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Joint Statement: Impacts of the CBD Revised Draft Protocol on the UN DRIP

April 23, 2010
United Nations, New York

Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Ninth Session
United Nations, New York
19-30 April 2010
Agenda item 6: Comprehensive dialogue with six United Nations agencies
and funds: Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
20 April 2010

Impacts of the CBD Revised Draft Protocol on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Human Rights Concerns

Joint Statement of Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee); Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee (IPACC); Tebtebba; Saami Council; Assembly of First Nations; Inuit Circumpolar Council; First Nations Summit; International Indian Treaty Council; Québec Native Women/Femmes Autochtones du Québec; Na Koa Ikaika Kalahui Hawaii; Native Women’s Association of Canada; National Association of Friendship Centres; Union of BC Indian Chiefs; Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations; International Organization of Indigenous Resource Development (IOIRD); Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat; Assembly of First Nations of Québec and Labrador/Assemblée des Premières Nations du Québec et du Labrador; Innu Council of Nitassinan; Samson Cree Nation; Ermineskin Cree Nation; Montana Cree Nation; Louis Bull Cree Nation; Indigenous World Association; First Peoples Human Rights Coalition; Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers); ALMACIGA (Spain); KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives.


1. In regard to Agenda Item 6, we welcome this opportunity to address the Revised Draft Protocol on access and benefit sharing that arose from the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) negotiations session in Cali, Colombia (March 22-28, 2010).

2. We are especially concerned about the effects this draft Protocol, if adopted, may have on Indigenous peoples’ human rights, in the context of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

3. It is urgent to currently address these concerns, since the intention is to adopt a Protocol on access and benefit sharing at the Conference of the Parties to be held in Nagoya, Japan in October 2010.

Duty to respect Indigenous peoples’ human rights

4. The Convention on Biological Diversity and the Revised Draft Protocol are generally viewed as environmental instruments. However, they give rise to significant human rights considerations relating to Indigenous peoples in different regions of the world.

5. Whenever human rights are at issue, States are required to act in accordance with their human rights obligations. According to the Charter of the United Nations, the UN and its member States have a duty to promote “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction”.

6. In international law, State sovereignty is not absolute and is especially limited by the obligations accepted by States in the Charter of the United Nations and specific treaties. The CBD Convention itself affirms important limits, when it indicates: “States have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, the sovereign right to exploit their own resources pursuant to their own environmental policies” (art. 3). The objective in the Convention relating to access and benefit sharing of genetic resources requires “taking into account all rights over those resources” (art. 1).

7. The Convention also requires State parties “as far as possible and as appropriate … [s]ubject to its national legislation, [to] respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities … and encourage the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge, innovations and practices” (art. 8(j)).

8. State parties are also required “as far as possible and as appropriate” to “[p]rotect and encourage customary use of biological resources in accordance with traditional cultural practices that are compatible with conservation or sustainable development” (art. 10(c)).

9. These and other duties, rights and principles in international law require States to respect the human rights of Indigenous peoples. This would necessarily include upholding Indigenous peoples’ rights in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


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UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.








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