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A network for all who care about the conservation of our world and who want to see it achieved with justice, compassion, dignity and honesty.

Land grabbing: is conservation part of the problem or the solution?

An IIED briefing paper on land acquisition and rights prepared by Tom Blomley, Dilys Roe, Fred Nelson, Fiona Flintan

Large-scale land acquisitions are increasing in pace and scale, in particular across parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Weak governance and poor land use planning mean that commercial ‘land grabs’ often damage biodiversity as well as dispossessing people from customary rights and livelihoods. Land can also be ‘grabbed’ for ‘green’ purposes, triggering conflicts that undermine potential synergies. Expanded state protected areas, land for carbon offset markets and REDD, and for private conservation projects all potentially conflict with community rights. Such conflict is counterproductive because secure customary and communal land tenure helps enable sustainable natural resource management by local communities. This briefing presents the experience of international development, wildlife and human rights practitioners, shared at a symposium on land grabbing and conservation in March 2013.

More… Nov 04, 2013

The Van Gujjar Migration - A traditional cultures project

The Van Gujjar people's annual migration challenges conservation to build more flexible strategies guaranteeing the sustainability of ancient traditions; especially when these can be better partners than settled agriculture in the challenge to maintain sustainable levels of biodiversity. This project showcases an innovative use of Google Earth and Google Maps to highlight the Van Gujjar's ancient migratory tradition now imperilled by, amongst many pressures, the establishment of protected areas. The challenge to conservation of including not just established and settled communities but also migratory ones in their attempt to ensure an inclusive and participatory solution to conservation are vividly portrayed.

More… Oct 17, 2013

Chagos Islands marine park is compatible with law, high court rules

Judges uphold decision to create protected area, which prevents former residents resettling islands where US airbase was built

A government decision to create a controversial marine park in the Indian Ocean has been upheld by the high court. Former residents of the Chagos Islands who were forced into exile say the move, involving a ban on commercial fishing, was unlawfully aimed at preventing them resettling their former "paradise" homeland. But Lord Justice Richards and Mr Justice Mitting, sitting in London, ruled that the marine protected area (MPA) was compatible with EU law.

More… Jun 11, 2013

Samburu video testimonial 1. Nakuru Lemiruni sends a message to AWF

Nakuru talks to Jo Woodman about her eviction from her home to make way for conservation. Video editing by Zoe Young.

The Samburu of Kisargei, in Kenya’s Laikipia district, were brutally evicted from the lands they call home after it was sold to the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). AWF – with funds from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and a private donor – says it bought the land on the understanding that no-one lived there. When the Samburu protested and took the matter to the courts the land was hurriedly ‘gifted’ to the government. Nakuru Lemiruni's six children were all born in Kisargei and she says she 'cannot think of any other land as home'. She wanted to send a message to AWF. This is it.

More… May 21, 2013

Guidelines on Free, Prior and Informed Consent - FPIC

These guidelines, designed to be applied by UN-REDD Programme partner countries, “require States to recognize and carry out their duties and obligations to give effect to the requirement of FPIC as applicable to indigenous peoples”.

These guidelines are only applicable to countries that are UN-REDD participants which diminishes the potential impact and reach of the guidelines. In addition, by focussing on indigenous and forest dependent communities, many other communities in need of such protection are beyond the reach of these guidelines. With these limitations the UN continues down the road of developing a web of overlapping guidelines. Why does the UN continue to build such a morass of programme based guidelines rather than moving towards moving towards a universal right to FPIC for all communities with demonstrable rights to land or the resources on it? – JC.

More… Mar 04, 2013

“Authenticity,” Identity, and Humanity: The Hai//om San and the State of Namibia

A summary of issues regarding the conservation influenced resettlement of the Hai//om from Etosha National Park. Contributed by Robert Hitchcock and the Kalahari Peoples Fund.

"It would be useful if the Namibian government followed international declarations and protocols on the rights of indigenous peoples to land and to free, prior, and informed consent regarding resettlement policies and programs. It would also be beneficial if both the government of Namibia and the Hai//om Traditional Authority employed an approach to decision-making based more on consultation and consensus building, and less on top-down directives. This is in the spirit of democratic governance and will help ensure that the goals of building a strong, peaceful and successful society will succeed."

More… Dec 11, 2012

Bolivia: Ecotourism Helps Amazon Jungle Communities Survive

The ecotourism company is named in honour of the giant Mapajo tree, a sacred tree that grows 40 metres high and provides protective cover for many other species of trees used for their wood in the Amazon rainforest.

It took 10 years before current President Evo Morales finally formally granted the CRTM collective title to their land, which has enabled them to create and strengthen productive initiatives, such as the harvesting and use of jatata palm fronds. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) had already designated Pilón de Lajas – adjacent to the enormous Madidi National Park – a biosphere reserve in 1977.

More… Sep 23, 2012

Declaration of the Shipobo regarding the Imiria Conservation Area

Shipibo communities in the Peruvian Amazon reject implementation of the Imiria Conservation Area for violation of their rights as indigenous peoples

Representatives of 12 Shipibo indigenous communities and neighbouring villages from the Imiria lake region in Ucayali, Peru have expressed their opposition to the Imiria Regional Conservation Area (RCA-Imiria), a protected area established by the Regional government of Ucayali.The RCA-Imiria was created in 2010 but the communities denounce the fact that it overlaps their traditional territory including the titled lands of seven communities.

More… Sep 16, 2012