Archive 2003

UNEP Supports Protection Of Minority Ethnic Groups

NAIROBI (AANA) February 10 - The United Nations Environment Programme 
(UNEP) has stressed a commitment to protect the interest of marginalised 
minority groups, saying their wealth on indigenous knowledge could serve to 
preserve biodiversity.

Addressing UNEP delegates before launching a micro study report on Kenya's 
Castaways - The Ogiek and National Development Processes, New York's UNEP 
representative, Mr Adnan Amin, assured Kenya's indigenous peoples that UNEP 
will not forsake them.

Mr Amin launched the report on February 4, at the United Nations Office in 
Nairobi during a Civil Society Side Event at the just concluded Governing 
Council Meeting of UNEP (February 3-7).

"Conservation of biodiversity is directly related to survival of indigenous 
peoples cultures, that are repositories of rich indigenous knowledge about 
the environment, hence the need to place more emphasis on their 
protection," he said.

Meanwhile, the Kenyan government has promised a comprehensive land policy 
and legal framework that will respect communal land rights.

"There is a serious need to appreciate the importance of the rich cultural 
diversities in Kenya, and to move forward to protect and promote them," 
said Mr Amos Kimunya, the Minister for Lands and Settlement, while 
addressing the delegates who attended the launch.

"I am aware of the aboriginal cases and seeing very clearly the parallels 
with the Ogiek, I can assure you that I am very sympathetic to your 
concerns," he added, while addressing representatives of the Ogiek community.

Kenya's Castaways - The Ogiek and National Development Processes is a 
four-page report that highlights several issues of concern to the Ogiek 
minority group in Kenya.

The report was published by Minority Rights Group International, a UK-based 
NGO, in partnership with Centre for Minority Rights Development, a Kenyan

Reported by Henry Neondo