CBFP Meeting - GIZ Side event: "Experiences of taking into account human rights in the processes of sustainable management of forests and protected areas in the COMIFAC area".

Organized on the sidelines of the 8th Meeting of the CBFP's Governing Council, the Side Event on "Experiences in taking into account human rights in the processes of sustainable management of forests and protected areas in the COMIFAC area" was an appropriate opportunity for the different programs, projects and non-governmental organizations involved in biodiversity conservation activities and protection of indigenous heritage, including REPALEAC, GIZ-BGF, GIZ-COMIFAC and GIZ-COMIFAC-BSB-Yamoussa to share success stories, key challenges and work sites they are facing.

Conscious that the conservation of biodiversity in the COMIFAC space will only be meaningful if it takes into consideration the concerns and rights of indigenous and local communities. Following an introduction by REPALEAC, the side event allowed the exchange of experiences and reflection in relation to the following three themes:

  • The consideration of human rights in the conservation process in the DRC;
  • Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC);
  • The consideration of human rights and FPIC in the relocation process of indigenous communities.

 

a. BGF's support to biodiversity conservation in the DRC: Taking into account HR in different processes. By Mignonne Kayoyo, CT Norms and Standards, PA Networking

Within the framework of its mission to manage the entire network of protected areas in the DRC, the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) is facing serious problems related to population growth, poaching and other anthropogenic pressures. Moreover, the history of the creation of protected areas indicates that it was done without the consent of the local communities because of policy restrictions, relocation of villages and expropriation of their land; to this day, some communities are claiming their rights to these lands or adequate compensation measures as is the case in PNKB and PNL. The resettlement of indigenous peoples at the time of the creation of the parks (PNKB, PNL, PNS, etc.), without consultation in the logic of FPIC or adequate compensation, has had serious repercussions on the rights of these communities and is an underlying factor in many of the challenges that have persisted since then.

From the above, the context is conducive to conflicts between local communities, indigenous peoples and eco-guards and indeed ICCN as the entity responsible for the management of protected areas in the DRC. Unfortunately, these conflicts are also sometimes opportunities for human rights abuses that have been decried in several protected areas, among which mainly Salonga National Park/SANP and KahuziBiega National Park/KBNP, which is part of the intervention sites of the GIZ program for the sustainable management of biodiversity and forests in the DRC (BGF).

The methodological approach applied by the BGF in terms of human rights initially targeted vulnerable populations (women, IPs) in a cross-cutting manner through awareness-raising activities and support for targeted community initiatives.  Following the accentuation of conflicts between communities and ICCN in certain parks in the DRC, particularly in KBNP from 2018, the Standards and Norms component of the BGF reoriented its strategic approach in order to improve relations between local communities, particularly IPs, and park managers in its intervention zones, particularly around KBNP. This approach has been developed through targeted support to different groups of actors, likely to play a direct or indirect role in the pacification of the relations between ICCN and the indigenous communities in both current and future processes.

The results achieved are structured according to the principles of the guide on the consideration of human rights in conservation developed by the GIZ….

b. Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). By Julia Metsio Siena, PhD. GIZ «Regional Support to COMIFAC ".

A fundamental principle in international law presents FPIC (Free Prior Informed Consent) as the right of indigenous peoples and local communities (ICLC) to give their opinion on any development project that may have an impact on their way of life and well-being. This requires that they are first well informed about the planned project (knowingly) and free (without intimidation or coercion) to participate freely in project negotiations. Consent must be obtained prior to the beginning of any activity and until the end of the process, the ICLC retain their right to make their views known. Therefore, in order to have valid consent, it is essential to ensure that the entire community gives its point of view, for example through representatives freely chosen by the community itself.

It is to this end that a pilot initiative of COMIFAC on the development of a consensual approach to FPIC in the protected areas of the COMIFAC area based on existing experiences was set up in the Tri national de la Sangha (TNS) and in the Yamoussa BSB Complex and Lomami NP. It aims to contribute to a better respect of human rights and a better participation of the ICLC in the sustainable management of protected areas. Its implementation will promote at the same time the appropriation by the ICLC of biodiversity conservation projects, which will in turn benefit from the important knowledge that these ICLC have accumulated over generations. …

 

c. Relocation of villages located in the BSB Yamoussa Transboundary Complex/Sena Oura National Park, Chad: Experiences in taking into account human rights and FPIC. By Jean Jadot ONDOBO, GIZ/BSB Yamoussa.

The Support Project for the Sena-Oura - Bouba-Ndjida Binational Complex (BSB Yamoussa) is part of the Congo Basin Sustainable Forest Management Program funded by the German Technical Cooperation for Development (GIZ) in support of the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC). The complex consists of the Bouba Ndjidda National Park (NPBN) in Cameroon and Sena Oura National Park (SONP) in Chad and their peripheral areas.

 

In order to guarantee the conservation of the biodiversity of the SONP, an activity of relocation of the villages installed in the park has been carried out by a platform of actors constituted among others by the BSB Yamoussa project II, the populations of the Cantons of Dari and Kounadji, the Chadian Ministry of Water, Environment and Fisheries (MEEP), and civil society organizations.

 

This was a process of displacement and resettlement of the populations living in the park. Given the physical (loss of housing), economic (loss of livelihoods or resources to access livelihoods) and cultural impact, the relocation process in the SONP was subject to the principles of respect for human rights and taking into account the specificities and aspirations of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, .

 

For more information, kindly consult the full article available in French on the following link hereafter: CBFP Meeting - Side event GIZ: "Experiences of taking into account human rights in the processes of sustainable management of forests and protected areas in the COMIFAC area"

 

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