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Land Rights Now! : The International Land Coalition’s Asia Regional Assembly marks the beginning of a new phase of action plan for just, equitable and inclusive land rights

By Tanya Lutvey for AIPP

On October 6th 2015, more than 80 representatives from the 40 Asia members of the International Land Coalition (ILC) and other land governance advocates gathered in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and developed a regional work plan in implementing the first phase of the ILC 6-year global strategy. This plan puts into action the collaborative implementation of the 10 commitments of ILC on land governance in the context of Asia which include secure land tenure for farmers and local communities, territorial land rights for indigenous peoples, equal land rights for women with 3 key strategies of connect, mobilize and influence.  Mr. Mike Taylor, the Executive Director of the ILC global secretariat stated that collaboration will be key to the diversity across our network in achieving our goals as he encouraged the ILC members to work together.

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INA House, Chiang Mai, Thailand

18 September 2015

Indigenous peoples from 12 countries in Asia held a Regional Preparatory Meeting for the 21st Session of the UN Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP21) from 16-18 September 2015 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The countries include Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Thailand, Lao PDR, Taiwan/China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, The Philippines  and Vietnam.


2030 Development Agenda key for reducing inequality for indigenous peoples, says UN expert body on indigenous issues

NEW YORK (25 September 2015) – A preeminent expert body of the United Nations on indigenous peoples, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, welcomed the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the UN General Assembly today.

The transformative Agenda lays out the global goals for reducing poverty, in all its dimensions, over the next decade and a half. “From the least developed countries to the most developed countries, the inequalities faced by indigenous peoples are staggering”, says Professor Megan Davis, Chairperson of the Permanent Forum.

Read more: 2030 Development Agenda key for reducing inequality for indigenous peoples, says UN expert body...

Statement delivered by Joan Carling on Building Effective, Accountable and Inclusive Institutions

UN Summit for the adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Interactive Dialogue 5: Building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions

We are around 5´000 distinct indigenous peoples from all regions of the world. We nourish the forests, deserts, rivers and fields that form part of our culture. Our traditional knowledge is built through centuries of symbiotic interaction and co-dependence with our natural environment. We are governed by our customary institutions that provide for social cohesion, cooperation and collective resilience; access to justice; sustainable resource management systems for the common good, and; solidarity relations with other peoples. We are self- governing peoples and rights-holders, and our institutions uphold sustainable development.

“Why then are we being evicted to give way to hydro-power dams, to mono- plantations and extractive industries? These destroy our lands, villages, livelihoods, sacred sites and our customary institutions and our wellbeing. This is the question of thousands of indigenous peoples who continue to be discriminated and marginalized as an effect of the economic growth in many states.

We are not against development. We are in fact the embodiment of sustainable development, but we are threatened by development targets - such as those on energy and climate change solutions - if our human rights are not protected.

Inclusive institutions for achieving the SDGs for us mean the recognition and respect for our customary institutions and our sustainable resource management systems. It means mechanisms that require our free prior and informed consent to development projects and programmes that affect us.

It means inclusive partnership based on the respect for our self-determined development.  Universal access to justice means ensuring the effective protection of our collective rights against land grabbing, displacements and destruction of our cultural heritage by states, corporations, investors and business enterprises. It means going beyond social or environmental safeguards to fully ensure respect for human rights, equitable benefit sharing and accountability.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) did not overcome the discrimination against indigenous peoples. If we should not again be left behind, we need concrete actions.

Hence, this is the time for states to show the political will and take concrete actions to abide by and implement their international obligations and commitments to indigenous peoples under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, which took place last year.  These commitments require institutions and mechanisms for the effective participation of indigenous peoples and in decision-making at all levels, institutional reforms and mechanisms of enforcement, as well as special measures for our economic, political and social empowerment. We, as indigenous peoples extend our cooperation in developing the needed partnerships on the basis of equality, equity, cultural diversity, non-discrimination and respect for human rights.   Thank you.

September 27, 2015

UN Headquarters, New York

Lumad, Asian indigenous peoples begin journey to Paris #COP21

Dulphing Ogan, a Lumad from Southern Philippines, will join a delegation of indigenous peoples from Asia that will fly to France in December for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 21st Conference of Parties

CHIANG MAI, Thailand – It started over coffee like how mornings in his village begin.

Mayroong gatas (It has milk),” Dulphing Ogan said smiling after sipping from his cup served by the flight attendant, opening a conversation that flowed on until we landed in Thailand.

We were on the same flight to Chiang Mai City, where we attended an indigenous peoples’ workshop on climate change from September 16 to 18.

“In our place, coffee is black and bitter," the 50-year-old Lumad from Southern Philippines said in Filipino.

Ogan’s family grows traditional coffee, corn, rice, root crops and fruit trees in an upland village in Saranggani province. For years, this has been his family’s way of life and source of livelihood.

“This has sustained our relationship with nature,” Ogan said. But their traditional practices, including food production, are now disintegrating due to climate change and other factors that worsen it, Ogan noted.

Ogan, together with 4 other indigenous representatives from the Philippines, brought this concern to Chiang Mai, where indigenous peoples from Asia met to prepare for the crucial United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in December 2015.

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