Thursday, September 27, 2012

!Khwa ttu Awarded Golden Shield Heritage Award

Natural Justice partner !Khwa ttu, the San Education and Cultural Centre, has won the inaugural Golden Shield Heritage Award in the Outstanding Community Project category awarded by the National Heritage Council (NHC), the South African government institution responsible for "the preservation of the country's heritage." The Outstanding Community Project category recognises exceptional achievement for NHC projects that contribute to changing lives in the communities it targets and contribute towards making communities aware of their heritage, contribute towards poverty alleviation, and empower communities with skills for self-sustenance.

!Khwa ttu is a training centre for San youth on heritage and skills and has a fully equipped conference centre and restaurant. Its work is based on the theme “A celebration of the San culture, present and past, for a better future”. Its mission statement emphasises the restoration of the heritage of the San,  educating the general public about the world of the San, and providing training to the San in various areas.

Natural Justice is collaborating with !Khwa ttu in developing training workshops for San youth based at !Khwa ttu. The trainings will cover relevant national and international legal instruments such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nation's Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and intellectual property law relevant to indigenous plants and associated traditional knowledge. It will include case studies on claiming traditional knowledge over Rooibos and Honeybush.  

Read more about the Golden Shield Heritage Award at The New Age here. Read more about !Khwa ttu on their website here

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

CBD Alliance COP 11 Briefing Notes

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Alliance, a consortium of activists and representatives from NGOs, CBOs, social movements and Indigenous People’s Organisations, has prepared 12 briefing notes for the CBD’s 11th Conference of Parties (COP 11) in October in Hyderabad, India. The notes are based upon the discussions, debates and points of agreement which emerged from months of conversations amongst CBD Alliance network members on their priorities for COP 11. The summary of the notes can be accessed here in English and here in Spanish, and the notes themselves can be downloaded here in . 

Rio Tinto Mine's Net Biodiversity Impact Measured

A fascinating partnership between the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world’s largest environmental organisation, and Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest mining groups, has produced its first report on the net impact on biodiversity of a Rio Tinto ilmenite mine in southeastern Madagascar. The report is a product of IUCN’s effort to track Rio Tinto’s progress to meeting its commitment to a Net Positive Impact (NPI) on biodiversity, an initiative launched at the 2004 IUCN World Conservation Congress. 

The study seeks to measure Rio Tinto’s ilmenite mine as a pilot to test the tools designed to achieve and quantify NPI on biodiversity. Rio Tinto is using four different conservation actions to minimise the impact on biodiversity; avoidance, minimisation, rehabilitation and restoration, and biodiversity offsets. In the present analysis, biodiversity losses and gains were measured and forecast for the period 2004–2065 (i.e. from the date of the NPI commitment to the anticipated date of mine closure) in order to determine whether the mitigation activities are sufficient to achieve NPI by closure. The overall analysis shows that the mine “could be on track to achieve a Net Positive Impact on biodiversity by the date of closure of the mine” subject to key reservations. 

The full report can be downloaded here. Find more recent IUCN publications on marine protected areas management, ecological restoration for protected areas, conserving dryland biodiversity and other subjects here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Major Khoe and San Genome Study

A genomic study has revealed that the Khoe and San communities of southern Africa are “descendants of the earliest diversification event in the history of all humans - some 100 000 years ago, well before the 'out-of-Africa' migration of modern humans.” Over 200 individuals from around southern Africa participated in the study with around 2.3 million DNA variants analysed per individual. The research was conducted by a consortium of international scientists. 

Entitled ‘Genomic variation in seven Khoe-San groups reveals adaptation and complex African history’, the study has been published in the renowned scientific journal, Science. The genome-wide data will be shared widely. 

The report in Science can be accessed here. SABC’s story on the study can be accessed here.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Nouveau film intitulé "Protocoles bioculturels communautaires: Articulant et Affirmant l'intendance des communautés"

Au moment où les protocoles bioculturelles communautaires se propagent dans le monde entier comme moyen d’auto-affirmation et de protection juridique des communautés, un nouveau film intitulé «Protocoles bioculturels communautaires: Articulant et Affirmant l'intendance des communautés» vient d’être diffusé. Le film a été réalisé par Sanjay Barnela et produit par Natural Justice, en collaboration avec Moving Images, Inde. Ce film a bénéficié du soutien financier de la Fondation Shuttleworth. Le film s’inspire de l’expérience de deux communautés, les tradipraticiens de Bushbuckridge, en Afrique du Sud, et la communauté Raika du Rajasthan, en Inde. 

Le film est accessible ici. Pour en savoir plus sur les protocoles communautaires cliquez ici. Le Protocole communautaire de Bushbuckridge peut être téléchargé ici et celui des Raika ici.

Friday, September 21, 2012

E-Module on REDD+ for Communities

Human activities are consuming huge amounts of fossil fuels and raw materials that are creating massive amounts of persistent gases that are dramatically changing weather patterns in unpredictable ways. Deforestation contributes an estimated 18-25% of carbon emissions. The idea behind the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD+) programme is to generate funds to reduce emissions through forest conservation in order to slow the onset of climate change. Since most of the world’s remaining forests are in the ‘developing world’ and most of the world’s emissions are from the ‘developed world’, the majority of funding for REDD+ will be directed from the latter to the former. As REDD+ is implemented, communities will be significantly impacted, often negatively. 

In this context, Natural Justice has prepared a draft e-module on REDD+ for communities. The module seeks to prepare communities, especially communities developing biocultural community protocols, to engage proactively with the international framework of REDD+. It briefly describes the rationale behind and plans for REDD+. It then looks at the key issues that have emerged around REDD+, focusing especially on the concerns with its current status and the safeguards that are being developed to attempt to protect community rights. It closes by looking at the current forms in which REDD+ is being implemented. 

The full e-module can be downloaded here. Other e-modules drafted by Natural Justice can be accessed here. These modules supplement ‘BCPs: A Toolkit for Community Facilitators’, which can be viewed here. The documents are not final and any comments can be directed to Holly Shrumm (holly (at) and Harry Jonas (harry (at)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

UN Resolution: World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in September 2014

Photo via
The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a draft resolution to hold a high-level plenary meeting on 22-23 September, 2014 in New York to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. The main objectives of the Conference will be to “share perspectives and best practices on the realization of the rights of indigenous peoples and to pursue the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” The resolution also states that the Conference “shall result in a concise action oriented outcome document…on the basis of consultations with Member States, as well as indigenous peoples, and by taking into account the views emerging from the preparatory process.” 

“The World Conference on Indigenous Peoples presents a unique opportunity to ensure greater and more inclusive participation of indigenous peoples in decisions which affect them. Indigenous peoples need to be involved, heard and their issues addressed for real and transformative changes to happen. As well, the World Conference is an opportunity to bring to light the historical and current challenges facing indigenous peoples,” said Grand Chief Ed John, Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Read the full text of resolution A/66/L.61 here. Read a write up on the resolution by The First Perspective here.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Whanganui River to Gain Legal Personality

Credit: James Shook, Wikipedia Commons, via
In a significant recognition of the significance of the environment, a framework agreement between the New Zealand government and the Whanganui River iwi, a Māori community, has laid the foundation for the Whanganui River to have its legal personality formally recognised. The iwi had recently secured recognition in court that the river, the third largest in New Zealand, was an integrated, living whole with rights and interests. 

Read more about the case and the agreement from National Geographic here.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Película sobre Protocolos Comunitarios Bioculturales disponible con subtítulos en español

Como los protocolos comunitarios bioculturales siguen propagándose en todo el mundo como forma de auto articulación comunitaria y protección legal, una nueva película titulada 'Protocolos Comunitarios Bioculturales: Articulando y Affirmando la Custodia " ha sido liberada con subtítulos en español. La película fue dirigida por Sanjay Barnela y producida por Natural Justice, en colaboración con Moving Images, India. La película fue financiada por la Fundación Shuttleworth.

La película sigue las experiencias de dos comunidades, los curanderos tradicionales de Bushbuckridge, Sudáfrica, y la comunidad Raika de Rajasthan, India. La película está disponible aquí. Más informaciones acerca de los protocolos comunitarios están disponibles aquí, en inglés. El PCB Bushbuckridge se puede descargar aquí y el PCB Raika se puede descargar aquí, ambos en inglés.

En relación a los PCB, Natural Justice también disponibiliza, en español, el Protocolo Comunitario Biocultural del Alto San Juan, Colombia, que encontrase aquí.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

UNEP Protected Planet Report

The United Nations Environment Programme's World Conservation Monitoring Center (UNEP-WCMC) has released its first ever "Protected Planet Report." The report seeks to track global progress towards achieving Target 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The report was compiled by UNEP-WCMC, the International Union for Conservation of Nature's World Commission on Protected Areas and a wide range of organisations that build on the work of the CBD-mandated Biodiversity Indicators Partnership.

The report, which will now be released semi-annually, notes that while the protected area network is growing towards achieving targets in terms of area covered, many protected areas do not offer adequate protection for endangered species. The report also reveals that protected area management is changing dramatically around the world. According to Nature's write up of the report, "in 1990, just 14% of protected areas allowed hunting and other sustainable uses of natural resources, but today that number has risen to 32%. At the same time, the amount of area managed exclusively by governments has declined from 96% to 77%, a trend reflecting the rise of community-based conservation and co-management schemes with indigenous peoples."

Nature's story on the report can be accessed here. IUCN's description of the report can be found here. The report can be downloaded here

TCF Panel on Linking Agriculture and Conservation

Natural Justice partner and funder, The Christensen Fund (TCF), organised a panel discussion at the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) World Conservation Congress (WCC) entitled “from competition to collaboration between agriculture and conservation: moving toward convergence between agro-ecology and conservation biology.” The session included representatives from organisations working on issues such as biodiversity conservation, agriculture and Indigenous people. 

TCF described the session as coming in a “new phase of reflection and innovation around an agro-ecosystem approach as farmers, scientists and policy makers explore how to work with nature to reduce fossil energy subsidies, tighten nutrient cycles, better manage water use, contain the use of biocides, and take advantage of more complex and diverse systems to deliver more resilient and sustainable flows of food and fiber.” 

According to a report by the Earth Journalism Network, participants agreed on the need "to mainstream the idea that conservation of biodiversity need not only exist in places like national parks – which total less than 13 percent of the earth’s land area – but on the farms that cover much of the rest of the world.”  

Read the article by the Earth Journalism Network here. Find out more about The Christensen Fund here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

IUCN Journal on PAs and Conservation Re-Launched

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has released the first edition of its re-launched PARKS: The International Journal of Protected Areas and Conservation. The journal includes contributions on a wide range of subjects important to protected areas and conservation including ocean protection, protecting indigenous grasslands in New Zealand, the impact of veterinary fencing in southern Africa, the linkages between human health and well-being and protected areas in Canada, and a discussion of motivations for hunting in Iran. The journal was co-edited by Sue Stolton and Nigel Dudley of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and Equilibrium Research

Two articles consider Target 11 of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, which references "other effective area-based conservation measures", which can include Indigenous peoples' and local community conserved territories and areas (ICCAs). An editorial by Nik Lopoukhine, Chair of the IUCN WCPA, and Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, seeks clarity on which “management approaches are, and are not, to be included within the land and water areas established under the auspices of the target.” “Meeting Aichi Target 11: What Does Success Look Like for Protected Area Systems?” is authored by several  IUCN and United Nations Environment Programme staff and argues for “a holistic interpretation of Target 11 as a way for the global community to use protected areas to change the current unacceptable trends in global biodiversity loss.” 

The full journal can be downloaded here. Information on the journal and links to individual articles can be found here. Find IUCN on Facebook here and on Twitter at @IUCN

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

E-Module on ABS for Communities

Natural Justice has developed a draft e-module that aims to provide an introduction to access and benefit sharing (ABS) and its implications for Indigenous peoples and local communities. It explores the implications of a range of rights and responsibilities and how communities may be able to realize them in practice. Natural Justice is developing a number of e-learning modules to support communities developing biocultural community protocols (BCPs) to increase their understanding of key international legal frameworks, concepts and programmes. 

Throughout history, Indigenous peoples and local communities have used traditional knowledge and biological resources to cure sicknesses, provide nourishment, and fulfill everyday livelihood needs. More recently, many people have benefitted from the use of some of this knowledge and biodiversity to develop pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, crop varieties and livestock breeds, and other products for personal use. However, the communities that have nurtured the genetic diversity over thousands of years of cultivation and wild use often have not benefitted from these developments. Frequently, they are not involved in the research and development process, receive little to no compensation for their knowledge or resources, and have no access to the final products. 

Gujjar Community Consultation in Sariska Tiger Reserve

Natural Justice’s Arpitha Kodiveri and Sankar Pani attended a two-day workshop organised by Krishi Avam Paristhitiki Vikas Sansthan (KRAPAVIS) in Alwar, Rajasthan from 9-10 September, 2012. The workshop sought to understand the challenges faced by the Gujjar community after the declaration of the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan. Arpitha and Sankar presented on the concept of Biocultural Community Protocols and how a protocol might be relevant in the Sariska context. They were also involved in the consultation of community leaders from the 11 effected villages located in the core area, seeking to understand the grounds and process for the proposed relocation to surrounding areas and developing strategies for securing rights under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Kachchh Community Workshop on Forest Rights Act

Natural Justice’s Arpitha Kodiveri and Sankar Pani attended a two day consultation on ‘Community Forest Rights under Forest Rights Act: Challenges and Opportunities for Biodiversity Conservation in Kachchh District.’ The workshop was organised by  Sahjeevan, a Kachchh-based NGO, from 6-7 September, 2012. The consultation took place between members of pastoralist communities from the Banni and representatives from organisations working on the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA). As most communities are being denied various rights in forest areas, the workshop focused on the applicability and implementation of the FRA in Kachchh district with an emphasis on issues faced by pastoralist communities and on communities dependent on fishing and salt cultivation. The issues noted were the lack of implementation of the FRA provisions around grazing rights as well as evictions for industrial activities and the declaration of special economic zones. 

The primary recommendations from the consultation were: 

  • To ensure implementation of the FRA through a widespread awareness campaign and the facilitation of claims by the district administration in collaboration with civil society organisations; 
  • The withdrawal of clearances granted for the diversion of forest land not in compliance with the FRA; 
  • Traditional rights in the protected areas should be strengthened and should be recognised under the FRA.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Terralingua E-Magazine on Sacred Natural Sites

Terralingua has published its latest Langscape e-magazine, “Sacred Natural Sites; Sources of Biocultural Diversity.” This edition was co-edited by Luisa Maffi and Ortixia Dilts of Terralingua and Bas Verschuuren and Robert Wild of the Sacred Natural Sites Initiative. It seeks to “explore the rich interconnections between Sacred Natural Sites and Biocultural Diversity.” Natural Justice’s Steph Booker and Holly Shrumm contributed to the publication, authoring “Protecting the Sacred: The Role Community Protocols Play in the Protection of Sacred Natural Sites.” 

From the description of this edition, “through a unique lens of stories, photographs, articles, and a diversity of perspectives this volume of Langscape introduces you to the value of Sacred Natural Sites as valuable sources of biocultural diversity. They are the amongst the oldest places at which intersecting human culture and wild nature have deeply shaped humanity. Their conservation is complex but important not only for the survival of biodiversity and cultural diversity but also for human well-being and life as a whole.” 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Anaya Report to UN Human Rights Council

From the Special Rapporteur's
Youtube channel
The United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, submitted a report to the UN Human Rights Council on July 7th, 2012. The report summarises the activities of the Special Rapporteur over the past year, including his examination of the thematic issue of violence against Indigenous women, and reports on his continuing study of issues related to extractive industries operating on or near Indigenous territories. 

From the summary, “The Special Rapporteur addresses some issues that have arisen during his consultations over the past year with indigenous peoples, business enterprises, States and non-governmental organizations. In particular, he notes that a focus on the rights implicated in the context of a specific extractive or development project is an indispensable starting point for discussions involving extractive industries operating in or near indigenous lands. In this connection, consultation and free, prior and informed consent standards are best conceptualized as safeguards against measures that may affect indigenous peoples’ rights. The Special Rapporteur also suggests that the “protect, respect and remedy” framework, which is incorporated into the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, should apply to advance the specific rights of indigenous peoples in the same way as it applies to advance human rights more generally.”

Find the full report here. Learn more about the work of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples here. Follow the Special Rapporteur on Twitter at @unsr_jamesanaya and find his videos on Youtube here

Thursday, September 6, 2012

WIPO Indigenous Fellowship - Applications Open

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is seeking expressions of interest from indigenous individuals for the WIPO Indigenous Fellowship for 2013. The Fellowship seeks to build on a series of initiatives to ensure that Indigenous peoples are actively and effectively involved in the work of WIPO on issues that matter to them.

Fellows will work under the Director of the Traditional Knowledge Division of WIPO to assist in outreach to Indigenous peoples and local communities on intellectual property issues, contribute to and participate in the Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore, assist in planning and undertaking WIPO activities relevant to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, carry out relevant research and draft and prepare WIPO documents, and perform tasks that may be required in the context of the work of the Division. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

FPP Seeking Executive Director

The Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) is seeking an experienced and dynamic person to serve as Executive Director. The person should be committed to the continued and successful development of FPP and its values, strategic goals and thematic programmes. 

The Executive Director will be responsible for shaping the collective vision and direction of FPP, coordinating all FPP activities, fundraising, and overseeing the management of personnel. A successful candidate will have experience in providing consensus-based leadership, an understanding of relevant issues and legal frameworks, significant experience working with Indigenous peoples and local communities, fundraising experience, leadership qualities, a proven capacity for research and writing, and fluency in English with proficiency in French and/or Spanish. 

Find the full job description and details on how to apply here. Read more about FPP here. Find FPP on Facebook here and follow FPP on Twitter at @ForestPeoplesP.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Short Film on Artisanal Fishing in Latin America

Artisanal fisherfolk in Latin America face immense challenges from overfishing and climate change.  To highlight these challenges and allow young artisanal fisherfolk to share their own perspectives, Por La Mar Consorcio has developed a short film based on interviews with youth who draw their livelihoods from fishing. The film is in Spanish with English subtitles. 

Youth interviewed in the film emphasise the importance of artisanal fishing for supporting livelihoods, providing food security, nourishing cultures and creating jobs. They also consider the challenges they have faced from climate change. Finally, they consider how they can work to develop a better future for their communities. 

Read more about Por La Mar Consorcio in English here and Spanish here. Find more films by Por La Mar Consorcio here

Monday, September 3, 2012

Natural Justice at 5th IUCN WCC

Harry Jonas and Holly Shrumm of Natural Justice are in Jeju, South Korea, to participate in the Fifth World Conservation Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The Congress will take place from 6-15 September and will be preceded by meetings of the volunteer Commissions. Natural Justice will present at and participate in a range of events related to Indigenous peoples' and local communities' conserved territories and areas (ICCAs), sacred natural sites, biocultural diversity, rights-based approaches to conservation, governance and management of protected areas, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and access and benefit sharing, among others. The official Congress programme is available here. Updates will be provided on this blog throughout the Congress. Find ways to engage with the Congress from anywhere here