International Expert Group Meeting on Indigenous Peoples and Forests

New York
12 - 14 January, 2011

Forests account for 30 percent, or 3.2 billion hectares, of the earth┐s land area and are the traditional territories for many indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples living in forests possess clearly defined rights to land and natural resources, including communal ownership of their ancestral lands. They manage the natural resources on their territories, exercise their customary laws, and represent themselves through their own institutions.

However, these rights are often denied by development and conservation schemes. Indigenous peoples suffer disproportionately from large-scale development and conservation projects and are often forced to relocate, while their rights to compensation are often denied or overlooked. These actions very often result in serious consequences for indigenous peoples.

In 2006, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2011 the International Year of Forests and invited Governments, the United Nations system, relevant non-governmental organizations, the private sector and other actors to make concerted efforts to raise awareness at all levels to strengthen the sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests for the benefit of current and future generations.

Sustainable forest management is seen to contribute extensively to the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals with respect to poverty eradication and environmental sustainability. It is also seen to contribute towards the global effort to fight climate change and combat desertification and the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, along with numerous other benefits for the betterment of the livelihoods of people.

For indigenous peoples, the International Year of Forests has the potential to have a central voice in the global debate on forests, as well as find a way forward to the often contentious interactions that occur between indigenous peoples, States, commercial and corporate forest interests.

Detailed Information
Date 12 - 14 January, 2011
Location New York
Organizer Division for Social Policy and Development [ Content posted by United Nations Secretariat, Agency, or Programme UN ENTITY ]
External Link

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