Wednesday, November 30, 2011

BCPs and Livestock Keepers' Rights in Nairobi

With drought and disease showing the potential to devastate livestock breeds developed for concentrated production, traditionally bred livestock are gaining attention from conservationists and commercial interests. In this context, the role of Indigenous peoples in breeding these livestock across generations and in ensuring sustainable grazing is increasingly recognised. This recognition is the foundation of the growing movement for national and international rights for livestock keepers. Biocultural Community Protocols (BCPs), through which communities can articulate their ways of life and practices of livestock breeding and sustainable grazing, are an emerging vehicle for asserting these rights.

In this context, Natural Justice participated in “Biocultural Protocols: An emerging approach to strengthening livestock keeping communities”, a one-day workshop hosted by the League for Pastoral Peoples (LPP) and the LIFE Network on 29th November in Karen, Nairobi, Kenya. Representatives from governments, NGOs, international organisations, and livestock keepers from six countries attended.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Third Biotrade Pilot in Vohimana, Madagascar

From 9-10 November, the last of three pilots linking the use of elements of biocultural community protocols (BCPs) in a Ethical BioTrade context took place in Vohimana, Madagascar. The series of pilots is part of a joined project between the Union for Ethical Biotrade (UEBT), GIZ, and Natural Justice aiming to explore the use of BCPs as a means to support UEBT members to strengthen their relationships with the local communities from whom they source natural ingredients. Vohimana is a 1600-hectare (ha) experimental reserve created by the NGO L'Homme et L'Environment. The area is a biodiversity hotspot and is divided into an 800 ha conservation zone, a reforestation zone, a production zone, and a residential area where several villages are located. In addition to conservation and restoration, the aim of the reserve is to generate sustainable livelihoods through promoting a range of activities that support the local communities to use the area sustainably. The activities include the promotion of a number of small micro-businesses ranging from eco-tourism to the production of essential oils used as ingredients for cosmetics.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Natural Justice Seeking Francophone Lawyer for Africa

Natural Justice: Lawyers for Communities and the Environment is seeking a Francophone lawyer or legal practitioner for its African projects. The lawyer/legal practitioner would primarily be working on the interface between community rights and environmental law, described as bio-cultural rights, and ideally would have a background in these fields. He/she would be required to assist in regional projects advising communities, community based organizations (CBOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and governments on relevant human rights and environmental law and policy, including  the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The individual should be fluent in English and French and be able to communicate technical legal language to a wide range of audiences, ranging from communities to policy makers and international negotiators. The lawyer/legal practitioner would be based out of the Cape Town, South Africa, office and be required to travel frequently. The full call for applications can be read below.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Working Group on Article 8(j) Concludes in Montreal

The 7th Meeting of the Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions (WG8(j)-7) concluded in the evening of 4 November in Montreal. Throughout the week, delegates considered a range of issues, including:
  • Progress report on the Programme of Work on Article 8(j) and related provisions;
  • Mechanisms to promote the effective participation of Indigenous peoples and local communities in matters related to the objectives of Article 8(j) and related provisions of the CBD;
  • Multi-year Programme of Work on the implementation of Article 8(j) and related provisions, with a new major component on Article 10 with a focus on Article 10(c), as well as focus on development of sui generis systems for the protection of traditional knowledge and development of indicators relevant for traditional knowledge and customary use;
  • In-depth dialogue on thematic areas and other cross-cutting issues of ecosystem management, ecosystem services, and protected areas;
  • Recommendations from the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; and
  • Adoption of recommendations.
The Secretariat’s meeting report and all of the in-session documents, including L docs with draft recommendations submitted by the Chair, are available online. For more detailed information about the negotiations' outcomes, read the Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Side Events on BCPs, REDD, ABS, and Protected Areas

At the 7th meeting of the Working Group on Article 8(j) (WG8(j)) held in Montreal from 31 October to 4 November, Natural Justice participated in four side events hosted by other organizations. The first side event hosted by Asociacion ANDES and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) was entitled, "Customary Norms and Biocultural Protocols in the Potato Park, Peru" and focused on the development of an inter-community agreement for equitable benefit-sharing based on Quechua customary laws, and the role of the agreement in strengthening local economies and knowledge systems. The side event also launched a new publication on the biocultural protocol of the six Quechua communities that established, governed and managed the Potato Park as an in-situ gene bank under their stewardship.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Side Event on Recognizing and Supporting ICCAs

Women in Pa' Upan, Krayan Selatan, Indonesia.
Credit: Cristina Eghenter
On Wednesday, 2 November at the 7th Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions (WG8(j)), Natural Justice co-hosted a side event with the Union of Indigenous Nomadic Pastoralist Tribes of Iran and the ICCA Consortium entitled, “Recognizing and Supporting Territories and Areas Conserved by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities”. It included a number of presentations from Indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ experiences and lessons learned with the recognition and support of ICCAs in different contexts.

Territories and areas conserved by Indigenous peoples and local communities (also known as ICCAs) are a phenomenon of global significance for the earth's biodiversity and ecosystem functions, cultural and linguistic diversity, and livelihood security. If appropriately recognized and supported, ICCAs could account for the conservation of as much land and natural resources around the world as those currently under government protected areas. Since 2003 and 2004, respectively, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA) have stressed the need to better understand and appropriately support ICCAs. CBD Decision X/31 also calls upon Parties to recognize the role of ICCAs in biodiversity conservation, collaborative management, and the diversification of protected area governance types.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Roundtable on Indigenous Peoples' Territories at WG8(j)

On Tuesday, 1 November at the 7th Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions (WG8(j)), Natural Justice hosted a roundtable on Indigenous peoples’ territories and community conserved areas. Members of Indigenous peoples and local communities from Zimbabwe, Australia, Canada, and Iran shared their experiences with varying types of legal recognition of collective rights to territories, areas, and resources, recognition of customary governance and management systems, and identity as a function of cultural connection to lands and waters.

Inappropriate forms of recognition and support was a common theme, particularly in cases where government or market-based mechanisms either retain ownership or decision-making power or have the potential to significantly undermine that of communities, primarily due to lack of attention to governance issues and inequitable sharing of costs and benefits. Other major barriers and challenges include far-reaching assimilationist policies, lack of full and effective participation of Indigenous peoples and local communities in decision-making processes that affect them, and a “clash of values” between customary and state legal systems and the collective and individual rights that they respectively elicit.