Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Who we are

The Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia or Jaringan Orang Asal Se-Malaysia (JOAS) is the umbrella network for 21 community-based non-governmental organisations that have indigenous peoples’ issues as the focus. As the focal point for indigenous rights and advocacy in Malaysia, JOAS provides the indigenous communities with representation not just nationally but regionally and internationally as well.

Nationally, it has been at the forefront of advocating and upholding the Orang Asal’s strong attachment to their traditional lands and in calling for the protection and conservation of the biodiversity and natural resources found in these areas. JOAS has organised at least two national multi-stakeholder conferences on biodiversity and indigenous rights, and was also the local host for the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) during the CBD-COP7 conference in Kuala Lumpur.

Several of JOAS’s members have also been involved in direct conservation or resource management activities on their own accord or with support from agencies like the UNDP Small Grants Projects and other funding agencies. In most of these activities, cooperation with government agencies and environmental groups were an integral component.

JOAS collectively, and some of its members individually, also engage actively with regional indigenous organisations – especially that of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) – and have actively participated in various international environmental fora including the CBD, UNPFII, IUCN and UNFCCC. In collaboration with AIPP and IWGIA, JOAS and its members have conducted various projects and programmes, some of which are still ongoing such as the Community Management Learning Network (CMLN), Training on community mapping, Research and documentation on Indigenous Systems of Resource Management and various workshops and trainings on aspects deemed important to indigenous and ecological survival.