Discussion workshop on indigenous peoples' participation in land governance
On 7 and 8 August 2018, a workshop was held in Yaoundé to discuss the rights and interests of indigenous peoples (IPs) in land and natural resources governance.
Organised as part of the LandCam project by the CED in collaboration with the Centre for Education, Training and Support for Development Initiatives (CEFAID) and the Research Network for Pygmy Concerted Actions (RACOPY), the event brought together actors from different sectors: public, private, civil society organisations (CSOs), as well as IP representatives. It took place on the eve of the International Day of the World's Indigenous People, which focused on "Indigenous territories and the current causes of migration and cross-border movements".
Victims of marginalisation over the years due to their way of life, IPs' rights are regularly violated and their existence threatened, a situation exacerbated by the opportunities for growth linked to the multiplication of land projects. Indeed, IPs' land and natural resources are heavily dependent on the land that underpins these development projects.
With regard to progress in this area, Cameroon's role in the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of IPs was noted, as well as the establishment of outreach services for areas inhabited by IPs, the involvement of IPs in the management of spaces and resources through the progressive creation of community forests and community territories, and their representation in political decision-making bodies.
As for the challenges to be addressed, the lack of national policy, laws and political and legal instruments specific to IPs, the non-recognition of their customary rights to land and poor access to natural resources and income from their use were among the topics discussed.
Some recommendations were developed, namely the adoption of legislation and policy specific to indigenous peoples, and the ratification of International Labour Organization Convention 169, which recognizes the rights of indigenous communities. These recommendations were presented to decision-makers.