Posts Tagged ‘Philippines’


Members of the Technical Working Committee (National Committee) in the Philippines, along with dozens of allies and partners attended the Knowledge and Learning Market-Policy Engagement Programme conference (KLM-PE), bearing the theme “IYFF+1”, held in November 2015 in Quezon City, Philippines.

At the conference the achievements, progress, challenges and commitments of the International Year of Family Farming contained in the Declaration of Quezon City were discussed, in addition to showing the commitment of both, organizations of Family Farming and the Government, to continue the work done during the International Year of Family Farming.

In this way, recommendations and commitments such as the promotion and development of a resilient agriculture, strengthening family farmers markets and the agri-cooperatives were made. Another outstanding proposal is the institutionalization of the National Committee of Philippines and the commitment to support the declaration by the General Assembly of the United Nations of the Decade of Family Farming.



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Megan Rowling, Thomson Reuters Foundation

BARCELONA – Indigenous people and local communities lack legal rights to almost three quarters of their traditional lands, sparking social conflict and undermining international plans to curb poverty, hunger and climate change, researchers said.

A study released on Wednesday by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) showed that 10 percent of land in 64 countries analysed is owned by indigenous people and local communities, and 8 percent is controlled or managed by them.

Yet they claim or have customary use of as much as 65 percent of the world’s land area.

The new figures highlight “the catastrophic failure of governments to respect the basic land rights of more than 1 billion people”, said Andy White, coordinator of RRI, a global coalition working on forest policy.

“Now there is absolutely no mystery why there is so much conflict in the rural world, and why there is so much violence over investments and agriculture and mining in those areas,” White told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The first of 17 new global goals adopted by the United Nations on Friday, on ending poverty, commits to ensuring that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to ownership and control over land by 2030.

White said that most of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were connected with land, because it is the basis of survival for the world’s poor.

The RRI study showed the huge disconnect between local people and governments over land rights, he said.

“It’s very clear now that the SDGs will fail unless governments address this crisis,” he said.

The countries studied for the RRI report cover 82 percent of global land and different types of ecosystem from forests to drylands.

Twelve of them are included in the World Bank’s list of fragile countries, and in these, only 2 percent of the land is controlled by indigenous peoples and local communities, and a fraction of 1 percent is owned by them, the report said.

White said this highlighted the importance of tackling land rights issues in efforts to help countries recover from war.

In Liberia, for example, the government has been working on a draft Land Rights Act that would formally recognise customary tenure without titling. But there are concerns this may not apply to commercial concessions already agreed, which cover around three quarters of the country’s land, the report said.


At a conference in Bern, Switzerland, on strengthening community land rights, experts said laws and policies exist, and court decisions are made, to enforce those rights, but governments often ignore them.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, U.N. special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, said she had seen a “retreat” in implementation by governments – from the Philippines to Brazil, India and Paraguay – causing increased conflicts over land ownership, use and management.

“Indigenous rights are sacrificed by governments when they enter into … investment and free trade agreements,” she said.

Tauli-Corpuz blamed the dominant economic model of growth, “incessant” consumption and unsustainable production patterns for ongoing displacement of indigenous peoples and violations of their human rights.

“States comply more with investment and free trade agreements because these have heavier sanctions in terms of economic payments,” she said. “But for the human rights conventions, there are no such sanctions … and that is one of the weaknesses.”

Past studies have found that forest dwellers and other local communities conserve their territories best, preventing planet-warming carbon emissions from trees and the soil and thus slowing climate change, the RRI said.

The report said that around two thirds of the lands recognised as owned or controlled by indigenous peoples and local communities are found in just five countries: China, Canada, Brazil, Australia and Mexico.

Nearly 90 percent of the countries studied have at least one law on the books that could be used to legally recognise land rights, it said.

In 2013, for example, Indonesia’s Constitutional Court ruled government control of customary forests invalid. If implemented, this judgment could increase the amount of land controlled by local people from 0.25 percent of national territory to around 23 percent, the report said.

“Without rights to the lands that we live on, indigenous peoples in Indonesia get pushed aside without free prior and informed consent, for industrial projects like palm oil plantations and strip mines,” said Rukka Sombolinggi of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN).

White said a small number of companies had begun to realise that riding roughshod over communities would harm their investments, and were seeking fairer deals with those living on the land they want to exploit.

A separate analysis, released by consultancy TMP Systems, showed that of 262 agriculture, energy and mining sector disputes, conflicts with local populations had a materially significant impact on investors in 67 percent of cases.

A campaign to double the area of land recognised as owned or controlled by indigenous peoples and communities by 2020, backed by a coalition of groups, will kick off early next year, development charity Oxfam told the Bern meeting.

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GENEVA (22 September 2015) – The United Nations Special Rapporteurs on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, and on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, today called on the Philippines Government to launch a full and independent investigation into the killings of three human rights defenders in Surigao del Sur, Mindanao, which is currently affected by armed conflicts.

One of the human rights defenders killed was the director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Development (ALCADEV), a school providing education to indigenous youth who live in the mountains and service communities in the CARAGA region. He was found murdered in one of the ALCADEV classrooms in the town of Sitio Han-ayan on 1 September.

This occurred immediately after members of the Philippine Army and alleged members of paramilitary forces had occupied the school’s function hall as well as its grounds, and after members of the paramilitary had detained the director. As a result of the forced occupation by the Philippine Army and paramilitary troops of the school’s premises, 2,000 residents have had to evacuate to nearby Tandag City.

“Military occupation of civilian institutions and killing of civilians, particularly in places such as schools which should remain safe havens for children from this type of violence, are unacceptable,  deplorable and contrary to international human rights and international humanitarian standards,” the Special Rapporteurs said.

Two other representatives of the Manobo community, including a tribal chieftain and the chairperson of MAPASU, an indigenous (Lumad) organization protesting against human rights violations, mining operations and land conversions, were shot in front of their community members by alleged paramilitary forces.

Following the murders, the military is hindering the access of indigenous communities from spending long periods of time needed for tilling in the mountains where their farms are located. The communities are also denied access to the sacred burial sites also located in those mountains.

The incident followed another set of brutal murders which took place on 18 August in Mendis, Pangantucan, Bukidnon, Northern Mindanao where five members of an indigenous Manobo family, including a 72 year old blind person and two children, were murdered, allegedly by members of the Philippine Army.

“We take note of the announcement made today at the Human Rights Council in Geneva by the delegation of the Philippines that an investigation is underway,” they said. “We urge the Philippines authorities to ensure that such investigation into these tragic events be carried out independently to identify and bring perpetrators to justice, to ensure the safe return of the indigenous peoples displaced by the recent violent events, and guarantee redress to the victims’ families in compliance with their indigenous traditions and the demilitarization and restoration of peace in regions affected by armed conflicts including in Surigao del Sur and Bukidnon.”

The Special Rapporteurs expressed serious concern about the increasingly pervasive insecurity and rising unlawful killings of human rights activists in the conflict-prone regions of the Philippines. Mr. Forst urged the Government to finally accept his repeated requests to visit the country in order to assess, in the spirit of dialogue and cooperation, the environment in which human rights defenders operate in the Philippines.

The experts’ call has been endorsed by the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns.

The Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz (Philippines), is a human rights activist working on indigenous peoples’ rights. Her work for more than three decades has been focused on movement building among indigenous peoples and also among women, and she has worked as an educator-trainer on human rights, development and indigenous peoples in various contexts. She is a member of the Kankana-ey, Igorot indigenous peoples in the Cordillera Region in the Philippines.

Mr. Michel Forst (France) was appointed by the Human Rights Council as the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders in June 2014. Michel Forst has extensive experience on human rights issues and particularly on the situation of human rights defenders. In particular, he was the Director General of Amnesty International (France) and Secretary General of the first World Summit on Human Rights Defenders in 1998.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

Learn more, log on to:
Indigenous peoples: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/IPeoples/SRIndigenousPeoples/Pages/SRIPeoplesIndex.aspx
Rights defenders: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/SRHRDefenders/Pages/SRHRDefendersIndex.aspx
Summary executions: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Executions/Pages/SRExecutionsIndex.aspx

UN Human Rights, country page – Philippines: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/PHIndex.aspx

For further information and media requests, please contact Ms. Hee-Kyong Yoo (+41 22 917 97 23 at hyoo@ohchr.org) or write to indigenous@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, OHCHR Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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– See more at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=16481&LangID=E#sthash.uY6xgssV.45bmCw7x.dpuf

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Southeast Asia’s rice, fruits, and seafood are threatened by global warming. What can the ASEAN community do to avert a food security disaster?

MANILA, Philippines – Did you know that unabated global warming can harm humanity’s supply of food?

Southeast Asia, a region that produces much of the world’s most important crops, is in particular danger.

It’s located near the equator, meaning temperature increases will be most felt in the region. ASEAN countries lie near the Pacific Ocean, a major generator of strong typhoons. Several parts of Southeast Asia are also low-lying, making them vulnerable to sea level rise.

International development group Oxfam recently published a report on how climate change will affect food security and economy in ASEAN.

Here are some key findings and recommendations of the report:


“Harmless Harvest” report by Oxfam, Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC, International Rice Research Institute, Asia Development Bank, CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security

– Rappler.com

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SOURCE: Aljazeera

A tribesman leads his village in resisting a development project that promises progress but threatens his tribe

“Mr President, your idea of progress is not our idea of progress”, admonishes tribal man Vic to President Aquino of the Philippines.

Vic is one of 120 people from Casiguran, north of the Philippines, marching across the country to protest a controversial land development created by a powerful political dynasty.

The development promises to bring economic progress with resorts, an airport and factories. Construction has begun, destroying ricelands and displacing fisherfolk. If the development carries through to completion Vic and his tribe will be one of 3,000 families stripped of their land and livelihood.

Will the president hear a tribal man’s plea to stop the development from going ahead?

Watch video here

In Pictures

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International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) invites you to attend a webinar as part of the IIED’s  ‘Legal tools for citizen empowerment’ initiative on ‘Civil society advocacy on investment treaties: Lessons from Malaysia and the Philippines’

Including panelists Fauwaz Abdul Aziz, formerly a researcher at TWN-Malaysia and now head of research at the Malay Economic Action Council and Joseph Purugganan, from Focus on the Global South (FGS), soon to become the new Philippines Programme Coordinator of FGS.

Why should you attend? In this webinar we will focus on how CSOs can scrutinise and advocate on investment treaties (ITs). ITs are intended to promote cross-border investment flows, primarily by protecting foreign investment. Investors in the natural resource sector have relied on these protections to sue governments for actions to ensure environmental standards are upheld, seek a fairer tax deal, or address historical injustices – with far-reaching implications for communities and grassroots organisations. CSOs can play an essential role in promoting public debate and scrutiny of ITs. While the issues are often technical, there is a real need for Southern CSOs to seize the matter and explore how ITs can affect their campaigns, and what CSOs can do to influence treaty making.

When? Thursday 12 February 2015

What time? 20.00–21.30 (Kuala Lumpur/Manilla), 15.00–16.30 (Addis Ababa), 14.00–15.30 (Maputo), 12.00–13.30 (London)

Where? From your desk or portable internet device (NB: webinars are online workshops that people can attend from their desk or portable internet device).

Who can attend? The invitation is open to anyone within your organisation who might find the topic relevant and, of course, more than one person in your organisation can join in.

How? Please email legaltools@iied.org by 30 January 2015 to receive joining instructions.

More details about the webinar can be found in this flyer.

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Germanwatch launches the Index at the onset of the Climate Summit in Lima: Countries of the host region among the most distressed by extreme events

Bild: Germanwatch Pressemitteilung

Lima (2nd Dec. 2014). The Philippines, Cambodia and India were most affected by extreme weather events in 2013. This is the result of this year’s Global Climate Risk Index, presented by the development and environmental organisation Germanwatch. “We all remember the images of the catastrophic Typhoon Haiyan, which wiped out entire regions and took the lives of more than 6000,” said Sönke Kreft, author of the study and Team Leader for International Climate Policy at Germanwatch. “It was the most severe tropical storm ever to make landfall. Last year, at the beginning of the Climate Summit in Warsaw, many people were struggling there for their lives. Climate change must be controlled so that the future will not bring more of these record-breaking catastrophes.” India was also severely impacted in 2013, suffering from the second largest cyclone ever to hit the country.

The Global Climate Risk Index’s long-term component, which depicts 1994–2013, shows that the major impacts of floods, storms and heat waves often fall on developing countries. Nine out of ten countries are considered ‘low’ or ‘lower-middle’ income countries, with the ‘Bottom three’ being Honduras, Myanmar and Haiti. Kreft: “The Index especially highlights the climate vulnerability of the region hosting the COP; four out of the ten most impaired countries come from Latin America and the Caribbean. We hope that the results of the Index further increase the awareness for climate protection and adaptation in this region. The Climate Summit in Lima can spur action in these countries and facilitate international support.”

The 2015 edition of the Index comes at a crucial point for the international community. The Lima COP marks the start for several decision points that could help better manage the impacts of extreme events and climate change. In March, countries will adopt the Post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction, which asks countries to adjust policies in order to prevent natural catastrophes. The decision of the Sustainable Development Goals in September will lay out the new development normative for the next decade and beyond; and in Paris next December, a new climate agreement is expected to curb emissions and support people and countries affected by climate change. In Lima, important decisions are expected, especially in regard to helping countries tackle climate related loss and damage. “The results of our Index are a stark reminder to the international community that we have to step up ambition and action in order to prevent the unmanageable and manage the unavoidable”, said Sönke Kreft.

From 1994 to 2013, there were more than 530.000 deaths caused by more than 15.000 extreme weather events, as well as nearly 2.2 trillion US-Dollars (in Purchasing Power Parities, PPP) in damages.

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