UN Talks About Conservation Plan

Paris, Jan 13 (AFP/APP): As crunch UN talks to reverse the accelerating destruction of nature loom, indigenous peoples are sounding an alarm over proposed conservation plans they say could clash with their rights.

The COP-15 UN biodiversity summit in Kunming, China — provisionally slated for early October — will see nearly 200 nations attempt to thrash out new goals to preserve Earth’s battered ecosystems.

To limit the devastating effects of species loss caused by pollution, hunting, mining, tourism and urban sprawl, the draft treaty proposes to create protected areas covering 30 percent of the planet’s lands and oceans by 2030.

Global leaders from over 50 countries pledged on Monday at the One Planet Summit to back the plan, which could become the cornerstone of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meet in China. But the past experience of indigenous populations has made them wary of the proposal.

Earlier efforts to create protected areas such as national parks sometimes led to their eviction from ancestral lands.

“By just setting a target without adequate standards and commitment to accountability mechanisms, the CBD could unleash another wave of colonial land grabbing that disenfranchises millions of people,” said Andy White, coordinator of the Rights and Resources Initiative.

When the Kahuzi-Biega National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo was dramatically enlarged in 1975, for example, the Bambuti community lost more than access to the forest.

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