Friday, October 31, 2014

Local Communities Rise to the Forefront of Global Conservation Practice

While the global conservation movement has increasingly come to recognize the importance of indigenous and other local communities in terms of delivering conservation on the ground, much more needs to be done in terms of actively contributing to efforts to secure and strengthen local land and resource rights, according to Fred Nelson, Executive Director of Maliasili Initatives. Such rights are the foundation for rural livelihood security and a key part of recognized human rights, but also the building block for local conservation systems.

The upcoming World Parks Congress provides an opportunity to advance dialogue and new collaborations around these issues, and further ground durable conservation practices in local rights, interests, and actions. Read the full article here.

Legal and Dialogue Training in George, South Africa

From 20 to 22 October 2014, Natural Justice, with the support of Southern Cape Land Committee, hosted 3 days of legal and negotiation training in George, South Africa, involving community members from across the Karoo, likely to be impacted by hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking"). The meeting was supported by Ford Foundation Southern Africa.

With the support of Centre for Environmental Rights, participants from the community in Nelspoort together with representatives from the Anti-Fracking Task Team and Khoi-San representatives, engaged in one day training on fracking generally, as well as relevant environment and participation laws in South Africa. In addition, the role of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights was discussed, as was the principles of free, prior and informed consent and consultation in international law.

Subsequent days were spent discussing principles and differences between different methods of engaging with external actors, in addition to the role of legislation in supporting engagement between community and the government around fracking issues.

The training session complemented ongoing discussions with community representatives about different methods of mobilisation and the use of the law and participatory methodologies to support this.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

New Material on the African Commission on Human and People's Rights

Natural Justice has co-produced a community-friendly brochure on the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, as part of the Human Rights and Grievance Mechanisms program of the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO).

The brochure sets out a summary of the African Commission, the African Court and interesting provisions within the African Charter as well as the "Who, What, When, Where and How" of filing a complaint. See the brochure, and other brochures produced by SOMO with its partners, on the Human Rights & Grievance Mechanisms website.

More than 93% of Extractives Developments Involve Inhabited Land - New Report

In a new analysis of almost 73,000 concessions in eight tropical forested countries, more than 93% of mining, logging, agriculture, oil and gas developments were found to involve land inhabited by Indigenous Peoples and local communities. The report, Communities as Counterparties: Preliminary Review of Concessions and Conflict in Emerging and Frontier Markets, prepared by The Munden Project, highlights the alarming amount of land that governments have handed over to the private sector for mining, logging, agriculture, oil and gas, including 40% of all land in Peru and 30% in Indonesia. The researchers found that these concessions often generate conflict with local communities. Examining 100 such instances, the report identifies major patterns in how and why these conflicts occurred, and puts forth recommendations for avoiding them.

New Steps Of Change: Looking Beyond Protected Areas To Consider Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures

In 2010, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted the Aichi Biodiversity Targets as part of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. Target 11 calls for ‘at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water areas and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas’ to be conserved by way of ‘well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures’. Yet four years after their adoption, parties to the CBD and other rights- and stakeholders have not received guidance about either what kinds of arrangements do and do not constitute ‘other effective area-based conservation measures’, or how best to appropriately recognise and support them.

This paper by Harry Jonas, Valentina Barbuto, Holly Jonas, Ashish Kothari, and Fred Nelson argues that without clear guidance on the issue, conservation law and policy will continue to inappropriately and/or inadequately recognise the great diversity of forms of conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems and their constituent elements across landscapes and seascapes, including by Indigenous peoples and local communities.

In this context, and in line with calls from the Convention on Biological Diversity and the IUCN, it proposes the establishment of an IUCN Task Force to further explore the issues with a view to developing clear guidance on ‘other effective area-based conservation measures’ as a means to effectively and equitably achieve Aichi Biodiversity Target 11. The full paper is available for download here.