IUCN WCC Panel Highlights Link between Human Rights and Conservation
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High-level speakers participating in a panel discussion at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress (WCC) on "leaving no one behind: conservation, rights and sustainable development" stressed the mutual importance of recognizing human rights as a precondition for conservation as well as the role of conservation for realizing human rights.

word_conservation_congress4 September 2016: High-level speakers participating in a panel discussion at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress (WCC) on “leaving no one behind: conservation, rights and sustainable development” stressed the mutual importance of recognizing human rights as a precondition for conservation as well as the role of conservation for realizing human rights.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, presented the ‘Report on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,’ stressing that full recognition of indigenous land rights and participation are key enabling conditions for sustainable conservation. John Knox, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, added that States are failing to protect the rights of expression and association of environmentalists and land defenders, outlining obligations to protect against foreseeable environmental harm to human rights.

Other speakers underlined the importance of conservation for the realization of human and indigenous rights, threats to indigenous communities due to fossil fuel exploration and climate change, and the need to support resilient communities that are sustaining ecosystems as stewards of the land.

The 2016 ‘Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ includes a thematic analysis of conservation measures and their impact on indigenous people’s rights. It finds, among other issues, that: the contributions of indigenous peoples to conservation are not yet fully acknowledged; rights-based approaches to conservation continue to be hampered by the lack of governments’ recognition of indigenous rights; and full recognition of indigenous peoples’ land rights and participation are key enabling conditions for sustained conservation efforts.

The report recommends, inter alia: that states effectively implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and adopt all necessary policy, legal and administrative measures for the full recognition of indigenous rights; and that conservation organizations develop mechanisms for indigenous participation and use their leverage vis-a-vis States to advocate for the recognition of indigenous rights at the national level. [UN News Release] [UNOHCR Press Release] [Report of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz (A/71/229)] [Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples] [IISD RS IUCN Congress Bulletin, 4 September 2016]

 


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