Archive | Indigenous Rights

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Sabiduría indígena para salvar bosques

Posted on 09 December 2011 by admin

La comunidad de Olonana Ole Pulei es una tribu de la etnia maasai de Kenia. Crédito: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

Por Isaiah Esipisu*

DURBAN, Sudáfrica, 9 dic (IPS)  Para la comunidad laibon, una tribu de la etnia maasai de Kenia, el bosque Loita, de 33.000 hectáreas, es un santuario.

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Saving the Forests with Indigenous Knowledge

Posted on 09 December 2011 by admin

By Isaiah Esipisu*

DURBAN, South Africa, Dec 9 (IPS) – For the Laibon community, a sub-tribe of Kenya’s Maasai ethnic group, the 33,000-hectare Loita Forest in the country’s Rift Valley Province is more than just a forest. It is a shrine.

Olonana Ole Pulei’s community is a sub-tribe of Kenya’s Maasai ethnic group. Credit: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS


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High stakes, low chance of success for vulnerable states

Posted on 08 December 2011 by admin

By Joshua Kyalimpa

Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

Entire societies will be lost forever if we delay reaching a climate change agreement in Durban, warns Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of the Coastal Association for Social Transformation Trust (COAST).

“Let us not be witness to that unfortunate happening. Extreme events beyond everybody’s expectation are now observed more and more frequently and we know the consequence of that,” Chowdhury said.

Governments of low-lying island states such as the Maldives, the Bahamas, or the Pacific nation of Kiribati say their very physical existence is threatened by sea level rise of one metre – anticipated to take place by 2100.

Chowdhury’s home country, Bangladesh, is also caught in the crosshairs of global warming – rising temperatures and sea levels, changing weather patterns increasing catastrophic flooding from both swollen rivers and storm surges from intensifying monsoons will hit this low-lying, agriculture-dependent country full in the face.

A map produced by the United Nations Environment Programme shows that an area of this South Asian state that is home to 15 million people will be entirely submerged by a one-metre rise in sea levels. Long before then, increasing numbers of floods will erode riverbanks, and destroy homes, farms, roads and other infrastructure while taking longer to recede, hampering agriculture. Lingering floodwater will test public health systems wrestling with waterborne diseases.

The fears of Bangladesh and other low-lying states are an urgent reminder as the 17th Conference of Parties remains unlikely to agree on even a minimal programme of emissions reductions by developed countries – historically the worst polluters – or financial assistance for vulnerable developing nations.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon poured cold water on the talks Tuesday Dec. 6 when he told delegates that a global, legally-binding deal on climate change could well be off the agenda for now. He blamed grave economic troubles in many countries for overshadowing the talks, which are now in their second week but little tangible progress before they conclude on Dec. 10.

South African Bishop Geoff Davies head of the Anglican Church compared rich countries’ behaviour in Durban to apartheid, saying wealthy nations were trying to keep power and wealth for themselves. “Decision makers need to put the needs of people and the planet before profits.”

The parties remain sharply divided. Coastal states, small island nations and the Africa group are pushing for a second commitment by developed countries to reduce emissions to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. The U.S. and Canada say any new commitment should be delayed until after 2020. These two governments are also rejecting a legally-binding global agreement. Japan at one point threatened to pull out altogether.

The European Union has taken up a position somewhere in the middle, proposing a second commitment period to start somewhere around 2015. The EU also says this is on condition that other polluters – such as fast-growing China – are brought on board.

“We have committed under Kyoto and we have actually over achieved in the first commitment period,” said Connie Hedegaard, the European Commissioner for Climate Action. “But Europe only accounts for 11 percent of global emissions and that is why we are saying two things. We are ready to agree a second commitment period even though the family of countries who are ready to do so is shrinking; however we need reassurance that if we lay down a bridge to the future, then others will follow.”

The Congolese chair of the Africa Group, Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, says it’s hard to understand why the developed countries are behaving as they are.

“They says they want rules on climate change, but they don’t like the Kyoto Protocol. It’s hard to comprehend. If you want the mango, then you have to like the mango tree also,” he said. “If you want the carbon markets to continue, you must have robust transparent rules to continue – you have to keep the mango tree (binding emissions reduction agreements).”

He said the Africa Group is looking to the rich countries which have enjoyed a certain level of development at the cost of everyone’s atmosphere to now show leadership on climate change.

“They have shown us economic leadership, they have shown us political leadership and sometimes even military leadership, so let’s see them show us climate leadership.”

The pessimsism expressed by Secretary General Ban and COAST’s Chowdhury hangs over the conference venue, but some – like Paul Mafabi, a negotiator from Uganda – say it was already foregone conclusion that a deal would not be struck because of the economic crisis gripping the biggest offenders.

It’s perhaps worth remembering that small island and developing states are threatened not just by economic crisis, but by devastating and permanent disaster. And the real baseline demand of small island and developing states – measures to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and avoid devastating changes in these vulnerable states – is not even on the table.


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Descendants of slaves remember Emancipation Day

Posted on 07 December 2011 by admin

By Andre Marais – Amandla Magazine*

Jolene Beukes

Jolene Beukes. Credit: Andre Marais/TerraViva

DURBAN, Dec 7 – (TerraViva) Cape Town couple Johannes and Jolene Beukes travelled across the country to Durban at their own expense to attend an assembly of the world’s indigenous peoples at the Peoples’ Space, the alternative conference taking place in conjunction with the U.N. Climate Conference. Continue Reading

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Negotiations Must Deliver a Work Programme on Agriculture

Posted on 05 December 2011 by admin

By Busani Bafana

Durban, 5 Dec. — Negotiators at the 17th Conference of Parties owe it to the world’s more than seven billion people to deliver a deal with a work plan for agriculture, a sector that is expected to be the worst affected by climate change.

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Time for a New Agricultural Revolution

Posted on 04 December 2011 by admin

Busani Bafana interviews to KANAYO F. NWANZE, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

DURBAN, South Africa, Dec 4 (IPS) – The combined effects of ballooning populations, poor productivity and threatened water resources present fresh pressures on agriculture to deliver food, money and livelihoods in Africa.

The food system needs urgent reform in the face of climate change which accelerating the speed of change on the farms and on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.

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Stand Together, Don’t Betray us

Posted on 02 December 2011 by admin

By Joshua Kyalimpa

DURBAN, South Africa, 2 Dec (IPS) – Civil society organisations are urging Africa to remain steadfast in its demands for a commitment to the Kyoto Protocol and not to be bulldozed into a new agreement.

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‘The Kalahari will die before us…’

Posted on 02 December 2011 by admin

By Joseph Bushby – Winelands Echo*

Isak and Toppies Kruiper at COP 17

Isak Kruiper fears his generation will outlive its home in the Kalahari desert. Credit: Ramatamo wa Matamong/TerraViva

DURBAN, Dec 2 — (TerraViva) Isak and Toppies Kruiper have made their way across the country with a message, travelling all the way from their home in the Kalahari Desert of South Africa’s Northern Cape Province to the United Nations Climate Conference taking place in the port city of Durban on the eastern coast.

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Forest-Dependent Communities Lobby for End of REDD+

Posted on 29 November 2011 by admin

By Kristin Palitza

Tract of rainforest cleared by burning in the state of Acre, Brazil. Credit:Mario Osava/IPS

DURBAN, South Africa, Nov 29 – (IPS) Organisations working with indigenous peoples living in forests say the United Nations programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD+) is just another way for big corporates to reap huge profits.
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COLOMBIA: Amazonas 2030 – Indicators for the Climate Crisis

Posted on 02 November 2011 by admin

By Constanza Vieira *
BOGOTA, Nov 2, 2011 (Tierramérica) – “It’s great news” that the Colombian government is studying the cancellation of mining titles that have been granted in protected areas and in border zones declared national security areas, anthropologist Martín von Hildebrand, director of the Gaia Amazonas Foundation, told Tierrramérica. Continue Reading

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