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WCC 2016 Res 072 - Activity Report

General Information
IUCN Constituent: 
Forest Peoples Programme
IUCN Constituent type: 
IUCN Member
Period covered: 
Geographic scope: 
Congo (DROC)
In implementing this Resolution your organization has worked/consulted with...
IUCN Members: 
World Wide Fund for Nature - Switzerland ( WWF ) / Switzerland
Forest Peoples Programme ( FPP ) / United Kingdom
Wildlife Conservation Society ( WCS ) / United States of America
IUCN Commissions: 
IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic, and Social Policy 2013-2016 (CEESP)
IUCN Secretariat: 
Other non-IUCN related organisations: 
Indigenous peoples organisations and supporting CSOs - e.g. the Inter Mountain Peoples Education and Culture in Thailand (IMPECT) in Ob Luang and in Doi Inthanon National Parks in Thailand, the Ogiek's Chepkitale Indigenous Peoples Development Project (CIPDP) at Mt Elgon in Kenya and the Batwa of Kahuzi Biega, DRC, supported by CAMV.
Indicate and briefly describe any actions that have been carried out to implement this Resolution: 
Convene stakeholders/NetworkingThere has been little substantial progress in advancing the Whakatane Mechanism (WM) globally since it was reviewed at the CEESP’s Feb 2017 meeting in Gland, & at the Nov 2017 Global Dialogue on Conservation & Human Rights, Kenya (report: http://www.forestpeoples.org/en/environmental-governance-rights-based-conservation/news-article/2017/recognising-real-conflict One strong hope expressed in the CEESP meeting was that such a grievance mechanism could become housed, recognised and resourced within the UN HR system. Little has moved forward. Out of the CEESP meeting a small task force (CEESP, FPP, Natural Justice, WWF, WCS) formed to examine how to prevent conflict between conservation and communities (e.g. conservation standards) and how to resolve current conflicts (e.g. the WM). There have been ongoing discussions on this between CEESP, WWF, WCS, NJ and FPP, but little substantial progress. Additionally there have been meetings where FPP has presented to conservation organisations on the status and need for support for the ongoing Whakatane processes (e.g. at CEESP’s May 2018 Halifax, Nova Scotia, meeting, and at an informal meeting held by FFI in Cambridge in December 2018). Despite the seriousness of the issue, only THREE WMs have happened since 2011, all of which have made clear that the real conflict is not between ecological and community well-being but is driven by powerful state and private forces who divide and rule the better to exploit both. Are conservation organisations by and large preferring the short term easier route of allying with state and private interests to impose protected areas that are completely unsustainable? How can conservation instead champion a healthy relationship with communities against such forces? On-going
Field activitiesDespite FPP receiving further requests to follow up on the Whakatane Assessment that was held in Thailand in 2012 (see: http://whakatane-mechanism.org/thailand), including at the November 2017 Global Dialogue where the Karen of Thailand spoke of the huge discrimination against indigenous peoples who are not recognised by the Government, and whose forests are being decimated, nothing has come of this so far. In 2018, the stalling dialogue in DRC that the WM had enabled since 2014 (between evicted Batwa at Kahuzi-Biega National Park (PNKB) and ICCN/ PNKB) ground to a halt after one Batwa man searching for medicines on his ancestral lands was shot dead by PNKB eco-guards in 2017. However the conservator was then replaced and current dialogue involving the Batwa, CAMV and ICCN/ PNKB has helped allow the stalled WM to resume, with the need to address the land rights of the Batwa being propelled to the forefront of conservationists and Government attention by hundreds of landless impoverished Batwa returning to their lands in PNKB despite the threat of violence by the eco guards who have shown themselves capable of killing unarmed and peaceful Batwa. The slow but steady progress initiated by the 2011 WM with the Ogiek at Mt Elgon, Kenya, continues. County Government continues to engage positively, but Ministry of Environment has shown no willingness. Meanwhile, the nearby Sengwer indigenous peoples of Cherangany Hills have been suffering violent displacement from their ancestral lands by the Ministry’s Kenya Forest Service, now including the shooting and killing of peaceful community members in early 2018. Only after the killing, and after 3 UN SRs called for suspension, did the EU suspend its forest conservation focused WaTER project, however the violent evictions continue. THREE WM processes are so few for the task. How can we enable the big Conservation organisations to recognise the need to urgently resource and multiply such processes?- None -
Please report on the result /achievement of the actions taken: 
There has been some good dialogue at the Global level, but the resources have not been committed by major conservation organisations to make this a success.

There have been some slow advances at the local level: e.g. in Kenya in relation to the Ogiek, but the Government's forceful evictions of the Sengwer - including shooting and killing - demonstrate that conservation organisations and international donors must take a firm approach and ally with human rights organisations and communities to ensure the successful securing of community and ecological well-being.

Meanwhile in DRC the only reason for the possible resumption of an effective dialogue in relation to the Batwa appears to be because PNKB/ ICCN has gone as far as killing a Batwa man, and because the Batwa have taken it on themselves to bear all the risk of returning to their gazette lands. That such dialogue is not pursued as a matter of course here, in Thailand, in Cameroon, etc. but instead often appears to be sacrificed in order to please governments and other powerful players, is a very disturbing possible conclusion.
What challenges have you encountered in implementing this Resolution and what measures have you taken to overcome them?: 
Challenges remain huge: (1) Seeking paradigm change: This is NOT fundamentally a question of conflict between communities and conservation, BUT of forceful appropriation by powerful forces. (2) Lacking financial resources and strong institutional support. (3) The 3 WMs have not always received support from key actors (e.g. ESARO in Kenya, ICCN in DRC)
Identify and briefly describe what future actions are planned for the implementation of this Resolution: 
Future ActionDescription
Convene stakeholders/NetworkingGiven the inability or unwillingness of the big Conservation organisations to recognise the need to urgently resource and multiply such processes, how can we get them to act?
Field activities(i) Continue with DRC dialogue: hopefully expand it to seek legal change at the national level; and (ii) Continue with the Kenya dialogue, but both these require support from the IUCN Secretariat to ICCN (DRC) and ESARO (Kenya) to back these moves; and (iii) Seek active support and funding from IUCN to respond to requests to have WM processes elsewhere. All this requires IUCN and big conservation orgs to PRIORITISE AND RESOURCE THIS.
FundraisingOnly a commitment by large conservation organisations to reorientate so they ally with those who care for their lands against those who want to exploit them (rather than v-v) can enable the alliance building at the local and national levels, and can enable the mobilisation of resources so we can continue and expand on the 3 WMs so that conservation is responding to the critically urgent need for rights-based conservation. FPP has held talks with
Additional Information