Thursday, October 30, 2014

New Material on the African Commission on Human and People's Rights

Natural Justice has co-produced a community-friendly brochure on the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, as part of the Human Rights and Grievance Mechanisms program of the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO).

The brochure sets out a summary of the African Commission, the African Court and interesting provisions within the African Charter as well as the "Who, What, When, Where and How" of filing a complaint. See the brochure, and other brochures produced by SOMO with its partners, on the Human Rights & Grievance Mechanisms website.


More than 93% of Extractives Developments Involve Inhabited Land - New Report


In a new analysis of almost 73,000 concessions in eight tropical forested countries, more than 93% of mining, logging, agriculture, oil and gas developments were found to involve land inhabited by Indigenous Peoples and local communities. The report, Communities as Counterparties: Preliminary Review of Concessions and Conflict in Emerging and Frontier Markets, prepared by The Munden Project, highlights the alarming amount of land that governments have handed over to the private sector for mining, logging, agriculture, oil and gas, including 40% of all land in Peru and 30% in Indonesia. The researchers found that these concessions often generate conflict with local communities. Examining 100 such instances, the report identifies major patterns in how and why these conflicts occurred, and puts forth recommendations for avoiding them.

New Steps Of Change: Looking Beyond Protected Areas To Consider Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures

In 2010, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted the Aichi Biodiversity Targets as part of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. Target 11 calls for ‘at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water areas and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas’ to be conserved by way of ‘well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures’. Yet four years after their adoption, parties to the CBD and other rights- and stakeholders have not received guidance about either what kinds of arrangements do and do not constitute ‘other effective area-based conservation measures’, or how best to appropriately recognise and support them.

This paper by Harry Jonas, Valentina Barbuto, Holly Jonas, Ashish Kothari, and Fred Nelson argues that without clear guidance on the issue, conservation law and policy will continue to inappropriately and/or inadequately recognise the great diversity of forms of conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems and their constituent elements across landscapes and seascapes, including by Indigenous peoples and local communities.

In this context, and in line with calls from the Convention on Biological Diversity and the IUCN, it proposes the establishment of an IUCN Task Force to further explore the issues with a view to developing clear guidance on ‘other effective area-based conservation measures’ as a means to effectively and equitably achieve Aichi Biodiversity Target 11. The full paper is available for download here.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Natural Justice Attends Workshop on Community Land Rights in Kenya

On October 15th and 16th, the Natural Justice Kenya team attended a Community Land Protection workshop in Nairobi, which was facilitated by OXFAM, the Kenya Land Alliance (KLA) and Namati.  Natural Justice is continuing its collaboration with Namati following the successful meeting held in November, 2013 with African community rights activists on community land and natural resource rights.

The primary objective of the two-day workshop was to present Namati’s community land protection process and to discuss the Community Land Bill. The workshop was attended by a number of Kenya civil society organizations and indigenous peoples networks, including Natural Justice’s community partners Kivulini Trust, Friends of Lake Turkana and Save Lamu. In 2013, Natural Justice partnered with Namati to host a meeting.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Second National ICCA Conference Held in the Philippines

Indigenous peoples' and community conserved territories and areas (ICCAs) are gaining significant ground in the Philippines, with the hosting of the second national ICCA conference from 21-22 October in Pasig City. Following a successful first national conference in early 2012 and the 2013 launching of the Philippines national ICCA consortium (known as "Bukluran"), this conference had around 200 participants, most of whom were Indigenous representatives from across the country.

The conference was opened by welcoming remarks of Honourable Leonor Oralde-Quintayo (Chairperson of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples), Amelia Supetran (UN Development Programme), and Honourable Teddy Baguilat (Representative of the Philippine Congress), among several others. After a presentation by Dr. Theresa Mundita Lim (Director of the Biodiversity Management Bureau, BMB) on the status of national recognition of ICCAs, Holly Jonas (Natural Justice and the ICCA Consortium) provided an overview of global developments on ICCAs, including from several other countries and in international law and policy.

Monday, October 20, 2014

UN calls for Human Rights to be promoted in Climate Change Negotiations


A Group of Experts has written an open letter to all Governments involved in the current round of climate negotiations, asserting that climate change interferes with the enjoyment of human rights recognised and protected by international law. The calls came ahead of the meeting in Bonn (20-25 October) of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, to discuss the application of the Climate Change Convention principles, as well as measures for mitigation of, and adaptation to the impacts of climate change. The experts have underscored the need for urgency in addressing this topic due to the approaching deadlines for the climate negotiations to reach a concrete solution. Following the ADP meeting in Bonn, the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC meets this December in Lima (COP 20), with the goal of adopting a new legal instrument at its next meeting, in Paris in December 2015 (COP 21).

Two Meetings on Biocultural Community Protocols held in Mexico

From September 29 to October 3, 2014, Johanna von Braun and Barbara Lassen from Natural Justice contributed to two meetings on BCPs in Mexico. The meetings were organized by GIZ (German Development Cooperation) under the project “Governance of Biodiversity” and CONABIO , Mexico’s National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity.The first meeting brought together representatives from indigenous peoples and local communities from different parts of Mexico. The second meeting informed representatives of government agencies, research institutions and NGOs.

Natural Justice presented on lessons learned from BCP processes and on examples of protocols in Africa. Regional examples were presented from the Potato Park in Cusco, Peru; the Guna peoples in Panama; and from Alto San Juan in the Colombian Chocó (Natural Justice supported IIAP and ASOCASAN in developing this BCP in 2010). Mexican communities from all over the country presented on existing processes towards the recognition of their customary norms and rights to land and resources.  These local processes include internal regulations for ‘ejidos’ and rural communities, as well as autonomy processes of indigenous communities.

Participants exchanged on the experiences in and outside of Mexico and debated the merits of BCPs in the Mexican legal context. In some cases the existing processes already fill the function of a BCP, in others local processes could be strengthened by a stronger focus on community rights under national and international law. In a number of communities, local norms and regulations need to be made more visible and a BCP could support the dialogue of communities with government agencies and other actors.

Friday, October 17, 2014

BCP Training with County Government and Community Members of Isiolo, Kenya

Anab Kassim – Chairlady – Young Mothers Isiolo
On October 8, 2014 Natural Justice partner, Kivulini Trust, held a meeting on the application of bio-cultural community protocols (BCP). The workshop brought together representatives from County Government of Isiolo and Community members developing BCPs.

County Government representatives and community members are increasingly concerned that the Lamu Port – Southern Sudan- Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor will exacerbate the existing economic and cultural marginalization, persistent state of insecurity and lack of secure land tenure.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nagoya Protocol Enters into Force

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization will entered into force on October 12, 2014, providing the world with a mechanism to ensure that access to and the sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources, and associated traditional knowledge, happen in a context of transparency and with equity.

Natural Justice, and other organisations that have worked tirelessly to bring this dream to fruition.  In July, the requisite number of ratifications was attained, and the stage set for its entry into force. Ever since its founding, Natural Justice has been supporting communities in exploring how biocultural community protocols can assist them to engage with Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) according to their values. This is in addition to the technical advice that NJ has constantly availed at all levels, from the sub-national to the international.

Monday, October 13, 2014

UN Climate Summit: A New Approach for Agriculture and Forests? New BENELEX Blog

As global carbon dioxide emissions reportedly reached new highs, representatives from hundreds of national and subnational governments, companies, and civil society organizations gathered in New York for the Climate Summit convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 23 September 2014. The summit was intended to raise political momentum towards the adoption of a new climate agreement in 2015 and seemingly managed to infuse climate diplomacy with fresh energy.

Several States announced national actions to address climate change, as well as increased contributions to climate finance, most notably China and the European Union. The summit furthermore saw a host of multilateral and multi-stakeholder announcements on actions to address climate change clustered around eight themes: agriculture; cities; energy; financing; forests; industry; resilience; and transportation. For the purposes of BENELEX, the most interesting developments were the adoption of the New York Declaration on Forests and the launch of the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture. Read complete blog post by Annalisa Savaresi from the BENELEX Project of the University of Edinburgh here.