Whakatane Assessments are moving ahead

The IUCN and CEESP, in partnership with indigenous peoples’ organisations (IPOs) and the Forest Peoples Programme,  will soon pilot rights-based assessments of protected areas called the “Whakatane Assessments”.

The agreement between indigenous peoples’ representatives, chairs of IUCN Commissions, conservation organizations and the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) that lead to the design of these assessments, as well as a number of other key decisions regarding indigenous peoples’ rights, was described in the last CEESP Newsletter.


This agreement was reached at the CEESP Sharing Power conference in Whakatane, New Zealand and outlines actions to implement the resolutions of IUCN’s 4th World Conservation Congress (WCC4) relevant to indigenous peoples.

IUCN has already started to implement a number of these decisions. The IUCN secretariat has written reviews of the implementation of the WCC4 resolutions relevant to indigenous peoples and presented them at the last IUCN Council meeting and at the 10th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

The secretariat also drafted an internal working document on integrating UNDRIP in the IUCN Programme to aid in the IUCN Programme planning process.

A key decision of the agreement was to implement a process known as the “Whakatane Assessments”. These assessments will look at the problems and successes of specific protected areas in respecting the rights of indigenous peoples. The assessments will involve a task force of about a dozen people from relevant institutions, including IUCN, national government, indigenous peoples’ organizations, conservation organizations and FPP. They will identify challenges or problems, propose solutions and develop transparent and accountable processes to implement them. They will also promote successes and best practices.

Two pilot assessments are planned to take place before the end of the year: one in Kenya and one in Thailand. The concept note that will guide the pilots has just been finalized and you can download it here. You can still provide feedback for the revision of the concept note scheduled after the pilot assessments have been implemented.

The IUCN Specialist Group on Indigenous Peoples, Customary & Environmental Laws & Human Rights (SPICEH) will be responsible for the implementation of the Whakatane Assessments. Its creation will take place very soon as outlined in a separate article of this newsletter.

Please email emmanuel@forestpeoples.org with any questions, to provide feedback on the concept note or to express your interest in being involved.

Work area: 
Social Policy
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