Thursday, December 13, 2012

Using UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights

The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), the Centre for Human Rights and Environment (CEDHA) and Cividep-India have released a guide for civil society organisations entitled ‘How to use the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in company research and advocacy.’ The guide details the contents of the Guiding Principles and offers concrete guidance on how civil society organisations can  use them to ensure businesses are respecting human rights. 

From the description, “these Guiding Principles can be utilised to address the responsibility of business to respect human rights and thereby support local communities, workers and other rights holders to ensure fulfilment of their human rights. The guide provides a method for CSOs to use the Guiding Principles in company research and advocacy, and helps them to hold companies accountable for their corporate responsibility to respect internationally recognised human rights.” 

The guide can be found online here or downloaded here. The guide is the second of a series of guides produced by SOMO. The first guide, on Multi Stakeholder Initiatives, can be accessed here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Law, Environment and Design Workshop - Bangalore

Natural Justice and the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology co-hosted a workshop entitled “Engendering Dialogue among Law, Environment and Design” at Srishti's campus in Bangalore, India on 7 December, 2012. The workshop sought to share the visions of participants, discuss ways of working together, and explore possible intersections between law, environment and design. The workshop also saw the launch of the website of Natural Justice and Srishti’s exciting new joint project, the Law, Environment and Design (LED) Lab (opening January, 2013). Representatives from the Global Environments Summer Academy, the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development and the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment also participated in the workshop. 

While the LED website is not yet fully populated, it can be accessed here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Panel on COP 18 and Indigenous Peoples' Rights

Via the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), a recent panel offered representatives from Indigenous rights organisations a platform to share their analysis of the climate change negotiations on 4 December 2012 in Doha, Qatar, during the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 18th conference of parties (COP 18). The panel was organised by Tebtebba and the Indigenous Peoples’ Partnership on Climate Change and Forests and panelists included Victoria Tauli-Corpuz (Tebtebba), Dennis Mairena (Centro para la Autonomia y Desarollo de los Pueblos Indigenas - Nicaragua), and Stanley Kimaren (Indigenous Livelihoods Enhancement Partners - Kenya). 

The panelists analysed texts from the Subsidiary Body on Implementation and the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice and noted the extremely slow pace in negotiations in the Long Term Cooperative Action and Kyoto Protocol working groups. They also discussed the importance in protecting gains made by Indigenous peoples in the next climate change agreement, including the recognition of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, recognition of the traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples, and the requirements for full and effective participation in climate change programmes. On the Green Climate Fund, the panelists called for full and effective participation of Indigenous peoples, with separate representation from civil society.

Also relevant to climate change negotiations, Simone Lovera (Global Forest Coalition) recently drafted an article, posted on REDD-Monitor, on how the form of Measuring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) systems being developed to track the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) programme may be a ‘trojan horse’ for carbon markets that have yet to demonstrate results. 

Video from the panel can be accessed here. Simone Lovera’s article can be found here.

Kukula Healers Review 2012 & Plan for 2013

On 6-7 December 2012, Gino Cocchiaro (Natural Justice) attended a meeting of the Kukula Traditional Health Practitioners Association in Thulamahashe, South Africa. The Kukula Traditional Health Practitioners, a group of over 300 traditional health practitioners who developed a biocultural community protocol (BCP) in 2009, were meeting to discuss and evaluate their activities completed in 2012 as well as highlighting their aims for 2013. 

Accomplishments from 2012 included: registering as a NPO in South Africa; drafting a code of ethics for all members of the Kukula Association; creating a traditional knowledge common pool where individual knowledge is shared amongst members and with a local cosmetics company interested in the research and development of the knowledge; and collaborating with  Kruger National Park in its anti-rhino poaching efforts. In 2013, Kukula members plan to update their BCP to reflect legal developments and new priorities, to continue to develop their relationship with the cosmetics company towards and access and benefit sharing agreement, to continue to work for formal recognition as traditional health practitioners, to distribute copies of the code of ethics to all members, and to continue to support anti-poaching efforts.  The Kukula Association are also members of the African BCP Initiative and will continue to to seek the protection and growth of their knowledge, culture and the conservation of biodiversity in their area. 

Download the Kukula BCP here

Monday, December 10, 2012

BIOPAMA Regional Workshop - Eastern & Southern Africa

From 4-6 December, 2012, Gino Cocchiaro of Natural Justice attended the regional workshop for southern and eastern Africa on the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) programme in Johannesburg, South Africa. The workshop provided a forum for participants and stakeholders from protected areas, governments and civil society to support the planning of BIOPAMA, which is funded by the European Union and implemented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the European Commission Joint Research Centre, and the Access and Benefit Sharing Capacity Development Initiative (ABS Initiative). 

Gino and Suhel al-Janabi (ABS Initiative) presented on ABS case studies, including a discussion on how the Traditional Health Practitioners of Bushbuckridge are using their biocultural community protocol to work towards a potential ABS agreement with a cosmetics company. Other sessions included presentations and discussion on regional reference information systems, refining and addressing capacity development needs, and the drafting of an action plan for the regional implementation of BIOPAMA including the identification of priority activities, identification of key national and regional stakeholders, and agreed processes for collecting data and information. 

Learn more about BIOPAMA at its website here and through its introductory brochure in English, Spanish and French.

First UN Forum on Business and Human Rights

The first United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights took place in Geneva from 3-5 December 2012, hosting around one thousand participants from around the world to discuss how governments and businesses are addressing the impacts of business activities on human rights. The Forum was prepared under the guidance of the Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises and was mandated to discuss trends and challenges in the implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and to promote dialogue and cooperation between actors, including identification of good practices. The Chairperson for the first Forum was Professor John Ruggie, former Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Business and Human Rights

The programme included break out sessions under the banner of “Taking Stock – 1 1/2 years after the endorsement of the Guiding Principles”, reviewing experiences under each of the three Guiding Principles’ pillars. The second day was spent considering the challenges in the implementation of the state duty to protect and business responsibility to respect human rights, as well as the role of civil society and the UN system, and the challenges for business affecting Indigenous peoples and ways forward. Side events were held from 3 December and included “Challenges and Opportunities for the Extractives Industry in integrating human rights into operations”, “The role of the legal profession in promoting implementation of the Guiding Principles”, “Indigenous Peoples and Extractive Industries” and “Impact and remedy of mining on Latin American Indigenous Women”. 

The Forum was attended by participants from 85 countries, including state delegations, business enterprises such as the mining, oil and energy industries and international financial institutions, as well as civil society organisations. A full list of participants can be found here. The full programme for the Forum can be found here. For more information, please see the Forum on Business and Human Rights website here. Natural Justice's recent submission to the Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises can be found here

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

CBD Alliance Recap of COP 11

The CBD Alliance has launched a special issue of its ECO newsletter focused on the discussions, outcomes and challenges of the 11th Conference of Parties (COP 11) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). In a brief overview of COP 11, it notes the near-retirement of the landmark Decision III/11 on Agricultural Biodiversity in the name of efficiency and the successful effort to save the decision. It also expresses optimism that COP 12 will focus primarily on implementing past decisions. 

This overview is followed by several articles on a variety of COP 11 topics. Holly Shrumm and Harry Jonas of Natural Justice authored an article entitled “Resilient Peoples for Resilient Ecosystems.” The article highlights two studies which Natural Justice developed in partnership with the Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Territories and Areas (ICCA) Consortium and Kalpavriksh on the recognition of ICCAs. The first study, co-published with the CBD Secretariat, considers legal and non-legal forms of recognition and support for ICCAs. The second study offers a more in-depth examination of the legal and institutional aspects of ICCA recognition at the national, regional and international levels. The article then briefly considers the impact of COP 11 decisions on ICCA law and policy.

Other articles consider capacity development for Access and Benefit Sharing in Africa, the next COP and customary sustainable use, business and biodiversity, the tokenism of India’s $50 million pledge to support the cause of biodiversity, youth and COP 11, and biodiversity and livelihoods. 

The newsletter can be downloaded here

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

National Geographic Post on Biocultural Diversity

Gleb Raygorodetsky of Natural Justice-partner the Sacred Sites Initiative has drafted a post at National Geographic on the intensifying erosion of the earth’s biodiversity entitled "Pulsating Heart of Nature: How to Ensure Our Collective Bioculturally Resilient Future." He notes the limits in the capacity of linear, reductionist thinking in seeking solutions to this degradation and encourages integrative fields of inquiry to develop new and more meaningful responses. 

He concludes by emphasising the need for a more holistic worldview based on valuing biocultural diversity, and lays out the following requirements for achieving this transformation: 
 “We must embrace change as an inalienable part of life, rather than trying to avert it at any cost. We must be realistic about the scope and scale of what should be done to correct the course, as well as what each of us is capable of doing him or herself. We must also expand our notion of community from a group of people united by their geographic or genetic proximity, to a broader global community inclusive of other like-minded individuals and groups united by their recognition of the value of biocultural diversity as the very ‘pulsating heart’ of Nature. We must work towards a biologically and culturally rich world not only through our work, but more importantly by changing our own thinking and actions.” 
 The post can be accessed here.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Important Publications on REDD+ for COP 18

As government representatives gather to consider solutions to, and means to mitigate the impact of, climate change at the 18th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, several significant publications on the impact of climate change and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) on the rights of Indigenous peoples have been launched by Natural Justice partners. 

The Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) have published a briefing paper entitled "REDD+, Rights and Indigenous Peoples: Lessons from REDD+ Initiatives in Asia." The brief examines how far countries participating in REDD+ in Asia have advanced in addressing the social and environmental safeguards needed for the implementation of REDD+ and reflects on pilot activities in Nepal, Cambodia and Vietnam. Their findings suggest that outstanding critical issues for Indigenous peoples include the lack of effective engagement, free, prior and informed consent, and unresolved land tenure and carbon rights issues. The brief can be downloaded here.  

The Forest Peoples Programme, has released a note that refers to the Indigenous Peoples Caucus position on REDD+ and analyses key issues and opportunities for Indigenous peoples to influence the current REDD+ negotiations in Doha. The note can be downloaded here

The Indigenous Peoples Caucus, on behalf of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC), released a statement to the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) concerning REDD+ which raised issues such as the need to respect collective and customary systems of forest governance and management, the roles and contributions of Indigenous women, and the need for an independent complaints mechanism. The statement can be accessed here.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Video Repository on Forest Commodification

Forests are facing immense challenges from the increased commodification of their resources. Some incoming policies may worsen these challenges dramatically. To highlight the lived experiences of communities affected by forest commodification, the Global Forest Coalition has launched a repository of videos gathered from a variety of organisations and contexts. The repository has been launched as government representatives gather for the 18th Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to highlight the results of commodification and the dangers of policies that ignore or intensify commodification processes. The repository organises the videos into three key thematic areas: exporting commodities; carbon: schemes, scams & cowboys; and rights and resistance.

The repository can be accessed here.

Miskitu BCP Launched in Honduras

Moskitia Asla Takanka (MASTA), a Miskitu community-based organisation, has developed and launched a Biocultural Community Protocol (BCP) with technical assistance from Natural Justice and the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Regional Office for Mesoamerica. The BCP seeks to assert the right to and guide the process of obtaining free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) for projects in La Moskitia.

The Miskitu community, with a population of around 70 000, live in the tropical rainforest ecosystems of La Moskitia in eastern Honduras. They are facing a series of challenges in their traditional territory, ranging from the destruction of primary forests through agricultural expansion, illegal trade of flora, fauna and drugs, as well as the commercial exploitation of their sub-soil resources. 

To face these and other threats to their natural and cultural environment, MASTA has focused their protocol on defining a mechanism for free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), a vital procedural right that has often been ignored by government and non-governmental development projects. The process of developing the BCP was guided by MASTA, together with representatives from 12 territorial councils and their respective community councils. With this protocol, MASTA is seeking to guarantee that future consultation and consent-seeking processes respect the Miskitu’s own institutions and decision-making procedures. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

AIPP Report on Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change Adaptation

Climate change is increasingly impacting the livelihoods and wellbeing of Indigenous peoples through erratic rainfall, unpredictable climatic patterns, flooding, and increased water and food security. To explore these challenges, consider the ways that Indigenous peoples are responding to them and identify policy options to support Indigenous peoples' climate change adaptation, the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) has released a report entitled “Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change Adaptation in Asia.” 

The report reviews two case studies on Indigenous adaptation practices. The first, a survey of the Tangkhul Naga of northeast India, notes the significant impact of climate change in the community, including shifts in species of birds, reduced frost in October, increased pests and weeds, and shifting rain patterns. In response, the Tangkhul Naga have adjusted their agricultural practices to emphasise un-burnt shifting cultivation over rain-fed terrace paddies. The report also considers the adaptation practices of the Pidlisan-Kankanaey community of the Philippines. 

The report then summarises key international frameworks relevant to climate change adaptation. It concludes with policy recommendations on Indigenous peoples and climate change adaption, urging greater recognition of Indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge and community-based adaptation strategies, increased recognition of Indigenous peoples’ rights, ensuring free, prior and informed consent in all mitigation and adaptation programmes, and providing sustainable livelihood diversification support to communities. 

“Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change Adaptation in Asia” can be downloaded here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

ABS Stakeholder Meeting - Vanuatu

On 26 November, 2012, a national stakeholder meeting was facilitated by Vanuatu’s Department of Environment and Conservation together with the national GEF Small Grants Program on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS). The purpose of the meeting was to brief a range of diverse stakeholders on the Nagoya Protocol on ABS to the Convention on Biological Diversity and its significance to them, as well as to receive an update on the process of Vanuatu ratifying the Protocol. Vanuatu, which signed the Nagoya Protocol in 2011, is planning to ratify the Protocol in the near future depending on national regulatory requirements.

Johanna von Braun from Natural Justice and Andreas Drews from the ABS Capacity Development Initiative provided technical input to the meeting and supported discussions on the next steps for both governmental and non-governmental stakeholders in this process. After a fruitful debate both stakeholder groups identified a number of priority areas to be targeted in the immediate and medium-term future.

Groundbreaking Resolution by Ecuador's National Court of Justice

A resolution has been signed by all 21 judges of the National Court of Justice, a court with jurisdiction throughout all of Ecuador, declaring that judges in the province of Galapagos have the standing to hear cases on environmental crimes. Judges in the area had previously refused to hear around 100 cases, arguing lack of expertise. The cases then had to be heard in the Provincial Court of Justice, some 1 000 kilometres away, severely limiting access to justice. 

The Provincial Prosecutor of Galapagos sought a consultation with the National Court of Justice as several cases, including unauthorised fisheries and the capture of marine protected species, were not being heard. The National Court of Justice has the authority to issue rulings when there is doubt on the meaning of Ecuadorian laws. The consultation was formally requested by the Attorney General of Ecuador, and the consultation process included engagements with civil society. Ultimately, the National Court of Justice held that the judges of the territorial section where the offense occurred are the competent authorities to hear such cases in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code of Ecuador. 

Hugo Echeverria, a member of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law and a member of the Conservation Sector of Galapagos, says the resolution is important because it "answers a legal question on judicial competence, which had various legal criteria, all equally respectable; and historic, because it is the first time the Plenary of the National Court addresses an issue of environmental judicial procedure, showing the leading role that the judiciary has on the new legal field of environmental law."

Read more about the resolution in English here and in Spanish here.

Oceania Biodiscovery Forum & ABS Capacity Development Workshop in Brisbane

From 19-22 November, 2012, the first ever Oceania Biodiscovery Forum took place in Brisbane, Australia. The meeting was jointly facilitated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the Eskitis Institute of Griffith University, the Australian Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (SEWPaC) and the ABS Capacity Development Initiative. This meeting was followed by an Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS)  capacity development workshop for ABS Focal Points and other relevant stakeholders in the Pacific region from 22-23 November.

The Biodiscovery Forum provided a platform for exchange on the nature of bioprospecting activities by Australian research institutes, both public and private. A number of researchers shared the nature of their work, ranging from small-scale commercial bioprospecting activities to large-scale gene banks of marine genetic resources. These activities were then discussed against the backdrop of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing to the Convention on Biological Diversity and Australia’s draft policy as a user of genetic resources as well as the existing permit system as a provider of genetic resources. A number of national and regional benefit sharing examples with local communities were shared with participants. 


The 18th session of the Conference of Parties (COP 18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is taking place from 26 November to 7 December, 2012 in Doha, Qatar. 

On Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), COP 18 will consider financing options for results-based REDD+ activities, seek to clarify the links between REDD+ and climate change mitigation actions, consider the timing and frequency of summary information that REDD+ countries will provide on how REDD+ safeguards are being addressed and respected, provide guidance on national forest monitoring systems, offer guidance on establishing forest reference emission levels, and open discussions around land use, land use change and forestry and the impact upon REDD+. 

Find out more about COP 18, including schedules, reports and decisions, here. Live webcasts from COP 18 can be accessed here. The International Institute for Sustainable Development's daily coverage of COP 18 can be found here

Monday, November 26, 2012

First Ever Global Soil Week

While soils are the fundamental pillars of sustainable development, they are facing increasing threats. To draw attention to this challenge and to upscale actions towards sustainable soil management, the first ever Global Soil Week was hosted by the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Berlin from 18-22 November, 2012. The week sought to provide a platform to initiate follow-up actions on land and soil-related decisions made at the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Conference to offer a forum of interactive exchange and dialogue. At the week, stakeholders from science, government, business and civil society came together to share their land and soil-related experience and expertise, and to develop future plans of action for sustainable land/soil management and governance.

Several panels, platform sessions, and dialogue sessions were held on various relevant themes. One of particular interest was a dialogue session on securing the commons co-hosted by Maliasili Initiatives, the Rights and Resources Initiative, and the International Land Coalition. The session “reviewed the state of current knowledge around sustainable use and governance of communal natural resources, and examine threats to communal tenure of lands and resources in a range of different geographic contexts, and from points of reference as varied as gender dimensions, indigenous rights, biodiversity conservation, pastoralist land use, and forest governance.”

Find out more about Global Soil Week here. The International Institute for Sustainable Development's coverage from the week can be accessed here. Find out more about the week’s sessions here

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Fellowship Opportunity at IACHR

Natural Justice strongly encourages partners to consider applying for a recently opened fellowship on Indigenous peoples' rights with the Executive Secretariat of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organisation of American States (OAS). The IACHR has been a leading institution for the advancement of Indigenous peoples' rights, and fellows will support the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The position has been opened to provide an opportunity for young lawyers from OAS Member States to understand and apply the mechanisms of protection of the inter-American system of human rights in the area of Indigenous peoples’ rights. 

Successful applicants must be citizens of an OAS member state, be proficient in Spanish, have received a law degree after January 2005, and have a demonstrable professional interest in the legal field of human rights, specifically in the area of Indigenous peoples’ rights. Applicants must present a paper of up to five pages, not edited by another person, on a human rights issue of interest to the candidate in the area of indigenous peoples’ rights. 

Find out more about the position here.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Article on Unique Rights of Indigenous Peoples - Think Africa Press

The body of law and policy around the rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities is changing and expanding rapidly. To offer a brief overview of notable international instruments and cases relevant to the African context, Dinah Shelton of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission has prepared an article on relevant law entitled "The Unique Rights of Indigenous Peoples" for a Think Africa Press online course on ‘International Law and Africa.’ 

The article briefly explains and considers the implications of developments in three areas: the international sphere; African cases; and Inter-American cases. At the international level, ILO Convention No. 107, ILO Convention No. 169, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are considered. For African cases, the Endorois case at the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights is covered. On Inter-American cases, the growing jurisprudence around land rights and the right to property, as well as the Awas Tingni judgment of the Inter-American Court, are detailed. 

The article can be accessed here. More information on the Think Africa Press course, which is offered free of charge, can be found here.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

New Article on Ostrom's Impact on American Legal Academy

A new article has been released by the International Journal of the Commons on the impact of Elinor Ostrom’s work on the commons in the United States. The article, entitled “Ostrom and the lawyers: the impact of Governing the Commons on the American legal academy,” is authored by Carol M. Rose of Yale Law School and the University of Arizona Law College. The article traces the periods where Ms Ostrom’s signature work, “Governing the Commons”, was cited most often and the subject areas in which it was cited most frequently. 

The article identifies three areas where "Governing the Commons" had the greatest impact: general property theory, environmental and natural resource law, and intellectual property. In these areas legal scholars found "Governing the Commons" to “support the proposition that people can cooperate to overcome common pool resource issues, managing resources through informal norms rather than either individual property or coercive government.” The article also finds that some legal academics have been critical of some of GC’s findings, and many sought to balance GC’s themes of stability and sustainability with more ‘standard’ legal models supporting open markets, fluid change and egalitarianism. 

The article can be accessed at the International Journal of the Commons website here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Blog Post on Conservation and Human Rights

From its origins in seeking to protect disappearing wildlife at the behest of big-game hunters, conservation has evolved unpredictably and substantively over the past century. With a firm conviction that the practice of conservation, to paraphrase Dr Martin Luther King Jr, is long but ‘bending toward justice’, Dr Kent Redford recently traced the developments in conservation practices and the increasing emphasis on the need to incorporate human rights discourses and practices into conservation in a blog post for Just Conservation.

According to Dr Redford, “change also came about at the turn of the last century because of the issue of justice. The arc of conservation was bending with the realization that our moral argument for the value of conserving biodiversity was seriously flawed if we ourselves were acting immorally towards people. Seeking one justice did not justify abrogating another. So conservation entered the period of accommodation, of self-examination, and of change. It was clear that we needed to seriously consider how our actions, taken in pursuit of conservation goals, affected the rights of the people impacted by those actions.” 

Find the full blog post here.

New Report on Sacred Natural Site Protection in Kenya

As Sacred Natural Sites in Kenya and around the world are increasingly threatened, the African Biodiversity Network, the Institute of Culture and Ecology and The Gaia Foundation have released a new report on the protection of Sacred Natural Sites entitled “Recognising Sacred Natural Sites and Territories in Kenya.” The report was commissioned after the enactment of Kenya’s new Constitution in 2010 and authored by Adam Hussein Adam. 

The report is targeted at communities, civil society, lawyers and policy makers. It examines how the Constitution, national and international laws can support the recognition of Sacred Natural Sites and their community governance systems. It makes recommendations for securing greater recognition of Sacred Natural Sites and Territories, and the rights and responsibilities of the communities who protect these sites. It also explores some of the issues which need to be addressed in the pending Community Land Act in Kenya.  

The executive summary can be downloaded here. The full report can be downloaded here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New UEBT Brief on Nagoya Protocol

As the Nagoya Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) is ratified by more and more nations, it is important that stakeholders understand its implications. To help businesses, and especially companies using biodiversity to develop food and personal care products, Natural Justice-partner the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) has released a technical brief on the provisions of the Nagoya Protocol. 

The brief begins by describing the overall purpose of the Nagoya Protocol and outlining the types of activities that will be impacted by its implementation. It then discusses changes to existing ABS requirements and details which countries will be establishing measures for ABS under the Protocol. It concludes by focusing on the specific implications for natural ingredients in food and personal care products. 

A report on the brief by can be found here. The brief can be downloaded here.

FAO Study on Women's Role in Livestock Conservation

While two-thirds of the world’s 600 million livestock keepers are women, the role of women in conservation and breeding indigenous livestock remains poorly documented and undervalued. A new UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) study, entitled “Invisible Guardians: Women manage livestock diversity,” seeks to address this shortcoming. 

The report notes the capacity of indigenous livestock breeds to adapt to harsh climates, resist disease, thrive on local fodder, and support themselves with low maintenance. The report argues that the role that women play in conserving and breeding these livestock has been significantly underappreciated. Study author and Natural Justice-partner Ilse Köhler-Rollefson argues that women are the guardians of livestock diversity. The report offers specific guidelines to ensure that gender issues are made central to projects, programmes and policies that focus on animal genetic resource management.

A summary of the report, along with a supplementary interview with study author Ilse Köhler-Rollefson, can be accessed here. The report can be downloaded here. An interview with Dailibai Raika, a livestock activist from Rajasthan, has been produced as a supplement to the brief and can be viewed here

Monday, November 19, 2012

Two Opportunities for EMRIP Submissions

Two significant opportunities are available to contribute to the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples' (EMRIP) work to develop and monitor the implementation of law and policy around Indigenous people’s rights. The first is a survey for Indigenous peoples on strategies for implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The survey can be completed online here and should be submitted by 18 February, 2013. 

The second is an opening for contributions by Indigenous peoples, academia, national human rights institutions, civil society and other interested groups and persons  on EMRIP's study on access to justice in the promotion and protection of Indigenous peoples’ rights. There is no prescribed form for submissions, and contributions should submitted via email to by 11 Febrary, 2013.