Forest peoplesâ€™ voices are increasingly being heard, and attended to, in debates about the future of the forests.
This month a team of indigenous people will be in Nagoya, Japan, for the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity, presenting their own vision of how forests and livelihoods can best be conserved based on local knowledge and respect for their rights.
In early September, indigenous people from Indonesia, supported by Forest Peoples Programme and other NGOs, held a further consultation with the World Bank in Frankfurt about if and how the Bank should re-engage in the palm oil sector.
The Bank agreed to extend its temporary freeze on funding for the sector while it again rethinks its strategy.
Likewise, we have seen detailed inputs being made to strengthen the International Finance Corporationâ€™s â€˜Performance Standardsâ€™, which are undergoing revision.
With a focus on national and local problems: Indigenous women in Colombia have spoken out through the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues against paramilitary-backed mining on their lands, which has led to killings and displacement; Amerindians from Guyana have travelled to Oslo to voice their concerns about Norwayâ€™s climate funds; forest peoples in Cameroon have sent a clear message that the government needs to secure their rights in forests if its programme for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation is going to be effective; and Twa in Uganda have established a new relationship with the Uganda Wildlife Authority to allow them to benefit from the tourism in parks set aside for gorillas, which displaced them from their forests.
The emergence of this strong and articulate social movement heralds a breakthrough in the way forest-related laws and policies are being developed and applied.
Forest Peoples Programme is proud to support this movement.
Comparing where we are today to two decades ago, the growth of awareness we have all achieved is truly impressive.
Here is one striking example: last week The Economist magazine, a strong voice for neo-liberal policies not famous for supporting â€˜greenâ€™ thinking, included articles that laud policies that respect indigenous peoplesâ€™ territories, recognise their right to â€˜free, prior and informed consentâ€™, require forest tenure reforms in favour of forest peoples and value forests for their wider social and environmental functions that current markets fail to capture.
The editor even favours funding efforts to curb deforestation through carbon taxes not a â€˜cap-and-tradeâ€™-based market in forest carbon credits.
We need to build on such gains to make them effective on the ground.
Will the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity finally accept proposed solutions to halt biodiversity loss that also benefit forest communities? For all forest peoples, the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), starting today, October 18, 2010, in Nagoya, Japan, is a critical one: their governments will make new agreements on the conservation, use, and development of the worldâ€™s natural riches.
As most of these resources are found in indigenous peoplesâ€™ territories, the future directions of the Convention will have far-reaching impacts on forest peoplesâ€™ lands, livelihoods and way of life.
Will forest communitiesâ€™ positive contributions to global biodiversity receive the attention they deserve and will their interests and rights be respected? Or, will they be limited to a few minor paragraphs in the Decisions of COP 10? Read more Follow indigenous and community representatives in Nagoya online Wayuu women in Colombia ask UN Permanent Forum to act In July 2010, the Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu, an indigenous womenâ€™s organisation, created by and composed of members of the Wayuu community in Colombia, presented a report to the United Nationsâ€™ Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), denouncing the multiple forms of human rights violations that Wayuu women experience due to their gender and because they belong to an indigenous group fighting for the recognition of their land rights in Colombia.
Read more 'Unsafeguardedâ€™ Norwegian money for REDD triggers controversy The dismally slow progress in the intergovernmental negotiations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases prompted the Norwegian government, in May, to fast track its own money through a parallel ad hoc financing mechanism to pay developing countries for reducing their emissions from deforestation.
The process was initially set up with minimal participation but, in response to protests, the Norwegian Government insisted that it would require respect for indigenous peoplesâ€™ rights and sound governance.
These claims are beginning to seem increasingly hollow.
Read more Palm Oil, Human Rights and the World Bank - Update Since the 1980s, the World Bank Group has invested more than US$2 billion to promote the global trade in palm oil.
The expansion of the crop in intensive mono-cultures, especially in Southeast Asia, has been associated with the extensive clearance of tropical forests, land grabbing and widespread human rights abuses.
In response to our complaints, the World Bank Group froze funding for the sector worldwide while it came up with a comprehensive strategy for engagement.
A first draft document was released in July for comments.
It has failed to address the main issues raised in the consultation, therefore Forest Peoples Programme and its partners have again appealed to the World Bank President for a rethink.
Read more The IFC extends review of its Performance Standards and related policies The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank, announced in 2009 that it would be reviewing the social and environmental policies and standards that it uses to guide and regulate its lending in vulnerable sectors.
This review has been on-going and has seen extensive engagement by civil society and by indigenous peoplesâ€™ representatives and organisations.
Although the review was expected to end in August 2010, the IFC has just announced an extension to this process.
Read more The Batwa of south-west Uganda officially open their new tourism venture The Batwa of south-west Uganda, through their organisation, the United Organisation for Batwa Development (UOBDU), officially opened their new joint tourism venture with the Uganda Wildlife Authority on July 1st, 2010.
A related news article â€œTrail of hope for Uganda's lost Pygmy tribeâ€ in The Guardian, 17 July, 2010, notes that â€œ.
for the first time, the Batwa have a stake in the conservation and management of the national park, even though they still live outside it.
Read the full Guardian article Cameroon REDD Community Consultations In July 2010, Baka, Bagyeli and Bakola forest people â€“ together with their local support NGOs â€“ conducted consultations in southern Cameroon to inform their communities about potential REDD projects.
They were very clear that climate change was already affecting their lives and that they fear REDD projects might not benefit them.
Indeed, there are about seven REDD projects currently planned in Cameroon.
According to recent FPP fieldwork, in at least two of the projects, the local communities have not even been informed.
Read a related press release Forest Peoples Programme logo For twenty years Forest Peoples Programme has supported the rights of forest peoples throughout the world.
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