Basis for action26.1. Indigenous people and their communities have an historical relationship with their lands and are generally descendants of the original inhabitants of such lands. In the context of this chapter the term “lands” is understood to include the environment of the areas which the people concerned traditionally occupy. Indigenous people and their communities represent a significant percentage of the global population. They have developed over many generations a holistic traditional scientific knowledge of their lands, natural resources and environment. Indigenous people and their communities shall enjoy the full measure of human rights and fundamental freedoms without hindrance or discrimination. Their ability to participate fully in sustainable development practices on their lands has tended to be limited as a result of factors of an economic, social and historical nature. In view of the interrelationship between the natural environment and its sustainable development and the cultural, social, economic and physical well-being of indigenous people, national and international efforts to implement environmentally sound and sustainable development should recognize, accommodate, promote and strengthen the role of indigenous people and their communities.
26.2. Some of the goals inherent in the objectives and activities of this programme area are already contained in such international legal instruments as the ILO Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (No. 169) and are being incorporated into the draft universal declaration on indigenous rights, being prepared by the United Nations working group on indigenous populations. The International Year for the World’s Indigenous People (1993), proclaimed by the General Assembly in its resolution 45/164 of 18 December 1990, presents a timely opportunity to mobilize further international technical and financial cooperation.
26.3. In full partnership with indigenous people and their communities, Governments and, where appropriate, intergovernmental organizations should aim at fulfilling the following objectives:
(a) Establishment of a process to empower indigenous people and their communities through measures that include:
(i) Adoption or strengthening of appropriate policies and/or legal instruments at the national level; (ii) Recognition that the lands of indigenous people and their communities should be protected from activities that are environmentally unsound or that the indigenous people concerned consider to be socially and culturally inappropriate;
(iii)Recognition of their values, traditional knowledge and resource management practices with a view to promoting environmentally sound and sustainable development;
(iv) Recognition that traditional and direct dependence on renewable resources and ecosystems, including sustainable harvesting, continues to be essential to the cultural, economic and physical well-being of indigenous people and their communities;
(v) Development and strengthening of national dispute-resolution arrangements in relation to settlement of land and resource-management concerns;
(vi) Support for alternative environmentally sound means of production to ensure a range of choices on how to improve their quality of life so that they effectively participate in sustainable development;
(vii)Enhancement of capacity-building for indigenous communities, based on the adaptation and exchange of traditional experience, knowledge and resource-management practices, to ensure their sustainable development;
(b) Establishment, where appropriate, of arrangements to strengthen the active participation of indigenous people and their communities in the national formulation of policies, laws and programmes relating to resource management and other development processes that may affect them, and their initiation of proposals for such policies and programmes;
(c) Involvement of indigenous people and their communities at the national and local levels in resource management and conservation strategies and other relevant programmes established to support and review sustainable development strategies, such as those suggested in other programme areas of Agenda 21.
26.4. Some indigenous people and their communities may require, in accordance with national legislation, greater control over their lands, self-management of their resources, participation in development decisions affecting them, including, where appropriate, participation in the establishment or management of protected areas. The following are some of the specific measures which Governments could take:
(a) Consider the ratification and application of existing international conventions relevant to indigenous people and their communities (where not yet done) and provide support for the adoption by the General Assembly of a declaration on indigenous rights;
(b) Adopt or strengthen appropriate policies and/or legal instruments that will protect indigenous intellectual and cultural property and the right to preserve customary and administrative systems and practices.
26.5. United Nations organizations and other international development and finance organizations and Governments should, drawing on the active participation of indigenous people and their communities, as appropriate, take the following measures, inter alia, to incorporate their values, views and knowledge, including the unique contribution of indigenous women, in resource management and other policies and programmes that may affect them:
(a) Appoint a special focal point within each international organization, and organize annual interorganizational coordination meetings in consultation with Governments and indigenous organizations, as appropriate, and develop a procedure within and between operational agencies for assisting Governments in ensuring the coherent and coordinated incorporation of the views of indigenous people in the design and implementation of policies and programmes. Under this procedure, indigenous people and their communities should be informed and consulted and allowed to participate in national decision-making, in particular regarding regional and international cooperative efforts. In addition, these policies and programmes should take fully into account strategies based on local indigenous initiatives;
(b) Provide technical and financial assistance for capacity-building programmes to support the sustainable self-development of indigenous people and their communities;
(c) Strengthen research and education programmes aimed at:
(i) Achieving a better understanding of indigenous people’s knowledge and management experience related to the environment, and applying this to contemporary development challenges;
(ii) Increasing the efficiency of indigenous people’s resource management systems, for example, by promoting the adaptation and dissemination of suitable technological innovations;
(d) Contribute to the endeavours of indigenous people and their communities in resource management and conservation strategies (such as those that may be developed under appropriate projects funded through the Global Environmental Facility and Tropical Forestry Action Plan) and other programme areas of Agenda 21, including programmes to collect, analyse and use data and other information in support of sustainable development projects.
26.6. Governments, in full partnership with indigenous people and their communities should, where appropriate:
(a) Develop or strengthen national arrangements to consult with indigenous people and their communities with a view to reflecting their needs and incorporating their values and traditional and other knowledge and practices in national policies and programmes in the field of natural resource management and conservation and other development programmes affecting them;
(b) Cooperate at the regional level, where appropriate, to address common indigenous issues with a view to recognizing and strengthening their participation in sustainable development.
Means of implementation
(a) Financing and cost evaluation
26.7. The UNCED Secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of implementing the activities of this chapter to be about $3 million from the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order of magnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by governments. Actual costs and financial terms, including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and programmes governments decide upon for implementation. (b) Legal and administrative frameworks
26.8. Governments should incorporate, in collaboration with the indigenous people affected, the rights and responsibilities of indigenous people and their communities in the legislation of each country, suitable to the country’s specific situation. Developing countries may require technical assistance to implement these activities.
(c) Human resource development
26.9. International development agencies and Governments should commit financial and other resources to education and training for indigenous people and their communities to develop their capacities to achieve their sustainable self-development, and to contribute to and participate in sustainable and equitable development at the national level. Particular attention should be given to strengthening the role of indigenous women.
Agenda 21, Chapter 17
PROTECTION OF THE OCEANS, ALL KINDS OF SEAS, INCLUDING ENCLOSED AND SEMI-ENCLOSED SEAS, AND COASTAL AREAS AND THE PROTECTION, RATIONAL USE AND DEVELOPMENT OF THEIR LIVING RESOURCES
G. Sustainable development of small islandsBasis for action
17.123. Small island developing States, and islands supporting small communities are a special case both for environment and development. They are ecologically fragile and vulnerable. Their small size, limited resources, geographic dispersion and isolation from markets, place them at a disadvantage economically and prevent economies of scale. For small island developing States the ocean and coastal environment is of strategic importance and constitutes a valuable development resource.
17.124. Their geographic isolation has resulted in their habitation of a comparatively large number of unique species of flora and fauna, giving them a very high share of global biodiversity. They also have rich and diverse cultures with special adaptations to island environments and knowledge of the sound management of island resources.
17.125. Small island developing States have all the environmental problems and challenges of the coastal zone concentrated in a limited land area. They are considered extremely vulnerable to global warming and sealevel rise, with certain small low-lying islands facing the increasing threat of the loss of their entire national territories. Most tropical islands are also now experiencing the more immediate impacts of increasing frequency of cyclones, storms and hurricanes associated with climate change. These are causing major set-backs to their socio-economic development.
17.126. Because small island development options are limited, there are special challenges to planning for and implementing sustainable development. Small island developing States will be constrained in meeting these challenges without the cooperation and assistance of the international community.
17.127. States commit themselves to addressing the problems of sustainable development of small island developing States. To this end, it is necessary:
(a) To adopt and implement plans and programmes to support the sustainable development and utilization of their marine and coastal resources, including meeting essential human needs, maintaining biodiversity and improving the quality of life for island people;
(b) To adopt measures which will enable small island developing States to cope effectively, creatively and sustainably with environmental change and to mitigate impacts and reduce the threats posed to marine and coastal resources.
(a) Management-related activities
17.128. Small island developing States, with the assistance as appropriate of the international community and on the basis of existing work of national and international organizations, should:
(a) Study the special environmental and developmental characteristics of small islands, producing an environmental profile and inventory of their natural resources, critical marine habitats and biodiversity;
(b) Develop techniques for determining and monitoring the carrying capacity of small islands under different development assumptions and resource constraints;
(c) Prepare medium- and long-term plans for sustainable development that emphasize multiple use of resources, integrate environmental considerations with economic and sectoral planning and policies, define measures for maintaining cultural and biological diversity and conserve endangered species and critical marine habitats;
(d) Adapt coastal area management techniques, such as planning, siting and environmental impact assessments, using Geographical Information Systems (GIS), suitable to the special characteristics of small islands, taking into account the traditional and cultural values of indigenous people of island countries;
(e) Review the existing institutional arrangements and identify and undertake appropriate institutional reforms essential to the effective implementation of sustainable development plans, including intersectoral coordination and community participation in the planning process;
(f) Implement sustainable development plans, including the review and modification of existing unsustainable policies and practices;
(g) Based on precautionary and anticipatory approaches, design and implement rational response strategies to address the environmental, social and economic impacts of climate change and sealevel rise, and prepare appropriate contingency plans;
(h) Promote environmentally sound technology for sustainable development within small island developing States and identify technologies that should be excluded because of their threats to essential island ecosystems.
(b) Data and information
17.129. Additional information on the geographic, environmental, cultural and socio-economic characteristics of islands should be compiled and assessed to assist in the planning process. Existing island databases should be expanded and geographic information systems developed and adapted to suit the special characteristics of islands.
(c) International and regional cooperation and coordination
17.130. Small island developing States, with the support, as appropriate, of international organizations, whether subregional, regional or global, should develop and strengthen inter-island, regional and interregional cooperation and information exchange, including periodic regional and global meetings on sustainable development of small island developing States with the first global conference on the sustainable development of small island developing States, to be held in 1993.
17.131. International organizations, whether subregional, regional or global, must recognize the special development requirements of small island developing States and give adequate priority in the provision of assistance, particularly with respect to the development and implementation of sustainable development plans.
Means of implementation
(a) Financing and cost evaluation
17.132. The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of implementing the activities of this programme to be about $130 million including about $50 million from the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order of magnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by governments. Actual costs and financial terms, including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and programmes governments decide upon for implementation.
(b) Scientific and technical means
17.133. Centres for the development and diffusion of scientific information and advice on technical means and technologies appropriate to small island developing States, especially with reference to the management of the coastal zone, the exclusive economic zone and marine resources, should be established or strengthened, as appropriate, on a regional basis.
(c) Human resource development
17.134. Since populations of small island developing States cannot maintain all necessary specializations, training for integrated coastal management and development should aim to produce cadres of managers or scientists, engineers and coastal planners able to integrate the many factors that need to be considered in integrated coastal management. Resource users should be prepared to execute both management and protection functions and to apply the polluter pays principle and support the training of their personnel. Educational systems should be modified to meet these needs and special training programmes developed in integrated island management and development. Local planning should be integrated in educational curricula of all levels and public awareness campaigns developed with the assistance of non-governmental organizations and indigenous coastal populations.
17.135. The total capacity of small island developing States will always be limited. Existing capacity must therefore be restructured to meet efficiently the immediate needs for sustainable development and integrated management. At the same time, adequate and appropriate assistance from the international community must be directed at strengthening the full range of human resources needed on a continuous basis to implement sustainable development plans.
17.136. New technologies that can increase the output and range of capability of the limited human resources should be employed to increase the capacity of very small populations to meet their needs. The development and application of traditional knowledge to improve the capacity of countries to implement sustainable development should be fostered.
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Updated 25 February 1998