This year, we celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples under the theme
Indigenous peoples building alliances: Honouring treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements".
The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) pays tribute to indigenous peoples around the world and particularly to the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) for their contributions under the Convention on Biological Diversity. The IIFB has been working to build constructive alliances and partnerships for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity since 1992.
Indigenous peoples and local communities are important actors in achieving the three goals of the Convention. Reflecting this, the Conference of the Parties of the CBD, in 1998, established a Working Group on Article 8(j) and related provisions, as a forum to promote dialogue between indigenous and local communities and Parties, and other stakeholders. The Working Group on Article 8(j) includes enhanced participation mechanisms for indigenous and local communities, such as: the nomination of an indigenous co-chair to chair its meetings, as well as indigenous and local community representatives (ILCs) to its bureau, as well as co-chairs for sub-working groups and contact groups. All of this enhances opportunities for ILCs to make substantive interventions on all agenda items.
Thanks to this process, indigenous peoples are contributing to constructive arrangements for implementation of the Convention, including but not limited to:
- The Revised Programme of Work to implement of Article 8 (j);
- Akwé: Kon Voluntary guidelines for the conduct of cultural, environmental and social impact assessments regarding developments proposed to take place on, or which are likely to impact on, sacred sites and on lands and waters traditionally occupied or used by indigenous and local communities;
- The Tkarihwaié:ri Code of Ethical Conduct to Ensure Respect for the Cultural and Intellectual Heritage of Indigenous and Local Communities Relevant to the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity;
- Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization ; and
- The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, particularly Target 18.
The Akwé: Kon Voluntary guidelines adopted by COP in its decision VII/16 are a good example of this constructive engagement. The guidelines are voluntary and are intended to serve as guidance for Parties and Governments, in the development and implementation of their impact- assessment regimes. The guidelines should be taken into consideration whenever developments are proposed to take place on, or which are likely to impact on, sacred sites and on lands and waters traditionally occupied or used by indigenous and local communities (I. Purpose and approach .paragraph 1). These guidelines provide a collaborative framework within which Governments, indigenous and local communities, decision makers and managers of assessments work constructively and collaboratively together.
The Tkarihwaié:ri Code of Ethical Conduct is yet another example of constructive engagement, that provides guidance to Parties, Governments and researchers interacting with indigenous and local communities. Adopted by COP 10 in its decision X/43, his code provides guidance to Parties, Governments and others interacting with indigenous and local communities on procedures and principles to consider when working with indigenous and local communities.
The Nagoya Protocol provides a framework for access and benefit sharing for use of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources. The Nagoya Protocol incorporates a series of provisions addressing traditional knowledge. Its general provisions offer, in practice, tools and mechanisms which assist in the protection of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resource. The Nagoya Protocol provides, among other principles, that access to and use of traditional knowledge should be subject to the prior informed consent or approval and involvement of the relevant indigenous and local communities (knowledge holders) and furthermore participate in the equitable sharing of benefits derived thereof and that this is based upon mutually agreed terms.
All of these instruments will contribute to the achievement of Aichi Target 18 – that by 2020, the traditional knowledge of indigenous and local communities and their customary use of biological resources, are respected, and fully integrated and reflected in the implementation of the Convention with the full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities, at all relevant levels, particularly at local and national level.
I hope, therefore to continue working together for our Mother Earth, especially at the eight Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity from 7 to 11 October, to be held in Montreal, Canada. I wish indigenous peoples from all over the world a memorable celebration of this International Day of Indigenous Peoples and I look forward to our continued collaboration and work together to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Montreal, 08 August 2013