May 6, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Indigenous Peoples Press Conference @ COP10

3 min read

The International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity, an advisory body to the Convention on Biological Diversity, includes representatives from Indigenous Peoples from all official seven (7) regions of the world. Approximately 200 Indigenous Peoples are attending the COP 10.

The following are some of the points that were emphasised at the Press Conference on Oct 25th. The Press Conference can be viewed here:

Implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan

Gam Shimray, from the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, stated, Intensive negotiations have been taking place on the targets of the Strategic Plan this past week, focusing on economic valuation of biodiversity. Asserting the role and rights of indigenous peoples in relation to biodiversity has been very difficult and we have received little support, although it should be clear that biodiversity is very critical to us, as we live daily interactions and have deep spiritual connections with it. On the positive side, we take note that the target on expansion of protected areas includes reference to the fact that this should be done in an equitable manner, respecting our rights, and our full and effective participation. Today we are proposing to add text urging Parties to implement the Strategic Plan in a way consistent with the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We deeply hope that Parties will adopt this proposal.

Indigenous Peoples Critical of proposed ABS Protocol

Debra Harry, Ph.D., a Northern Paiute from North America, said, The CBD was enacted at a time when it became obvious that genetic resources held tremendous value. It should be no surprise that the ABS protocol and the sharing of profits, or not, is at the center of debate here in Nagoya. The question of whether we should even be facilitating the privatization of the worlds biodiversity is a foregone conclusion. To my knowledge, Bolivia is the only country in the world maintaining a no-patents on life position.

Dr. Harry said, In this genetic free-for-all, Indigenous peoples are caught in the crossfire. In these negotiations, states are asserting sovereignty over genetic resources, without acknowledging that that sovereignty is not absolute. In reality, Indigenous Peoples are the holders and owners of much of the Worlds biological resources, and traditional knowledge. Article 1 of the Convention states a key objective is, the fair and equitable benefit sharing arising out the utilization of genetic resources, taking into account all rights over those resources So it is incumbent upon the Parties to the CBD to reflect the rights of Indigenous Peoples in the proposed ABS regime.

Canada has bracketed text in the preambular paragraphs, Noting the significance of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the implementation of this protocol, Dr. Harry stated that, This paragraph is critical to Indigenous Peoples because it provides assurances that states will recognize and protect the Indigenous Peoples rights with the utmost good faith in the implementation of this protocol.

Dr. Harry believes, The Protocol must meet standards consistent with the internationally accepted rights of Indigenous Peoples. If it does not, the ABS Protocol will facilitate the misappropriation of genetic resources from Indigenous lands and territories, and alienate the traditional knowledge implicated in benefit sharing schemes. If so, the end result will be the further impoverishment of the worlds most vulnerable peoples.

Okinawa Biodiversity and Peace

The Japanese Government has not recognized Ryukyu/Okinawan people as Indigenous Peoples despite the recommendations of the UN Human Rights Committee and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

There are growing concerns about the construction plans of US military base in Okinawa. One is to build a massive airbase in the are of Henoko and Oura Bay, where endangered Okinawa dugongs, rare blue corals and other species live. The other is to constuct six helipads in the subtropical forests of Yanbaru.


  • Gunn-Britt Retter Ph +47 994 90 344
  • Gam Shimray Ph 08 020098094
  • Okinawan issues: Hideki Yoshikawa Ph 81 987 0090


Indigenous Peoples Critical of the Proposed ABS Protocol. Debra Harry, Ph.D. Executive Director, Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism

Citizens Network for Biological Diversity in Okinawa. Hideki Yoshikawa

International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity

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