UNPFII 13 Side Event – Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Territories & Areas (ICCAs)

On Wednesday 14 May 2014, the GEF Small Grants Program hosted a side event jointly with UNDP, Natural Justice, the ICCA Consortium, WAMIP, UNINOMAD Iran and Cenesta to address ICCAs and how they support appropriate governance in line with Articles 3 to 6 and 46 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration). The event highlighted experiences from the field, with case studies from Iran, Chile, and Australia.

Natural Justice’s Jael Makagon opened the presentations by providing an overview of Article 3 to 6 and 46 of the UN Declaration, which are the subject of the theme of this year’s Permanent Forum. He emphasised the importance of Article 3, which affirms Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination, and highlighted tension within the UN Declaration regarding the parameters of this right. He also noted that ICCAs serve as the embodiment of exercising the rights set forth in Articles 3 to 6.
Ari Gorring of Kimberley Land Council discusses
indigenous protected areas in Australia

The next three presenters from Iran, Chile, and Australia spoke on the challenges and successes of the development and implementation of ICCAs in their respective regions. Dr. Taghi Farvar highlighted the importance of obtaining appropriate recognition of ICCAs. An important element that has been crucial to success in Iran is the self-declaration by nomadic communities of their ICCAs independent of the government. This is important because it is often difficult to determine which government agency should be approached to recognize ICCAs, and self-declaration allows communities to take the process into their own hands. Juan Carlos Tonko, leader of the Kawesqar People, spoke on the challenges facing his community in the very southern tip of Chile, that has long been utilising the resources of the sea. Mr. Tonko spoke about how their community has been expelled from a protected area and of recent collaborations with scientists conducting research, which next to mapping of fauna, flora and animal species included noting the original names of the region as a first step of reclaiming the territory. Finally, Ari Gorring presented on the experience of the Kimberley Land Council in Northwest Australia. In this case, the communities face many challenges in their efforts to determine indigenous territories and seeking sustainable partnerships that are not reliant on government. Ms. Gorring spoke of their model of generating enterprise based on local values and is not reliant on government resources.

Finally, Kanyinke Sena from Kenya commented on these case studies noting how ICCAs can help communities to realize the rights set forth in the UN Declaration. He also shared some examples from Kenya highlighting the continuing conflict between the government and ICCAs / collectively controlled areas and territories. While communities are still being expelled from government controlled protected areas, however, Kanyinke highlighted the potential of community co-management systems as a first step in the right direction.

16 May 2014


Governance of Lands and Natural Resources

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