From 9-12 July in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Holly Shrumm (Natural Justice) served as a resource person for a preparatory workshop for representatives of Indigenous peoples and local communities in Asia and the Pacific. The workshop was organized by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and hosted by the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and the Indigenous Peoples' International Centre for Policy Research and Education (TEBTEBBA). The first two days of the workshop focused on:
- An introduction to the CBD and mechanisms for participation of Indigenous peoples and local communities, including the Voluntary Fund and the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity;
- Articles 8(j) and 10(c), including draft Decisions arising from the 7th meeting of the Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions; and
- 2011-2010 Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and Aichi Targets, with particular focus on Articles 11, 14, and 18.
The third day of the workshop was co-facilitated by Natural Justice and the CBD Secretariat and included presentations and group discussions on customary law; an introduction to biocultural community protocols and resource materials such as the toolkit for community facilitators; community experiences with developing and using protocols in Sabah (Malaysia), Sri Lanka, and Arunachal Pradesh (India); experiences with free, prior and informed consent and related national guidelines in the Philippines; and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing. In addition to sharing their own experiences with similar processes, participants discussed a number of key issues, including the importance of securing Indigenous peoples' territories and other fundamental rights (particularly those enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples); resolving conflict between customary laws and state laws; seeking partnerships with a range of different actors and engaging in national and sub-national decision-making processes; and demonstrating how Indigenous peoples and local communities are contributing to the implementation of international targets and obligations such as the Aichi Targets.
The fourth and final day of the workshop was facilitated by Gam Shimray (AIPP) and Joji Carino (TEBTEBBA) and focused on preparations and strategies for engaging in the 11th Conference of the Parties to the CBD, which will be held in October in Hyderabad.
Holly thanks AIPP, TEBTEBBA, the CBD Secretariat, and the workshop participants for a productive week and looks forward to further discussions and collaborations both in the region and internationally.