Archive for the ‘biodiversity’ Category

German Development Cooperation (GTZ) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat has launched a new guide on Biodiversity and Livelihoods: REDD Benefits.

This brochure provides a wide array of tools and examples on how measures and policies can be shaped to simultaneously address climate change, biodiversity loss and poverty. It provides a basic introduction to biodiversity and livelihoods aspects, including identifying opportunities for synergies and mutual enhancement of the objectives of international agreements, and background information on the linkages between ecosystem-based adaptation and mitigation measures.

The brochure also describes concrete measures to achieve long-term success and the multiple benefits of mitigation and adaptation measures. These include participatory approaches and pro-poor policies, improving the adaptation capacity of forests to climate changes, maintaining species migration routes, and avoiding self-enforcing negative impacts of climate change.

“Forest ecosystems that have the ability to adapt to climate change can provide for the livelihoods of forest-dependent people and communities who are partners in safeguarding forests and supporting the mitigation of climate change. To sustain this partnership, these people should actively participate in decision-making, and financial compensation for their efforts is needed.” – Extract from the Good Practice Guide

Chapter 5 specifically focuses on indigenous and local communities as partners and beneficiaries of REDD efforts.

Download Biodiversity and Livelihoods: REDD Benefits [pdf]….


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International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have launched a new Good Practice Guide on Sustainable Forest Management: Biodiversity and Livelihoods. This booklet is part of a series of Good Practice Guides produced by the CBD. It provides a range of case studies and other materials to make the forest sector more biodiversity-friendly, and socially beneficial. It addresses the linkages between forestry, biodiversity, and development / poverty reduction. The summaries and examples included in this booklet show how biodiversity and sustainable economic development can go hand in hand. The primary target audiences for the guide are government officers and decision-makers in the various government agencies related to forestry (at global, regional, national and local levels), as well as development practitioners. A CD-ROM is also available.

Chapter II.c of the guide focuses specifically on the role of indigenous and local communities. Indigenous case studies include one from the Congo (on the use of GPS and community radio by Pygmy communities to protect cultural sites) and Malaysia (on biodiversity in production forests).

“Recent developments for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) have the potential to provide benefits to local and indigenous communities. However, a number of conditions would need to be met for these co-benefits to be achieved. Indigenous peoples are unlikely to benefit from REDD where they have no secure land tenure; if there is no principle of free, prior and informed consent concerning the use of their lands and resources; and if their identities are not recognized or they have no space to participate in policy-making processes and/or lack the capacity to engage on an equal footing.” – Extract from Sustainable Forest Management: Biodiversity and Livelihoods

Download the Good Practice Guide on Sustainable Forest Management: Biodiversity and Livelihoods [pdf]…

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BioCultural Community Protocols: A Community Approach to Ensuring the Integrity of Environmental Law and Policy
Kabir Bavikatte & Harry Jonas (Eds.), Natural Justice and UNEP, November 2009.

This book illustrates the application of bio-cultural community protocols to a range of environmental legal frameworks. Part I focuses on the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and access and benefit-sharing. Part II looks at other frameworks to which bio-cultural protocols can be applied by indigenous and local communities, including REDD, the CBD programme of work on protected areas and payment for ecosystem services schemes. Part III looks more broadly at the meaning of bio-cultural protocols for environmental law.

Chapter 4 examines the promise that REDD holds for saving the world’s forests and the risks that it could present if designed and administered inappropriately. The authors also give an overview of how bio-cultural community protocols (BCPs) can play a role in reducing these risks and maintaining the local integrity of this international instrument. It includes an outline of a sample REDD Bio-Community Protocol.

“The use of community-based approaches to REDD such as [Bio-Community Protocols] could help ensure the local integrity of international efforts to save forests from degradation that contributes to climate change by rewarding ILCs for conserving their forests without excluding activities that they people rely upon for their livelihoods and bio-cultural ways of life.” – Extract from Bio-Cultural Community Protocols: A Community Approach to Ensuring the Integrity of Environmental Law and Policy

According to the authors, the development of bio-cultural protocols is one way in which communities can increase their capacity to drive the local implementation of international and national environmental laws. Such a protocol is developed after a community undertakes a consultative process to outline their core ecological, cultural and spiritual values and customary laws relating to their TK and resources, based on which they provide clear terms and conditions to regulate access to their knowledge and resources.

Download BioCultural Community Protocols: A Community Approach to Ensuring the Integrity of Environmental Law and Policy [pdf]…
Visit the Bio-Community Protocol case studies website…

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Leading to an equitable REDD mechanism: Recognizing the rights and role of indigenous peoples and local communities in the Brazilian Amazon Forest

Special guest article from Paula Moreira, Instituto de Pesquisa Amiental da Amazônia (IPAM). For further information, please contact Paula Moreira (paulamoreira[at]@ipam.org.br), Flávia Gabriela Oyo França (flaviagabriela[at]ipam.org.br) or Paulo Moutinho, (moutinho[at]ipam.org.br)


The majority of indigenous peoples and traditional communities (IPLC) living in Amazon forests are the primary stakeholders responsible for the protection, and consequently the conservation and preservation of forested areas. In the Brazilian Amazon, protected areas inhabited by forest peoples total 109.8 million hectares, corresponding to 60% of the protected areas and preserving a forest carbon stock of about 15 billion tons of carbon (32% of total carbon stocked in the Amazon forest) (Figure 1) (note 1).

Figure 1. The following map, as of 2008, shows the deforestation (in yellow) and the preserved indigenous territories (dark blue) and traditional communities reserves (orange) avoiding the advance of deforestation in those areas. Source: IPAM, unpublished data.

Figure 1. The following map, as of 2008, shows the deforestation (in yellow) and the preserved indigenous territories (dark blue) and traditional communities reserves (orange) avoiding the advance of deforestation in those areas. Source: IPAM, unpublished data.

These large protected areas act as major obstacles to the advance of deforestation, as they have regional inhibiting effect, which means that they contribute to the reduction of deforestation outside its boundaries, especially when considering distances up to 10 km. As a result, they avoid the significant potential emissions associated with greenhouse gases. Through simulations aimed at predicting the future deforestation, it was possible to calculate the potential emissions of indigenous lands and extractive reserves from 2008 to 2050. If these areas were not protected, 5 billion tons of carbon would be emitted into the atmosphere by the year 2050 (note 2). This volume represents approximately 2.5 times the effort to reduce emissions of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, considering its effective implementation.

Despite the high rate of deforestation (> 1 million ha/year) in the Brazilian Amazon, the deforestation inside the Brazilian Amazon protected areas (that includes indigenous territories and local communities (IPLC) reserves) as a whole is very small (< 3% of its total area).

Therefore, it is essential that any discussion focused on the benefits and compensations that should be attributed to the efforts in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), as well as the protection of forests, recognize the important role that IPLC have been playing, and respond to their demands in order to promote the improvement of livelihoods conditions in their territories. Such improvements or benefits could be promoted, for example, in form of subsidies for the production of non-timber products and provision of basic needs to these populations. Regarding the right of demarcation of IPLC’s territories, REDD policies should be established in a manner that requires that the Party implementing this mechanism must demonstrate that it recognizes and enforces the rights of indigenous peoples and traditional communities.

As established by the Bali Road Map in COP 13, the needs of indigenous peoples and local communities should be met, when adopting measures for REDD in developing countries. Then, later in COP 14, following the advice by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and other movements, the Parties recognized “the need to promote the full and effective participation of indigenous people and local communities (IPLC) (note 3), taking into account national circumstances and noting relevant international agreements,” in relation to REDD.

Despite the fact that UNFCCC Parties have recognized the need to promote the full and effective participation of IPLC, recognition and enforcement of fundamental rights in regarding to REDD framing is extremely important, in accordance with Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO), Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Convention on Biological Diversity, and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). We describe below the four fundamental rights that become more important regarding REDD, which must be observed when constructing and implementing a REDD policy at the international, national and/or local level:

  1. The right to land, territory, and in particular natural resources (note 4) and the right to fully use its resources in particular the forest resources;
  2. Right of Autonomy and Self-determination (note 5). This means that the IPLC´s have autonomy on managing their territories, legal capacity to deal and negotiate, if desired, patrimonial rights independently and consequently making decision in the processes of development such as the REDD policy or projects.In addition, article 23 of UNDRIP clearly rules: “Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for exercising their right to development. In particular, indigenous peoples have the right to be actively involved in developing and determining health, housing and other economic and social programs affecting them and, as far as possible, to administer such programs through their own institutions.”
  3. The right of culture and identity, including the right to development with identity;
  4. The right to free prior informed consent (FPIC) (note 6).

Thus, it is clear that indigenous peoples have a guaranteed right to participate effectively in the formulation, development and determination of any REDD policy based within their lands and territories. Moreover, any REDD policy must respect their traditional lifestyles, their right to occupy their traditional territories, and their chosen methods of developing economic, social and cultural sustenance and well-being.

In conclusion, it should be a condition for participation in any REDD policy or program that the Party implementing this mechanism recognizes and enforces the rights of indigenous peoples and traditional communities, herein mentioned. As a consequence, recognizing these rights and the role of IPLC in conserving the forest and avoiding deforestation, the benefits of REDD resources should be channeled in a way to help to fulfill the basics needs and rights such as right to access to health, food, to proper education in their own language and culture and improve their livelihoods. This outcome will obviously depend on the capacity of IPLC to evaluate the benefits and risks of REDD, build consensus and design their own proposals on how to channel/use these coming resources.

(1) IPAM, 2009; “Perguntas e Respostas sobre Aquecimento Global“. Unpublished data. Numbers were generated through Dinamica (EGO software) platform for SimAmazonia-2.
(2) According to http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2007/cop13/spa/06a01s.pdf#page=10
(3) Decision number FCCC/SBSTA/2008/L.23, Annex, 1(c) in COP 14, Poznan
(4) Article 26, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP): “Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.
(5) Article 3, ibid: “Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
(6) Articles 10, 19, 28, 29, and 32, ibid.

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REDD from an integrated perspective: Considering overall climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation and equity issues Lars Schmidt, Bonn, April 2009. Discussion Paper 4/2009, Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik, ISBN 978-3-88985-452-0

REDD-DIEThe discussion paper assesses selected options currently “on the table” in the international debate and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD). REDD design options are analyzed with regard to their implications for overall climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation and equity issues.

First of all, it is found that for REDD to be successful it will not be sufficient simply to put a price on forest carbon. Instead, to permanently reduce and stop global deforestation, REDD needs to trigger a change in our dominant human development model, which will require policy reforms and enforcement to prevent markets from driving deforestation. Among other things, this needs to be reflected in the design of a REDD mechanism, which must i) pay heed to the complex task of reducing deforestation, allowing for a flexible, country-specific approach, to ensure broad participation to tackle deforestation on a global scale; ii) address deforestation by integrating REDD into overall development planning, to achieve lasting results and maximize synergies with other development goals; and iii) be consistent with the overall mitigation effort to prevent dangerous climate change.

Major concerns, which have also been observed during REDD workshops and UNFCCC side events1, include… “Land Grabbing”: In countries where land titles are vague or where indigenous
territories are not properly demarcated, forest land could be seized illegally by other parties to reap the monetary benefits from REDD. – Lars Schmidt, Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik

The design of transfer systems at both the international and national level is key to enabling countries to permanently reduce deforestation and forest degradation. Schmidt argues that the Tropical Deforestation Emission Reduction Mechanism (TDERM) Triptych or the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, the latter complemented by the UN REDD Programme, could be used as a transitional international transfer system for REDD funds in the period 2013–2020. Given their comprehensive international approach to tackling deforestation, he says both can be expected to perform better concerning active consideration of human, and especially indigenous people’s rights, and delivery of benefits other than carbon retention.

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Life as Commerce: the impact of market-based conservation on Indigenous Peoples, local communities and women
Global Forest Coalition, CENSAT Agua Viva, COECOCEIBA,
EQUATIONS, Alter Vida, the Timberwatch Coalition, October 2008.

Life as commerce report“Life as Commerce” features case studies from India, Costa Rica, South Africa, Paraguay and Colombia about the impact of market-based conservation mechanisms like ecotourism, forest certification, biodiversity offsets and carbon trade on Indigenous Peoples, local communities and women. These impacts are particularly important in light of the proposal by some countries to include forest conservation into the global carbon market.

“The report provides a number of fascinating real-life stories on how these mechanisms work out at the community-level. It forms an important addition to the increasing number of studies that focus on the potential benefits of these mechanisms for local communities and the rules and standards that are needed to generate these benefits. As the case studies describe, such rules and standards seldom exist, and even where they exist, they are not well-implemented as market mechanisms make it attractive for powerful actors to circumvent them. The costs of these mechanisms, also in terms of undermining community governance, seem to outweigh the benefits in real-life situations.” — Simone Lovera, Managing Coordinator, Global Forest Coalition

Market-based mechanisms are often seen as solutions to the lack of funding for public conservation, but they are false solutions. The current economic crisis has also shown the unreliability of global markets as a potential funding source for conservation.

Download the Life As Commerce report [pdf]…

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News: Forest Peoples’ Rights Key To Reducing Emissions From Deforestation
ScienceDaily | 20 October 2008

Unless based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and forest communities, efforts by rich countries to combat climate change by funding reductions in deforestation in developing countries will fail, and could even unleash a devastating wave of forest loss, cultural destruction and civil conflict, warned a leading group of forestry and development experts at a recent meeting in Oslo.

Rights and Resources conference logo

The experts are gathering in Oslo with policymakers and community leaders for a conference on rights, forests and climate change. The conference was organized by two non-profit organisations, Rainforest Foundation Norway and the US-based Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI).

Speaking at the meeting, Norway’s Minister of Environment and International Development, Erik Solheim, says efforts towards reduced emissions from deforestation in developing countries should be based on the rights of indigenous peoples to the forests they depend on for their livelihoods, and provide tangible benefits consistent with their essential role in sustainable forest management.

“There are growing conflicts between indigenous peoples and both forestry companies and conservation organizations. Imposed forest management initiatives are only viable if they respect the customary rights of forest peoples and ensure they have control about what happens on their lands. Indigenous peoples must be accepted as full and fair participants in all climate negotiations,” — Joji Carino, Director of Tebtebba – Indigenous Peoples’ International Center for Policy Research and Education

Conference organizers worry that REDD could fuel corruption and provoke tensions and land grab situations unless good governance, policies and the rule of law are first put in place.

Read the full article…
Read the Rights, Forests and Climate Change meeting blog…

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