At the Sixth Meeting of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) a side event was hosted on 11 July by Natural Justice, the ICCA Consortium and the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC) to discuss the relationship between access to justice and Indigenous peoples’ and community conserved territories and areas (ICCAs).
Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend (ICCA Consortium) opened the expert panel with an introduction to the concept of ICCAs and stories of diverse ICCAs around the world. Two local examples from the Indigenous Pygmy peoples from North Kivu (Joseph Itongwa, PIDP-Kivu) and from the Ogiek peoples (Daniel Mpoiok Kobei, Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program) from Kenya followed. Marie Wilke (Natural Justice), Nigel Crawhall (IPACC Secretariat) and Kanyinke Sena (Chairperson, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues) concluded the panel with presentations and statements on the legal perspective and the opportunities provided by the legal recognition of ICCAs as a means of environmental conservation.
The panel and the audience concluded that the concept of ICCAs provides a great opportunity for Indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ self-determination as it enables them to emphasise the benefit of their customary practices to society at large in the form of conservation, rather than simply arguing from their position as rights-bearers. Recognition of ICCAs in turn would also achieve recognition of land titles, collective rights and legal standing for customary institutions.
More information about EMRIP 6, including the draft study on access to justice, is available here. Submissions by Natural Justice to the study on access to justice are available here.
The full event report is available here.