Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Second Session of IPBES Held in Turkey

From 9-14 December 2013, the second session of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-2) met in Antalya, Turkey. The objective of the platform is “to strengthen the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, for long-term human well-being and sustainable development”.

Within the final decision of the Platform “The Antalya Consensus” was adopted by delegates, this includes the following:
  • A work programme for the period 2014-2018;
  • Three task forces on capacity building, Indigenous and local knowledge systems, and knowledge and data;
  • Development of a guide for the production and integration of sub-regional and regional assessments;
  • Methodological assessments on: pollination and pollinators associated with food production; scenario analysis and modelling of biodiversity and ecosystem services; the conceptualisation of values of biodiversity and nature’s benefit to people; and thematic assessments on land degradation and restoration, invasive alien species, and the sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity; and
  • Rules and procedures for the Platform including the nomination of future Multidisciplinary Expert Panel members.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

ICCA Kenya Committee hosts Coast Meeting

From December 9-10th the ICCA Committee in Kenya hosted a multi-stakeholder meeting in Ukunda along the Kenya coast. The objective of the meeting was to initiate discussions on the idea of ICCAs amongst a wide range of community members involved in local conservation initiatives. Participants of the meeting included representatives from conservancies, rangelands, Community Forest Associations (CFAs), Kayas (sacred forests) and Beach Management Units (BMUs) from all along the coastal region. As a member of the ICCA Committee in Kenya, Natural Justice was involved in the planning and coordination of the meeting. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Pacific Biodiversity

Harry Jonas (Natural Justice) attended the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas in Fiji on 2-6 December 2013. Delegates reviewed the previous Action Strategy for Nature Conservation and updated it under the theme of 'Natural Solutions: Building Resilience for a Changing Pacific'. Natural Justice supported the ABS Capacity Development Initiative to host a workshop on challenges and opportunities associated with access and benefit sharing and attended with other workshops on locally managed marine areas and legal support for environmental challenges. More information on the conference is available here.

African Views on Green Development: A Multi-stakeholder Dialogue

From 4-5 December 2013, Natural Justice, together with the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa and the Heinrich Böll Foundation, hosted the ‘African Views on Green Development: A Multi-stakeholder Dialogue’ in Cape Town. Over 25 participants from the region representing civil society organisations, multilateral organisations, research institutes and academia attended. 

The objectives of the dialogue were to consider practical experiences across Africa on diversifying rural economies, localising development and increasing sustainable production to aid in the formation of policy positions that inherently reflect African needs and interests as input for the global green development agenda. The dialogues opened with an introduction to green development and the concept of the green economy. Sessions included the macro-economic scale of green development which considered the need to move towards sustainability-orientated investments, the likelihood of reforms within the capitalist system, and the importance of values and principles to underpin green development. A separate session explored locally-driven green development opportunities, best-practices were presented, and enabling conditions required for a green transition to support community rights discussed. A green employment and trade session examined creating jobs and opening markets, the need for decent jobs, job creation tools such as government spending and taxation, and the positive and negative impacts of greening the economy on jobs and different interest groups. In the final session participants deliberated the post-2015 development agenda, and opportunities and strategies for diverse organisations to positively influence the process. The dialogues wrapped up by identifying priority areas for future engagement. 

A summary report of the dialogues will be produced, and in 2014 strategic think pieces will be commissioned which will contribute African perspectives to the global process shaping the post-2015 development agenda.

Natural Justice presents on the Kenya Mining Bill 2013

From December 5-6th Natural Justice attended the Annual General Meeting of the Kenya Oil and Gas Working Group (KOGWG). KOGWG is a platform for stakeholder, Civil Society and community engagement on governance, sustainability and development issues in the oil and gas sector in Kenya. 

The first day was a policy review meeting to discuss the Mining Bill 2013 and Petroleum Act. To set up these discussions, presentations on the experiences of other countries in the region were given. Mohammed Athman from Save Lamu presented on his recent experiences in South Africa at the Natural Justice and Namati Land Symposium. Mohammed shared case studies of other communities across Africa who are struggling with similar issues, especially, how to put the law in people's hands. 

In the afternoon, Maya Sikand from Natural Justice gave a presentation on the current Kenyan Mining Bill. The presentation focused on human rights and environmental issues within the Bill, including consent, compensation, benefit-sharing and Environmental Impact Assessments. Notes from the group discussion on the Bill will be submitted as input from the Working Group.

Friday, December 6, 2013

"A great light has gone out in the world*"

Nelson Mandela, one of the greatest leaders of the 20th Century, passed away last night. As the world pays tribute to Mandela, it is helpful to remind ourselves of the values and issues he fought for so passionately. As accolades and condolences come pouring in from right and left wing governments, it is easy to forget that when Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island in the early 1980s, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and US President Ronald Reagan both labelled him as a 'terrorist'. Today the foremost legacy of Mandela is that of the man who emerged from those 27 years of political imprisonment. The statesman and father of the nation who was able to so generously forgive his captors and lead his country through the difficult process of reconciliation. The dignity, grace and humility with which Mandela was able to forgive his enemies and become the first Black President of South Africa and the head of a government of diverse races, interests and beliefs, has been an inspiration to many. 

Now, as we bid farewell to Madiba, those of us working in South Africa and across the world to fight for equality, freedom and justice should remind ourselves that while his legacy is indeed enormous and inspirational, there is still much work to be done. Racial and economic divides persist across the world today. Perhaps the best way to honour the work Mandela has done is to acknowledge this reality and continue to speak up for the issues he cared so deeply about.

*F. W. de Klerk

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

ILC publishes study on indigenous peoples’ rights to lands, territories, and resources

This study assesses the international instruments, mechanisms, UN bodies, and other regional and global initiatives that address concerns relating to indigenous lands, territories, and resources. In addition, it carries out an extensive regional review, showing how the situation of indigenous peoples varies across regions and countries. It also analyses the terms in which indigenous peoples’ issues are posed in core thematic and transversal issues such as women’s land rights, environment, and climate change. The study concludes with an overview of global trends, challenges, and opportunities that pertain to indigenous peoples’ land and territorial rights. Readers may find of interest the annexed table on a possible set of indicators regarding key land-related provisions in international frameworks. These indicators are of high relevance in the current debate on Post 2015 development and sustainable goals and related indicators .

The author, Birgitte Feiring, is a renowned anthropologist who has worked on indigenous peoples’ rights and development for more than 25 years in several agencies worldwide, including as the ILO Chief Technical Adviser on Convention No. 169 and as an adviser to bilateral and multilateral agencies and to indigenous peoples themselves.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

UN Global Compact Launches Business Guide on Rights of Indigenous Peoples

On 2 December 2013, the UN Global Compact launched A Business Reference Guide to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as part of the UN's Forum on Business and Human Rights. The aim of the guide is to help business "understand, respect and support the rights of indigenous peoples by illustrating how these rights are relevant to business activities". 

The Business Reference Guide was developed over a period of 18 months, involving the inputs of a number of Global Compact LEAD companies, as well as indigenous peoples, companies, business and industry associations, academia, international organisations, NGOs and individuals. 

The Global Compact is a call to companies to voluntarily align their operations and strategies with ten universally-accepted principles with respect to human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.