Indigenous Peoples and Protected Areas in Africa: from Principles to Practice

Excerpt from Forest Peoples Project website: "...Extensive areas of land traditionally occupied by African indigenous peoples have been given protected area status for nature conservation. In many cases this has involved expelling local communities and drastically restricting their access to plants and game resources within the protected area. Since 2000, with funding from the Community Fund and Comic Relief, Forest Peoples Project has worked with indigenous communities in Africa to analyse the impact of these conservation areas on their livelihoods and their rights, and to help them engage in dialogue with conservation agencies. The indigenous peoples involved are the Batwa of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo; Ogiek in Kenya; Maasai in Tanzania, ‡Khomani San in South Africa, Baka in Cameroon and Gabon, Bagyeli in Cameroon and Bambendjele in Republic of Congo. A key focus of the work is to examine the obstacles preventing the implementation of new, internationally agreed conservation principles that uphold indigenous peoples' rights to land and control over their resources. The project funds indigenous peoples' own initiatives to find ways of working with conservation agencies to overcome these obstacles. Lessons learned from the project's assessment of conservation impacts fed into the World Parks Congress, a highly influential gathering of conservation agencies, governments, international donors and civil society held every 10 years, which took place in Durban in September 2003..."

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