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Identifying and Enlisting Forest and Indigenous Peoples [#373]
In many of the countries, like Bangladesh, influential peoples from outside of the Forest and adjacent areas get permits of forest resources by using their political and social powers. As they have no traditional knowledge of biodiversity resource collection and they do not consider the customary laws related with resource collection, and they consider the profit only, the trade-based collection of forest resources declining the forest gradually. So identifying the Forest and Indigenous Peoples and develop a list of the individuals of the communities is very important.
Forest Peoples Programme, Unnayan Onneshan and Humanitywatch have taken an initiative to identify and enlist Forest People in a model Union (the lowest administrative unit) of Bangladesh with support from Forest Department and Amadi Union Parishad (a Union adjacent to the Sundarbans, the largest single track mangrove forest in the world). To implement this pilot programme, the organizations has taken some steps like:
1. Consultation meeting with Civil Society to develop a definition of Forest People
2. Discussion meeting with Forest Department to finalize the definition and process of identification
3. Consultation meeting with Forest Peoples communities to review the definition and process
4. Consultation meeting with respective Union Parishad to share roles and responsibilities and the process
5. Identifying Forest Peoples Localities through using PRA tool (social resource map)
6. Door-to-door census survey to identify forest depending people
7. Checking the forest peoples list of forest people through signature of Union Council Member and Chairman
8. Verifiying the list through Sharing meeting with the Union Council
9. Reviewing the list through Public Hearing
10. Finalization of the list through approval of Forest Department
11. Experience Sharing with respective Organization/institutions and replication in another Union

The programme has already launched in February 1, 2009 and will be completed within April 2009.
posted on 2009-03-05 19:51 UTC by Hasan Mehedi, Humanity Watch
RE: Identifying and Enlisting Forest and Indigenous Peoples [#393]
Thanks Mehedi for bringing in your perspective from a wetland of international importance such as the Sundarbans. The plight of the Sundarbans traditional resource users and the tremendous limitations and obstacles they face in carrying out their customary practices are of such proportions that they asked for support from NGOs to organise a process of identification  and listing of forest peoples, so that a process of recognition of their traditional occupations and a role of in the governance and management of the Sundarbans wetland can be started. In this context, providing support to marginalised communities to self-organise and to carry out a process of identification along traditional occupations directly linked to the customary use of specific environmental/natural resources can be a good first step towards protecting and encouraging customary use in line with 10c. Some background literature on this can be found at, specifically:
Onnayan Onneshan (2006) Deserting the Sundarban - A tale of the Sundarban Biodiversity Conservation Project (SBCP). IFI Watch Bangladesh, Vol.-3, No.- 1. Available at

Hossain, J. and Roy, K. (2008) Deserting the Sundarbans: Local People's Perspective on ADB-GEF-Netherlands Funded Sundarbans Biodiversity Conservation Project. Unnayan Onneshan, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Available at

Kabir, D.M.H. and Hossain, J. (2008) Resuscitating the Sundarbans:
Customary Use of Biodiversity & Traditional Cultural Practices in Bangladesh. Unnayan Onneshan, Dhaka, Bangadesh. Available at

This case represents a tragic example of marginalisation of traditional resource users, which hopefully the implementation of 10c can help address and redress. In other cases, processes of self-identification, especially of indigenous peoples, as the right of self-identification of indigenous peoples is a well-established right in international law, is rightly a process internal to them, which may not need external support, but just recognition.
posted on 2009-03-11 15:28 UTC by Dr Maurizio Ferrari, Forest Peoples Programme