Nairobi, Kenya – Indigenous leaders traveled this week to Nairobi to demand that the UN biodiversity summit officially recognise the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities and their central roles in protecting biodiversity. 

Photos available from the Greenpeace Media Library.

International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) delegate Ramson Karmushu delivered a statement at the UN Headquarters in Nairobi, which reads in part: 

“We condemn the catastrophic situation confronting the Maasai community in Loliondo, Tanzania. The increase in systematic repression, criminalisation and killing of Indigenous Peoples all around the world in the name of conservation and development must stop immediately. Preventing these gross violations of our human rights is at the core of our ongoing negotiations. Can governments in this room commit to healing relationships with our planet together with the world’s Indigenous Peoples and local communities?”

While countries negotiate a new framework for the protection of biodiversity, Maasai communities in northwestern Tanzania are fighting government-imposed displacement, as Tanzai plans to create a big game hunting area on Maasai farmlands and pastures. This is taking place despite this land’s legal and historical status as Maasai land

These abuses are being carried out under a pretense of conservation and are enabled by conservation frameworks that do not clearly recognise the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, a key policy topic under discussion now in preparatory negotiations for the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) COP15, which will be held in Montreal in December.

Greenpeace International’s Congo Basin forest project leader Irene Wabiwa said: 

“There are currently only two categories of protected land. Both lack sufficient recognition of Indigenous land rights and their role as environmental defenders. We are in Nairobi to demand a third category for Indigenous lands and for funding to follow. If Indigenous Peoples aren’t at the helm of conservation, then conservation is a failure.” 

ENDS

Notes

A policy briefing for protection targets can be found at: https://www.greenpeace.org/international/greenpeace-cbd-cop15-policy-brief

Contacts

Alice Mathew, International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB), [email protected] 

Hellen Kahoso Dena, Greenpeace Africa, Nairobi, [email protected] 

Tal Harris, Greenpeace Africa, [email protected] 

August Rick, Greenpeace East Asia, Beijing, [email protected]

Greenpeace International Press Desk, [email protected], +31 20 718 2470 (24 hours)