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"IPACC's mission is to unite diverse community based indigenous peoples' organisations into a network and alliance for effective advocacy. IPACC's elected Executive Committee is dedicated to the coordination of advocacy strategy and activities which promote the rights and voices of indigenous peoples at national, sub-regional, African and international levels"


What is new at IPACC?




2015 is a year of national action in Africa - putting the Declaration to work where we need it most


After a whirlwind 2014 year which saw a number of key meetings, including the World Conference, the IUCN World Parks Congress and COP20 of the climate negotiations, 2015 is a year for IPACC to consolidate its work at national level here in Africa.


Major events in 2015 include:


  • UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP21 in Paris and preparations for COP22 in Marrakech.
  • April: 14th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City, USA 
  • June: 39th Session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Bonn, Germany 
  • July: 8th Session of the UN Expert mechanism on the Rights of indigenous Peoples in Geneva, Switzerland 


IPACC has launched a continental strategy to ensure that African governments and indigenous peoples dialogue on the World Conference process and arrive at the table with consensual positions on the implementation of indigenous rights in Africa. See the news items here.


New office bearers for IPACC: Sada, Vital and Agnes

IPACC engages UN on traditional knowledge and climate change



IPACC launched materials on traditional knowledge and climate adaptation in cooperation with the UNFCCC Nairobi Work Programme and Least Developed Countries Group at COP20 in Lima. Look for the bilingual online materials soon.

Agnes Leina continues to lead the call for indigenous women's and girls rights. She is participating in the 2015 Council on the Status of Women.  


IPACC promotes rights, knowledge, equity and benefit sharing at IUCN Parks 



COP18 side event

IPACC has been actively involved in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature since 2008. In 2014, IPACC made substantial contributions to the IUCN's 6th World Parks Congress, one of the most influential conservation forums in the world. IPACC helped design Stream 7 that dealt with the use of indigenous peoples' knowledge in landscape and seascape conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. This theme resonates with IPACC's on-going cooperation with the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. 


IPACC was represented by members from Namibia, Chad, and Kenya, speaking about indigenous knowledge, traditional skills and competencies, recognition of tracker skills and the role of Protected Areas in fighting poverty and ensuring good governance.  


COP12, Customary Use (10c) & ABS Training

IPACC members prepare for the 12th Conference of Parties of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). In cooperation with the Secretariat of the CBD, GiZ and Indigenous Information Network, up to indigenous peoples and local community representatives from Africa will meet several times to explore customary use norms and standards, as well as the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access & Benefits Sharing of genetic resources. IPACC will be taking a delegation of member organisations to COP12 in Korea.


Boosting national capacity

IPACC's programme priority in 2015 is to boost the capacity of its members to organise and advocate for indigenous rights at the national level. IPACC has highlighted the need to support national indigenous peoples' councils and forums in South Africa, Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad and Niger.

In January 2015, IPACC members from across Namibia gathered in Windhoek to launch the Namibian Indigenous Peoples Platform, the first integrated rights advocacy coordination body for the country.

IPACC Executive Committee met in February 2015 in Niamey Niger. The focus was on launching the Council of Elders, a body of leaders who have served the indigenous peoples' movement on the continent and play an advisory role on promoting indigenous rights. Hassan id Belkassm (Morocco), Zephyrin Kalimba (Rwanda) and Jennifer Koinante (Kenya) have been nominated by IPACC's members and approved by the Executive and Trust to take on this leadership role. 

IPACC continues working with the Documentation Centre for Indigenous Peoples (DOCIP) in providing advanced training in human rights, focussing on Francophone countries. IPACC continues to support and encourage members who are learning to document serious human rights violations. IPACC notes the success of PIDP-Kivu in recording gruesome murders and rapes in eastern DR Congo, and creating with the UN an early warning system to avoid full on genocide.


World Heritage

IPACC continues to work with its members and the IUCN to promote good governance and rights mechanisms within the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. IPACC is engaged with members and stakeholders in Botswana, DR Congo, CAR, Cameroon, Chad, Kenya and Niger on promoting a rights-based approach to the august Convention mechanism.

In March 2015, IPACC will return to Botswana to run a workshop with indigenous peoples and government on indigenous rights, traditional knowledge, livelihoods and governance of their two World Heritage sites. In 2014, UNESCO inscribed the Okavango Delta as the 1000th World Heritage Site. 

IPACC members from Niger will join the 39 COM session of UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Bonn, Germany to review the status of the Aïr & Tenere Natural Reserve which may come off the endangered list, now that Niger has established a lasting and inclusive peace throughout the country. 



IPACC's Mission: 

IPACC's mission is to unite diverse community based indigenous peoples' organisations into a network and alliance for effective advocacy. IPACC's elected Executive Committee is dedicated to the coordination of advocacy strategy and activities which promote the rights and voices of indigenous peoples at national, sub-regional, African and international levels. 

IPACC promotes recognition of and respect for indigenous peoples in Africa; promotes participation of indigenous African peoples in United Nations' events and other international forums, and strengthens leadership and organisational capacity of indigenous civil society in Africa. IPACC supports coordination between indigenous peoples and inter-country cooperation and training. IPACC also conducts pilot projects related to the inter-generational transmission of traditional knowledge of biodiversity; sustainable livelihoods and equitable access and use of natural resources; participatory landscape mapping; the assessment and certification of tradtional knowledge of tracking; and innovative approaches to fighting poverty.

IPACC works in partnership with the Technical Centre for Agricultural Cooperation with Rural Areas (CTA EU-ACP); Cybertracker Foundation; African Biodiversity Network; the We Have Faith - Climate Action Now! campaign, the Documentation Centre for Indigenous Peoples (DoCIP), Conservation International, WWF International, Indigenous Information Network, Wildlife Conservation Society, and UNESCO's Local and Indigenous Knowledge unit. IPACC is a member of the

International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and host of the Secretariat for the Theme on Indigenous Peoples, Local Communities, Equity and Protected Areas.


IPACC is accredited with the UN Economic and Social Council, the UN Environment Programme, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, the UN Educational Scientific, Cultural and Communications Organisation (UNESCO). IPACC has observer status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights. IPACC is in strategic cooperation with the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights.




Note: Our webdesigner has had serious health issues and the site is out of date in a number of places. We ask for your patience while we update the information and news. You can also check out of Facebook page which has regular news items of relevance to African indigenous peoples.


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Who is indigenous in Africa?

The rights of indigenous peoples in Africa have been formally recognised by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights in 2003, and then approved by the African States with the passage of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the General Assembly in 2007. Still, there is some confusion about the meaning of the term and still some resistance by certain civil servants and diplomats who have not followed the evolution of these rights standards.

In January 2010, the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) has adopted the most progressive legislation on the continent, recognising indigenous peoples in alignment with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In 2010, Central African Republic became the first African country to ratify the ILO Convention 169 on the rights of indigenous and tribal communities. Also in 2010, Kenya overturned centuries of colonial law by recognising the land rights of indigenous hunter-gatherer peoples in its new Constitution. Burundi provides constitutional protection to indigenous peoples and allows them a fixed number of seats in Parliament. South Africa and Namibia both have process underway to recognise the rights of indigenous peoples, and Morocco has created a Royal Commission dealing with indigenous Amazigh language, culture and education.

Peoples claiming to be ‘indigenous’ in Africa are mostly those who have been living by hunting and gathering or by transhumant (migratory nomadic) pastoralism. These are distinct peoples who's economies and cultures are different from the national dominant cultures. They are reliant on the sustainable use natural resources. Their cultures are closely linked to the special environmental conditions under which they have survived - for example deserts, oases, mountain territories, savannah drylands and equatorial rainforests.

VillageThe legal concept of 'indigenous' rights in Africa is a new one but is being integrated into Africa constitutions and case law. All Africans are 'indigenous' in the literal sense of the word. The rise of an organised civil society claiming rights as indigenous peoples is tied to major economic and environmental changes in Africa which are putting nomadic, transhumant, hunting and herding peoples at risk.

The main risk for indigenous peoples is land alienation and the loss of biodiversity caused by agricultural settlers and extractive industries such as logging and mining. Climate change is also amplifying these problems, reducing the capacity of ecosystems to support rural communities.

Colonialism entrenched the power of agricultural elite within the State structure. The State in Africa often works in concert with international capital and multinational corporations to alienate valuable natural resources which place both biodiversity and cultural diversity in jeopardy.

IPACC recognises that all Africans should enjoy equal rights and respect. All of Africa’s diversity is to be valued. Particular communities, due to historical and environmental circumstances, have found themselves outside the state-system and underrepresented in governance. These ‘first-peoples’ or ‘autochthonous peoples’ have associated themselves with the United Nations’ standards on the rights of indigenous peoples. This is not to deny other Africans their status; it is to emphasise that affirmative recognition is necessary for hunter-gatherers and herding peoples to ensure their survival. IPACC uses the language of the CBD to note the common interests of indigenous and local communities .

IPACC's value system has developed through years of dialogue between indigenous leaders. IPACC emphasises the important link between biological diversity and cultural diversity, and the fundamental role that natural resource users have in conservation and wildlife management. IPACC operates within the framework of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, affirming the integrity of the state while assuring that democracy is only alive when all peoples have the right of self-determination and to play an active role in natural resource management and good governance.

IPACC affirms three core principles: participation of indigenous peoples in decision making, pluralism in African economies that allow for sustainable hunting and gathering, nomadic pastoralism, fishing and other non-agricultural activities in arid, semi arid and humid forest areas, partnership between indigenous peoples, their respective States and the private sector to find sustainable and mutually acceptable solutions to challenges of the environment, quality of life and good governance.

In November 2003, the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights adopted a report of its working group recognising that there are indigenous peoples in Africa whose rights are being violated. In September 2007, all but three African states voted in favour of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Three states abstained and non-voted against. In 2007, the ACHPR advised the African Union that supporting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples would be in harmony with the African Charter.

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