The Ogiek win huge land rights victory in Kenya

The Ogiek win huge land rights victory in Kenya

The Ogiek are one of the last groups of hunter gatherers in Kenya. Their ancestral land is in the Mau Forest in the Rift Valley of Kenya. For many years, the Kenyan government has threatened them with eviction, in the name of conservation. Last week, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights ruled that the Ogiek have the right to live in the Mau Forest and that the government of Kenya was wrong to evict them.

Lucy Claridge is a human rights lawyer who works with the Minority Rights Group International. She was the lead lawyer for the Ogiek. She told the BBC World Service that,

“This is an extremely positive outcome. It sends a very clear message to the government of Kenya, but also to other governments in Africa, that they must respect the rights of their indigenous communities, and that includes their land rights.”

>> Click here for the full article on conservation-watch.org

Rainforest Parks and People: Monitoring the human impacts of conservation in the Congo Basin

Rainforest Parks and People is a new interactive website focussing on the impact of protected areas in Africa’s Congo Basin on forest communities. Launched this week by Rainforest Foundation UK, the website aims to increase the transparency and accountability of conservation projects in the Congo Basin.

To accompany the website launch, Rainforest Foundation UK has produced a short video, titled “Why conservation needs people”:

>> Click here for the full article on conservation-watch.org

NGOs Call On UNESCO to Protect Sundarbans From Proposed Coal-fired Power Plant

NGOs Call On UNESCO to Protect Sundarbans From Proposed Coal-fired Power Plant

The Rampal power station is a proposed 1320 MW coal-fired power station in Bangladesh. It is being built on the edge of the Sundarbans, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Ramsar-listed wetland.

The Sundarbans is the largest area of tidal mangrove forest in the world. It is home to Bengal tigers, fishing cats, macaques, wild boars, common grey mongooses, foxes, jungle cats, flying foxes, pangolins, and spotted deer. More than four million people live in the Sundarbans.

>> Click here for the full article on conservation-watch.org

Conservation violence: More evictions of the Sengwer in the Embobut Forest, Kenya

Conservation violence: More evictions of the Sengwer in the Embobut Forest, Kenya

On 2 April 2017, Kenya Forest Service guards violently attacked Elias Kimaiyo, a Sengwer community leader. The Forest Guards were burning houses belonging to the Sengwer. Kimaiyo was taking photographs.

The following day, Kimaiyo told Amnesty International what happened, from his hospital bed:

“I was taking pictures of Kenya Forest Service Guards who were burning houses of the Sengwer in Embobut forest. I counted 29 burnt houses.

“The guards started shooting at me. I ran, but tripped and fell, breaking my kneecap, and they caught up with me. They hit me with the butt of a rifle, and broke my arm. They took two cameras and an iPad from me.”

The Kenya Forest Service has been violently evicting the Sengwer from their forest for many years. But the violence is intensifying. Forest Peoples Programme reports that “the Sengwer are shocked that KFS guards are now shooting with live bullets”. According to FPP, the Sengwer report that in total 90 homes were burned down.

>> Click here for the full article on conservation-watch.org

Giving land rights to communities stops deforestation. Here’s the evidence

Giving land rights to communities stops deforestation. Here’s the evidence

“Granting formal land rights to indigenous people living in the world’s tropical forests is among the most effective, but underused, ways to stop illegal deforestation that fuels violence, poverty and global warming, according to new research.”

That’s Paula Totaro, land rights editor at Thomson Reuters Foundation, writing about the 18th Land and Poverty Conference, which was held at the World Bank in Washington DC two weeks ago.

Totaro writes that,

“Local communities are best equipped to safeguard valuable forests, and those with strong land rights are the most effective, said a raft of studies presented this week at the World Bank’s annual Land and Poverty Conference.”

>> Click here for the full article on conservation-watch.org

Greenwashing capitalism: Conservation’s cosy relationship with corporations

Greenwashing capitalism: Conservation’s cosy relationship with corporations

Since the year 2000, there have been many partnerships between conservation organisations and the industrial corporations responsible for destroying nature. Mining companies are particularly popular.

A new paper by William M. Adams published in the Journal of Polical Ecology explores the “surprising closeness and apparent warmth of the relations between biodiversity conservation organisations and corporations”.

The paper is titled, “Sleeping with the enemy? Biodiversity conservation, corporations and the green economy” and can be downloaded here.

>> Click here for the full article on conservation-watch.org

“Evicting members of the Sengwer community from our ancestral home is not a solution to conservation”

“Evicting members of the Sengwer community from our ancestral home is not a solution to conservation”

The indigenous Sengwer community have lived in the Embobut forest in Kenya for generations. They live in small wooden houses and keep cows, goats, and sheep for meat and milk. They collect honey.

But for many years Kenya Forest Service guards have evicted the Sengwer from their homes in the forest. The evictions are often violent. Forest guards burn down homes, destroy property, and hit the Sengwer. Some Sengwer have been imprisoned.

Since 2013, the evictions have intensified.

Journalist Tim McDonnell visited the Embobut forest in November 2016 and reported on the current situation in The Huffington Post.

>> Click here for the full article on conservation-watch.org