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African Commission on
Human and Peoples' Rights


489 Resolution on the Recognition and Protection of the Right of Participation, Governance and Use of Natural Resources by Indigenous and Local Populations in Africa - ACHPR/Res. 489 (LXIX)2021


The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (the Commission), meeting at its 69th Ordinary Session, held virtually from 15 November to 5 December 2021:

Recallingits mandate of promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa under Article 45 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter); 

Recallingits Resolution ACHPR/Res.51 (XXVIII) 2000 adopted during its 28th Ordinary Session which established a Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities (the Working Group), with a view to promote and protect the rights of indigenous populations/communities on the continent; 

Taking into considerationArticles 21 and 22 of the African Charter which guarantees the right of all peoples to freely dispose of their wealth and natural resources, and the right to their economic, social and cultural development with due regard to their freedom and identity and in the equal enjoyment of the common heritage of mankind;

Bearing in mindthe Report of the Working Group on the Rights of Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa that was adopted by the Commission in 2003 at its 28th ordinary Session, and which amongst others, recognizes that the protection of rights to land and natural resources is fundamental for the survival of indigenous populations/communities in Africa;

Notingincreasing rural poverty across the world including the continent, loss of wildlife and habitat, lack of inclusion of communities in decision making and lack of respect for the specific rights of indigenous and local peoples in Africa;

Concernedthat the rapid changes facing Africa in terms of growing poverty and inequality, impacts of climate change, and increasing land transformation have the potential to destabilize economies of the continent;

Recognizingthe role of indigenous populations & local communities in managing wildlife resources on their land;

Awarethat indigenous communities are the front line of defense in protecting natural resources and combatting illegal wildlife trade;

Acknowledgingthat a key component of Africa’s economic potential lies in its biodiversity and wildlife economy, and the use of Community Based Resource Management, a community conservation effort, offers a unique competitive advantage for fighting poverty and building resilient indigenous and local communities;

Recognizingand respecting the right of participation, governance and use of natural resources by indigenous populations and local communities as share-holders and not mere stakeholders;

The Commission:

  1. Callson African States to recognize the rights of indigenous populations & communities  over the conservation, control, management and sustainable use of their natural resources including wildlife;
  2. Urges African States to take the necessary measures to strengthen community governance and institutions;
  3. Strongly encouragesGovernments, indigenous and local populations, intergovernmental organizations, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations and academic institutions to support the Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities and Minorities in Africain building and enhancing local capacity of communities to govern and manage and sustainably use and benefit from their natural resources;
  4. Tasksthe Working Group, through the Commission, in  supporting Indigenous communities and minorities with respect to their rights to natural resources in the territories that they live;
  5. Encourages States to adhere to the Commission’s State Reporting Guidelines on Article 21 and 24 of the Charter relating to Extractive Industries, Human Rights and the Environment.

Done virtually, on 5 December 2021


Adopted Resolutions