Archive for the ‘stewardship’ Category

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.

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Indigenous Groups Criticize Climate Talks
Worldwatch Institute | 22 September 2008

As international climate negotiations move closer to including forests in the successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, indigenous and traditional peoples realize they have either a lot to gain or everything to lose. If industrialized countries are allowed to purchase the carbon rights of forests, groups from the Americas, Africa, and Asia fear their ancestral lands may be taken away. They worry that the benefactors of the carbon market will be governments or wealthy landholders, and not them.

At a time when their concerns should be at the forefront of debates, the venues for indigenous peoples to express themselves have so far been limited. They are granted observer status at United Nations climate negotiations, but they do not have voting rights – leading many to demand a stronger voice in the process.

Forests were not considered as carbon sinks in the Kyoto Protocol, but realization that deforestation accounts for almost 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions has led to their reconsideration. Industrialized nations may be allowed to offset their emissions by paying developing nations to protect their forests, known as reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). Several indigenous groups initially opposed REDD due to their suspicion that it would be another form of Western land-grabbing. But climate negotiators say a solution would ideally benefit the traditional stewards of the world’s forests through some sort of financial compensation. As awareness grows about the potential benefits for forest peoples, some indigenous leaders are shifting towards wary support. But they still emphasize that without official land rights for indigenous peoples, REDD will likely lead to further suffering.
Indigenous representatives from across the globe have joined The Forest Dialogues – a gathering of environmentalists, business leaders, financial donors, and government officials who are forming a joint policy recommendation on REDD. Their inclusion should lead to a greater presence in the REDD debate.

“This is the first time indigenous and non-indigenous groups are meeting at this type of forum. This is very important for indigenous people… [The U.N.] should give indigenous people specialty status… because we are affected by the decision. We are the victims of climate change and we are the impact of a solution to climate change.” — Parshuram Tamang, International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of Tropical Forests

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