Akwé: Kon guidelines
One of the main achievements of COP-7 was the adoption (decision VII/16 F) of the Akwé: Kon guidelines
, the voluntary guidelines for the conduct of cultural, environmental and social impact assessment regarding developments proposed to take place on, or which are likely to impact on, sacred sites and on lands and waters traditionally occupied or used by indigenous and local communities. The Guidelines, which were named with a Mohawk term meaning "everything in creation", provide a collaborative framework ensuring the full involvement of indigenous and local communities in the assessment of cultural, environmental and social impact of proposed developments on sacred sites and on lands and waters they have traditionally occupied. Moreover, guidance is provided on how to take into account traditional knowledge, innovations and practices as part of the impact-assessment processes and promote the use of appropriate technologies.
The Guidelines suggest a ten-step process for impact assessment of proposed development as follows:
- Notification and public consultation of the proposed development by the proponent;
- Identification of indigenous and local communities and relevant stakeholders likely to be affected by the proposed development;
- Establishment of effective mechanisms for indigenous and local community participation, including for the participation of women, the youth, the elderly and other vulnerable groups, in the impact assessment processes;
- Establishment of an agreed process for recording the views and concerns of the members of the indigenous or local community whose interests are likely to be impacted by a proposed development;
- Establishment of a process whereby local and indigenous communities may have the option to accept or oppose a proposed development that may impact on their community;
- Identification and provision of sufficient human, financial, technical and legal resources for effective indigenous and local community participation in all phases of impact assessment procedures;
- Establishment of an environmental management or monitoring plan (EMP), including contingency plans regarding possible adverse cultural, environmental and social impacts resulting from a proposed development;
- Identification of actors responsible for liability, redress, insurance and compensation;
- Conclusion, as appropriate, of agreements, or action plans, on mutually agreed terms, between the proponent of the proposed development and the affected indigenous and local communities, for the implementation of measures to prevent or mitigate any negative impacts of the proposed development;
- Establishment of a review and appeals process.
The Conference of the Parties requested governments to use the Guidelines and encouraged them to initiate a legal and institutional review with a view to exploring options for incorporation of the guidelines in national legislation and policies. The COP also invited indigenous and local communities to take note of the guidelines and to request their application in the case of developments proposed to take place on, or which are likely to impact on, sacred sites and on lands and waters traditionally occupied or used by indigenous and local communities.
If you wish to share your experience in applying the Akwé: Kon guidelines or you have comments/questions on the guidelines please contact the Secretariat