Destructive biofuels and wood-based biomass out of next Renewable Energy Directive say 115 organisations to EU renewables consultation

forest clearing for oil palm in the Philippines

forest clearing in the Philippines

Campaigners say: False solutions to climate change do not cut emissions but damage land and livelihoods in other countries


10th February 2016 – 115 civil society organisations and networks from across the globe have published a declaration today, calling for bioenergy to be excluded from the next EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED) [1]. The declaration is being submitted to a consultation into the renewal of the directive for 2020 onwards [2].


The EU intends industrial bioenergy, i.e. biofuels and wood-based biomass, to continue playing a major part in its new renewable energy strategy. Campaigners say this will exacerbate the grave impacts already being experienced because of current support for biofuels and wood-based bioenergy in the EU. Bioenergy already accounts for around two-thirds of energy classed as renewable in the EU.


Industrial bioenergy is not renewable

The central premise of the declaration is that bioenergy should not be classed and supported as renewable energy, contrary to current EU definitions. Campaigners point to growing evidence that industrial bioenergy is not renewable because it is not replenished as quickly as it is consumed. Worse still, carbon emissions from burning biomass for energy are often greater than the emissions from the fossil fuels they are supposed to replace.


Devastating impacts of large-scale bioenergy on people, forests, climate

The declaration sets out a powerful case for the exclusion of all forms of bioenergy from the new legislation, citing numerous examples of the harm that current EU bioenergy policy has done to people, forests and the climate.


“The devastating direct and indirect impacts of large-scale bioenergy must be fully recognised and reflected in the new RED” said Teresa Perez from the World Rainforest Movement [3]. “We’ve joined with 115 other groups to send a strong signal to the EU that it must change its mind on bioenergy or risk doing far more harm than good. It’s clear that support for bioenergy in the EU is directly impacting forests internationally and the people that depend on them, promoting industrial tree plantations, as well as incentivising even greater carbon emissions.”


Peer-reviewed studies and on-the-ground investigations show how industrial-scale bioenergy is not renewable [4]. Instead, it results in significant carbon emissions and fuels the destruction of biodiverse forests from North America to South-east Asia and Europe itself, which are vital carbon sinks. Biofuels in particular have become a major driver for land-grabbing in the global South and are, in many cases, linked to serious violations of land and labour rights.


Standards and sustainability criteria will not address the problem

Signatories of the declaration dismiss policy-makers claim that sustainability standards for bioenergy can mitigate potential negative impacts. Helena Paul from Econexus in the UK [5] states: “Standards and certification cannot address the fundamental issues of the scale of demand, and the scale of exploitation. Instead, certification helps to legitimise the destructive and exploitative practices by providing false reassurances. No regulatory body exists in the EU or elsewhere which has the capacity to verify, audit and sanction bioenergy supply chains.”





Helena Paul (Econexus), UK: ++44 (0) 7724 711183

Teresa Perez (World Rainforest Movement), Uruguay, ++ 598 2605 69 43,

Almuth Ernsting (Biofuelwatch), UK: ++44 (131) 6232600,


Notes to editors:

 [1] The declaration can be found at

[2] The consultation, which closes today, 10th February, can be found at .


[4] Prior to the declaration, seven organisations published an evidence-based background briefing: Bioenergy Out: Why bioenergy should not be included in the next EU Renewable Energy Directive:



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Human Rights groups call for palm oil moratorium in Palawan, Philippines

11 November, 2015

***Press Information for Immediate Release: 11th November 2015***

Human Rights groups call for palm oil moratorium in Palawan, Philippines: End land grabs and forest destruction now!

Puerto Princesa: 11th November 2015

A recent fact-finding mission by regional human rights groups in the south-western island of Palawan, the last ecological frontier of the Philippines, has revealed a pattern of land grabs and forest destruction by palm oil companies, partly owned by Malaysian and Singaporean investors.

Forest clearing for palm oil in Palawan

Forest clearing for palm oil in Palawan


Motalib Kimel, Chairman of the local Coalition Against Land Grabbing (CALG) and himself a Taganua leader from Palawan, said:

‘The palm oil company AGUMIL is taking over our indigenous peoples’ lands through forced and fraudulent land sales. It is quite contrary to national laws. We are losing our lands and our livelihoods. We are calling on the Philippines Government to uphold our rights.’

The appeal was taken up by a regional team of human rights experts, attending the 5th South East Asian Regional Conference on Human Rights and Agribusiness, some of whom visited the affected villages and heard testimony from the farmers and indigenous peoples.

Josie Rodriguez, Regional Coordinator of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples said:

‘The company has been taking land without the mandatory Free, Prior and Informed Consent of the indigenous peoples and without our involvement as required by law. In view of these violations NCIP has the power to issue a restraining order upon filing of complaints by indigenous impacted communities, in order to halt the company’s operations while the case is dealt with by the courts.’

The fact-finding team found that AGUMIL, and other oil palm companies, have been acquiring lands contrary to community wishes and in violation of their rights, with the alleged complicity of local government officials. The land grabs are depriving the indigenous communities of their food security, dislocating them from their culture, and driving them into further poverty.

John Mart Salunday, a board member of CALG and President of NATRIPAL, the federation of indigenous peoples in Palwan, said:

‘It is like people in the impacted oil palm communities are dying little by little because they no longer have the plants needed to cure themselves. Before they only walked half an hour to get the raw material for building their houses, for their artifacts and medicinal plants.  Now they have to walk half a day to the other side of the mountain before they can find the plants they need.’

Forests are being cleared contrary to law. In some areas, AGUMIL’s managed cooperatives have imposed unexplained and heavy debts on communities and these debts are being maintained in ways resembling debt slavery. Welly Mandi, CALG’s secretary, says:

‘We are being strangled by huge debts with both Agumil and the LandBank [the key financier of oil palm development], and our land titles are being withheld by the bank  as collateral.’

batak children with rice.jpg

Batak Children seeing their land being threatened by intensive oil palm plantation

Moreover, AGUMIL and other oil palm enterprises have bypassed with impunity regulations of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and those relating to Strategic Environment Plans (SEP), and have only obtained environmental clearance for their seedling nursery and oil mill area but not for the 7,000 hectares so far converted into oil palm plantations.

Marcus Colchester, Senior Policy Advisor of the Forest Peoples Programme which co-convened the conference along with CALG and the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines noted:

‘Having reviewed some of the available documents and official maps, it seems clear that local officials of the DENR are implicated in this process. Tragically we find such cases all through South East Asia where oil palm expansion is occurring. The Philippines has some of the best laws in the region that protect indigenous peoples’ rights but they are being ignored by local officials.’


For conference resolution see:…

For further background information:…

For recent local TV bulletin see:

See also:…

Press Contacts

Marivic Bero,  Coalition Against Land Grabbing –
Marcus Colchester, Senior Policy Advisor, Forest Peoples Programme – Tel: + 4407952 943481
James Harvey, Communications Manager, Forest Peoples Programme– Tel: + 44 7531 900395

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El Estado de Nicaragua demandado ante la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos por violaciones del Sistema Judicial

El 1 de octubre de 2015 la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (Corte IDH) con sede en San José de Costa Rica, autorizó iniciar la tramitación del caso María Luisa Acosta y otros, vs. Nicaragua sometido por la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos CIDH con sede en Washington, D.C., Estados Unidos. El caso versa sobre las graves irregularidades cometidas en el proceso penal seguido por el sistema judicial nicaragüense en el asesinato del Señor Francisco José García Valle, esposo de la defensora de los derechos de los pueblos indígenas y afrodescendientes, Doctora María Luisa Acosta. El asesinato fue realizado por sicarios en su casa de habitación en Bluefields, en la Costa Caribe Sur de Nicaragua, el 8 de abril del año 2002. Al momento de ocurrir los hechos, la esposa de la víctima, coordinadora del Centro de Asistencia Legal a Pueblos  Indígenas (CALPI), era la apoderada legal de las comunidades indígenas y afrodescendientes de la Cuenca de  Laguna de Perlas y del territorio Rama y Kriol, perjudicadas por la venta ilegal de los Cayos Perlas y de otras propiedades, realizadas entonces por los señores Peter Tsokos y Peter Martínez Fox.

En el año 2009 la cineasta norteamericana Mallory Shomer realizó el documental The Living Documents sobre el asesinato y su contexto.

Después de no haberse dado lugar al recurso de casación por la Corte Suprema de Justicia de Nicaragua, en diciembre de 2006; en junio de 2007 se presentó el caso ante la CIDH. El 29 de marzo de este año 2015, la CIDH determinó que los derechos humanos de María Luisa Acosta Castellón, Ana María Vergara Acosta, Álvaro Arístides Vergara Acosta, María Leonor Valle y Rodolfo García Solari, todos familiares del señor Francisco José García Valle, habían sido violados por el Estado de Nicaragua. La CIDH  le recomendó al Estado de Nicaragua adoptar una serie de medidas tendientes a proteger de mejor manera a las y los defensores de derechos humanos en Nicaragua, así como reparar adecuadamente a las víctimas del caso. Sin embargo, ante la renuencia del Estado, la CIDH decidió enviar el caso a la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, máximo órgano regional de protección de derechos humanos.

CALPI, el Centro por la Justicia y los Derechos Humanos de la Costa Atlántica de Nicaragua (CEJUDHCAN) y EL Centro Nicaragüense de Derechos Humanos (CENIDH), consideraron pertinente acreditar su representación ante la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos y representar a las víctimas del caso, que representa muchos de los retos que Nicaragua debe afrontar en materia de protección de defensores de derechos humanos, independencia judicial e impunidad.

La Oficina del Alto Comisionado de Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos ha indicado que “la falta de investigación y sanción a los responsables de violaciones contra defensoras y defensores constituye el factor que en mayor medida aumenta el riesgo de las y los defensores, pues los deja en una situación de indefensión y desprotección”. Asimismo, la CIDH ha sostenido que la criminalización a defensoras y defensores de derechos humanos “puede ser utilizada como medio de estigmatización colectiva y se envía un mensaje intimidatorio a todas las personas que tuvieren la intención de denunciar violaciones o hayan formulado denuncias por violaciones a los derechos humanos”.

Para ver la Audiencia de Fondo ante la CIDH  y un artículo publicado en BuzzFeed

Dra. María Luisa Acosta maria-luisa-acosta
Coordinadora del Centro de Asistencia Legal a Pueblos Indígenas (CALPI)

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A new perspective to World Ranger Day: honouring and showing solidarity also with the defenders of the natural commons

31st July 2015 – World Ranger Day Press Release

On the occasion of World Ranger Day, The ICCA Consortium– a Swiss based international association with members from over seventy countries around the world– joins in to the chorus paying respect to the rangers who dutifully protect nature as part of their daily jobs and obligations in protected areas.  It stresses that the world owes a huge debt to the many of them who dedicate their lives – with loyalty and selfless courage– to preserve the water we drink, the fresh air we breathe, the landscape and species in which we find solace and delight.

Uncommonly, however, the ICCA Consortium is also drawing attention to the indigenous peoples and local communities who protect and defend comparable nature and biological diversity not only in official protected areas but in the land, water and natural resources held as “commons” all over the world.[1] “The natural commons are at enormous risk from the powerful forces of extractive industries, infrastructure development, monocultures, poaching, commercial overfishing, land and water grabbing, wars and armed conflicts, imposed cultural change, and the privatisation and monetisation of natural resources in general.  These are some of the most powerful forces at play in the world today and the price of resisting them to conserve nature, cultural diversity and traditional lifestyles can be exceedingly high in terms of intimidation, violent abuse and injury… and unfortunately even death.” said Dr. Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend, Global Coordinator of the ICCA Consortium.

Indigenous peoples and traditional caretaker communities[2] are on the frontline in the struggle to preserve, protect, restore and defend the “natural commons” and, in particular, the territories and areas they collectively conserve on the basis of their traditional knowledge and customary practices, law and institutions (in short referred to as ICCAs).  People such as Councillor Armin R. Marin— gunned down by a mine guard while leading a peaceful anti-mining protest in Sibuyan Island, The Philippines; [3] Ms. Karunamoi Sardar— killed by a bomb while she was leading a peaceful protest against the encroachment of industrial shrimp farms into local mangrove areas in the Khulna Delta of Bangladesh;[4] and Guarani Indian leader Ambrósio Vilhalva— killed after decades of campaigning for his tribe’s right to live on its ancestral land in Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul state[5] are some better known examples of— unfortunately–  countless victims.

The ICCA Consortium is extremely concerned by the on-going violations of environmental customary law and human and indigenous peoples’ rights that include the killing or severe harming of leaders and members of indigenous peoples and local communities who resist land conversion, natural resource grabbing and imposed ‘development’ processes. “This is an unfortunately frequent occurrence in the global South, and particularly severe in places where local resistance and mobilisation to defend community commons and ICCAs has led to the militarisation of territories.  In too many cases, national armies and para-military security forces end up backing the interests of corporations and private investors at the expense of poor and vulnerable communities.” said Giovanni Reyes, a Kankana-ey Igorot, Secretary-General of the National Coalition of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines and member of ICCA Consortium’s Steering Committee.

The majority of cases of killing and severe harm perpetrated against the defenders of community commons and ICCAs remain unsolved, with both instigators and executors of such crimes rarely identified or brought to justice. The risk of losing one’s life in the attempt to protect community commons and ICCAs and even the likelihood that that sacrifice will remain unrecognized and unpunished represent a disincentive for people to engage in resisting undesired land conversions and “development” schemes and, in general, in equitably governing and sustainably managing their land, water and natural resources. “This is the effect intended and hoped for by the perpetrators of the crimes. Yet, despite this, and at times because of this, many defenders of the natural commons remain unhindered and some double their efforts and are singled out for reprisal.” affirmed Dr. M. Taghi Farvar, President of the ICCA Consortium. “Crucially, the families of the murdered and harmed defenders bear the long-term consequences of their loss, including loss of security and livelihoods, and the possibility of a lifetime of poverty and marginalisation. Unlike for rangers of official protected areas, there may not even be a token compensation or pension for the orphaned families. In addition, the communities of the murdered and harmed defenders remain deprived of some of their most aware, active and generous members.” said Dr. Dario Novellino, an activist-anthropologist and ICCA Consortium honorary member, who is spending his life in the service of vulnerable indigenous communities.

The threats to rangers and defenders of community commons and ICCAs were recognised at the World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia held in November 2014, and this recognition was incorporated into The Promise of Sydney Vision released at the Congress.  The Congress, which represented the largest ever gathering of conservationists from around the world, stated: “…we recognize that threats to nature, its biological diversity and protected areas are now at the highest level in human history, due to a convergence at immense scale of the impacts of human consumption patterns, population growth, and industrial activity. Many protected and conserved areas are at risk (…) and many rangers on the frontline have sacrificed everything for this cause. This reality must be faced directly, truthfully, and collaboratively. Bold vision and concerted action are required if we are to meet both conservation goals and human aspirations for current and future generations. There is no time to lose”.

The ICCA Consortium anticipated its celebration of World Ranger Day with a gathering at the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), which met this month in Geneva.  On the occasion, it called for the development of a global Solidarity Fund for Defenders of the Commons and ICCAs. “This Fund will seek to provide some level of compensation to families and communities adversely affected by the killing or severe harming of activists involved in the protection of their collective rights to natural resources, often based on ancestral ownership un-recognized by states or private interests. It will show solidarity with the communities willing to continue the struggle.” said Dr. José Aylwin, a human rights lawyer with the Observatorio Ciudadano of Chile.  “The establishment of this Fund is– simply put— a moral obligation for all of us environment and human rights activists.” added Sarah Selvy Fortuné, a Touareg member of the ICCA Consortium Steering Committee, from Niger.  “While the ICCA Consortium is willing to spearhead the initiative, the shape, organisation and hosting institution of the Fund are entirely open” stressed Sarah Ryder, Programme Manager of the ICCA Consortium “…and a number of individuals of known commitment and integrity are ready to serve as members of the body that will administer the Fund.”

The Fund forms part of the wider strategy the ICCA Consortium is fostering to respond to human rights violations of the defenders of community commons and ICCAs, and to expose and bring to justice the people and companies responsible for these crimes.  Further work to plan and structure the Solidarity Fund is scheduled, notably as a follow up to the 4th UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, to be held in November 2015 in Geneva (Switzerland).

For more information on the Fund or about ICCAs and the work of the ICCA Consortium please contact and consult where specific accounts– such as reports, videos and photostories— can be found about defenders of the commons and ICCAs.

 Released July 24, 2015


Councillor Armin R. Marin gunned down by a mine guard while leading a peaceful anti-mining protest in Sibuyan Island, The Philippines. He died a few instants after this picture was taken.


Karunamoi Sardar was  killed by a bomb launched at her while she was leading a peaceful protest against the encroachment of industrial shrimp farms into local mangrove areas in the Khulna Delta of Bangladesh.


Guarani Indian leader Ambrósio Vilhalva was murdered after decades of campaigning for his tribe’s right to live on its ancestral land in Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul state.


[1] Kothari, A. et al., Recognising and Supporting Territories and Areas Conserved by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, CBD Technical Study No. 64, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, ICCA Consortium, Kalpavriksh, and Natural Justice, Montreal, Canada, 2012.

[2] Hereafter referred to as “communities”.

[3] Goodland, R. and C. Wicks, Gold and Nickel Mining -Sibuyan Island, Case Study 6 for Philippines: Mining or Food?, Working Group on Mining in the Philippines, London, 2008.

[4] Environmental Justice Foundation, Smash & Grab: Conflict, Corruption and Human Rights Abuses in the Shrimp Farming Industry, AJF and Wild Aid, London, UK, 2003.

[5] Survival International, Ambrósio Vilhalva, 1960-2013 – an obituary 11 December 2013, accessed July 2015.

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Making Another World Possible Will Require Radical Alternatives – Impressions from the World Social Forum

By Ashish Kothari, Member of the ICCA Consortium Steering Committee.
*This article is quoted from the German Degrowth blog. Find it here.

If sheer enthusiasm can deliver ‘another world’, the opening rally of the World Social Forum in Tunis on 24th March held much promise. Thousands of women and men, young and old, vociferous and quiet, a colourful multitude of sloganeering, banner-holding, dancing and singing braved rain and well-below expected temperatures to march from the historic Bab Sadoun to the iconic Bardo Museum. The fact that this rally came just a week after the horrific attack on visitors and workers in this museum, killing 21, was itself highly symbolic. The Forum organisers were quick to not only denounce the attack, but also announce that the Forum would proceed as scheduled in a mark of solidarity with all peace-loving Tunisians, and in celebration of the remarkable revolution wrought by the country’s youth and workers as the first uprising of the Arab Spring.

Over the next 4 days, about 70,000 people from over 4000 movements or organisations are reported to have thronged the Forum in the sprawling El Manar University, with participation from every possible cause one could think of, and then some. Feminists of various persuasions, ecologists and environmentalists, climate justice and peace warriors (does that sound contradictory?), those seeking spiritual engagement, recyclers and upcyclers, proponents of the commons, free-the-internet hackers, Palestine supporters and anti-imperialism activists, peasant and indigenous peoples’ and worker movements, anti-discrimination fronts, global citizenship proponents, community health workers, poverty eradication and food sovereignty groups, the global movement against corporate impunity, alternative learning and education practitioners; you name it, they were there.

Unfortunately, with hundreds of events taking place over these 4 days, there was no way anyone could have got more than a glimpse of the Forum. I for one was dedicated to two events relating to the search for systemic change, and got no chance to participate elsewhere. But these two events themselves encompassed significant diversity, possibly forming a tiny microcosm of the Forum.

Courtesy: A.Kothari

Courtesy: A.Kothari

Towards a World Citizens’ Movement

The first, somewhat ambitiously named ‘Towards a World Citizens’ Movement’, brought together about 200 civil society members and movement activists from various countries.Organised by several civil society groups and networks including CIVICUS, Action/2015, GCAP, and CONCORD/DEEEP, this was a continuation of a 2-3 year process of bringing together practitioners and thinkers advocating transformations towards sustainability and equity. It was an interesting convergence (and at times divergence!) of perspectives and experiences from labour activism to spiritual living, from deschoolers and adult education proponents to activist artists, from climate justice activists to poverty eradicators, from degrowth advocates to youth revolutionaries (several from Tunisia!), and many many more. But there were also conspicuous absentees, such as the global movements of small peasants, fishers and indigenous peoples (e.g. Via Campesina), or of workers and trade unions; with humility several in the gathering noted that a world citizens’ movement has to be led by such peoples’ movements and not by NGOs, the latter needing to take a facilitative, supportive role.

My second event was much smaller, only about 20 participants. ‘Radical Well-being Alternatives to Development’, organized by Kalpavriksh, the Global Diversity Foundation, the Centre for Environment and Development, and SADED, made up in quality what it lacked in quantity. Panelists and participants described a range of inspiring examples of communities, civil society or others achieving positive change. Such initiatives, combined with peoples’ resistance to destructive projects and landgrab, are yielding diverse approaches to well-being, some ancient (like buen vivir and sumak kawsay in Latin America, ubuntu in southern Africa, and swaraj in South Asia), some very new (like Degrowth in Europe, and Radical Ecological Democracy in South Asia).

Radical wellbeing alternatives to development

Leah Temper described the resistance to pipelines and the move to claim sovereignty over traditional territories by First Nations in Canada. This has reinforced the policy of seeking prior and informed consent from communities when their interests are threatened, and the judiciary upholding oral accounts as valid testimony for establishing inalienable rights. She mentioned that the Environmental Justice Atlas coordinated by Autonomous University of Barcelona has been useful in mapping and making accessible accounts of environmental conflicts and resistance movements.

Uchita de Zoysa described how community and civil society efforts after the 2007 tsunami in Sri Lanka were successful in making the state accountable to its relief and reconstruction responsibilities, but also in maintaining the coast as part of the commons in the face of privatization threats. From such local initiatives to a global level was the move to forge 14 Peoples’ Sustainability Treaties, coming together at the Rio+20 conference.

Gary Martin pointed to the Moroccan concept of agdal, the collective management of the commons. A manifestation of this is the initiative to provide culturally appropriate education opportunities to girls from traditional communities in dartaliba (girl houses) where they can live and study collectively, with a mix of Amazari (their traditional language) and Arabic, helping them avoid the alienation taking place in mainstream educational institutions.

Patrick Bond described how in South Africa, some recent transformations have occurred in the successful struggle to make generic AIDS medicines available to the affected population, defeating US pharmaceutical company attempts to retain their private IPR stranglehold; and in the struggle for ‘commoning’ water and electricity in Soweto, Johannesburg.

Direct Democracy and Food Sovereignity

I spoke about the struggle for direct democracy by Mendha-Lekha, an adivasi (indigenous) village in central India, which has practiced self-rule, conservation of its surrounding forests, sustainable harvesting of forest produce, and the use of resulting revenues for full livelihood, water, and energy security. It has also converted all its private agricultural land to the village commons.

In southern India an organization of dalit women farmers, Deccan Development Society, has achieved food sovereignty by organic cultivation of traditional seed diversity, linking this to a public distribution system for the poor and to urban consumers. The women have also become film-makers, run a community radio, and manage a school where children are exposed to both traditional and modern knowledge systems. A global network of peoples and communities are trying to promote such local governance of nature and natural resources, through Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Territories and Areas.

The many faces of bottom-up change

Aseem Shrivastava spoke of the successful mobilization of farmers in western India against attempted land acquisition by one of the country’s most powerful corporations, Reliance. Jai Naidoo gave a brief historical perspective of the anti-apartheid and workers’ struggles in South Africa, with the major lesson that if revolutions are to happen, they will only be by and with ‘common’ people. Ruby van der Wekken described her involvement in demonetization, local currency, and other community exchange initiatives in Finland. Omar Sbei described an inspiring example from Tunisia, of workers at an oasis taking over control (its private owner being absent), democratically managing it, and putting back revenues from dates into a school, health clinic, and other community facilities. In India the Vikalp Sangam or Alternatives Confluences is a process of converging such initiatives and social movements for mutual learning and collaboration, and building a framework or paradigm of a sustainable and just society.

At more global level there are a number of initiatives, including on documenting and/or mapping local alternatives, on challenging conventional economic paradigms and proposing radical new ones such as the alternatives to development in Latin America arising from worldviews like Buen Vivir and Sumac Kawsay, the Degrowth movement in Europe, Solidarity Economy and Transition initiatives in North America and Europe, and the dialogue on Radical Ecological Democracy.

Converging the multitude of alternatives

As a participant of mainly these two events, it was not possible for me to get a sense of whether the rest of the WSF was indeed helping move us towards the promise of ‘another world is possible’. One view holds that the deliberately eclectic, almost anarchic space of the WSF is not conducive to cohesive convergence of perspectives and political mobilization, and so it is not a transformative process; another view holds that precisely because of this nature, it has the ability to attract enormously diverse movements and groups but still within an overall framework of justice and sustainability and that this in the long run is more transformative than trying to forge consensus through political declarations.

At the Tunis WSF there was some attempt made to host ‘convergence assemblies’ to bring people together, and a final session of open mingling and some common messages, which may be a step towards making it a more transformative process while retaining openness. There was considerable synergy between the movements demanding an end to corporate dominance and impunity, those fighting for climate justice, and women’s movement groups. The language of alternatives from various parts of the world also seemed to get significant traction in the convergence assemblies. Facilities to record one’s initiatives and continue the discussion, and a new process called the Internet Social Forum that enables such sharing and attempts to free the internet of state and corporate control, will aid in bringing movements together. But someone else who was able to participate in a greater number of events and in the final sessions, can reflect better on these issues. For me, being able to dialogue and interact with a diversity of activists and practitioners and thinkers on the issue of radical well-being alternatives, was itself well worth the long haul to Tunis. Not to mention being able to get a tiny glimpse at how youth can indeed be a revolutionary force.

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CARTA ABIERTA a las autoridades y a la prensa de Chile sobre la tragedia del incendio del territorio conservado por las comunidades de Quinquén y de Icalma

quiquen2En una carte abierta, el Consorcio TICCA comparte sur profunda preocupación y solidaridad frente a la situación de las comunidades de Quinquén y Icalma en relacion con los incendios que se desarollan en Chile desde hace varios días que amenazan su territorio.


Una peticion a la atencion del ministro del Interior Chileno, Rodrigo Peñailillo, se firma aqui.



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TICCA y la Iniciativa sobre los Sistemas Ingeniosos de Patrimonio Agrícola Mundial

Carolina Amaya, miembro honorario Consorcio TICCA, ColombiaSIPAMforblog

> Hace un clic aqui para leer la minuta del acontecimiento

El Consorcio ICCA recibió la invitación de parte de la FAORLC, desde la Coordinación para pueblos indígenas y punto focal SIPAM, a participar en el Seminario Internacional sobre Diversidad Cultural, Sistemas Alimentarios y Estrategias Tradicionales de Vida los días 4 a 6 de noviembre de 2014 y a la Reunión de organización de la Red Regional de la Iniciativa sobre los Sistemas Ingeniosos de Patrimonio Agrícola Mundial —SIPAM— en América Latina y el Caribe, el día 7 de noviembre. El Consorcio fue representado en ambos eventos por Carolina Amaya, miembro honorario del Consorcio en Colombia.

Con la participación de representantes de al menos 28 países, se presentaron ejemplos de sistemas agroalimentarios, sistemas de gestión sostenible del territorio y de la agrobiodiversidad, sistemas marcados por productos emblemáticos y experiencias de diálogo de saberes y diálogo intercientífico, con el fin adicional de aportar a la reflexión de expertos en el marco del año de la agricultura familiar declarado por la FAO para 2014.

En la Reunión de organización de la Red Regional de la Iniciativa SIPAM, se presentó la evaluación de la primera fase de la iniciativa SIPAM (proyecto GEF), así como los dos casos SIPAM reconocidos en la región (el Corredor Cusco-Puno y la experiencia SIPAM-Chiloé), propuestas metodológicas para la sistematización del conocimiento tradicional y la patrimonialización de los sistemas agrícolas tradicionales, y las posibilidades de financiación y de alianzas institucionales y de cooperación interagencial entre las que destacan el Sexto Ciclo GEF, el Convenio sobre la Diversidad Biológica y el Consorcio ICCA.

La representante del Consorcio ICCA hizo una presentación para introducir el concepto de territorios y áreas conservados por pueblos indígenas y comunidades locales (ICCA) y para presentar las características del Consorcio como una red, los fundamentos del Registro ICCA y la metodología para caracterización de aquellas ICCA potenciales de autodeclaración. Adicionalmente, se aportaron algunas ideas que pueden contribuir a la conformación de la red SIPAM en la región de Latinoamérica y el Caribe. Estos aportes se adjuntan al presente informe.

¿Qué puede aportar el Consorcio respecto de lo que ya tiene de capacidad montada para impulsar la red regional de SIPAM?

  • Establecer comunicación fluida entre los puntos focales de FAO/SIPAM y los coordinadores regionales (Mesoamérica, Amazonia, Norteamérica Y Cono Sur)
  • En tanto que el trabajo se hace con y a través de los Miembros y los Miembros Honorarios, se puede dar una directriz para identificar sistemas agroalimentarios en las ICCA locales/nacionales que pudieran aspirar a un estudio como sistemas ingeniosos. Traslape ICCA/SIPAM
  • Comenzar por las ICCA ya autodeclaradas y registradas. Seguir con ICCA que no quieren ser consideradas como territorios de conservación exclusivamente sino que tienen una orientación hacia reivindicación de territorios, autodeterminación, medios de sustento e incluso intereses económicos.
  • En este sentido, resulta importante la experiencia y la plataforma del Registro ICCA, así como la metodología para el registro. Se puede tener en cuenta el ejercicio que antecedió al registro: una base de datos construida por los pueblos indígenas y comunidades locales, los Miembros y Miembros Honorarios del Consorcio, funcionarios del Centro Mundial de Monitoreo de la Conservación del Programa de Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente, gobierno y consultores en campo. (Este ejercicio está en línea en la página del Consorcio). El Registro ha sido construido según la estructura de la Base de Datos Mundial de Áreas Protegidas y está vinculado a esta para alimentación mutua.
  • El Registro ICCA puede ser sin divulgación pública, las comunidades gestionan su nivel de acceso, se fundamenta en CPLI y en la decisión de la comunidades de declararse como ICCA. Las comunidades y líderes del proceso han de tener claras las ventajas de registrarse, tanto como de declararse ICCA. Esto se puede extrapolar a los sitos SIPAM.
  • Establecer herramientas y mecanismos de divulgación de la noción SIPAM y reconocimiento/valoración social de los sitios y experiencias SIPAM tanto como de los desarrollos conceptuales, que se compartan con los miembros de la red así como con otros interesados. Por ejemplo las fotohistorias de las ICCA.
  • Establecer sistemas de alarma para aportar, todos los miembros de la red, en ejercicios de presión y de solución de conflictos.
  • El Consorcio ICCA cuenta no solo con sus Miembros —las organizaciones de pueblos indígenas y comunidades locales y las organizaciones que las apoyan— sino también con Miembros Honorarios (académicos y activistas, entre otros) que han hecho trabajos de conceptualización, por un lado, y de lobbying ante organismos como el sistema de Naciones Unidas, la UICN, las agencias multilaterales, los gobiernos nacionales, los institutos descentralizados, los sistemas de áreas protegidas de los países, etc. Podría ser interesante una retroalimentación de parte de quienes han orquestado todo esto dentro del Consorcio.

Para el Consorcio

  • Puede ser muy importante el énfasis en sistemas (agro)alimentarios. En el lenguaje ICCA hablamos de medios de sustento. Quizás adoptar mejor la noción de sistemas puede dar mayor relevancia a la estrecha relación que hay entre sistema de conocimiento tradicional, configuración cultural, manejo del territorio y desarrollo de sistemas alimentarios. Cambiar la flecha —por lo menos en algunos casos—: son los sistemas alimentarios los que garantizan resultados de conservación.


Algunos comentarios, en función de las presentaciones durante el Seminario y la preservación de sistemas de conocimiento

  1. Es menester evitar las imposiciones occidentales verticales tales como:
  • Desarrollo e incluso desarrollo sostenible
  • Economía de mercado, proyectos que traen dinero a las comunidades directamente con el proyecto
  • Estándares nutricionales traídos del Norte o de poblaciones urbanas y que desconocen además ciclos de dietas, restricciones, abstinencias rituales, ritualización de la vida cotidiana, sobre la certeza de que donde hay sistemas de conocimiento robustos hay verdaderos sistemas de salud pública con promoción de la salud, prevención de enfermedades y autocuidado
  • Orientaciones de género que promueven más bien la disrupción cultural y la erosión de estructuras tradicionales de autoridad
  • Derechos universales y programas internacionales/nacionales sin seguridad cultural
  • Intento por fijar por escrito cuerpos de conocimiento de la Tradición oral complejos y en permanente producción y adaptación
  1. El territorio y la gobernanza son fundamentales para garantizar la permanencia de sistemas de conocimiento y por ende de sistemas agroalimentarios.
  2. Y entonces, resulta crucial comenzar por el fortalecimiento de los sistemas tradicionales de conocimiento y de quienes detentan la producción de los conocimientos.
  3. Importante la fuerza que se pone en la restauración, así como es lícito para el movimiento ICCA que estas al autodeclararse están invitadas a renovar esfuerzos hacia la restauración que sigue de la reapropiación no solo territorial sino cultual y de identidad.
  4. De ahí, importante ser cuidadosos con la imposición de tecnologías apropiadas que pueden coartar o seguir invisibilizando los sistemas tradicionales de conocimiento.
  5. Por la misma línea, es necesaria la parsimonia respecto del ingreso de proyectos productivos y de apoyo técnico que fracturan los sistemas colectivos de trabajo con la «individualización» de los beneficiarios: esos «elegidos» que matan la solidaridad y el ejercicio colectivo.
  6. Vale la pena subrayar la importancia de la autovaloración por parte de las mismas comunidades para que sean ellas mismas quienes identifiquen problemas y vulnerabilidades culturales y para que tomen decisiones propias de corrección (que no sean las calificaciones que les traemos de afuera y que se configuran alrededor de los paradigmas del desarrollo). Lo que se ha llamado «poner en orden la casa». Indicadores culturales de los que habló Andrea Carmen, herramientas de evaluación cultural que parten desde la autoetnografía, etc.
  7. Por último, una ayuda para saber si el sistema de conocimiento esta vigente, en permanente producción y adaptación porque sus sabedores están fuertes y con autoridad: buscar las tres plantas alrededor de las cuales se configura el sistema de conocimiento y su expresión cultural: una planta alimenticia (como la yuca), una planta estimulante (como la coca y el tabaco) y una planta de poder o de conocimiento (como el caapi/yagé/ayawasca). Allí donde se siguen usando estos tres tipos de plantas, la cultura está vigente, preservada, en constante producción y adaptación. Los sistemas de conocimiento no están anclados en el pasado, son sistemas dinámicos en permanente cambio sobre la base de los principios y valores que sí son inamovibles.
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