WHAT WE DO
IPACC has three core duties which are deliver through our programmes:
- Promote African indigenous peoples’ human rights and gender equality
- Promote African indigenous peoples’ rights and participation in environmental conservation and climate justice
- Sustain and support a regional network of African indigenous peoples’ organisations that is democratic, transparent and effective
Human Rights & Gender Equality
IPACC was founded on the principle that indigenous peoples in Africa experience human rights violations, exclusion from decision-making and the political economy and in most cases there is systematic legal and social discrimination. In the most serious cases, such as in the Great Lakes region, there have been repeated cycles of genocidal violence targeted at indigenous peoples.
IPACC mission is to help member organisations study and understand human rights, human rights treaties, special procedures and to engage with their communities, national governments, regional bodies and the United Nations to protect and promote fundamental human rights and gender equality.
IPACC’s current project priorities include working with the Programme d’Intégration et du Développement Pygmées (PIDP) in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to document human rights violations and submit these to the UN Human Rights Council. The aim is to create bench-marks and monitoring of fluctuations in human rights violations to assist with finding solutions and to provide an early warning mechanism for the prevention of genocide. IPACC in cooperation with the Swiss Documentation Centre for Indigenous Peoples (DOCIP) and HURIDOCS have provided online human rights data training for indigenous peoples from Rwanda, Burundi and DRC.
PIDP and IPACC are now working with the Maison de l’Enfant et la Femme Pygmée, OrigiNation and WWF Central African Republic to provide training for indigenous Baaka people in human rights norms and standards.
IPACC assists members around Africa to provide human rights reports to the Universal Periodic Review mechanism at the UN Human Rights Council and to communicate with key UN Special Rapporteurs on rights violations and risks.
DOCIP supports IPACC’s francophone members to provide an in-depth training internship for African indigenous peoples on human rights documentation, running local organisations, fund-raising and engaging in the UN human rights mechanisms and platforms.
IPACC has observer status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and members participate in ACHPR meetings and processes. IPACC also engages in the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) where important norms and standards are researched and promoted to ensure the implementation of indigenous peoples’ rights across the globe.
IPACC has a regional coordinator on gender equality who engages with the UN Council on the Status of Women (CSW). IPACC supports the mainstreaming of gender equality in all of its programme and project work. Part of this commitment is to have competent and visible women’s leadership within IPACC.
Environmental and Climate Justice
Most of IPACC’s members are highly-dependent on natural resources. Indigenous peoples in Africa, by definition are living in sensitive ecosystems, using natural resources either for pastoralism or hunting and foraging wild foods. The degradation of Africa’s ecosystems and instability of the global climate pose serious risks to IPACC members and to Africa’s sustainability.
IPACC is engaged in a number of related projects to support indigenous peoples as holders of environmental knowledge who can help protect the environment, guide national policies and develop social and ecological resilience in the face of climate changes.
IPACC’s environmental and climate justice priorities include:
- Promotion of indigenous knowledge systems in National Adaptation Plans;
- Use of participatory spatial methodologies, such as Participatory 3D modelling, for indigenous peoples to study and explain their landscape management and knowledge systems;
- Indigenous engagement in UN treaty bodies on the environment – including the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UN Convention on Biological Diversity, UN Convention to Combat Desertification;
- Conservation of African forests, including humid tropical forests as well as dryland and oasis forests – equitable participation and secure tenue of indigenous peoples reliant on forests;
- Implementation, rights compliance and good governance of the UN CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas and the UNESCO 1972 World Heritage Convention;
- Protection and promotion of indigenous peoples’ rights to intellectual property of genetic and natural resources
IPACC’s current priorities are on supporting an African approach to climate adaptation that draws together science, indigenous knowledge and decision-making. IPACC is working with the UNESCO Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems division and cooperates with the Least Developed Countries Expert Group at the UNFCCC. IPACC is a focal point member of the UNFCCC Nairobi Work Programme on vulnerability, impacts and adaptation (NWP).
IPACC is a member organisation of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). IPACC works with IUCN at national, regional and global levels to promote the rights and participation of indigenous peoples in landscape conservation and the sustainable use of nature. IPACC is particularly involved in issues of the governance of Protected Areas and World Heritage Sites.
IPACC has worked closely with the EU-ACP Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) to promote the use of participatory methodologies in land mapping and modelling, GIS and related social media.
IPACC is a member of the We Have Faith – Act Now for Climate Justice coalition.
Sustain a regional indigenous peoples’ network
IPACC’s initial purpose and sustaining mission is to be a home and solidarity network for the indigenous peoples of Africa. IPACC was born out of the will of different African indigenous peoples to unite and work together to promote their rights as well as to improve the quality of democracy and good governance in Africa.
IPACC’s members vote every 3 years for representatives to serve on the IPACC Executive Committee. Six different regions have representation on the Executive, leading to an 18 member Committee which guides programme implementation and represents the network internationally.
The Executive Committee elects its own Chairperson, Deputy Chair and Regional Women’s Coordinator. The Executive is supported by the Secretariat in Cape Town, South Africa. The Secretariat raises funds and assists in project implementation at site level or assisting leaders to get to UN or regional meetings.
The entire IPACC network has a legal Trust which governs its financial accountability and is answerable under South African law for auditing and accounting of funds, as well as labour law compliance. IPACC is governed by a Constitution and by a Code of Conduct.