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B. Submissions from relevant organizations

Red Indígena de Turismo de México A.C; Consejo Regional Otomí del Alto Lerma de México; Red de Mujeres Indígenas y Biodiversidad de Guatemala; Asociación IXACAVAA de Desarrollo e Información Indígena de Costa Rica; INBRAPI de Brasil; Plataforma Dominicana de Afrodescendientes y EcoHaina de Republica Dominicana.

.- XI/14/E, Sistema Sui Generis para la protección de conocimientos, innovaciones y prácticas tradicionales.
El Ministerio de Medio Ambiente de Brasil ha elaborado un anteproyecto de ley para presentarlo a consideración de la Casa Civil de la Presidencia de la Republica y posteriormente al Congreso Nacional con el objetivo de sustituir a la Medida Provisional 2.186 de 2001, pero no lo ha hecho en consulta con los Pueblos Indígenas y Comunidades Locales de Brasil. Solamente han participado de la elaboración del anteproyecto personas de la sociedad civil que hacen parte de Consejos del Gobierno, lo que no caracteriza la consulta y no representa la diversidad cultural de los Pueblos Indígenas y de las Comunidades Locales de Brasil. Esperase que el derecho a la consulta, garantizado por el Convenio 169 de la OIT sea puesto en práctica por medio de consultas presenciales, asegurada la diversidad de biomas, de lenguas y la diversidad de pueblos indígenas y comunidades locales y esperase que la amplia aprobación y participación de los pueblos indígenas y de las comunidades locales sea aseguradas y respetadas en los procesos de creación de medidas para proteger los conocimientos, innovaciones y prácticas tradicionales de los Pueblos Indígenas y de las Comunidades Locales en los niveles nacionales de las Partes, en conformidad con el Protocolo de Nagoya.

The submission is by the following peoples’ organisations, NGOs and networks (in alphabetical order): Alliance for Democratising Agricultural Research in South Asia, Alliance for Food Sovereignty in South Asia, Community Media Trust (India), Deccan Development Society (India), ICCA Consortium (Switzerland/International), League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development (Germany/ International), MELCA-Ethiopia (Ethiopia), Millet Network of India (India), Natural Justice: Lawyers for Communities and the Environment (South Africa/International), Sahjeevan (India), Southern Action on Genetic Engineering (South India)

XI/14/E: Sui Generis Systems for the protection, preservation and promotion of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices
Reporting on Experiences with Sui Generis Systems and Community Protocols

  1. There is a significant body of literature and resources on community protocols, including a dedicated website and a toolkit for community facilitators,1 edited volumes of community experiences,2 workshop reports from regional meetings,3 articles and books,4 and films and photo stories.5

  1. The following experiences illustrate different elements of the process of documenting, developing and using a community protocol in a wide range of contexts. Interwoven in each experience is the intention to increase respect for and protection and maintenance of customary laws, traditional knowledge, innovations and practices, and customary uses of biodiversity and natural resources.

  1. Strengthening customary institutions and community organisations in Ghana: Since 2003, the Tanchara and Daffiama communities in northern Ghana have worked with the Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD) to develop a series of community organizational development tools, including institutional and resource mapping, visioning and action planning, organizational and well-being self-assessments, and institutional strengthening, to increase their capacity to ‘develop from within’. The tools have enabled customary leaders and community organisations to respond in culturally appropriate ways to an illegal gold mine and other threats to their territories, sacred groves, and important natural resources.6

  1. Community mapping and documentation of customary ways of life in Malaysia: Nine villages have relied on the Ulu Papar valley in Sabah, Malaysia, for generations for their identity, culture, food, shelter, and medicine. In order to establish a Community Use Zone within a state park that overlaps with their customary lands, they undertook 8 years of participatory action research, including creating 3-D models, conducting livelihood assessments, recording oral histories, and producing videos and photo exhibitions. This process provided the foundations for consolidating a community protocol and engaging with government agencies to secure their customary rights and livelihoods.7

  1. Mobilising diverse communities in response to a common threat in Kenya: When the Government of Kenya announced plans for a multi-billion dollar mega-infrastructure project in Lamu (the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor), indigenous peoples, local fishing communities, religious leaders, concerned residents, and civil society organisations joined together in solidarity. They embarked on a process of meetings, consultations, and visioning sessions before deciding not to oppose the project outright, but to call for their existing rights under international, regional and national law to be upheld in practice. Their emphasis on procedural issues such as rights to information, to participation in decisions that affect them, and to unbiased impact assessments illustrates the growing critical mass of civil society in Kenya.8

  1. Legal empowerment of small-scale organic farmers in India: Small and marginal farmers cultivate dozens of indigenous varieties of rice in the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu, India. However, the introduction of mono-crops and high yielding varieties threaten to erode the agro-biodiversity and traditional knowledge systems that sustain it. With the support of the Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems,9 organic farmers’ associations have been engaging in a process of legal empowerment around relevant international laws such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and national laws such as the 2002 Biological Diversity Act, the 2001 Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act, and the 2011 Food Security Bill. They have also learned about procedural rights such as the right to information, legal aid, and consumer protection for farmers.

  1. Advocating for livestock keepers’ rights in India: Raika and Maldhari pastoralists in Rajasthan and Gujarat (respectively) are claiming rights to customary grazing lands under India’s 2006 Forest Rights Act. Both communities developed protocols as tools to convey the importance of their breeds and ways of life to biodiversity conservation and to advocate for recognition of livestock keepers’ rights. With the support of local organisations Lokhit Pashu-Palak Sansthan and Sahjeevan as well as the League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development, the Raika and Maldhari are engaging with state government officials, national committees, and international fora to promote fair agricultural and biodiversity policies for the in situ conservation of local livestock breeds and livelihoods.10

  1. Engaging with responsible companies to support local livelihoods in South Africa: Traditional health practitioners from two different ethnic groups in Bushbuckridge, South Africa (in the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region), established an Association in 2009. They developed a community protocol to address unauthorised use of traditional knowledge and overharvesting of medicinal plants by outsiders as well as lack of access to plants now confined within a state protected area. Empowered by new rights under South Africa’s 2004 Biodiversity Act and Bioprospecting, Access and Benefit Sharing Regulations and with the support of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Committee, the health practitioners used their community protocol to engage proactively with a local cosmetic company interested in their traditional knowledge and to establish a medicinal plants nursery.11

  1. Many other indigenous peoples and local communities around the world have developed or are developing and using community protocols to articulate their stewardship, assert their rights, and affirm responsibilities towards their territories and ways of life, including in Peru, Colombia, Panama, Honduras, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. Other protocols from indigenous peoples in Canada, the USA, Australia, and New Zealand in particular have been developed specifically in response to research interests. A non-exhaustive compilation of these protocols and experiences is available at www.community-protocols.org/community-protocols.

Terms and Definitions

  1. In response to Decision XI/14/E, paragraph 10, regarding terms and definitions related to the sui generis agenda item, we would like to propose the additional term of “community protocols” and the explanations below for inclusion in the draft glossary of terms.

  1. Community protocols are increasingly referenced in international law and policy. For example, they are included in several CBD decisions (including Decisions XI/1, XI/5 and XI/14) and in the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (Articles 12(1), 12(3)(a) and 21(i)). They are referenced in Information Document 5 (“Consideration of initial elements: recognizing indigenous and local knowledge and building synergies with science”) of the first plenary of IPBES12 as a means to provide a framework for external stakeholders when engaging with indigenous peoples and local communities. They are also listed in the annex on tools and resources in the UN-REDD Programme Guidelines on Free, Prior and Informed Consent.13

  1. As indicated in paragraphs 1-9 above, there is a great deal of experience, lessons learned, and literature concerning the documentation, development and use of community protocols in a wide range of contexts.

  1. Community protocols use participatory methods to articulate indigenous peoples’ and community-determined values, procedures, and priorities, and set out rights and responsibilities under customary, state, and international law as the basis for engaging with external actors such as governments, companies, academics, and NGOs. They can be used as catalysts for constructive and proactive responses to threats and opportunities posed by land and resource development, conservation, research, and other legal and policy frameworks.

  1. Every process of developing and using a community protocol is as unique and diverse as the communities who undertake them. Whilst there is no template or way to “do” a community protocol, there are lessons learned and guidance on good practices and core principles, particularly concerning facilitation of the process according to the community’s objectives, priorities, timelines, and approaches. There are also several locally adaptable methods and tools that can assist with different aspects of a community protocol process, including self-determination, endogenous development, documentation and communication, social mobilisation, legal empowerment, strategic advocacy, and reflective monitoring and evaluation. A dedicated toolkit provides initial guidance on protocol processes.14

  1. The process of documenting, developing and using a community protocol should be endogenous, inclusive, empowering, and based primarily on the community’s own resources and diversity of knowledge, skills, and experiences. It should promote intra- and inter-community dialogue and intergenerational sharing and learning-by-doing. It should increase the community’s agency and capacity to ensure that engagements with external actors take place with honesty, transparency, respect, social and cultural sensitivity, and integrity.15

  1. Overall, community protocols enable indigenous peoples and local communities to bridge the gap between their self-determined customary stewardship and the external regulation and management of their territories and ways of life. They can also be used to help minimize the power asymmetries that often characterise government-community relations and promote a more participatory and endogenous approach to the future governance of peoples’ and communities’ territories, natural resources, and biodiversity.

  1. Consultations with other indigenous peoples and local communities and their supporting organisations who have been involved in the development and use of community protocols should be undertaken before a ‘definition’ is decided in the context of the CBD to ensure any such definition is appropriately flexible and adaptable.

Inuit Circumpolar Canada

Sui Generis Systems for the Protection, preservation and promotion of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices

One consideration is to examine sui generis systems of protection under existing legislative frameworks. For example the self-government arrangement within Nunavut provides Inuit with the ability to develop their own policies and laws and legislation which provides them more management over environmental matters and which brings their own identity into the institutional processes. The Nunavut Government has developed a Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) policy. It is a form of knowledge for understanding and explaining Nunavut. IQ embodies Inuit traditional knowledge and values and guides the government in framing decisions, policies and laws that reflect the key philosophies attitudes and practices of Nunavut majority. It goes further than contextualizing traditional knowledge of Inuit. For example the principle of Pijitsirniq means that a person with the power to make major decisions must exercise that power to serve the people to whom he or she is responsible. The principle of Avatatimik Kamattiarniq calls for nature to be treated holistically and with respect, as wildlife and habitat are interconnected and all actions have consequences for good or ill. The principle of Papattiniq is about guardianship and stewardship: wildlife belongs to nature and is not a commodity. This allows for new laws and legislation and policies to be created that reflects the social values and culture and Inuit concepts to be integrated. These new laws and policies allow for Inuit to have an expanded role in the sustainable use of Arctic biodiversity. This is an example of how the wider application of traditional knowledge is placed in the sub regional context.


* UNEP/CBD/WG8J/8/1.

1 Shrumm, H., and H. Jonas, 2012a. Biocultural Community Protocols: A toolkit for community facilitators. Natural Justice: Cape Town. Available online in English and Spanish at: www.community-protocols.org/toolkit.

2 Swiderska, K., H. Shrumm, W. Hiemstra, M. Julia Oliva, K. Kohli, and H. Jonas (editors), 2012. Biodiversity and Culture: Exploring community protocols, rights and consent. IIED: London. Available in English and Spanish at: http://pubs.iied.org/14618IIED.html.

3 Available at: http://www.community-protocols.org/toolkit/additional-resources/publications/reports.

4 Available at: http://www.community-protocols.org/toolkit/additional-resources/publications/articles and http://www.community-protocols.org/toolkit/additional-resources/publications/books-booklets.

5 Available at: http://www.community-protocols.org/toolkit/additional-resources/films-slideshows.

6 Guri Yangmaadome, B., D. Banuoko Faabelangne, E. Kanchebe Derbile, W. Hiemstra, and B. Verschuuren, 2012. "Sacred Groves Versus Gold Mines: Biocultural community protocols in Ghana", pages 121-130 in Biodiversity and Culture: Exploring community protocols, rights and consent, Swiderska et al. (eds.). Available online at: http://pubs.iied.org/G03405.html.

7 John, T., P. John, L. Bugiad, and A. Lee Agama, 2012. "Creating the Ulu Papar Biocultural Community Protocol: Process and product in the framing of a community agreement", pages 141-150 in Biodiversity and Culture: Exploring community protocols, rights and consent, Swiderska et al. (eds.). Available online at: http://pubs.iied.org/G03407.html.

8 For more information, please see: www.savelamu.org.

9 For more information, please see: www.ciks.org.

10 Köhler-Rollefson, I., A. Raziq Kakar, E. Mathias, H. Singh Rathore, and J. Wanyama, 2012. “Biocultural Community Protocols: Tools for securing the assets of livestock keepers”, pages 109-121 in Biodiversity and Culture: Exploring community protocols, rights and consent, Swiderska et al. (eds.). Available online at: http://pubs.iied.org/G03404.html; please also view a photo story about the biocultural community protocol of the Maldharis of Banni: www.tinyurl.com/ccj8d2v.

11 Sibuye, R., M. Uys, G. Cocchiaro, and J. Lorenzen, 2012. "The Bushbuckridge BCP: Traditional health practitioners organise for ABS in South Africa", pages 101-108 in Biodiversity and Culture: Exploring community protocols, rights and consent, Swiderska et al. (eds.). Available online at: http://pubs.iied.org/G03403.html.

12 IPBES/1/INF/5. Available online at: http://www.ipbes.net/component/docman/doc_download/1481-ipbes-1-inf-5.html?Itemid=58.

13 UN-REDD Programme, 2013. Guidelines on Free, Prior and Informed Consent. FAO, UNDP and UNEP. Available online at: http://www.unredd.net/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=8717&Itemid=53.

14 Shrumm and Jonas, 2012a.

15 Shrumm, H., and H. Jonas, 2012b. “Understanding and Facilitating a Biocultural Community Protocol Process”, pages 179-183 in Biodiversity and Culture: Exploring community protocols, rights and consent, Swiderska et al. (eds.). Available online at: http://pubs.iied.org/G03411.html.


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