There are five months to go before the world travels to Hyderabad India for the 11th Conference of parties to the Convention. It has been a busy process since the 10th meeting in Japan. There were more activities undertaken in the last two years with the funding of Japan who was the host of the 10th meeting, and other donors. The decisions from COP10 put the Secretariat and the parties on the toes to ensure all the decisions were already done. It is remarkable to note that so far regional and sub-regional workshops were organized to try and strengthen capacity for Parties on the Aichi Targets and even more support parties to develop, review and finalize the National Strategic Action Plans NBSAPs.
Where were Indigenous Peoples and local Communities? The process allowed to include only two participants to any of those planed workshops. This was well appreciated by the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity, IIFB. It was however important to notice that this was not the same all through, some regions were not very welcoming for Indigenous Peoples and Local communities and were either given very little opportunity to contribute or not at all. It was not also very clear in some regions if the Indigenous contribution was ever taken on board. This is clear in that the last two weeks on discussions in SABSTTA and now currently on WGRI 4 the documents presented to the Working Group seemed to have been allergic in using Indigenous Peoples and local communities. Where that reference was used was very minimal. The discussions and recommendations presented seem to focus more on Parties. It is for this reason that Indigenous Peoples and Local communities have still to struggle for visibility. It is also important to note that at the National level Parties do not include indigenous and local Communities in the process of NBSAPs at all.
It is for this reason that IIFB expresses its strong concern about the lack of mainstreaming of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices and customary sustainable use in NBSAPs, as contained in Target 18, a target relevant for all Parties of the CBD. As well as the lack of mention of gender issues despite the fact of the existence of the Gender Plan of Action of the CBD.
IIFB has recognized this as a weakness in the implementation of the 2010 biodiversity targets, and WGRI4 must underline that this weakness should not persist in the implementation of the Strategic Plan 2011-2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, thus undermining contributions to the MDGs and human well-being.
On the Biodiversity Finance Mechanisms Indigenous Peoples and local Communities, are is still worried that parties and donors are not contributing to the Voluntary Fund that allows participation of Indigenous Peoples and local Communities in the process of the Convention. A good example in the past two weeks here in Montreal only six Indigenous participants have been supported to attend. In other meetings and workshops organized by the Secretariat, the struggle continuous, there too. In a recent workshop held in Quito – Equator, three Indigenous Peoples Members of IIFB attended a meeting on financial mechanisms for biodiversity. They made a 5 minutes presentation on Financial Mechanisms and Safeguards with a focus on the following points:
· The concept of Indigenous Peoples
· The cultural significance of the Mother Earth and her rights (Ecuadorian and Bolivian Constitutions)
· The reference to the 3 different financial mechanisms
Standards relating to Indigenous Peoples should be consistent with the UNDRIP, including requirements for PFIC for all finance decisions and investments that may affect Indigenous Peoples’ lands, territories and natural resources
The biodiversity safeguards for REDD+ finance should make direct reference to ecosystem approach, Akwe:Kon Voluntary Guidelines and community protocols
The recommendations they came up with:
Respect of Indigenous Peoples’ self-determination and Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources and ensure equitable benefit-sharing with Indigenous Peoples when using or selling their natural resources
Indigenous Peoples shall not be relocated without their free, prior and informed consent. A policy that forbids the forcible relocation of Indigenous Peoples
Protection for sacred sites, protection for Indigenous Peoples’ land tenure systems and natural resources, and protections for indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation.
No REDD+ project shall alter the land tenure system of Indigenous Peoples nor shall it regulate the customary use of natural resources by Indigenous Peoples on their lands and territories that they may or may not own, without the Indigenous Peoples’ free, prior and informed consent
Respect and enhance economic, social, spiritual and political well-being , holistic well being of men and Mother Earth
Promote and enhance gender equality and women’s empowerment and guarantee their full and effective of women participation in the whole CBD process