Upholding International Standards for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples key to the Successful Implementation of the Amerindian Land Titling ProjectJun 9, 2015
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is supporting the implementation of the Amerindian Land Titling (ALT) project which is being implemented by the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs (formerly known as Ministry of Amerindian Affairs).
The UNDP’s role in the three years project which will end in October 2016, is to uphold international standards for the rights of Indigenous Peoples by ensuring compliance with Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) and other rights. The UNDP is also supporting strategies and capacities for Dispute Resolution, management of the project funds to ensure utilization for the intended purpose.
The ALT emphasizes the importance of protecting Indigenous land rights and opening windows of opportunities for indigenous people, especially those who depend on forest resources as a means of livelihood. The Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) was made available so that the objective of this project to title and demarcate Amerindian lands is achieved.
Against this backdrop, the Ministry is collaborating with the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) and the National Toshaos Council (NTC) to achieve three outputs:
- Land titles issued and demarcation process completed for all Amerindian villages that submit requests;
- Increased access to existing and alternative mechanisms for resolving land titling disputes; and
- Communication strategy, including a handbook describing the process of titling, demarcation and on the social and economic impacts of secure land tenure.
The Ministry received forty five (45) applications for titles from all administrative regions with the majority from regions 1 and 9 respectively. Of this amount thirteen (13) are for absolute titling while the remaining thirty-two (32) are for extensions. To date, five (5) communities received titles and twenty (20) field investigations were completed as part of the process to determine the eligibility of the applicants to receive the title and/or extension.
Under Output two, a Baseline Assessment of existing capacities, capacity needs and entry points for FPIC and Dispute Resolution was conducted in six cluster communities and a series of workshops hosted on FPIC. This study provided baseline and evidence based information on the existence of dispute resolution strategies and FPIC awareness among the ALT Project stakeholders. In doing so, this assessment identified the current capacities, as well as the capacity needs and entry points through which effective programming and policy development can be established.
An FPIC workshop manual was also prepared as a result of baseline and evidence based information on the gaps and capacity needs of the ALT Project in relation to FPIC awareness amongst Amerindian stakeholders within Guyana. It was developed to help train indigenous peoples, as well as government agencies and other senior suppliers for the ALT Project.
The project is now looking in the direction of developing a communication strategy which will include a handbook describing the process of titling, demarcation and on the social and economic impacts of secure land tenure.