Sunday, 28 November 2010

Negotiating and Implementing MEAs: A Manual for NGOs

The decade and-a-half since the 1992 Earth Summit has seen a vast expansion

in the number and scope of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs).

There are now more than 700 environmental conventions, charters, agreements,

accords, protocols and treaties in force, from global to regional to bilaterally applicable

agreements. They cover areas as narrowly-focused as the Biosafety

Protocol in the Convention on Biological Diversity and as widely encompassing

as the recently activated Kyoto Protocol of the Framework Convention on Climate


And there are still dozens of conferences, commissions, and ad hoc expert groups

negotiating additional agreements, often on intensely complex intersectoral issue


These MEAs form the building blocks for an emerging and much needed global

system of environmental and sustainable development governance. Yet MEAs

negotiations themselves represent an organic process. All are still evolving – a

series of parallel works-in-progress. And it is widely understood that a vast amount

must be done in implementation for these instruments to be considered successful.

A second major evolutionary impact that flowed from the Earth Summit has

been the exceptional expansion of the role that non-governmental organizations

(NGOs) play in the international negotiation of MEAs, and then in their national

and local application. This, also, is a fluid structure. The very term ‘non-governmental

organization’ can now include a wide array of institutions and sectors,

from activist NGOs campaigning at the grassroots level to academic organizations,

trade unions, farmers’ cooperatives, religious structures, local authorities,

and business associations. NGOs serve as scientific researchers, as policy advisors

to governments and intergovernmental agencies, as advocates to political officials,

as communicators to media and the public, and as active partners in program

implementation at all levels.

These roles vary widely among different groups and in different regions, depending

upon each NGO’s primary issues of interest, its constituency, its resources and

its political mandate. At times the positions of different organizations on specific

policies may conflict. However, the scope and diversity of stakeholder involvement

as a whole is adding immense value and energy to the worldwide effort to

address the critical challenges facing the environment and sustainable development

– both in the development of theoretical policy, and in its practical implementation

in the field.

This Manual attempts to link these two areas of MEA formulation and civil society

participation. Its goal is to both strengthen multi-stakeholder participation and

increase political momentum for effective MEA development, implementation and

enforcement. The two are interdependent and equally essential: by strengthening the

effectiveness of stakeholders’ involvement, MEAs themselves become more relevant, more

resilient and more resolute.


Climate Negotiations and Development: How Can Low-Income Countries Gain from a Climate Negotiation Framework Agreement?

Source: Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
Date: Nov 2009

Climate change negotiations can have more important welfare consequences for
poor countries than other negotiations such as the current trade
negotiations. This paper reviews key negotiation issues in the run-up to
Copenhagen climate change negotiations, sets out key scenarios and models
their effects on incomes in poor countries. The paper suggests that
developing countries gain from emissions stabilising policies as they enjoy
lower environmental damages but they suffer a reduction in Gross Domestic
Product (GDP) if they themselves are subject to emissions stabilising
policies without a breakthrough in technological change. Climate finance can
enhance GDP in developing countries, but they will only stimulate green
growth if public finance initiatives do more than substitute for domestic

We consider three main negotiation issues: emissions reductions, technology
transfer and climate finance. Using an Integrated Assessment Model (RICE98)
which includes negative effects of environmental damages on income levels,
albeit in a relative conservative way, we find that sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)
can gain 1% of (accumulated) GDP by negotiating strong emission reductions
(e.g. 80%-95% cuts on 1990 levels by 2050) in developed countries, but would
lose up to 2% of GDP if it takes on emission reductions (15% by 2020)
itself. Cheaper green technology, in developed and developing countries will
raise incomes of developing countries considerably.

Climate finance (which is additional to current aid commitments) to Africa
for adaptation and mitigation can raise SSA incomes, but it is crucial to
understand which levels of finance to negotiate for. For example, funds for
mitigation and adaptation worth $ 28 billion per year (in 1990 prices and
hence corresponding the estimates contained in the EC blueprint) alleviates
GDP losses for developing regions such as Africa when it reduces emissions
by 15% by 2020 although the scenario still leads to a loss in GDP compared
to a Business as Usual (BAU) scenario in which no action to reduce emissions
is taken. So additional climate finance goes some way to compensate for
reduced emissions.

Scaled-up climate finance worth around $ 95 billion per year (within the
range of the WB's WDR 2010) and available equally for all developing
countries according to their levels of income per capita, leads to a gain of
around 0.2% of GDP (again assuming Africa is subject to a 15% emissions
constraint by 2020) compared to a BAU scenario.
The scenarios of greatest economic value to Africa are those in which there
are ambitious cuts in developed and large developing country emissions,
large finance packages but no specific emissions constraints for poor
countries, in which case transfers from rich to developing countries enhance
growth, reduce emissions and allow an earlier introduction of domestic
purchases of backstop technologies. This scenario would raise Africa's GDP
by up to 6% (compared to BAU).
The paper clearly shows that various negotiation outcomes can have
substantial and differential development effects on developing countries.
Further work could shed light on the details of specific negotiation issues
and the sensitivity of the results to using different model specifications.
View the full document:$file/ODI_Nov2009.p

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

U.S. Lacey Act Amendments Require Increased Supply Chain Due Diligence from Businesses that Buy and Sell Wood


Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., March 6, 2009

The Lacey Act is a law that prohibits trade in illegally sourced wildlife, fish

and plants. Recent amendments to this law (aimed primarily at preventing

illegal logging) expand the scope of products covered under the Lacey Act

to include trees from natural or planted forest stands and any products

made from wild plants or trees. The amendments also expand the range of

applicable protections to include any tree or wild plant that is taken,

possessed, transported or sold in violation of any U.S. or foreign law that

protects plants. The amendment provisions, detailed below, will require

increased due diligence by businesses who source and sell wood and wood




OECD standards taken up in fight against conflict minerals

4 October 2010, Paris/Nairobi - Efforts to end trade in conflict minerals advanced last week when 11 African countries endorsed an OECD system for the responsible sourcing of minerals.

Mining ministers from the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) agreed 30 September 2010 to forward the OECD’s guidance to heads of state slated to participate in the next ICGLR regional summit.

The OECD's Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chain Management of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas also won strong support from private sector and civil society participants in the recent meeting.

Public and private sector officials agreed that the OECD due diligence system should be part of wider plans to improve transparency and accountability across the central African minerals sector.

Illegal exploitation of natural resources in fragile African states has been fueling conflict across the region for a decade. Exploited minerals include diamonds, gold and tin, as well as those commonly found in electronic equipment such as casserite (used in laptops), coltan (mobile phones) and wolframite (light bulbs). While data is scarce, it is estimated that up to 80% of minerals in some of the worst-affected zones may be smuggled out. The illegal trade stokes conflict, boosts crime and corruption, finances international terrorism and blocks economic and social development.

The OECD’s guidance clarifies how companies can identify and better manage risks throughout the entire mineral supply chain, from local exporters and mineral processors to the manufacturing and brand-name companies that use these minerals in their products.

“The OECD guidance offers a concrete response for ongoing corporate engagement in the region,” said Dumisani Kumalo, South Africa’s Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region.

Industry associations, including the Global e-Sustainability Initiative and the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, supported the OECD guidance. This was described during the Nairobi meeting as “a practical tool for responsible sourcing". Various private sector representatives, such as Ford Motor Company, also called on the United States Securities and Exchange Commission to rely on the OECD guidance when drafting new annual reporting requirements for  listed companies.

The SEC is working on the new due diligence regulations in response to transparency requirements tacked onto a financial overhaul law passed earlier this year by the US Congress. The law will force listed companies in US markets to disclose in their annual reports all measures taken to prevent financing of armed groups, including those trafficking in conflict minerals.

“We very much hope that the Securities and Exchange Commission will look to this guidance for determining reliable due diligence measures,” said Ford Motor Company’s Global Manager for Supply Chain Sustainability, Monique Oxender.


For further information, contact OECD Legal Adviser Lahra Liberti (Tel: +33 1 45 24 79 47; Mobile: +33 6 13 89 43 35; Email:,3343,en_2649_34889_46130881_1_1_1_1,00.html


South Africa wages war on ruthless rhinoceros poachers

Officials vow to 'fight fire with fire' as rhino toll soars to feed black market in south-east Asia

Rangers insert a GPS device into a rhino's horn to keep track of its movements at the Mafikeng Game Reserve in South Africa's North West Province. Photograph: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

South Africa is fighting an increasingly bloody war against poachers who have doubled the number of rhinos they have killed in a year to feed a soaring demand for rhino horn from Asian organised crime syndicates.

The number of rhinos killed by poachers this year has soared to 261, more than double the total for the whole of 2009. Now the national army has been urgently requested to patrol game parks and some rhino owners have been forced to hire ex-military security guards.

Officials have vowed to "fight fire with fire", prompting comparisons with the battle against violent crime in South African cities. At least two suspected poachers have been killed in gun battles with police in the past three months , including at the world famous Kruger national park. Last week a man accused of illegally selling rhino horns killed himself and a poacher was shot and possibly left permanently disabled.

The trend is blamed on a sharp rise in the appetite for rhino horn in Vietnam and China because of a false belief in its medicinal value. Claims that a Vietnamese government minister was "cured" of cancer by using rhino horn have boosted the black market. The price of rhino horn is £35,000 a kilogram, making it far more expensive than gold, according to the International Rhino Foundation.

More at:


Adaptation Africa: CCAA News and Events

Welcome to Adaptation Africa, a quarterly news and events bulletin from the Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program.  


(La version française suivra.)


Description: Description: 909430417@28072010-273C





Adaptation Africa: CCAA News and Events   




1.  Events

2.  Program news

3.  CCAA projects in the news

4.  Latest CCAA results

5.  Opportunities 


1.        Events


CCAA at COP 16

The Sixteenth Conference of Parties to the UN Climate Change Convention takes place November 29 to December 10 in Cancùn Mexico. The CCAA program is supporting participation in two events. East African researchers who have taken part in the project Linking African Researchers with Adaptation Policy Spaces will share their experiences with bridging the gap between research and policy as part of the December 4 CGIAR Agriculture and Rural Development Day Ideas Market Place. IDRC, through the CCAA program, will also co-host a panel within Development and Climate Days, an annual event convened by IIED, taking place this year on December 4-5.


African Climate Change Fellowship Program culmination conference

A wrap-up conference for the first round of the African Climate Change Fellowship Program (ACCFP) will be hosted by l’Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) in Dakar, Senegal from December 5th to 11th, 2010. Fellows will share project results and provide feedback on the program.


Evaluating the contribution of adaptation to poverty reduction

Dakar, Senegal, October 25-29, 2010 - Some 20 researchers from 13 projects supported by CCAA gathered to share insights on how climate change adaptation may contribute to poverty reduction. The program’s second learning forum aimed to share knowledge from across a range of CCAA research projects and to provide the foundations for a synthesis paper on the topic. Read more


PAR workshop for urban vulnerabilities researchers

A workshop on Participatory Action Research (PAR) was held September 18-26, 2010 in Accra, Ghana. Members of nine CCAA project teams working on urban vulnerabilities to climate change, and a number of graduate students from the University of Ghana attended the training, hosted by the University’s Regional Institute of Population Studies (RIPS). Participants discussed PAR methods, shared their experience and challenges in implementing PAR projects, and took part in a field visit to the communities of Agbogbloshie and Usher Town which are working with the RIPS-led project Climate Change and Human Health in Accra.


African adaptation research presented at Coastal Zone Canada 2010

Four CCAA research partners presented at Coastal Zone Canada 2010 held July 25-29, 2010 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Healthy Oceans – Strong Coastal Communities”, and the coastal impact of climate change was a recurring motif. Anildo Costa of Cape Verde’s Sol & Vento,Cheikh Guèye of ENDA-TM in Senegal, Abdellatif Khattabi  of Morocco’s École nationale forestière d'ingénieurs and Mohamed Abdrabo of Egypt’s University of Alexandria presented their research at a panel on July 26 moderated by CCAA Program Officer Guy Jobbins.


2.        CCAA Program news


CCAA Learning Paper and Policy Brief on the use of seasonal forecasts now available!

Lessons from CCAA’s first learning forum are captured in the paper, Integrating meteorological and indigenous knowledge-based seasonal climate forecasts for the agricultural sector,” edited by Gina Ziervogel (University of Cape Town) and Alfred Opere (University of Nairobi). The paper crystalizes insights arising from eight participatory action research projects supported by CCAA. Key lessons for decision makers are captured in the accompanying policy brief,” Tailoring climate information to user needs”. 


Annual report for 2009-10 now online!

Grounded decisions: Informing policies that help the vulnerable adapt  reports on CCAA activities and results for our fourth year of programming. It highlights the range of approaches our partners have taken to influence adaptation policies – and the results they are achieving. Drawing on locally focused case studies of adaptation in Africa, it illustrates how the uptake of research is strengthened when policymakers are involved throughout the research process. This year, see Stories from the field on West African fisheries, pastoralism in Northern Kenya, competing water demands in Morocco’s Saiss basin, and soil fertility approaches to addressing climate variability in seven African countries.


Program Manager takes on new role in East Africa

Simon Carter, former CCAA Program Manager, has accepted the position of Director at IDRC’s Regional Office for East and Southern Africa in Nairobi, effective November 1, 2010. Simon’s colleagues look forward to working with him in his new capacity. A staffing process to identify a new program manager for IDRC’s growing climate change portfolio is underway. 


CCAA staffer joins Kenyan Ministry

Nairobi-based CCAA Research Officer Victor Orindi has been recruited as Climate Change Advisor by the Ministry of State for Development of Northern Kenya and Other Arid Lands. Victor will be greatly missed but we are sure to stay connected with him in his new role with the Ministry.


3.        CCAA projects in the news


Adaptation Fund’s first project aims to lessen effects of climate change in Senegal

A project to be implemented by CCAA research partner Centre de Suivi Ecologique (CSE) has been approved as the first to be financed by the UNFCCC Adaptation Fund. The Senegalese project, which focuses on protecting coastal resources from the effects of sea level rise, will receive US $8.6 million in funding. Read more…


Le banlieue de Dakar sous les eaux

CCAA Program Management Officer Alioune Kaere is quoted in this Ouest France article, published October 12, 2010 (available in French only).


New tool predicts malaria 90 days before an outbreak Sept 20, 2010 - This news story published online in the UK’s The Independent features CCAA research partner Dr. Githeko malaria prediction model developed by his team at KEMRI.


Cheikh Gueye of Enda Tiers-Monde talks to Radio Canada International’s Tam-Tam Canada about his research on the impacts of climate change on West African coastal regions. Listen to the interview (French)


Présentation à Rabat des résultats du projet "Adaptation aux changements climatiques au Maroc" August 25, 2010 - In this online article from the Magreb Arabe Presse the research results from the Moroccan Coastal Management project are highlighted across a variety of sectors (fisheries, agriculture, tourism).


Community-based adaptation to climate change in Africa project launched Aug 17, 2010 – The launch of the Zimbabwe component of the Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change in Africa project appears in this news article in The Zimbabwean.


France 5 documentary series Sale temps pour la planète examines the global impacts of climate change, including in Morocco and Madagascar. CCAA research teams led by ENFI and University of Antananarivo contributed to these productions.  Check online for broadcast details.


Read the latest media coverage of CCAA events and projects.  


4.        Latest from CCAA projects


Recent CCAA project outputs available online include:  

·         A peer-reviewed article by Johnson Nkem et al. in Environmental Science & Policy outlines challenges in adapting to climate change in the forests of the Congo Basin  (CCAA Project 104835)


·         The latest edition of Joto Afrika from ALIN and AfricaAdapt looks at disaster management and climate change in Africa.


·         Gatekeeper, a newsletter produced by IIED, features an article on the Community Based Adaptation project component in Sudan (Project 104898)


·         The June 2010 edition of the African Journal of Science & Technology highlights the article “Vulnerability and adaptation of rain fed agriculture to climate change and variability in semi-arid Tanzania” by CCAA project partners on vulnerability and adaptation of rain-fed agriculture in Tanzania (Project 104141)


·         Supported by AfricaAdapt’s Innovation Fund and the UNDP, Moroccans from the Iguiouaz oases share their stories in this video about climate change and the ways they are adapting to increasing desertification in the region.


5.        Opportunities


ESPA announcement of opportunity

DFID’s Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) program has issued an announcement of opportunity for a series of major consortium projects to be awarded in 2011. Find full details online. The ESPA program is a partnership between DFID, the National Environment Research Council (NERC), and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Expressions of Interest must be submitted through the web-based form by December 8, 2010.


Climate Change and Water call for concept notes

IDRC’s Climate Change and Water program invites concept notes on the theme “Adapting to Climate Change in Vulnerable Coastal Communities”. See details online. The submission deadline is December 1st, 2010.


AfricaAdapt Innovation Fund: Shortlisted projects

The AfricaAdapt Team announces that 35 projects have been short-listed from a total of 450 submissions to the second round of its Knowledge Sharing Innovation Fund. Final selections will be announced shortly.


The Climate Change Adaptation in Africa (CCAA) research and capacity development program aims to improve the capacity of African people and organizations to adapt to climate change in ways that benefit the most vulnerable. The program was launched in 2006 and is jointly funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). It is hosted and managed by IDRC from headquarters in Ottawa and three regional offices in Africa. 



Kenya's High Court Restores Amboseli to National Park Status


NAIROBI, Kenya, November 15, 2010 (ENS) - The High Court of Kenya has reversed an order by President Mwai Kibaki to downgrade the Amboseli National Park to a game reserve. The High Court found the President's move to "de-gazette" Amboseli was illegal.

Serah Munguti, the advocacy manager of Nature Kenya, a BirdLife International partner organization, welcomed the decision, saying, "Nature Kenya firmly believes that the future of Kenya's wildlife lies with citizens and the local populations who share land with wildlife."

One of Kenya's most popular parks, Amboseli lies northwest of Africa's highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, about 140 kilometres (87 miles) south of the capital city Nairobi.

The park covers 392 square kilometers (151 square miles) at the core of an 8,000 square kilometer (3,100 sq mile) ecosystem that spreads across the Kenya-Tanzania border. It was declared a UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserve in 1991.

Visitors come from around the world to view the park's elephants, zebra, gnu, baboons, hippopotamus, buffalo, spotted hyena, waterbuck, Maasai giraffe, Thomson's and Grant's gazelle, impala, lions, leopards and cheetahs as well as Endanagered black rhinos.

Amboseli has been identified as an Important Bird Area with over 400 bird species recorded. More than 40 birds of prey have been seen in the park, including Vulnerable lesser kestrel, Falco naumanni, which uses the site during its migration period.

At independence in 1964, the area was the Maasai Amboseli Game Reserve and was managed by the Olkejuado County Council.

Amboseli was gazetted as a national park by President Jomo Kenyatta in 1974, but in 2005 the park management reverted to Okejiando County Council, and the name changed to Amboseli National Reserve.

The downgrading of Amboseli National Park was ordered by President Kibaki ahead of Kenya's first Constitutional Referendum in 2005. The President's move was seen as an attempt to gain support from the Maasai community to support the new constitution.

More than 20 wildlife groups have urged President Kibaki to reverse his decision.

The High Court's ruling means that management of Amboseli now shifts back to the Kenya Wildlife Service from the Olkejuado County Council and the Maasai tribe.

While Munguti says, "Local people must benefit not only from environmental services but also from concrete financial revenues derived from conservation," he also maintains that the High Court's ruling is a reminder that, "policies and leadership decisions likely to affect the integrity of ecosystems must be made in consultation with experts and not for political benefits."

Amboseli is surrounded by six communally-owned group ranches that are wet season dispersal areas for wildlife, and whose management has direct influence on the ecological stability of the park.

The park is renowned for being one of the best places in Africa to get close to wild elephants. There are some 1,500 elephants in the Amboseli ecosystem, which is kept green by the waters of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Wildlife tourism is one of Kenya's main sources of foreign revenue, and Amboseli brings in about $3.3 million a year from park fees and related tourist activities. This money helps administer Amboseli and other national parks in Kenya.


Tuesday, 9 November 2010


Press Release: Indigenous people, forests & climate


Friday, 19 March 2010 07:42 Francesco Martone




INDIGENOUS peoples were excluded when forest countries and donor governments met in Paris on March 11, 2010 to discuss a major forests

and climate initiative. The parties met under an invitation from the French and Norwegian governments to start developing governance structures for the 3.5 billion USD Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) readiness funds announced in Copenhagen at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP15 last December. The UNFCCC negotiations are still far from delivering final commitments in full respect of indigenous peoples’rights.


“Failure to include indigenous peoples from the very inception of the French-Norwegian initiative is unacceptable. The lock-out from the Paris meeting is further evidence of the urgency to ensure full and effective participation of indigenous peoples at all levels of negotiations and discussions on issues related to their land, resources and territories and to their rights as recognized by international legal agreements and instruments such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP)” said Mina Setra, an indigenous representative from The Alliance of Archipelagic Indigenous People (AMAN), Indonesia.


“Lack of proper engagement and consultation with indigenous peoples is not only confined to international processes but is also a common feature of key REDD processes at the national level. We therefore urge governments to ensure that any architecture under discussion to administer REDD readiness funds be rights-based, accountable, transparent and participatory” said Pacifique Mukumba Isumbisho from CAMV (Support Center for Indigenous Pygmies and Vulnerable Minorities), Democratic Republic of Congo.


Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) continues to work with the broader indigenous peoples coalitions to ensure that any decision on interim REDD financing will be anchored to the recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ rights, such as the right to access to information, consultation and participation, the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) and the right to their land and forests.


FPP calls on the Norwegian government to ensure that indigenous peoples are fully involved and consulted in the process leading up to the meeting to be held in Oslo in May when heads of government and heads of state are expected to approve the REDD partnership proposal.


Implementation of indigenous peoples' rights

Africa Regional Seminar

Best practices: Experiences, lessons learned and challenges concerning the

Implementation of indigenous peoples' rights

24th - 28th June, 2009

Co-organized by: KNCHR1 , PHGMN2 and ILO

1. Introduction:

In 1989, the ILO adopted Convention No. 169 on Indigenous and Tribal
Peoples' Rights. Since then, numerous legislative, policy and other measures
have been undertaken to implement these rights, particularly in countries
that have ratified the Convention. In these countries, the ILO's supervisory
bodies have monitored the implementation and provided comments, which serves
a further guidance on the practical implications of the Convention. In
September 2007, the UN General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The adoption of the Declaration is a
major step forward in the promotion and protection of indigenous peoples'
rights throughout the world. While celebrating the adoption, there is now
general acknowledgement that the remaining challenge is more systematic and
coherent implementation of indigenous peoples' rights, particularly at the

The UNDRIP deals with all the areas covered by Convention No. 169. In
addition, the UNDRIP addresses a number of subjects that are not covered by
the Convention. The UNDRIP reaffirms the importance of the principles and
approaches provided for under Convention No. 169 and the provisions of the
two instruments are fully compatible and mutually reinforcing. Consequently,
experiences and lessons learned regarding implementation of Convention No.
169 constitute a source of knowledge for the implementation of indigenous
peoples' rights generally - and as provided for in the UNDRIP. 3

The promotion and protection of indigenous peoples" rights in Africa has not
followed the same path as in other regions of the world. However, whereas
the debate on indigenous issues remains relatively controversial in some
areas, a number of positive steps have been taken in the African region to
address indigenous issues. Nevertheless, many challenges remain. The efforts
of advancing indigenous peoples rights in Africa still need to be
consolidated so that strategic areas of interventions can be located and
supported for the purpose of increased/improved results. One way of doing is
to assess initiatives and identify best practices, lessons learned and
challenged associated with the struggle.

In the Africa region, there is no country that has yet ratified Convention
169, but it is under consideration in some. There are also various on going
initiatives in several parts of Africa that are promoting indigenous
peoples' rights and development needs. These initiatives are using the
principles the ILO convention 169 and other international instruments to
raise the profile of the issues and also engage their governments. It is
imperative to document and disseminate the lessons and experiences, so far,
generated by these on going or completed initiatives led by the governments,
indigenous peoples' organizations and communities, NGOs, UN & its agencies
and in other situations through partnerships between several actors. It is
anticipated that the seminar can stimulate a process where different actors
can better understand the challenges facing indigenous peoples and how best
to address them through improved and shared efforts, and also promote
partnerships and working relations at different levels.

The communities claiming indigenous peoples' rights and identities across
the African continent have crafted creative and constructive means and
strategies of using the principles and spirit of the ILO convention 169 as a
relevant and strategic tool for advancing indigenous peoples rights, social
- cultural development needs and lobby their governments for enactment of
relevant legislative changes that are necessary for the improved realization
and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous

The Project to Promote ILO Convention No. 169 on Indigenous and Tribal
Peoples (PRO 169) partnership with Indigenous peoples' organizations,
networks and governments been supporting a number of initiates across the
African continent and at the global level with objectives of building the
capacity of Indigenous peoples organizations & networks, governments and
national human rights institutions as a means to building a firm foundation
for the recognition and respect for indigenous peoples rights.

The overall purpose is to promote the implementation of indigenous peoples'
rights in the African region through the discussion and dissemination of
experiences, good practice and lessons learned and also to better understand
challenges associated with the peoples rights struggle and how different
actors are address these challenges .

This will allow the participants to benefit and be motivated from the
experiences of others and to contribute to reducing the perceived
sensitivity of indigenous issues.

It is expected that the discussions on the implementation and replicability
of good practices and lessons learned will facilitate a process, whereby
government and indigenous institutions can assess their specific needs for
capacity building and technical assistance and strengthen their networking
at the regional level.

The seminar is being planned and organised through a partnership by a number
of organisations operating at different levels and with mandates that
touches on the rights of indigenous peoples. The organises that are the
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, The ILO PRO 169 and Centre for
Human Rights, University of Pretoria and Pastoralists and Hunter- Gatherers
Network of Kenya.

The focus of the seminar will be on experiences, good practice and lessons
learned that can contribute to a constructive approach to implementing
indigenous peoples' rights.

As a key resource for the seminar, PRO 169 is preparing a comprehensive
Practice Guide for the Implementation of Indigenous Peoples' Rights. The
Practice Guide will serve as a resource for the seminar but will also be
enriched by the input and experiences presented at the seminar before it
finalisation in June 2009.

The agenda of the seminar will focus on key aspects relating to the
implementation of indigenous peoples' rights, including consultation and
participation; land and natural resources; and systematic and coordinated
action of the States.

The programme of the seminar will be innovative and interactive in order to
facilitate the dialogue, exchange and mutual learning among the
participants. Key elements will be core plenary sessions with panel
presentations, thematic working groups, community visits, exhibition and
cultural performances.

Participants will be requested to prepare case studies from their
communities and countries, presentations. The opportunity will also be used
to show case indigenous cultures and items in a mini- exhibition including
documentary films and photos.

The preliminary preparation for the seminar by participants will be based on
a set of guidelines and materials that will be made available to them at
least one month before the start of the training.

Gender will be a specific topic of the seminar but also mainstreamed in the

Special efforts will be made to ensure action-oriented outcomes and
follow-up to the seminar.

The seminar will convene around 50 participants from the African region.
Participants will come from

Key indigenous organisations,

International/regional NGOs supporting indigenous peoples rights

Government and government institutions

Africa Commission on Human and Peoples rights

National Human Rights Institutions,

UN organisations and donors.

Pre- seminar Field Visit: Proposed sites are

Whole Group: Kajiado/Nairobi Metropolis- Theme: impact of cities encroaching
into indigenous peoples lands, and also impact of extractive industries by
Multinational Magadi Soda to indigenous livelihoods and means of
occupations. Lead organisation: MPIDO

Key issues:

- displacement of from ancestral lands and territories

- urban based indigenous peoples and how they are coping with modern lives

- Natural resources: access and benefit sharing from extractive industries

- Representation in Effective Decision making and participation

- Free Prior informed consent

- Political representation

- Provision, Access and quality of social services and amenities including
legal aid and human rights services.

1 Kenya National Commission on Human Rights - National Human Rights
Institution created by an act of public to protect human rights and to
safeguard against Government excesses. It has a an initiative on Minorities
and indigenous peoples rights in its Plan of operation.

2 Pastoralists and Hunter- Gatherers Minorities Network has been
instrumental in ensuring that indigenous communities issues and concerns are
included in Policy and constitution review processes in Kenya.

3 Source: ILO, Asian region concept note, undated.

Indigenous & Tribal People's Rights in Practice - A Guide to ILO Convention No. 169

Indigenous & Tribal People's Rights in Practice - A Guide to ILO Convention No. 169

This publication is a result of collaborative efforts of a wide group of ILO staff, indigenous organizations, experts and researchers on the main aspects of indigenous and tribal peoples’ rights. It hopes to provide governments, indigenous and tribal peoples and workers’ and employers’ organizations with a practical tool for the implementation of indigenous peoples’ rights, based on the experiences, good practices and lessons learned that have been generated so far.






Sunday, 7 November 2010

Access to Environmental Justice

 Access to justice in environmental matters means, in essence, three things. These are that:

  • people have proper information about environmental matters, that is, decisions which have environmental impacts
  • people can have their say in decision-making about such matters
  • decisions on environmental matters can be properly challenged

Examples of how access to justice is important in areas like planning can be seen when a major new development, like an incinerator or superstore, is proposed. This might concern a whole community. The local community will need proper information to participate in the decision making process. The community may have legitimate environmental concerns and may need access to a court or tribunal to challenge decisions made.

International agreement

In May 2005, the UK Government signed up to addressing some of these problems by agreeing to implement the Aarhus Convention (the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters). This is named after the Danish town where this international agreement was signed. This links environmental rights and human rights.

Aarhus has three main themes (or “pillars”):

  • Access to information – public bodies should provide information and respond to requests for it (this pillar is implemented in the UK through the Environmental Information Regulations 2004)
  • Public participation – the agreement sets out minimum requirements for public participation in various kinds of environmental decision making;
  • Access to justice – this means getting the right procedures in place so that no one faces barriers to justice in environmental matters (e.g. not having to face excessive costs if you take forward a legal challenge)

UK Government and Aarhus

There have been criticisms that the UK Government has not fully implemented the Aarhus Convention. The procedures should be "fair, equitable, timely and not prohibitively expensive". However, the UK has transposed the Aarhus Convention by relying on existing judicial review procedures (the procedure by which a decision of a public body may be challenged in the courts) and critics feel that such procedures make for an ineffective transposition. As a result, it is suggested that the main barriers to access to justice in the UK are:

1.    not being able to get your day in court for a (“judicial review”) on anything but legal grounds (disagreeing with a proposal is not sufficient grounds for a challenge)

2.    the costs of the litigation. People who bring a legal challenge unsuccessfully might face having to pay the costs of the winner, which could be substantial. Also, there is the risk, albeit low, of having to pay the costs of interested parties - those who are likely to be directly affected by the judicial review application and therefore join in the proceedings - which could turn out to be substantial.

3.    securing public funding for environmental cases. Aarhus makes express recognition of the fact that some people may need financial assistance in order to secure access to justice but public funding in the UK cannot be relieved upon for this. This means that only people with more money are likely to be successful and, therefore there is no access to justice for all.

The report of Lord Justice Sullivan, who chaired an independent panel on access to justice in environmental matters, published in May 2008 (which can be viewed below) considered that, in contravention of the Aarhus Convention, costs would be 'prohibitively expensive' if they prevented an ordinary member of the public not entitled to public funding from embarking on a legal challenge. The report suggests that a 'Protective Costs Order', capping potential exposure to costs should an application fail, would be a helpful way of meeting the requirements on access to justice.

The European Commission is pursuing some of these concerns through infringement proceedings against the UK government. The Commission is claiming that the UK government has failed to give effect properly to relevant European law due to the high cost of legal action to protect the environment. It issued a Reasoned Opinion (effectively a final written warning) in March 2010 setting out why it considers the UK to have failed to comply with its obligations.

The Commission is concerned with the cost of environmental proceedings preventing people from bringing legal challenges, particularly the requirement for applicants to give expensive "cross undertakings in damages" (undertakings to compensate defendants) before interim injunctions are granted by the courts. The Commission has also concluded that certain Directives, such as the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive, required by the Aarhus Convention have not been fully transposed into UK legislation and applied in practice. If the Commission is not satisfied with the UK Government's response it may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.

Jackson Report on Costs

In January 2010 UKELA welcomed the recommendations of the Jackson Review on Costs which puts environmental claims on the same footing as others.
One of the main recommendations of the review is for "one way costs shifting" whereby a defendant will be ordered to pay a claimant's costs if the claimant wins but the claimant will be ordered to pay the defendant's costs if the defendant wins. The current risk of a claimant having to pay for the costs of the defendant if the latter wins puts many people off bringing environmental cases – the so-called “chilling effect”.
In a recent example, local residents challenging a smelly composting site, near Bristol, in a private nuisance action faced a £25,000 legal bill for the costs of the other side.
“We welcome the simplicity and overall effect of the proposed qualified one-way costs shifting in judicial review cases. UKELA has argued for a uniform approach to costs in judicial review rather than different rules for environmental cases and we’re pleased that this was accepted in the final report which was published last week”, said Richard Kimblin, convenor of UKELA’s environmental litigation working party.

The Government will consider the Jackson report and its intentions will be published in due course.

Coalition on access to justice for the environment

Several UK NGOs have formed a coalition to raise these concerns. Members include the Environmental Law Foundation, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Worldwide Fund for Nature and Capacity Global. The Coalition does not have its own website yet.

Useful Links for Access to Justice

Ensuring access to environmental justice in England and Wales report (May 2008)

European Commission's press release about the Reasoned Opinion

Final report of the Jackson review on Civil Litigation Costs

United Nations Information on Aarhus

Environmental Information Regulations 2004

Access to Environmental Information

The law defines environmental information as information relating to the state of the environment, including elements of the environment such as air, water, soil and landscape. This also includes information on anything released into the environment (noise, energy or waste as well as substances), information on legislation, policies and plans relating to the environment and analysis of their likely effects, and information on human health and safety, including food safety where it is affected by the environment (see Section 2 (1) of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 which incorporates Article 1 of the EU Directive 2003/4/EC), the most recent European law on public access to environmental information.

Environmental information can be published in any material form including written, visual, aural and electronic.



Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus)1998

European Union

EU Directive 2003/4/EC on Public Access to Environmental Information


Environmental Information Regulations 2004

Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004



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