Thursday, August 21, 2014

Stewarding the Earth: Rethinking Property and the Emergence of Biocultural Rights. A New Book by Kabir Bavikatte

The recent Oxford University Press, Stewarding the Earth: Rethinking Property and the Emergence of Biocultural Rights seeks to theorize some of the most significant experiences of Natural Justice since its inception. Written by Kabir Bavikatte, a co-founder and former member of Natural Justice, the book makes a strong case for the right to stewardship of Nature through biocultural rights. 

Weaving a fascinating tapestry of law, economics, anthropology and philosophy, Kabir maps and argues for biocultural rights of communities through compelling examples of environmental agreements, legislation, judicial decisions, and community practices. While most books on environmental jurisprudence tend to be expensive and dense tomes directed at academia, Kabir has made good on his promise of writing a low-cost, engaging book that theorizes the work of Natural Justice and its partners. Informative and stimulating, Stewarding the Earth is bound to have a profound impact on the environmental lawscape.

Monday, August 18, 2014

AU Access and Benefit Sharing Policy Frameworks and Guidelines Ready for Adoption

Gino Cocchiaro, Natural Justice, took part in the Validation Workshop on the AU Guidelines  for the Coordinated Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing from the 11th to the 14th of August in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The workshop was attended by African government representatives, experts on access and benefit sharing, indigenous people and local community representatives.

The workshop produced a final policy framework and guidelines on access and benefit sharing, which will both be presented to the The African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) for adoption. Natural Justice provided assistance to the indigenous people and local community representatives attending the meeting to ensure that the text adequately reflected their calls for recognition of their customary laws, community protocols and procedures.

Monday, August 11, 2014

CBD Alliance Publishes an Activists' Guide to the CBD

The CBD Alliance is proud to announce the publishing of the "Activists' Guide to the CBD". The guide describes the work of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), its structures, its protocols, cross cutting issues, among other valuable resources. The  guide is intended to provide a simple and accessible introduction to the Convention on Biological Diversity and current efforts to protect biodiversity. It aims to reflect a range of views held by members of the CBD Alliance, and includes summaries of CBD materials and other resources. The guide is aimed at those new to the CBD processes, as well as anyone wishing to deepen their understanding of the work being undertaken by different parties at an international level.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Seeking Feedback on New Publication: Human Rights Standards for Conservation (Part I)

A Bajau Laut child begging from tourists near Tun Sakaran
Marine Park, Malaysia. (cc Harry Jonas)
Despite increased recognition that conservation initiatives can violate the human rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities, addressing 'unjust' conservation remains a contemporary problem. The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and Natural Justice are seeking feedback on a series of technical reports that aim to provide clear guidance about the human rights obligations of conservation actors, and specific details of the rights and forms of redress available.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Upcoming Book: Indigenous Peoples, National Parks, and Protected Areas

The University of Arizona Press, is set to release a new book, “Indigenous Peoples, National Parks, and Protected Areas”. This passionate, well-researched book makes a compelling case for a paradigm shift in conservation practice. It explores new policies and practices, which offer alternatives to exclusionary, uninhabited national parks and wilderness areas and make possible new kinds of protected areas that recognize Indigenous peoples’ rights and benefit from their knowledge and conservation contributions. The author, Stan Stevens, has spent more than 30 years working with the Sharwa (Sherpa) people of Nepal, whose homeland is a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site.  
A vast number of national parks and protected areas throughout the world have been established in the customary territories of Indigenous peoples. In many cases these conservation areas have displaced . This book breaks new ground with its in-depth exploration of changes in conservation policies and practices—and their profound ramifications for Indigenous peoples, protected areas, and social reconciliation.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Terralingua Publishes Biocultural Diversiy Toolkit

With a view to making the concept and some of the applications of biocultural diversity more widely known to researchers, professionals, policy makers, and the general public, Terralingua has published the Biocultural Diversity Toolkit.

Since 1996, Terralingua has spearheaded research and applied work that have helped forge an integrated biocultural perspective on nature conservation and sustainable development: an approach that respects diversity in both nature and culture, and that recognizes the inextricable link between humans and the natural environment as vital to achieving human development in balance with nature. There are many hopeful signs of growing awareness of the critical importance of biocultural diversity for the vitality and resilience of our planet. Yet, stemming the continued erosion of life systems in both nature and culture requires a decisive effort to communicate, educate, share insights, and promote a new vision for human futures.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Human Rights Website Spotlights Conduct of Over 5600 Companies

The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHR) launched its multi-lingual, re-designed website. The site shines a spotlight on the human rights conduct of over 5600 companies globally: it includes advances they are making, allegations of human rights abuse, and how they are responding to concerns.

Key new features include:
  • Full navigation and homepages in seven languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Portuguese and Spanish;
  •  “Big Issue” areas on topics ranging from information technology and human rights, to the UN Guiding Principles and calls for a binding international treaty;
  • A searchable record of over 2000 approaches to companies, inviting them to respond to allegations of human rights abuse (with a global response rate of 70%);
  • Commentary and blog posts by BHR’s global team, and easily-accessible regional and sector-specific briefing papers; and
  • An effective search so users can get quickly to what they need.

A Hard-Fought Victory: Nagoya Protocol Achieves Requisite Numbers for Entry into Force

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization will enter into force on 12 October 2014 following its ratification by 51 Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

This is a proud moment for Natural Justice, and other organisations that have worked tirelessly to bring this dream to fruition. Ever since its founding, Natural Justice has been supporting communities in exploring how biocultural community protocols can assist them to engage with Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) according to their values. This is in addition to the technical advice that NJ has constantly availed at all levels, from the sub-national to the international.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Natural Justice Engagement in Mutare, Zimbabwe

Natural Justice worked with members of the Marange and Arda Transsau communities from 7-8 July in Manicaland in Zimbabwe, to support the development of the community's biocultural community protocol. All were involved in peer-to-peer learning activities designed to support the collection of materials for the community's biocultural community protocol. Activities included institution and resource mapping, mapping of community and other development activities within the communities, now and historically, development of historical timelines and role play activities.

The two day workshop was an incredibly rich opportunity to engage in endogenous development and participatory action research methodologies by Natural Justice and community members alike.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Food and Climate Justice Research Validation Workshop Held

Natural Justice's Cath Traynor of joined Oxfam and partners at a Research Validation Workshop, on 8th July 2014, Pretoria Johannesburg. During the workshop a number of preliminary research pieces were presented, these included a review of the effects of climate change and adaptation mechanisms on women and small-holder farmers in Africa, a review of SADC level policies and protocols, and investments in agriculture, that affect women small-holder farmers. The preliminary findings were discussed and critiqued by participants. 

Country level research reports from several SADC countries were presented, and the specific climate change impacts, challenges and opportunities facing women small-holder farmers highlighted. A clear picture emerged, that women small-holder farmers, the majority of whom are reliant upon rainfed-agriculture, are particularly vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change.  Although there are some supportive policies, the realization of these on the ground is challenging at the national level.  Participants discussed ways to improve and develop the research and brain stormed potential policy products which could be developed and used for advocacy.