plant material among farmers. They are also holders of local knowledge, who help link the traditional and modern seed system, and contribute to the evolutionary process of crop adaptation over time. Through a series of presentations, group discussions, and role-playing exercises, the workshop participants compiled a draft list of recommendations on the roles, rights and perspectives of custodian farmers, which were presented at the Global Consultation on Use and Management of Agrobiodiversity, held the same week in India. Recommendations included establishing a network of custodian farmers to share knowledge, skills, seeds or plant materials; mobilizing financial capital to establish community biodiversity management funds; easy registration of farmers’ material in the farmers’ or community’s name; and participation in the ITPGR and CBD processes. Read Bioversity’s release on the workshop outcomes …

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] …

Can IPBES move from a science platform to a diverse knowledge platform?
Forest Peoples Programme, 18 February 2013

LONDON, UK: This article provides a comment on the first meeting of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), held from 21-26 January 2013, in Bonn, Germany. IPBES, established in Panama City in April 2012, is intended to serve as an independent intergovernmental body for assessing the state of the planet’s biodiversity, its ecosystems and the services they provide to society. The Bonn meeting was attended by a small delegation of indigenous peoples and local communities, who drew attention to the value and importance of indigenous and local knowledge and the need for a true partnership between diverse knowledge holders and the IPBES. Furthermore, indigenous peoples and other stakeholders must be enabled to fully and effectively participate in the process.

The meeting addressed a series of organizational, procedural and budgetary issues, including the election of its Chair, Bureau and Multidisciplinary Expert Panel. On the IPBES rules of procedure, issues related to admission of observers remained pending, and discussions will continue intersessionally and at IPBES-2. Read the article … Read the official report of the meeting … Read the IISD Reporting Services summary and analysis of the meeting …

Next Page »