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COP12 Agrees on the use of “Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities” in Decisions and Secondary Documents under the Convention of Biological Diversity

With the theme “Biodiversity for Sustainable Development”,the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD COP 12) was held from 6th to 17th October 2014 in Pyeongchang, Korea. The meeting aimed at raising international awareness on the essential role of biodiversity and its contribution to sustainable development, as well as at highlighting biodiversity in the context of the post-2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Since its establishment in 1996, the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB),has been coordinating the effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) in CBD processes. From 2014, the coordination has been transferred to Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP). The IIFB has been consistent in advocating for the recognition of indigenous peoples rights and indigenous peoples as distinct from local communities. Under international human rights law as embodied in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), indigenous peoples as “peoples” are entitled to collective rights as a matter of social justice.Thus, the term “indigenous and local communities” is inappropriate and misleading.

However, the proposal to use “Indigenous Peoples” was subjected to strong debate in the CBD COPs. The attempt to develop an entire Article focusing on Indigenous Peoples was not adopted. However, a core element was included in Article 8(j) on traditional knowledge of  “Indigenous and Local Communities” was adopted as a compromise within the Convention.

Thus, the debate during COP12in Pyeongchang centered around the use of the term “Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs)”instead of the current phrase “Indigenous and Local Communities (ILCs)”.After a series of interventions facilitated and organized by AIPP and the IIFB  (e.g. a press release and Press Conference on the use of terminology), a draft text was formulated related to the use the term “Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities” in future decisions and secondary documents under the Convention.These efforts resulted to the adoption of “Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities” without formally changing the original Convention. The IIFB acknowledged and appreciated this recognition and respect of Indigenous Peoples’ fundamental identity and distinction as “peoples”as it embodies their entitlement to collective rights under international human rights instruments.

 

 

 

 

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