Dario Estrada, born in Tumaco, Colombia, has always had a keen interest in everything related to power generation. During the pandemic, in one of those free moments surfing the internet and watching a video of someone generating gas with drinking water, changed Dario’s life: “gas for everyone!”
Ashish Kothari, Juan Manuel Crespo and Shrishtee Bajpai discussed the idea in an article for Open Democracy * earlier this year, stating that “Bioregionalism is based on the understanding that the geographic, climatic, hydrological and ecological attributes of nature support all life, and their flows need to be respected.”
In recent years, the inclusion of a fifth crime in the scope of the International Criminal Court has gained strength: ecocide. Different groups of jurists and environmentalists advocate the inclusion of this crime not only in the Rome Statute, but in all kinds of national and regional legislation so that the courts have greater weight in protecting the environment.Ver completo
In 2008, the people of Zurich voted for the 2000-watt society energy initiative. Since then, the city administration has developed into an ecological role model and is preparing Zurich for change with instinct and reason.
Many raw materials are mined in developing countries, with devastating consequences for nature and people. Even more lithium, copper, cobalt and bauxite are needed for the energy transition. Can you win it responsibly? Ver completo
ROING, 3 Jun: The people of Elopa and Etugu villages, comprising the Pulu, Mitapo, Linggi and Menda clans of the Idu Mishmi community of Lower Dibang Valley district have declared a part of their ancestral customary land as a community conserved area (CCA).The initiative is community-funded.
The official declaration was made on Friday in the presence of local MLA Mutchu Mithi, DC Soumya Saurabh, Lohit CCF Tarun Johri and other officials of the forest department, besides panchayat members, at the Anchal Samiti Hall here.
The official declaration states that the four clans have declared their ancestral land as CCA “to protect ancestral land, wildlife, and Idu Mishmi cultural traditions, passed down to us by our ancestors.”
It also states that the land will “initially be a CCA for 10 years, extendable after consultation with the clan members.”
“This CCA,” the declaration states, “is a way going back to where the clans’ roots lie – where the histories of their ancestors, land, rivers and streams, animals, birds, and fish are deeply interrelated.
“Through this CCA, we plan to conserve, research, manage and use sustainably – in accordance with Idu Mishmi tradition, informed by scientific knowledge, and with an eye to our rapidly changing world,” it reads.
The Idu Mishmi are known globally for their culture of conservation. The CCA, which measures 65 sq kms, has been named the Elopa-Etugu Community Eco-Cultural Preserve (EECEP).
EECEP member Abba Pulu informed, “The acronym EECEP, when pronounced as a word (ee-see-ee-pee) translates to ‘a place we left long time back’ in the Idu Mishmi language. The name itself holds deep meaning for Elopa-Etugu’s clans’ members who were forced to leave their ancestral land in 1980-90s as the Dibang river (Talo) changed course, following years of logging, and swallowed their agricultural fields. The following two decades witnessed increased outsider hunting and resource extraction in Elopa-Etugu’s land.”
Another member, Iho Mitapo, said, “After the flood, our villages had to be abandoned. Nevertheless, we used to listen to stories of how our forefathers lived there, and how abundantly wildlife was found there. This led us youngsters to have deep love and respect for the area, so much that we decided to document the area and its rich flora and fauna. We took the first step by installing camera traps in different parts. Some inaccessible areas were reached by rafting. Some areas did not have drinking water. Our team had to spend nights in makeshift tents. All this hard work paid off when we got back pleasantly shocking results through advanced analysis. We found 40 different types of animals and 100 different bird species.”
Mitapo informed that animals like clouded leopards, two types of Asiatic golden cats, marbled cats, leopard cats, Asiatic wild dogs, Himalayan black bear, large Indian civet, hog deer, and yellow throated marten were caught on their camera traps.
“Binturong and Malayan sun bear have been recorded for the first time in the region. Highly endangered Chinese pangolin, which numbers in less than 7,000 in the world, were also found. We also saw an increase in the number of sambars as they reproduce,” informed Mitapo.
He compared the number with that of the Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary (MWS) and said that, although it is four times larger than the EECEP, the MWS boasts of only 23 species of mammals, which is way lesser compared to the EECEP’s 40.
“Moreover, some animal species found in the EECEP are absent in the MWS. The MWS shows presence of only one clouded leopard, whereas our camera traps at the EECEP captured four. After seeing the results of camera trap surveys, village elders and youths unanimously agreed to take a concrete step to protect the area’s wildlife, ties to land, and rich cultural history – giving birth to EECEP CCA,” he informed.
Clan elder Mutige Menda said, “We have always been dependent on our forests and agriculture. In the early days, our harvest used to be abundant and we could even sell our extra food down here in Roing. Now, however, this has changed drastically. Fish have become scant, most animals have been hunted. Therefore, this step to conserve our land, wildlife and forests is a very welcomed decision.”
The MLA, the CCF and the DC commended the community for taking such a unique step and called it praiseworthy, “as it will benefit all humanity and set an example for the entire state.” All three pledged support to the EECEP.
The MLA informed that the state government is working with the Centre on a legal framework to allow the state’s tribal communities to gain legal land rights over their customary land.
“Such constitutional provisions already exist in Nagaland and Mizoram, but not in Arunachal Pradesh. Such a move, if achieved, should encourage more communities to protect their land,” he said.
CCF Johri said that “the area should not be overlapping with that of reserved forest area to avoid ownership confusion. Requisite approvals or permissions will also have to be sought from the department even if it is a CCA.”
What is a CCA?
A community conserved area (CCA) is an area conserved by communities for cultural, religious, livelihood, or political purposes by customary and other effective means. CCAs differ from wildlife sanctuaries and national parks as local communities take the lead in protecting their land, while also using it for non-destructive spiritual and livelihood purposes.
While CCAs remain a policy challenge in India’s existing legal framework for forest and wildlife conservation, they are a rapidly rising global phenomenon with thousands of communities across the world having declared CCAs in their traditional lands to protect nature, culture, and livelihoods from external and internal threats, particularly large-scale infrastructure development.
Arunachal’s neighbouring state, Nagaland, has close to 700 CCAs, where village councils have legal rights over forest land.
The EECEP has been declared following the customary practices framework which is an accepted form of local governance in Arunachal, and which is recognised by the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the United Nation’s International Union Conservation of Nature’s, to which India is an official signatory.
Within India, the Forest Rights Act (FRA 2006) recognises forest dwelling communities’ rights over their customary lands and empowers them to protect their land by gaining legal titles. However, the implementation of the FRA in Arunachal remains a challenge.
What is the importance of EECEP?
The EECEP is the first locally-led CCA in east-central Arunachal, and second only to the CCAs of Tawang and West Kameng. Importantly, the EECEP is the first community-conserved tropical grassland in all of India.
The EECEP contributes to India’s commitments in the Glasgow COP26, the Paris Climate Accord, and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The EECEP will be managed by a management committee composed of representatives of all four Idu Mishmi clans. The management committee’s mandate is not only to protect wildlife and restore degraded habitat through a management plan but also to create sustainable income for villagers through community-led research and sustainable tourism.
The EECEP’s objectives also include strengthening inter-generational knowledge transfer and promotion of traditional cultural norms, undertaking programmes to improve the socioeconomic wellbeing and health of the clans’ members, and to prevent large-scale infrastructure development without free, prior and informed consent of the community.
The EECEP’s management committee will seek advice from a local advisory panel composed of panchayat members, the district administration, the forest department, and community leaders, and a technical advisory panel of world-renowned experts who have voluntarily offered support to the novel initiative.
Through the declaration, there is now a complete ban on fishing using generators, explosives, poisons, hunting, and commercial extraction and sale of timber. The land will remain with the community and no single individual may sell, occupy, or reserve land in its name. Traditional fishing and small-scale collection of NTPF is allowed for the community but not outsiders.
The declaration said that, “through restoration, protection, and measured use, we hope to lay the foundation for a sustainable future for our coming generations – a future where we are once again part of nature, not superior to it – a future where economy is linked to generation, not destruction.”
Two community-led organisations from Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland bagged the 2018 India Biodiversity Awards in recognition for conservation of wild species.
In 2012, the government of India, in partnership with UNDP India, initiated the India Biodiversity Awards to recognise and honour outstanding models of biodiversity conservation, sustainable use and governance at the grassroots level.
The work by the award winners Singchung Bugun Village Community Reserve Management Committee (Arunachal Pradesh) and Lemsachenlok Organization (Nagaland) shows that partnership between the forest department and members of indigenous communities is key to conservation.
Community-led conservation initiatives from northeast India were in the spotlight at this year’s India Biodiversity Awards. Community reserves managed by Singchung Bugun Village Community Reserve Management Committee in Arunachal Pradesh and Lemsachenlok Organization in Nagaland were recognised for their work in conservation of wild species.
Initiated in 2012 by the Government of India, in partnership with UNDP India, the India Biodiversity Awards recognise and honour outstanding models of biodiversity conservation, sustainable use and governance at the grassroots level in India.
These protected area categories were first introduced in the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act of 2002 − the amendment to the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
Such areas are designated as conservation areas if they are uninhabited and completely owned by the government of India but used for subsistence by communities and community areas if part of the lands are privately owned.
Using traditional knowledge to protect the Bugun Liocichla in Arunachal Pradesh
It remained unknown to science till 2006, despite its distinct fluty call.
The diminutive Bugun Liocichla bird, numbering around 20 and named in honour of the Bugun tribe in Arunachal Pradesh, spurred members of the indigenous community to make a giant stride in conservation efforts.
Discovered in the year 2006 by amateur birder Ramana Athreya, an astronomer by profession, in the forests fringing Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in the West Kameng district, the bird was named in honour of the indigenous Bugun tribe that has ownership over the forests.
Measuring just eight inches in length, with a striking olive-grey plumage, the critically endangered Bugun Liocichlas, are found nowhere else in the world.
“The forest patch where it was discovered was under the control of the Bugun tribe of the Singchung village. This forest patch was right outside the Eaglenest Sanctuary. Although the community protected the forest, it did not have legal protection,” Millo Tasser, divisional forest officer, Shergaon Forest Division, told Mongabay-India.
The realisation that the community-controlled forest was home to many endemic species such as the red panda, golden cat and marbled cat, helped shape the idea of declaring the area as a community reserve and providing protection to all the other species in the site that had became famous because of the Liocichla.
“The idea was to declare it as a community reserve and accord legal protection (as parks and wildlife sanctuaries) while simultaneously encouraging ecotourism and improving local livelihoods so the community could take additional steps for conservation. The central government also funds the community reserve,” said Tasser who spearheaded the campaign.
About three years before the community reserve was declared, the process of ecological monitoring and data collection began with the help of biologists Nandini Velho and Umesh Srinivasan. In 2013, the first meeting on the community reserve was held. This was followed by a survey of the area for boundary rationalisation in 2016.
“The scientists were instrumental in ecological monitoring and data collection and we managed to convince the Bugun members of Singchung village to set aside 17 square km of their forests as a community reserve,” Tasser recalled.
“Since it is located outside the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, the reserve offers double protection, as a cushion to the sanctuary. The Singchung Bugun Village Community Reserve Management Committee has members from the indigenous community as well as from the forest department,” Tasser said.
The Committee was honoured with the IBA 2018 for using its “traditional knowledge to protect the bird and its habitat” threatened by activities like timber extraction, forest clearance and infrastructure development.
As the reserve took flight, so did activities surrounding training and capacity development. The year 2017 saw recruitment and training of staff in patrolling, snake handling and birds.
“The youth of our tribe is part of the joint patrol team and we regularly comb the forests. The Liocichla has become the archetype of saving other endangered species in the site. One of the main challenges is to ward off outsiders who try to hunt down the animals and birds,” Indi Glow, a member of the committee, told Mongabay-India, adding that there are plans to expand the reserve boundaries to bolster conservation.
“There are about 1700 to 1800 Bugun tribe members in 24 villages in the area. In Singchung village we have given up hunting and animal sacrifice rituals since 2007,” said Indi Glow.
The community reserve also safeguards forest catchment areas. “The Lama Camp area inside the community reserve is a catchment area. Forests regulate water flow and if we protect forests, we ensure there is no water scarcity in the villages down the hill. Due to the community reserve, we are able to protect a lot of medicinal plants. We are also going for organic farming,” he added with pride.
Keeping up the momentum, researcher Nandini Velho and team are in the process of finalising the management plan. She said SBVCR is truly indicative of how different people have come together to do something that nobody ever thought would be possible — “From a bird being named after a tribe, to the progressive Bugun community coming together to formalise their boundaries, to the leadership shown by the forest department, to researchers working closely with the department and community to collect data, co-write management plans and get international and national support,” Velho noted.
The committee makes sure that young people are involved in awareness generation, joint patrolling, rescue, rehabilitation and promotion of ecotourism. Singchung is a great example of marrying the traditional and the modern to conserve and protect wild species.
According to Tasser, the key takeaway from the experience is that community participation must be encouraged for conservation.
“In Arunachal, most of the forests are owned by indigenous communities and they have the right over the forests. To ensure adequate conservation there needs to be a collaboration between forest department and the communities,” Tasser added.
Ceasing hunting to revive wild species in Longleng, Nagaland
The populations of wild species such as hornbills and barking deer, which were previously hunted down, have made a dramatic resurgence in the last decade in a community conserved area in the hills of northern Nagaland.
This comeback is credited to 350 households of the Phom tribe who have transformed around 10 square km of a community-owned forest into a refuge for wildlife.
Maintained by a committee under the aegis of Lemsachenlok organisation, hunting of wildlife is no longer practised in the designated area, informed Y. Nuklu Phom, team member of the award-winning organisation.
“In the entire community-conserved area under our jurisdiction, no hunting is allowed, not even the traditional traps. That is one of the main successes of the conservation initiative,” Y. Nuklu Phom told Mongabay-India.
The UNDP notes that “local communities have stopped using guns and catapults and the organisation has imposed a ban on logging, hunting, fishing and trapping.”
Observations, such as extinction of wildlife species, deforestation and loss of crop productivity, led to the crystallisation of the idea of a community-conserved area.
“We looked at the rampant deforestation, changing climate, extinction of wild species and most importantly the decrease in quantum of production of the crop, the decrease in water level in the rivers and streams and disease outbreaks,” Phom said, noting the various reasons that gave the creation of a community conserved area a push.
After about four years of discussions and meetings with village councils, Yaongyimchen inhabitants began conserving the YCBCA in 2010.
“Having set aside a huge area of forest for biodiversity conservation, Amur falcons started roosting in the area and we have been witnessing the largest congregation during the last four years. We have witnessed more than a million of the migratory raptors besides the roosting in the adjacent areas,” Phom said.
One of the most successful activities of the campaign is satellite tagging of the birds.
A big challenge however, is a dearth of alternative livelihood options for the community. “Almost for ten years the community has been working very hard to conserve the ecosystem but so far we have not received assistance for alternative livelihood. Slowly, the government is taking over but we have not received such assistance so far,” Phom said.
Jhum or shifting cultivation is the only means of livelihood for the community.
“About 20 to 30 years back these areas were used as a Jhum fields. Earlier the Jhum cycle would be about 15 years but now the cycle has reduced to seven-eight years because the areas are now transformed for biodiversity conservation. So, how do we issue alternative livelihood options without the government coming forward?” Phom added.
There are around 6,000 indigenous peoples in the world – and in many places, their guaranteed rights are violated. There is only one internationally binding treaty that protects the rights of the indigenous peoples: Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO). Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro is threatening that his country could pull out of the convention, thus undermining its importance. In Germany, however, the convention will come into force on June 23, 2022 – one year after the ratification document was submitted to the ILO. By ratifying the convention, Germany is sending an important signal. However, the symbolically important ratification should be followed by tangible actions.
The Coordination Group ILO 169 had appealed to the German Federal Government to draw up and implement an interdepartmental strategy for the protection of indigenous peoples – within this legislature. Such a strategy would have to involve all relevant ministries. “All German projects and investments must guarantee the protection of biodiversity as well as the rights of indigenous communities. We are rights holders, not just pawns in political narratives,” stated Harol Rincón Ipuchima on behalf of the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA).
Globally, we are witnessing an unprecedented escalation of conflicts and crises in connection with geopolitical problems, human rights issues, and environmental and climate-related matters. It is becoming increasingly evident that a peaceful coexistence is directly dependent on how we treat our natural resources. “Against this background, we see that the territories and the traditional knowledge of the different indigenous communities are more important than ever before with regard to biodiversity, cultural diversity, and the survival of all mankind,” stated Vicky Tauli-Corpuz on behalf of the Tebtebba Foundation (Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education, Philippines).
Indigenous human rights advocates and environmental activists are key figures in the increasing conflicts in connection with the exploitation of resources all over the world. Although indigenous communities make up only five percent of the global population, more than a third of all attacks on environmental activists and human rights advocates – in the period from 2015 to 2019 – were targeted at members of indigenous communities. ILO Convention 169 is coming into force at a time where the governments of Germany and Colombia are negotiating on stepping up coal exports from Colombia to Germany. However, an increase in coal production poses a major threat to the indigenous communities of the Wayuú, whose rights have been violated by the mining project El Cerrejón for years.
After ILO Convention 169 has come into force, the German Federal Government must live up to its responsibility and pay close attention to the conditions under which imported raw materials are mined. It must try to ensure that the convention is applied consistently – and that the respective rights of the indigenous peoples are respected. This includes the right to preservation of cultural identity, the right to participate in state decisions, and the right to land and resources. “It needs more than just international solidarity to support indigenous peoples and their communities all over the world. Now that ILO Convention 169 is about to come into force, we expect Germany to respect the rights of the indigenous communities and to meet its responsibilities,” stated Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim on behalf of the Association of Fulani Women and Indigenous Peoples of Chad (AFPAT).
The German Coordination Group ILO 169 is a coalition of German civil society organizations, networks, and experts focusing on strengthening the rights of indigenous peoples, human rights, and the protection of the rainforests and climate protection. In 2019, there were 476 million indigenous people in the world, belonging to a total number of 6,000 peoples. They are protecting about 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity. Five percent of the global population are indigenous peoples. At the same time, they make up 15 percent of the people who are living in poverty – and they are especially affected by extractive activities of international corporations. Their territories are destroyed by non-sustainable development policies, and their diverse cosmovisions and their knowledge are part of the immaterial world heritage.
Contact: Yvonne Bangert, Referentin für indigene Völker und Mitglied im Koordinationskreis ILO 169.
“Fridays For Future” is allowed to organize a bicycle demo on the A7. But the group in Hildesheim had to make compromises.
Soon also on the A7: there was already a bicycle demo on the Berlin city motorway in 2020Photo: Michael Kappeler/dpa
At first they weren’t allowed, but with a few changes they were: “Fridays For Future” received permission to protest with a bicycle demo on the A7 near Hildesheim. Last year, the Lüneburg Higher Administrative Court prohibited the demo. Now the activists have found a compromise in cooperation with the city of Hildesheim and the police. What does this mean for the protest?
The activist group “Last Generation” has recently been increasingly criticized for demonstrations and blockades on freeway ramps. She is accused of blocking emergency vehicles, coercion or extortion. Justice Minister Marco Buschmann even called the sit-in protests illegal. The legal classification of this form of protest is not that easy from a legal point of view.
Freedom of assembly is paramount. Although it is enshrined in the Basic Law, it can be restricted under certain conditions. A central role is played in road blockades by second-tier jurisdiction. She describes deliberately stopping the first row of waiting cars in order to set up a physical barrier for the following motor vehicles as an act of coercion.
If the blockades move in the sense of freedom of assembly, the fact of coercion is still given, but the physical blockade of the cars from the second row is no longer illegal.
The highway is officially closed
The Federal Constitutional Court writes as a specification for the resolution of such actions after a precedent in 2004: “Important weighing elements here are the duration and intensity of the action, its prior notification, alternative options via other access roads, the urgency of the blocked transport, but also the factual connection between the in persons impaired in their freedom of movement and the object of the protest.”
The interpretation in individual cases is possible within a relatively large framework. Even if the demos against food waste by the “last generation” always raise the question of the material reference, the legal scholar Tim Wihl argues in a guest article for the legal magazine LTO that there is a kind of “permanent emergency” especially in the climate crisis. In the climate emergency , the factual reference could be justified by the fact that the object of protest is omnipresent in society.
Legally, it’s even easier with Fridays For Future. “The content of the demonstration focuses on climate protection in the transport sector, where Germany is still stagnating at the emissions level of 1990,” writes “Fridays For Future”. The reference to the people restricted in private transport is therefore clearly given in a demonstration on the motorway.
With the agreement with the city and the police, however, the activists have circumvented the legal dispute: the motorway is officially closed, traffic can easily bypass the area with a detour of about ten minutes.
Demo on Sunday instead of Friday
The fact that the protest was now approved was justified by the city with the new time of the action, reports “Fridays For Future”. In 2021, the demo was still planned for Friday afternoon, but now they want to start cycling on Sunday, July 10th at 9.30 a.m. with 600 participants at Hildesheim Central Station. It’s about three kilometers on the A7, until 11 a.m. at the latest, motorized traffic is allowed to drive unhindered again.
The group chose the route via the A7 “to give our demand for a traffic turnaround more emphasis,” Vera Wagner from “Fridays For Future” Hildesheim told the taz. They also hoped to attract new participants with this form of protest. After all, cycling on the autobahn doesn’t work every Sunday.
The fact that the protest will not hit too many cars on a Sunday morning and that a detour is possible due to the route is the price for the city permit. Stop the climate crisis yes – but please only on Sunday. After all, nobody has to deal with the interpretation of the right to demonstrate anymore.