IIFB statement on agenda item 5 (UNPFII recommendations), read by Louis Biswane
Thank you Mr. Chair,
This statement is made on behalf of the IIFB and we are focussing this statement on the use of the term ‘indigenous peoples’. As you are aware, Mr. Chair, the use of indigenous peoples in the Convention has always been a key recommendation by the IIFB, and the IIFB has consistently applied this term in all of its submissions and statements, and we are very pleased that this matter is now being considered in-depth by this meeting of the WG8(j) and by the Conference of the Parties at its twelfth meeting.
We acknowledge the advances that have been made by some countries since the adoption of the UNDRIP, such as Bolivia, who has adopted UNDRIP as a binding national law (Law 37.60 ) and we call on other Parties to follow this example.
We wish to thank the secretariat for preparing document UNEP/CBD/WG8J/8/8 and also for compiling the submissions made on this matter in documents UNEP/CBD/WG8J/8/INF/10 and Add.1. The submissions received (from four Parties and in excess of one hundred indigenous and non-governmental organisations) are all positive, and jointly provide a wide range of well-substantiated arguments for updating the CBD terminology. The submissions clarify that he terminology “indigenous peoples” invokes a series of rights that arise from the recognition as distinct peoples with different political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, and emphasise that the use of the term indigenous peoples recognizes indigenous peoples as possessing specific collective rights, including the right to self-determination, whereas the term indigenous communities is restrictive and exclusionary.
Many of the submissions have also stressed that the term is already included in a range of international agreements, including Agenda 21, the Rio+20 Outcome Document, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and that a large number of other international instruments and standards also reference indigenous peoples’ rights, the vast majority of which were adopted by environmental organisations and underscore the linkages between recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights and the conservation and sustainable management of ecosystems and natural resources. These include ILO Conventions, IUCN resolutions, Ramsar Convention Guidelines, FAO Voluntary Guidelines and the 2010 UNFCCC Cancun Agreements. In the UN Human Rights System, indigenous peoples have been the standard language since the adoption of UNDRIP.
Unfortunately, Parties who have reservations or objections to updating the ILC terminology have not submitted views to explain why they are opposing this.
While we believe it is not necessary to open up the convention and its protocols for renegotiations, we are strongly in favor of using the wording ‘indigenous peoples and local communities’ in future decisions, commencing with the decisions made by COP12.
We therefore propose to add a second recommendation to the document, as follows:
The Conference of the Parties
Agrees to use the term ‘indigenous peoples and local communities’, instead of ‘indigenous and local communities’ in the outcome documents of its 12th meeting and all future documents.
Mr. Chair, in light of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples under the General Assembly next year, we consider this a very appropriate timing for such update in terminology, bringing the CBD practice in line with existing international practice.