On the one hand, there are IFI safeguards to protect indigenous peoples during development projects, on the other hand, most governments have little tolerance for indigenous peoples, especially transhumance pastoralists.
As one president announced, there is no room for pastoralists in the 21st century. In the land acquisition process, pastoralists are invariably disenfranchised from their traditional rangelands by developments, and no alternative lands are offered. Many lose their stock routes to access necessary natural resources, which can result in (often violent) conflicts with farmers. For the most part, popularist support will go to the farmers. Some indigenous peoples have accepted reservations, but whereas they control the land surface, they have no control over sub soil rights and few are compensated or reap any economic benefits that they may bring. Recent pipelines across indigenous lands demonstrate that even in the developed world, indigenous rights and the safeguards put in place to secure them are not rigorous enough. EIAs can pay lip service to a process aimed at mitigating impacts, which they clearly do not do. In the meantime, current erosion of environmental safeguards, denial of climate change, are all signs that the overall respect for land and peoples has eroded, not improved.
These global issues go well beyond the remit of IDC, however IDC has worked on many projects to contribute toward the solutions.
In 1997 IDC held the first ever multi-stakeholder conference at a workshop in Calgary, Canada to raise awareness of the issues, build consensus and facilitate on-going conflict resolution programmes in sidebars. Attendees included not only indigenous people from around the world but the natural resource corporations, funding banks and UN representatives. This initial success led on to the development of ten basic guidelines in the Indigenous working week in Geneva in 1998. IDC facilitated the working session and ultimately a variation of these guidelines were ratified by the UN. Subsequent to this, IDC developed a social audit framework for one of the big 6 accounting firms, developed a working paper in collaboration with the University of Bath for MERN and developed tool guides for specific corporations working in indigenous lands. Other programmes have included road-mapping the way forward for pastoralists access to markets in West Africa and a paper on the direct, proximate and structural causes of land-based conflicts (Pastoralists and Farmers) in East Africa.
Read more about the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on the