The Global Environment Facility in Central Africa

*Key Reference for actors in the Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Cameroon, Central African Republic and Gabon. Excerpt from "The Global Environment Facility in Central Africa: A desk-based review of the treatment of indigenous peoples’ and social issues in a sample of 14 biodiversity projects" by Emily Caruso of Forest Peoples Programme (March 2005): "...As part of a wider FPP review of GEF biodiversity policies and projects, this briefing analyses the project documents of 14 of the GEF’s biodiversity projects in Central Africa to evaluate how social and indigenous peoples’ issues were treated in project design. The evaluation examined the treatment of 6 criteria in the project documents: indigenous peoples, traditional knowledge, safeguard policies, restrictions on resource use, relocation and baseline studies. The following section of the briefing provides a short analysis of these and a more in-depth analysis of 5 selected current projects..Initial findings were as follows: • Indigenous Peoples: Although all projects have the potential to impact indigenous peoples living in these countries, 8 project documents did not mention indigenous peoples or pygmies, while 8 project documents did not invoke any human rights • Traditional Knowledge: Only 3 out of the 14 project documents examined mention traditional or indigenous knowledge, and each of these 3 documents mention it only once. One of the 3 project documents notes that it should be “promoted” within the project, while the other two note that it can be taken into account in project implementation • Safeguard Policies: The World Bank is the implementing agency for 8 of the projects reviewed,
and yet safeguard policies are only invoked in 4 of these projects, with only 2 of these having prepared Indigenous Peoples Development Plans. Only one of the UNDP-implemented projects refers to the UNDP’s Policy of Engagement with Indigenous Peoples. • Restrictions on resource use: The majority of the project documents reviewed promote the ‘alternative livelihoods’ approach, which indicates that restrictions on resource use will be implemented and some refer directly to restrictions being placed on communities with regards to access and resource use • Relocation: Three of the project documents reviewed refer directly to relocation of communities in relation to protected areas, and another two do not rule it out (i.e. note that measures will be taken should resettlement occur). One of the projects notes that a resettlement plan will be prepared for
the affected communities (Uganda Protected Areas and Sustainable Use project).• Baseline studies: Only one of the project documents reviewed specifically notes the preparation of baseline studies, including social assessments, prior to project implementation.

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