Indigenous peoples convene on how new technologies can help respond to new threats in tropical forests

Indigenous representatives from around the world convened last week in New York to share experiences of community mapping and how emerging technologies could help scale up efforts to document forest peoples’ occupation and use of rainforests in the face of increasing threats.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The event, Indigenous Mapping – Protecting Rights in a Changing World, was hosted by the Rainforest Foundation, at the offices of the Ford Foundation and featured presentations from indigenous representatives from Asia, Central America and the Amazon – with an opening address by Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Ms Tauli-Corpuz endorsed mapping programmes such as MappingForRights for directly supporting the rights of indigenous peoples. “The maps provide evidence which can be used for local and global advocacy for changes in laws, in the development of laws protecting indigenous peoples’ rights and the promotion of self-determined development. It can support the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples in monitoring how rights are protected, respected and fulfilled,” said Ms Tauli-Corpuz.

Around 60 delegates were also presented with initial findings of a consultation with grassroots and representative organisations and networks engaged in mapping on the feasibility of establishing a pan-tropical online interactive mapping facility of forest peoples’ lands.

Research and policy co-ordinator for the Rainforest Foundation UK, Joe Eisen, said: “It was inspiring to learn about so many innovative examples of grassroots community mapping in action, and to explore how these efforts can be scaled up to help secure better land rights in tropical forests.”

The Rainforest Foundation would like to extend special thanks to AIDESEP, AIPP, AMAN, Embera & Wounaan Collective Lands Congress for their presentations, to Birgitte Feiring for chairing the event and to the Ford Foundation for hosting. For more information on the tropical forest community mapping initiative, please contact us at MappingForRights@rainforestuk.org