essay / María Estrada

development One year after the ruling of the African Court of Human Rights recognizing the Ogiek's right to their land - long since seized by the Kenyan government for logging - it may be timely to review the legal basis for the collective land rights of indigenous peoples and how their recognition can contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (SDG 2030).

The Ogiek are a hunting and gathering people who since ancient times have inhabited the Mau Forest in the Tinet Forest in Molo, Nakuru District. Their existence and continuity depend on the forests because of the close social, spiritual and cultural ties that bind them to them. The May 2017 ruling handed down by the African Court of Human Rights forced a change of attitude on the part of the Kenyan government. The Court based its ruling on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted by the United Nations in September 2007, in whose vote Kenya abstained.

The United Nations Declaration recognizes the right of indigenous peoples to preserve and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions and to work for their development of agreement to their aspirations and needs. In its preamble, the text recognizes "the particular contribution of indigenous and tribal peoples to cultural diversity, to the social and ecological harmony of humankind and to international cooperation and understanding". development It is also worth considering agreement 107 of the ILO of 1957, which states: "The Declaration of Philadelphia affirms that all human beings have the right to pursue both their material well-being and their spiritual welfare in conditions of freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity".

International law distinguishes between the notions of "land" and "territory" to highlight the difference between a given physical or geographic space (the portion of land itself) and the reproduction or manifestation of the cultural life associated with that space. This cultural life is expressed through different cultural patterns linked to ways of using the land and its resources, ceremonial and spiritual ties and multiple ways of being and conceiving the habitat and the world. The notion of territory does not protect an economic value, but the value of life in general and of cultural life in particular. What is then the amount of land that should be legally regularized in favor of a given people or community? The lands to be handed over must respect the criteria of suitability, sufficiency and traditionality. In other words, they must be of sufficient size and quality to allow the people or community to develop their life plan, in accordance with their options and priorities of development, to live with dignity as an organized people in accordance with their cultural identity, and to guarantee their historical and cultural continuity. The notion of traditionality defines as belonging to a community those territorial spaces that are in the collective report of current generations and that are still recognized as the natural habitat of the people in question, whether it is entirely under their control or has been subject to usurpation and dismemberment in recent years.

Based on these concepts, international law and the domestic legislation of the countries have defined that the right to land and territory implies: a) the submission of lands that are used by the people and community, respecting the different modalities of land and resource use; b) the restitution of lands involuntarily lost and to which they have traditionally had access, and c) the submission of additional or complementary lands to ensure the development and continuity of the people or community.

In addition to these sources of international law, there are other initiatives that would inevitably have led to the triumph of the Ogieks, thanks to the changes that global geopolitics has been undergoing in recent decades.

Firstly, more and more states in the international community are joining the initiatives of sustainable development models, either under pressure from non-state actors such as NGOs or activist groups, or on their own initiative, as governments realize that it is essential to include environmental security in their defense policies. In the field of strategic programs of study , international politics has been dominated since the Cold War by the realist current. This current has a very narrow vision, and considers war and conflict as inherent features of the international system. States are the main actors, and their goal is the accumulation of power, defined in terms of military capability. This approach has remained predominant even after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, although new perspectives have gradually been introduced. New currents have emerged that criticize the limited vision of the traditional currents, arguing that there are other non-military factors that are relevant when it comes to recognizing threats to the security of nations and individuals. Several authors, such as Dalby, Floyd or Mathew, among others, believe that it is necessary to begin to include and give priority to environmental security in the international diary ; in other words, to "securitize" the topic. source Some seven million people die every year as a result of climate change, and resource scarcity is often a source of conflict, especially in the least developed countries.

Secondly, in 2015, the Sustainable development Goals (SDGs) for 2030 were announced, which are grouped into 17 goals and 169 targets. These were proposed in 2014 at the United Nations lecture "Transforming our World", which analyzed the results of the Millennium development Goals (MDGs) of 2000. The MDGs achieved progress in areas such as reducing the issue number of people below the poverty line, but in other areas such as the environment there were setbacks. This time, the SDGs put on the table a more integral and comprehensive diary and have sustainability as a central element, ensuring equitable growth. The great challenge in this case will be their implementation, since the goals are not entirely clear and do not require specific commitments, so there is a risk that states will shirk their commitment. Among the established objectives, two are worth mentioning for the topic we are dealing with. The goal 13 speaks of "taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts" and the goal 15 of "protecting, restoring and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably managing forests, combating desertification, halting and reversing land degradation and halting biodiversity loss". The sustainability strategy proposed by the SDGs includes maintaining the integrity of ecosystems through an efficient management of natural resources and a decoupling of environmental pressures from economic growth.

That said, and returning to the Ogiek, there are those who claim that their establishment in the Mau forest can help the conservation of the space, which would be in line with goal 15. The Ogiek consider themselves the guardians of the forest, and believe that it is their duty to contribute to the conservation of the forest and all the species that inhabit it. In African culture - without trying to overgeneralize - the link with the land is more than historical and cultural, it is also a spiritual link. It is there where their ancestors reside, whose spirits guard the people. In addition, one of the main activities of the Ogiek is the production of honey. Therefore, the free disposal of the forest by the Kenyan government would mean the moral and existential uprooting of these people, in addition to other serious consequences for climate change. The forest largely prevents droughts and financial aid to the cohesion of the soil.

In addition to this, we must also take into account the unsustainability of the current capitalist production and consumption model , which only generates inequality through a ferocious skill that is unfair to the most marginalized groups such as indigenous peoples. The Kenyan government justifies uncontrolled logging as necessary for development and income generation. However, other lifestyles must be considered, which in their own way allow for an equally comprehensive development for the people. In addition to preserving diversity and promote cultural enrichment, the lifestyle of the Ogiek people would be the solution for the sustainable development pursued by the SDGs.

In light of this case, it is necessary to raise the idea that perhaps elsewhere on the planet the solution for the conservation of the environment and species is to let the locals who know the land take care of it. This issue concerns many groups of people. In Latin America, disputes are frequent because of abuses by political entities against indigenous peoples, who likewise go to court to seek protection of their rights (to give examples). It is therefore likely that the imposition of a capitalist model without strong social considerations will be counterproductive in terms of achieving development, considered as that which raises people's standard of living. New steps must now find their basis in a broader conception of development, taking into account the diversity of lifestyles in the world, and seeing in the willingness of indigenous peoples to live in and protect forests an opportunity that guarantees forest conservation.

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