Oct 20

IIFB: Agenda Item 5.4: Protected Areas

19 October 2010, COP10, Nagoya, Japan: Madam Chairperson,
Indigenous peoples have been maintaining and protecting biodiversity as part of their daily lives long before protected areas came into being. We have also established a well-tested system of managing biodiversity and conservation practices including those of mobile indigenous peoples that are not necessarily compatible to mainstream conservation systems. We re-iterate that indigenous peoples have the fundamental rights to the environment and resources in our territories. We are Rights Holders in this process and not mere Stakeholders.

We are gravely concerned about the invasion of “market based mitigation schemes” from UNFCCC to the CBD. There is a danger that Protected Areas will be established in the name of climate change mitigation and completely ignore the fundamental rights of IPLCs. Many parties are already rushing to establish new Protected Areas, committing to REDD schemes and other conservation projects to get money available from climate change mitigation without the active participation and acquiring the Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) of IPLCs. All of this is for the sake of money and not really to stop the global climate crisis.

We are therefore very concerned about the rapid expansion of protected areas while the contribution of our customary sustainable use and governance systems to the conservation of biological and cultural diversity is not recognized. We demand parties to implement the UNDRIP as the minimum standard to ensure our rights to manage our territories and resources.

We remind Parties to give priority to the implementation of Programme Element 2 of the Programme of Work related to Governance, Participation, Equity and Benefit Sharing, which remains the least implemented aspect of the programme of work.  We urge Parties to address the issue of restitution of lands and territories that were taken for protected areas without our Free Prior Informed Consent so that indigenous peoples can re-establish control over our lands and territories.

With regard to the review of implementation, the draft COP decision includes a reporting framework on the national implementation of the POWPA. We feel that the questionnaire does not sufficiently encourage governments to report on key issues related to indigenous peoples and protected areas (in the sections on Equity and participation). We suggest this questionnaire be improved.

Recognition of fundamental rights of IPLCs over their lands and territories is crucial in protected areas.  We welcome the diversification of governance types such as ICCAs as a tool to recognize our management practices but there must be a mechanism that ensures the IPLCs have full and effective participation in and control of these areas. We urge Parties to recognize customary laws and institutions as an important element in governance and management of ICCAs. We further urge Parties to take effective measures to facilitate training, capacity building and financial assistance to enable us manage our own traditional or customary   protected area govenance systems.

Despite the establishment of protected areas in our territories, it is clear that biodiversity continues to be lost – in our opinion this is largely due to the lack of recognition of indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge and conservation systems. We believe that there are many benefits to gain related to the conservation of biodiversity if indigenous peoples are recognized at the custodians of biological resources and territories. Placing IPLCs at the centre of the management of PAs will save resources to monitor and conserve biodiversity because IPLCs perform this role as a natural part of our way of life.

We appreciate the efforts made by a number of Parties and civil society organizations to engage indigenous peoples in dialogues regarding the implementation of the Programme of Work but call for further engagement of IPLCs in protected area related processes at all levels.

We will submit the IIFB’s preferred text for the draft decisions found in document UNEP/CBD/COP/10/add.2 to the Secretariat.

Thank you, Madam Chairperson.

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