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Day Two Summary – Closing Plenary

Photo: IISD

The closing plenary took place on Friday, and was chaired by Arvind Khare, RRI.

Chris Anderson, Rio Tinto, noted how the private sector could assist in providing focused actions on global land rights, such as getting behind Oxfam’s “Behind the Brand” campaign, but added that very clear standards should be set for industry in order for change to occur. He highlighted the importance of civil society in both campaigning and engaging on issues related to the private sector, citing Global Witness’ work in Southeast Asia. He also noted the importance of certainty for investors on issues related to land tenure. He suggested that more indigenous peoples and community, government, and private sector representatives come to the next meeting, particularly those from agribusiness and those that are “sitting on the fence” or “have some baggage.”

Samuel Nguiffo, Centre for Environment and Development, stressed that clear leadership would be needed to facilitate the follow-up process from the conference. He underscored that it is a political, not technical, issue to double the amount of secured community lands in the next five years, and stressed that “changing minds” was the most challenging part of it.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Tebtebba, stressed the need to build a new development model that would bring the needed transformative shifts. She noted that there have been lots of failures in the  past, and that a historic opportunity exists to define what global transformation in the 21st century could look like, to make inequality and poverty a thing of the past. She stressed the importance of implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the International Labour Organization Convention 169 (Rights of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples), and underscored that alliance building was an important outcome of this conference.

Duncan Pruett, Oxfam, on behalf of the co-convening organizations, summarized some of the main messages emerging from the conference, including:

•          there is excitement about the target to double the amount of secured community lands;

•          bad governance is the “elephant in the room;”

•          indigenous peoples continue to be at the forefront of the struggle for recognizing land rights;

•          new instruments are far less needed than effective enforcement of existing ones;

•          maps can be powerful in leading to legal reforms; and

•          there is a need for improving internal community governance.

He noted that several of the strategy session groups would continue to work together, including on analyzing scaling-up strategies and developing indicators to measure progress. He added that there was a need to translate the discussion to a language that the private sector can understand. He outlined some messages to the “outside world,” including that: the issue of land rights needs urgent attention; a target on strengthening rights is needed; the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on Tenure is a huge opportunity to advance the issue; and community land rights are a pre-condition for conservation. He added that the co-conveners would meet the following week to discuss the way forward.

At the end, Jürgen Blaser, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, noted that strong foundations for concerted actions already exist, and that the momentum created at this conference should be taken advantage of. He called for assessing the pace and quality of any changes resulting from these actions, and reminded participants of the need to be more nuanced in their analyses.

Khare closed the Conference at 4:55 pm.

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