“Indigenous Peoples Are the Owners of the Land” Say Activists at COP20


This article comes from: http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/12/indigenous-peoples-are-the-owners-of-the-land-say-activists-at-cop20/


Widows of murdered leaders of the Asháninka community of Alto Tamaya Saweto of Peru and other indigenous rights activists raised their voices in protest at COP20 in Lima, demanding formal title to native lands. Credit: Milagros Salazar/IPS

Widows of murdered leaders of the Asháninka community of Alto Tamaya Saweto of Peru and other indigenous rights activists raised their voices in protest at COP20 in Lima, demanding formal title to native lands. Credit: Milagros Salazar/IPS


LIMA, Dec 6 2014 (IPS) – The clamor of indigenous peoples for recognition of their ancestral lands resounded among the delegates of 195 countries at the climate summit taking place in the Peruvian capital. “I want my land…that’s where I live and eat, and it’s where my saintly grandparents lie,” Diana Ríos shouted with rage.

The 21-year-old Asháninka woman is the daughter of Jorge Ríos, an indigenous leader who was killed in September for defending the forests of his community, Alto Tamaya Saweto, in Peru’s Ucayali jungle region.

The families blame his death and the murders of three other native leaders in that area on illegal loggers, and protested Friday at COP20 – the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – to demand formal title to their land.

The main demand set forth by indigenous activists at COP20 is focused on gaining recognition of their land ownership, and with that the protection of their forests and respect for their ancestral knowledge and collective rights.

In the eight countries that share South America’s Amazon jungle, formal collective title is lacking on nearly 100 million hectares of native land, according to the Coordinator of Indigenous Organisations of the Amazon Basin (COICA).

In Peru, where the widows from the community of Alto Tamaya Saweto came from, there are still 633 native communities without title to their land, according to the non-governmental Instituto del Bien Común (Institute for the Common Good).

“[We] indigenous peoples are the owners of the land. However, the State has not respected the traditional way in which we have managed it. Thus, land rights are the only strategy which we have left in order for our territories to be respected.” — Maasai activist Stanley Kimaren Riami

The demand for land titles is linked to the implementation of the U.N. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) projects and programmes in developing countries.

In the agreements adopted at COP16, held in Cancun, Mexico in 2010, safeguards were included to avoid social and environmental damage to indigenous territories where REDD projects are being carried out.

In the current 12-day conference in Lima, indigenous organisations are demanding that the states parties include, in the reports on safeguards that they have to present to the UNFCCC, indicators on biodiversity, the health of native peoples, land titling, and ancestral knowledge, among other aspects, Grace Balawag of the Kankanaey people of the Philippines told IPS.

These indicators and others will make it possible to gauge the extent of the participation by native peoples in the mitigation of global warming, said Balawag, the assistant project coordinator of the Indigenous Peoples, Climate Change and Forests Project Partnership under Tebtebba, the Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education..

Balawag and other native activists called for indigenous peoples to be included in national forest monitoring systems, because they have proven to be capable of preserving their land, thanks to their ancestral knowledge.

The Alliance, which has been taking part in international conferences on climate change since 2009, includes 17 indigenous organisations from 13 countries of Africa, Latin America and Asia, whose territories are facing a variety of threats.

In some cases, indigenous communities are suffering the impact of extractive activities like mining and oil production, Tarcila Rivera, the spokeswoman for the Continental Network of Indigenous Women of the Americas, told IPS.

In others, indigenous people have had to fight illegal activities that jeopardise the way of life of local populations, said Rivera, who is also the president of the Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Cultures of Peru (Chirapaq).

A study by the Munden Project that analysed 73,000 concessions for mining, logging, oil and gas drilling, and large-scale agriculture in eight tropical forested countries found that more than 93 percent of these developments were found to involve land inhabited by indigenous peoples and local communities.

The countries considered in the study, which was commissioned by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) and published in October, were Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Indonesia, Liberia, Mozambique, Peru and the Philippines.

These threats are linked to the number of murders of people fighting for the protection of the environment and their land. Between 2002 and 2013, 908 activists were killed around the world, according to the report Deadly Environment released this year by Global Witness.

Brazil was the country with the most killings (448), followed by Honduras (109) and the Philippines (67).

Although recognition of indigenous territories is a global demand, different methods and strategies are used, said Balawag.

In some countries, like Peru, native peoples are asking for collective land titles, in nations like the Philippines they are demanding the demarcation of recognised ancestral land, and in other cases like Bangladesh they are pressing for the enforcement of agreements signed with governments in territorial disputes.

“If the land is not entitled, if REDD is implemented, how can we receive the benefits? It is related to the benefits and to our own survival. We can even be evicted by our governments and corporations,” said Mrinal Tripura with the Maleya Foundation of Bangladesh.

Tripura told IPS that the government of his country did not recognise the traditional system of indigenous peoples, who do not feel represented in the COP20 talks in Lima.

Similar complaints came from Africa. “[We] indigenous peoples are the owners of the land. However, the State has not respected the traditional way in which we have managed it. Thus, land rights are the only strategy which we have left in order for our territories to be respected,” Maasai activist Stanley Kimaren Riamit, executive director of Indigenous Livelihoods Enhancement Partners (ILEPA), told IPS.

“Carbon investors are interested that ownership of the territories is clearly stated prior to investing in REDD. Trees grow on land, and that land belongs to someone,” said the Kenyan activist.

This reasoning sounds simple but is an awkward truth for many countries taking part in the COP20 negotiations, which are being held in removable installations set up in the San Borja military complex in Lima, known as “el Pentagonito” (the little Pentagon).

Edited by Estrella Gutiérrez/Translated by Stephanie Wildes

Posted in blog | Leave a comment

Indigenous Groups Occupy Airport Near Amazon Oil Reserves

‘Without a satisfactory response to the interests of the Amazon Indians, the measures [of force] will get more radical,’ community leader Hugo Perez Petza said

by Nadia Prupis, staff writer

extracted from: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/10/29/indigenous-groups-occupy-airport-near-amazon-oil-reserves


Peruvian indigenous groups took control of an airport near an oil block in the Amazon on Monday. (Photo: Andrew Miller/Twitter)

Peruvian indigenous groups took control of an airport near an oil block in the Amazon on Monday. (Photo: Andrew Miller/Twitter)

A large group of indigenous Peruvian community members took control of an airport in the Andoas region of the Amazon on Monday to protest Argentine energy company Pluspetrol, which they say is polluting the land and exploiting resources in the region to build their oil drilling operations.

Indigenous rights group Aidesep told the Latin American Herald Tribune on Wednesday that the occupation had grown to 2,000 people, a significant increase from the days before.

On Tuesday, Nuevo Andoas community chief Tedy Guerra told Reuters, “Right now there are about 500 of us at the airport … flights have stopped.”

Nuevos Andoas residents occupied the airport along with other community leaders, including those from Alianza Capaguari.

Community members are calling for the government to overturn new laws regulating access to water and forest resources—laws which they say favor Pluspetrol at the expense of vulnerable land. Both Nuevos Andoas and Alianza Capaguari are in a region that was declared to be in a state of environmental emergency in recent years due to pollution, but leaders say the emergency declarations have done nothing to mitigate the effects of the oil drilling and reserves.

Among the demands are legal titling of the lands, a clean-up of water and territory to end the ongoing health threats from pollution, compensation for the lands on which the oil blocks—large swaths of land awarded to energy companies—are set up, and a fair share of 40 years of oil revenues.

“Otherwise humble indigenous communities are exasperated by the evident lack of political will to effectively address long-standing local grievances.”
— Andrew Miller, Amazon WatchThe occupation is “the latest in a series of recent indigenous protests provoked by the intransigence of Pluspetrol and the Peruvian government,” Amazon Watch advocacy director Andrew Miller told Common Dreams. “Otherwise humble indigenous communities are exasperated by the evident lack of political will to effectively address long-standing local grievances.”

Pluspetrol said it signed an agreement with the people of Nuevo Andoas in September for use of a quarry. But as Miller explained, “Water and soil samples have repeatedly been shown to contain dangerous levels of heavy metals…. Pluspetrol demonstrates a tremendous cynicism by trying to assign blame elsewhere and avoid their responsibly.”

The company’s transgressions are enabled by the Peruvian government, Miller said. The Ministry of Environment and People’s Defender office are “politically weak” against corporate interests and the Ministry of Energy and Mines, which has led to a “virtual conspiracy of obstruction between Pluspetrol and the government, designed to allow ongoing oil operations without taking the steps to address ongoing harms of local communities.”

“Neither the government nor the company are cleaning up the spills,” Aurelio Chino, president of an indigenous federation covering the Pastaza River basin, told Reuters. “All of these problems are building up.”

The airport is a central base in the communities’ fight against Pluspetrol, as it is primarily used by the company’s private jets and sits close to one of its oil blocks, 1AB.

Aidesep told the Tribune that the occupation aims to stop Pluspetrol employees from “[reaching] their camps set up inside Indian territory.”

“Pluspetrol and the government have a proven track record of only taking substantive action when their bottom-line is at risk. Stopping company flights in and out of the airport could paralyze local operations, which represent about a 4th of Peru’s current oil output,” Miller said.

The move is only a first step. “Without a satisfactory response to the interests of the Amazon Indians, the measures [of force] will get more radical,” community leader Hugo Perez Petza told the Tribune.

Guerra and Chino confirmed to Reuters that activists are considering seizing oil wells if the government refuses to negotiate with community leaders.

In April, several indigenous activists took control of 1AB for roughly a week, putting a dent in the company’s output. That action was followed with another protest in August, which saw thousands of indigenous activists blocking highways and seizing electrical utilities.


Posted in blog | Leave a comment

Unprecedented Case Filed at International Criminal Court Proposes Land Grabbing in Cambodia as a Crime Against Humanity

Article extracted from here

A case brought to the International Criminal Court this week could change the way we view the problem of “land grabbing” and trigger a major review of how the human rights violations that result are considered under international law.

Land grabbing is rampant globally. Each year, in countries such as Cambodia, millions of hectares of land are illegally taken from the people who live on it, often through violence and intimidation, to make way for mining, timber or agricultural plantations. The institutions who should provide justice to the victims of land grabbing are often the very groups driving the problem – national governments and their elites who frame land seizures as an unfortunate but inevitable step on the path to economic development, and quash any resistance.

The case lodged at The Hague on Tuesday alleges that land grabbing conducted in Cambodia ‘on a truly massive scale’ amounts to a crime against humanity, and should be punishable under international law. It goes on to explain how Cambodia’s ruling elite has waged a campaign of land seizure characterised by murder, illegal imprisonment and persecution. It provides evidence that since 2000, 770,000 people have been adversely affected by land grabbing, many of them already forcibly displaced from their homes, with 20,000 new victims in the first three months of 2014 alone. In the capital Phnom Penh, ten per cent of the population has been directly affected.

The complaint has been filed on behalf of ten Cambodian victims, whose identity has been protected due to fears of retribution. Their lawyer, from Global Diligence LLP, alleges that the country’s ruling elite – senior members of government, security forces, and business leaders – have waged a widespread and systematic attack on Cambodian civilians, motivated by ‘self-enrichment and maintaining power at all costs’.

Cambodia is no stranger to high-profile land rights cases. Since 2000, the equivalent of more than 70% of Cambodia’s arable land has been leased out – a significant proportion in a country where nearly eight out of ten people depend on land and natural resources for their livelihoods. Among the headline-hitting cases were land grabs for sugar plantations that supply Tate & Lyle, the Boeung Lake fiasco which resulted in the World Bank suspending funding to Cambodia in 2011, and acquisitions by rubber companies like Vietnamese giant Hoang Anh Gia Lai.

These disputes must no longer be seen in isolation. The complaint asks the International Criminal Court to consider them as symptoms of aggressive state policy, the impacts of which transcend the boundaries of human rights abuses and domestic crimes, and contain all of the legal elements that constitute crimes against humanity.

Land deals are often conducted in secret, so available figures are likely to be a gross underestimate. But we know that over the last decade as much as 49 million hectares – an area just smaller than the size of Spain – has changed hands or is under negotiation. Many governments and companies peddle the myth that large-scale agriculture is necessary to feed the world. But this argument ignores the fact that small-scale farmers still produce more than 80% of the food consumed in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. And they do this without routinely resorting to violence, persecution or evictions. Far from furthering development, taking land away from ordinary citizens undercuts it, representing one of the biggest threats to poverty alleviation.

If the International Criminal Court accepts the case, it paves the way for others to be pursued at the international level and could signal a ground-breaking shift in how land deals are done globally.

Surprisingly, large-scale land investments are still relatively ungoverned internationally. Since 2012, the US, Europe and Hong Kong have all introduced binding requirements for oil, gas and mining companies to publicly report on payments they make to governments. Meanwhile, Europe, the US and Australia have also introduced laws to prevent the import of illegal timber. No binding international regulations exist, however, to stop agribusiness companies from illegally acquiring, clearing or managing land.

If the Cambodian government is held to account for these crimes, other governments and the companies involved will have to heed the warning and recognise that land grabbing is too big a price to pay for doing business.

Also covered in the Financial Times: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d88613bc-4d66-11e4-bf60-00144feab7de.html#axzz3FRfZSOi2

Posted in blog | Leave a comment

Press release: Note for Press Conference at CBD COP12

Note for Press Conference at CBD COP12      7 October 2014

ICCAs are the World’s Best Bet for Achieving Many Aichi Targets

New publication shows the contributions of indigenous peoples and local communities to meeting the Aichi Targets of CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-20

More on the ICCA Consortium at COP 12 in our Website


Ashish Kothari, Honorary Member of the ICCA Consortium, talking during the Press Conference on the 7th of October at COP 12.

Indigenous peoples’ and local community conserved territories and areas (ICCAs) are the world’s most ancient form of conservation and sustainable use. In traditional or new forms, they may cover well over 10% of the earth, as much or more than official protected areas.

A new publication released at the CBD COP12 at Pyeongchang, Korea, shows that ICCAs already contribute to all the 20 Aichi Targets that are part of the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-20. This includes conservation of ecosystems and species, sustaining livelihoods, reducing poverty, dealing with climate change, providing security to vulnerable people including women and children, and enhancing the use of all forms of knowledge. With appropriate recognition and adequate support, this contribution could be greatly enhanced. This could be one of the most effective ways for Parties to the CBD to plug the gap between the targets and actual achievement, a gap that has been highlighted in recent reports including the Global Biodiversity Outlook.

ICCAs are embedded in the rights of indigenous peoples’ and local communities to their territories, self-determination, and cultural identity. They also reflect the recognition of the crucial role of such peoples and communities in sustaining ecosystems, species, and ecosystem functions. While thereby helping to achieve conservation, their primary motivations and objectives are ethical, economic, political, cultural, material, and/or spiritual; often they are simply a people’s or community’s way of life.

ICCAs contribute to the Aichi Targets in many ways. They:
• embody and help spread keen awareness of the values of biodiversity (Target 1)
• contribute to appropriate well-being, and to plans for national development, sustainability, poverty reduction, and biodiversity (Targets 2, 4, 17)
• involve systems of rules that combine incentives and disincentives for sustaining biodiversity (Target 3)
• contribute significantly to reducing natural habitat loss, sustain fisheries and aquatic ecosytems including coral reefs, and conserve threatened species (Targets 5, 6, 10, 12)
• are the world’s best chance of achieving a massive increase in conservation coverage in ways that are equitable and effective (Target 11)
• encompass sustainably managed production ecosystems including agriculture, aquaculture, forestry, and the domesticated and related wild diversity contained in them (Targets 7, 13)
• use innovative strategies to restore and safeguard ecosystem functions, including reducing or eliminating pollution and tackling invasive species (Targets 8, 9, 14)
• provide climate resilience through connectivity, migration corridors, mitigation and adaptation of various kinds (Target 15)
• are powerful means of achieving equitable access and secure benefits for communities that need these (Target 16)
• embody sophisticated and diverse forms of knowledge, including traditional and modern science and technology (Targets 18, 19)
• present innovative means of financing and provisioning (including through non-financial, voluntary means) biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of biological resources.


Cover of the last Policy Brief co-produced by the ICCA Consortium

But ICCAs face multiple threats: lack of tenurial security, extractive industry and inappropriate development, imposition of inappropriate land uses including top-down government protected areas and industrial agriculture, internal inequalities and injustices relating to gender, class, caste, ethnicity, race, and others, demographic and cultural changes eroding traditional cultural values, and incursion of external markets and inappropriate market-based mechanisms. These are often exacerbated, or made possible, due to lack of recognition of ICCAs, especially at national and sub-national levels. Much more has to be done to provide adequate and appropriate recognition to ICCAs.

With appropriate recognition and support, the role of ICCAs in achieving the Aichi Targets could be significantly enhanced. This would especially include the following steps, as requested or required by the relevant peoples and communities, with free and prior informed consent, and at the pace and time that they comfortable with. Several of the decisions of CBD forums already reflect recognition by Parties to take these actions, but urgent implementation is required.
• Recognition of their collective territorial and resource rights, and governance institutions, including in national laws and policies
• Recognition of the local/traditional knowledge and practices, protection against their piracy and mis-appropriation, and their synergy with appropriate outside/modern knowledge systems
• Facilitation in documentation, assessment, outreach, capacity enhancement, and public awareness of ICCAs
• Help in resisting threats, especially from powerful industrial and commercial forces
• Support to appropriate livelihood activities, skills and new knowledge to enhance the economic, social and political basis of ICCAs, in particular for younger generations
• Incorporation into systems of protected areas, other effective area-based measures, or other networks of conservation as appropriate
• Facilitating the empowerment of women, landless people, minorities, and other weaker sections of peoples/communities, to take part in decision-making
• Support to networking among ICCAs, and alliances among indigenous peoples, local communities, human rights advocates and development and conservation practitioners


The publication being released at COP12 is ICCAs and Aichi Targets: The Contribution of Indigenous Peoples and Local Community Conserved Territories and Areas to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-20 (Aichi Targets), by Ashish Kothari, and Aurelie Neumann, published by ICCA Consortium, CBD Alliance, Kalpavriksh and CENESTA, 2014.

Available at http://www.iccaconsortium.org/wp-content/uploads/ICCA-Briefing-Note-1-200-dpi.pdf

For more information on ICCAs, pl. see www.iccaconsortium.org. At COP12, contact: Ashish Kothari, chikikothari@gmail.com and Taghi Farvar, taghi.farvar@gmail.com

Posted in blog | 1 Comment

Policy Brief release: ICCAs and Aichi Targets

cover-Aichi-ICCAs-PolicyBriefIndigenous peoples’ and local community conserved territories and areas (ICCAs) have increasingly been recognized as significant sites and initiatives of conservation. ICCAs are embedded both in the general recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples’ (and of late, of other local communities) to their territories, self-determination, cultural identity,  human rights and other aspects. They also reflect the more specific realization of the need to both diversify and improve the governance of conservation in general and protected areas (PAs) in particular, to enable increased resilience, coverage, and efficacy.

In this context, it is also important to understand the contribution that ICCAs have made, and could make in even more enhanced form, in the achievement of the Aichi Targets of  the CBD Strategic Plan of Action 2011-20. Indeed the very concept and definition of ICCAs already incorporates a number of aspects of these Targets, and more generally of the Strategic Plan. This document asserts that ICCAs may be the world’s best option for achieving many of the Aichi Targets!


This is a very short summary of a Policy Brief prepared by the ICCA Consortium, CBD Alliance, Kalpavriksh and CENESTA. To read it, follow this link.

For more information on ICCAs, pl. see www.iccaconsortium.org. At COP12, contact: Ashish Kothari, chikikothari@gmail.com and Taghi Farvar, taghi.farvar@gmail.com

18. Researchers meet community at Beganachari community forest, Chittagong, Bangladesh @ Ashish Kothari

Posted in blog | Leave a comment

Important Announcement — WCIP in New York

MDG : World Conference on Indigenous Peoples at UN

World Conference on Indigenous Peoples

22, September 2014: On the first day of the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a formal document that will commit the UN and Member States to take a number of actions to put into effect and encourage compliance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The full text can be accessed at: www.un.org/en/ga/69/meetings/indigenous/pdf/WCIP%20Draft%20outcome%20document%20-%20rev1.pdf

“It took more than 20 years to adopt a UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said David Coquehuanca from Plurinational State of Bolivia. “We have moved a long way but still more needs to be done for Member states to incorporate this Declaration in their respective Constitutions and laws.”

The Conference document was adopted by consensus, after months of drafting and consultations among Member States of the UN and indigenous peoples from around the world. Voices from different Member States recognized good and critical elements of the Document such as:
•  Initiating a process to create a permanent body in the UN system that will monitor and encourage implementation of the Declaration;
•  Adopting the document will help to facilitate the commitment to the rights of indigenous peoples in their context local and national realities and continue further implementation of this declaration;
•  Considering options for a General Assembly decision to make it possible for Indian tribal governments and other indigenous governments to participate in UN meetings on a permanent basis;
•  Giving particular attention to the epidemic of violence against indigenous women, including Indian and Alaska Native women in the United States;
•  Measures to respect and protect places sacred to Indian and other indigenous nations and peoples.

The document, also calls for the development of a system-wide action plan for the UN system to bring greater coherence and effectiveness to the UN’s work relating to indigenous peoples, special attention to be paid to the Post 2015 Agenda. In spite of the good spirit and welcoming words for the adoption of the document, many member states and representatives of different indigenous groups and tribes referred to the serious challenges that were NOT sufficiently or NOT  included AT ALL in the document.

Some of the remarks in this respect included the need to include indigenous groups in all development decisions, debates and agendas meaningfully and in a resourceful manner. Special calls were made towards Member States that haven’t yet accorded recognition to the culture, traditions and wisdom of children and the youth in the education systems. It was also highlighted that there is a need to increase the political participation of indigenous people in decision-making processes as well as facilitating an enabling environment for the effective inclusion of indigenous youth in the definition, creation, implementation and evaluation of education programmes.

In regards to possible protection mechanisms, the need giving due attention and analysis of the development challenges such as land grabbing, mercantilization of life, and nature, which especially affects the lives of indigenous peoples, was emphasized. Violations of human rights of indigenous peoples by paramilitary or other forms of state repressions need to be recognized as well. In addition, the creation of a legally binding mechanism to hold transnational companies accountable to address the multiple intersecting crisis in relation to extravist models and transnational corporations. There is also a need to recognize the current militarization on territories that specifically affect indigenous peoples especially in Africa, Asia and Latina America as well as the right to self-determination. In this regard, the situation in the Pacific in respect to colonization by the US where there has been no intervention from the United Nations was raised as an example.

The current rate of persisting violence against women and girls around the globe was also raised as one of the concerns. With respect to the indigenous peoples, violence discrimination, and crime are more magnified due to intersectional forms of oppression. More reporting needs to be done in terms of collecting data on VAW and G, since most of the cases are under reported.  For example, American Indian and Alaskan women suffer the most sexual violence and domestic violence and 1 in 3 will be raped in their lifetime. Thus, there is a need to create and strengthen national and legal response mechanisms for violence against Indigenous women with a more specific and targeted resources. In this regard, a call for a High level conference on Indigenous Women and Girls and the need for appointing a UN spoke person on indigenous Women and Children was raised.

You can read more at the website: http://www.wcip2014.org

By Alejandra Scampini (AWID)

Posted in blog | Leave a comment

Success of LMMAs has many meanings because there are so many objectives

An interesting article extracted from the LMMA’s Network Bulletin!

The Topic: Success of LMMAs has many meanings because there are so many objectives. Where do certain management measures support, or potentially hinder, the achievement of priority LMMA objectives?

The Research: Locally Managed Marine Areas: multiple objectives and diverse strategies, Jupiter et. al., Pacific Conservation Biology

While LMMA managers may be knowledgeable about their specific sites, broader understanding of objectives, management actions and outcomes of local management efforts remain limited. This study identified eight overarching objectives for LMMA establishment and implementation: (1) enhancing long-term sustainability of resource use; (2) increasing short- term harvesting efficiency; (3) restoring biodiversity and ecosystems; (4) maintaining or restoring breeding biomass of fish or invertebrates; (5) enhancing the economy and livelihoods; (6) reinforcing customs; (7) asserting access and tenure rights; and (8) empowering communities. Researchers then evaluated how effective the most commonly used management actions are at achieving each of the objectives.

(Above: a schematic of common LMMA “Tools”, or management actions, that can be taken to achieve various objectives. Adapted from Govan and Jupiter, 2013.)

Evaluating trade-offs: Given the joint nature of LMMA management, the goals for having an LMMA may differ among the communities and partner organizations, as well as within the communities themselves. There are inherent trade-offs (as well as synergies) among some objectives. For example, the community may desire enhanced livelihoods from fish catch, which may conflict with the partner organizations’ aim to conserve biodiversity. It is important to distinguish between objectives pursued by communities and objectives influenced or promoted by partner agencies, because the success and longevity of LMMAs depends on the community perceiving that the benefits of having an LMMA outweigh the trade-offs for having one.

Posted in blog | Leave a comment

Canada – Tsilhqot’in Nation Declares Tribal Park on Site of Proposed Taseko Mine

Article from: https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/campaign-update-canada-tsilhqotin-nation-declares-tribal-park-site-proposed-taseko-mine


On October 4th, the Tsilhqot’in First Nation of British Columbia will hold a totem pole-raising ceremony to inaugurate 3,000 square kilometers of land as a tribal park, just a few months after a historic Supreme Court decision granted them title to 1,750 square kilometers of disputed land. The park, to be called Dasiqox Tribal Park, is set to include Fish Lake, the intended site of the controversial New Prosperity mine proposed by Taseko Mines, which has been twice rejected by the court and still awaits a decision on Taseko’s appeal. The implications of the founding of the park are as yet unclear, as the Tsilhqot’in’s title does not actually include Fish Lake and tribal parks are not yet provincially recognized entities.

Despite the lack of clarity, the establishment of this park will plant an additional obstacle to Taseko’s efforts to mine the sacred Fish Lake, or Teztan Biny. The proposed mine plans have consistently been found to pose significant environmental threats, namely contamination of Fish Lake’s water and the fish that inhabit it, on which the Tsilhqot’in people depend. Grand Chief of the First Nations Summit, Ed John, told CBC News, “It’s an area, from what I understand, that needs to be protected for habitat, for wildlife, grizzly, for salmon spawning areas. It’s an important area.” A 2014 inventory report corroborates this, finding that the newly titled territory includes “unique ‘rain shadow’ forest ecosystem and some of the best habitat for large carnivores in North America.” The report concludes that the only way to ensure the protection of these fragile and unique habitats is through “full protection status.” The park will protect endangered salmon and pine habitat, as well as deer migration routes, and will connect five other parks in the region, which could multiply the ecological benefits created by the new park.

Tribal parks have protected culturally and ecologically significant lands for several decades, although they are not yet officially recognized by the provincial government of British Columbia. Recently, the nearby Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation of Vancouver Island, who also established the first tribal park in the 1980s, declared a new tribal park in an effort to prevent unwanted extractive projects. In response to that declaration, British Columbia Energy and Mines Minister, Bill Bennett, said that tribal parks “fall into a grey area” while acknowledging that aboriginal peoples have a right to their land and there is a need for increased dialogue among extractive companies, Indigenous Peoples, and the government.

According to the Tla-o-qui-aht, a tribal park differs from a non-tribal park in that instead of excluding most human activities, it “integrates [them] while caring for the ecosystem at the same time – this was done successfully by our ancestors, resulting in superior ecological integrity of the whole landscape in the territory.” This integration can include sustainable ecotourism, fish hatcheries, and can otherwise create jobs while promoting the protection and respect of water resources, animal and plant species, and sacred sites. While the declared Tsilhqot’in park will not allow the clear-cutting of vast swaths of forest for logging operations, mining, or other large-scale destructive operations, it will permit smaller-scale activities, such as mobile saw mills for tribal logging projects. Significantly, the Tsilhqot’in Nation is not opposed to mining projects outright; rather, it says that “resource companies need to respect the rights of aboriginals if they want their projects to proceed.”

Dave Williams, president of Friends of the Nemiah Valley, an organization that partners with the Tsilhqot’in people on conservation projects, says that although the Tsilhqot’in park has been declared unilaterally, the Tsilhqot’in people hope the British Columbia government will ultimately join them in managing the park. The goal is that now, companies pursuing development projects within Tsilhqot’in territory will be forced to consult with the Tsilhqot’in people, rather than simply entering with the government’s permission.

Joe Foy, Campaign Director of the Wilderness Committee, applauds the establishment of the park, saying, “This is an extremely important wild area, and its protection will have a long-lasting positive impact on the conservation of BC’s fish and wildlife. The Tsilhqot’in government has done a great service to all British Columbians.”

Posted in blog | Leave a comment

New Book Highlights ICCAs as a Key Component of the New Paradigm of Protected Areas.

September 10, 20142014 Stevens Cover-1

A just published book edited by ICCA Consortium steering committee member and treasurer Stan Stevens finds appropriate ICCA recognition and respect to be critical to conservation and rights.

The University of Arizona Press has released Stan Stevens’ edited book, Indigenous Peoples, National Parks and Protected Areas: a New Paradigm Linking Conservation, Culture, and Rights. Stevens’ opening and closing chapters discuss how the new paradigm affirms the importance of recognizing Indigenous peoples’ rights, responsibilities, and conservation contributions; the incorporation of the new paradigm in IUCN policy and the decisions of the Parties to the CBD; implementation initiatives and challenges; and experience with protected area governance by and with Indigenous peoples. The book highlights ICCAs and protected areas with shared governance as key means for realizing rights-based conservation and implementing the new paradigm. A set of nine case study chapters provide in-depth analysis of protected areas in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Australia, including Stevens’ chapter on ICCAs in Nepal’s high Himalayan national parks and a chapter on the Ashaninka Communal Reserve, Peru by Emily Caruso, Regional Programmes Director for the Global Diversity Foundation, an ICCA Consortium member organization.


Indigenous Peoples, National Parks, and Protected Areas is available from the University of Arizona Press (http://www.uapress.arizona.edu/Books/bid2493.htm) and other sources.

According to the University of Arizona Press book description:

“A vast number of national parks and protected areas throughout the world have been established in the customary territories of Indigenous peoples. In many cases these conservation areas have displaced Indigenous peoples, undermining their cultures, livelihoods, and self-governance, while squandering opportunities to benefit from their knowledge, values, and practices. This book makes the case for a paradigm shift in conservation from exclusionary, uninhabited national parks and wilderness areas to new kinds of protected areas that recognize Indigenous peoples’ conservation contributions and rights. It documents the beginnings of such a paradigm shift and issues a clarion call for transforming conservation in ways that could enhance the effectiveness of protected areas and benefit Indigenous peoples in and near tens of thousands of protected areas worldwide.

 Indigenous Peoples, National Parks, and Protected Areas integrates wide-ranging, multidisciplinary intellectual perspectives with detailed analyses of new kinds of protected areas in diverse parts of the world. Eleven geographers and anthropologists contribute nine substantive fieldwork-based case studies. Their contributions offer insights into experience with new conservation approaches in an array of countries, including Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Peru, South Africa, and the United States.

 This book breaks new ground with its in-depth exploration of changes in conservation policies and practices—and their profound ramifications for Indigenous peoples, protected areas, and social reconciliation.”

“Stevens brings together a wealth of original research and new thinking, including a wide spread of case studies from the Americas, Africa, and Asia. The book insightfully explores the legal, political, and social challenges that need to be overcome. “

—Marcus Colchester, Senior Policy Advisor for Forest Peoples Programme


 “Stevens offers a strong and detailed vision for how the new paradigm, if applied, might make a difference in the lives of Indigenous peoples and the shape of conservation institutions worldwide. “

—Beth Rose Middleton, author of Trust in the Land: New Directions in Tribal Conservation; assistant professor of Native American Studies, University of California Davis

Indigenous Peoples, National Parks, and Protected Areas
A New Paradigm Linking Conservation, Culture, and Rights
edited by Stan Stevens

Introduction. Stan Stevens

 Part I. Rethinking Protected Areas and Indigenous Peoples
Chapter 1. Indigenous Peoples, Biocultural Diversity, and Protected Areas. Stan Stevens

Chapter 2. A New Protected Area Paradigm Stan Stevens

Chapter 3. Community-Oriented Protected Areas for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities: Indigenous Protected Areas in Australia. Marcia Langton, Lisa Palmer, and Zane Ma Rhea

Chapter 4. A Tale of Three Parks: Tlingit Conservation, Representation, and Repatriation in Southeastern Alaska’s National Parks. Thomas F. Thornton


Part II. Complexity and Critiques

Chapter 5. National Parks in the Canadian North: Comanagement or Colonialism Revisited?. John Sandlos

Chapter 6. State Governmentality or Indigenous Sovereignty? Protected Area Comanagement in the Ashaninka Communal Reserve in Peru. Emily Caruso

Chapter 7. Green Neoliberal Space: The Mesoamerican Biological Corridor. Mary Finley-Brook

Chapter 8. “Bargaining with Patriarchy”: Miskito Struggles over Family Land in the Honduran Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve. Sharlene Mollett


Part III. Moving Forward: Opportunities, Constraints, and Negotiations
Chapter 9. Mutual Gains and Distributive Ideologies in South Africa: Theorizing Negotiations between Communities and Protected Areas. Derick A. Fay

Chapter 10. Conservation and Maya Autonomy in Guatemala’s Western Highlands: The Case of Totonicapán. Brian W. Conz

Chapter 11. Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Territories and Areas in the High Himalaya: Recognition and Rights in Nepal’s National Parks. Stan Stevens

 Chapter 12. Advancing the New Paradigm: Implementation, Challenges, and Potential. Stan Stevens

Posted in blog | 1 Comment

Presentación de la “Declaración de Valdeavellano de Tera” por la defensa y el reconocimiento de los Usos Comunales en España

iniciativas comunales                                            inititiva_comunales_blacklogo the ICCA Consortium


                                                                   NOTA DE PRENSA: Presentación de la “Declaración de Valdeavellano de Tera” por la defensa y el reconocimiento de los Usos Comunales en España


El próximo viernes 26 de septiembre a las 16:30 Iniciativa Comunales presentaremos en el Jardín Botánico de Madrid la Declaración de Valdeavellano de Tera por la defensa y el reconocimiento de los usos comunales en España

Iniciativa Comunales somos un grupo de trabajo formado por representantes de comunidades que gestionan usos comunales (cofradías de pesca y marisqueo, montes de socios, en mano común y comunales, sociedades de caza, juntas de pastos, pastores y ganaderos de extensivo, etc.), ONG que trabajan en la defensa de estos usos y la conservación de la naturaleza, y grupos de investigación que estudian y defienden este Patrimonio Económico, Ambiental y Social. La filosofía que nos une es la defensa y reconocimiento de “Áreas Conservadas por Comunidades Locales” (ICCA) que parte de tres pilares: La Comunidad, donde un grupo definido de personas están unidas a un territorio o sistema de recursos locales; la Gobernanza, cuando estas comunidades locales llevan a cabo colectivamente las principales decisiones de gestión, desarrollo de normas y su cumplimiento; y la Conservación de la Naturaleza, cuando la gestión y gobernanza de estas comunidades contribuye a la conservación de estos territorios o a su recuperación desde el punto de vista ambiental. Cuando un área cumple estos tres requisitos entonces podemos hablar de un ICCA.

La Declaración de Valdeavellano de Tera por la defensa y reconocimiento de los usos comunales y las “Áreas Conservadas por Comunidades Locales” (ICCA) en España, es un documento colectivo donde Iniciativa Comunales quiere establecer un decálogo de principios básicos que deben sentar las bases para el trabajo y reconocimiento de este Patrimonio Económico, Social y Ambiental en España. Por otra parte, queremos abrir un debate y que este documento contribuya a que la sociedad comience a reconocer el valor de estos usos y su patrimonio asociado, así como a redescubrir el potencial de estos usos y formas de gobernanza para el futuro de nuestra sociedad.

Os invitamos a todos a compartir este acto con nosotros, donde, tras una breve presentación de Iniciativa Comunales y la Declaración de Valdeavellano de Tera a las 16:30. Representantes de las distintas comunidades firmantes nos leerán los diez puntos del decálogo. A las 17:30, tras la lectura se dará paso a una mesa redonda donde los firmantes atenderán a los comentarios y preguntas de prensa y otros asistentes y se detallarán nuevas iniciativas y planes de futuro del grupo de trabajo Iniciativa Comunales.



Extracto-resumen de la Declaración de Valdeavellano de Tera por la defensa y reconocimiento de los usos comunales y las Áreas Conservadas por Comunidades Locales (ICCA) en España:

“Los abajo firmantes declaramos:

Que los usos comunales y sus bienes y derechos asociados (pesca, pastos, caza, bosques, riegos y otros) forman parte del Patrimonio Cultural (incluido el Inmaterial), Ambiental y Socio-económico de España. Que actualmente los usos comunales son en España una forma usual, exitosa y extendida de gobernanza de nuestro patrimonio natural y cultural. Montes en mano común, de socios, vecinales o comunales, cofradías de pesca o marisqueo, juntas de pastos, de valle, y vecinales, facerías, corrales de pesca, sociedades de caza, acequias de careo, parzonerías, ledanías y otras formas de gobernanza gestionan varios millones de hectáreas con alto valor natural, económico y cultural y son la expresión del empoderamiento y participación de cientos de miles de ciudadanos en la gestión participativa, directa, resiliente y sostenible de los recursos locales. Que se deben reconocer, apoyar, promocionar y proteger cada uno los tres pilares básicos que deben caracterizar los usos comunales: Comunidad, Gobernanza y Conservación de la Naturaleza. Que en España existe una grave falta de reconocimiento de su valor desde las administraciones públicas y un gran desconocimiento por parte de la sociedad, siendo urgente en este sentido reivindicar el papel social, económico y ambiental de estos usos y su potencial para la conservación de la naturaleza, el desarrollo del mundo rural y la sociedad en general. Que para poder garantizar la supervivencia de la gran riqueza y variedad de formas de titularidad y gestión colectiva, es necesario fomentar nuevas alianzas y sinergias, desde el nivel local al global, basadas en la participación de base, el empoderamiento de las comunidades locales y el enfoque participativo (“de abajo a arriba”). Que por los motivos anteriormente expuestos debe ser una prioridad de las propias comunidades comuneras, de las distintas administraciones y la sociedad en su conjunto el velar por la protección y el reconocimiento de dicho patrimonio colectivo, con el objetivo de garantizar la transmisión de este patrimonio para disfrute de las generaciones futuras sin ningún tipo de menoscabo en sus valores económicos, sociales y ambientales.”

Extracto-resumen de la Declaración de Valdeavellano de Tera, 7 de octubre de 2013.


Firmantes de la Declaración de Valdeavellano de Tera por el reconocimiento y defensa de los Usos Comunales en España: Asociación Forestal de Soria, Asociación Galega de Mariscadoras/es, Asociación Nacional Micorriza, Asociación Transhumancia y Naturaleza, Comunidade de Montes de Vilar de Triacastela, Federación Estatal de Entidades Locales Menores, Federación Estatal de Pastores, Foro Asturias Sostenible, Fundación Entretantos, Fundación LonxaNet, Grupo de Estudios da Propiedade Comunal (IDEGA), ICCA Consortium, Mancomunidade de Montes en Man Común de Pontevedra, Montenoso, Plataforma Rural, Proyecto Evaluación de los Ecosistemas del Mileno de España, Proyecto Montes de Socios, Red de Comunidades de Pescadores Artesanales para el Desarrollo Sostenible, Silene, Sociedad Española de Ornitología/ BirdLife, Unión de Tecores e Cazadores – Caza Social de Galicia y Unión Nacional de Asociaciones de Caza.

Para más información:

Sergio Couto
ICCA Consortium
Coordinador para el Sur y Oeste de Europa
+34 619663867


Visitar: Página de Facebook de “Iniciativa Comunales” (evento): https://www.facebook.com/events/1462250644058650/

1381415_10151924739912376_98628061_n          1384378_10151928977302376_322745289_n


Posted in blog | Leave a comment