By Ida Rehnström, FSC Denmark
Bradley Young, who represents National Aboriginal Forestry Association, in Canada/ North America in the Permanent Indigenous Peoples Committee (PIPC), opened the session welcoming everyone in one of the many native languages of the region. He reminded attendees that we are meeting on the shared indigenous territory of the Coastal Salish Nations and encouraged everyone to speak from the heart.
In the room were representatives from all chambers within FSC including representatives from various Indigenous Peoples from all over the globe.
A Fourth Indigenous Chamber?
One of Monday’s hot topics was the future for Indigenous Peoples within FSC and how to ensure that their voices are heard and that the system has positive impacts for them. Drawing from his experiences of having a fourth chamber for Indigenous Peoples in Canada, Bradley Young voiced support for the idea of a fixed fourth chamber for Indigenous peoples within FSC International. At the moment FSC is organized around a three chamber system with just two national exceptions, one being Canada.
Motion 3, which has been submitted for consideration at the members’ assembly, puts forward the idea of a four chamber system. Adam Mwarabu (Maasai), presented his support for this proposed change within FSC, saying: “We are a family and families have children” adding “like families we need to grow.“.
A comment from the audience highlighted potential confusing regarding the structure of a fourth chamber, as people who are forest-living but not necessarily defined as Indigenous must be taken into account. Bradley Young acknowledged that these questions would need to be clarified and that the question points to how complex this issue is.
New Indigenous Secretariat Coming Up!
Anders Blom (Sápmi) put forward the concrete plans for the Indigenous Peoples Secretariat that is being build right now. The goal is to strengthen PIPC within FSC and to have a solid structure for guiding the FSC Board of Directors (BoD) on topics related to Indigenous Peoples. The Secretariat will be based in Panama and will have its own board. The Secretariat will be financed partly by FSC and partly through fundraising.
Hans Djurberg from the International FSC BoD stressed the fact that the new Secretariat “is a way to enhance the role of PIPC within FSC and to strengthen and support the Board with valuable advice.”
FSC’s Director General, Kim Carstensen took to the stage to express his wishes for and support of the Indigenous Secretariat: “A good and robust PIPC takes dedicated money and resources. At the beginning the structure will not be fully Indigenous as I will be part of the Board and we want to be part of the process”.
The Secretariat should be up and running from the beginning of next year.
Did you know?
Indigenous Peoples make up 5% of the world’s population. Many of these Indigenous Peoples live and work in forests or the surrounding land.
To ensure fair and equal representation of Indigenous Peoples within FSC, the establishment of the Permanent Indigenous Peoples Committee (PIPC) was agreed to during the 2011 FSC General Assembly. Part of the Committee’s work is also to engage Indigenous Peoples around issues of forest management and FSC certification.