Archive for the ‘vulnerability’ Category

CARE International and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) will present their draft REDD + Social and Environmental Standards (REDD + SE) at a side event during COP-15 hosted by the government of Nepal. REDD + SE aims to help governments institute equitable REDD programs on a national level. The joint CARE/CCBA initiative has also been consulting with a few national governments on testing the standards on a national scale and aims to finalize the new standards in March, 2010.

This initiative is developing standards that can be used by governments, NGOs, financing agencies and other stakeholders to design and implement REDD and other forest carbon programs that respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities and generate significant social and biodiversity co-benefits. These standards will be designed to work for the new global REDD+ regime expected to emerge out of ongoing UNFCCC negotiations, that is for government-led programs implemented at national or state/provincial/regional level and for all forms of fund-based or market-based financing. The standards will consist of principles, criteria and indicators that define the issues of concern and the
required levels of social and environmental performance.

Draft Principles:

  1. Rights to land, territories and resources are recognized and respected.
  2. The benefits of the REDD+ program are shared equitably among all stakeholders and
    rights holders.
  3. The REDD+ program contributes to sustainable livelihoods and poverty alleviation for
    forest-dependent peoples.
  4. The REDD+ program contributes to broader sustainable development and good
    governance objectives.
  5. Biodiversity and ecosystem services are maintained and enhanced.
  6. All relevant stakeholders and rights holders are able to participate fully and effectively in
    the REDD+ program.
  7. All stakeholders and rights holders have timely access to appropriate and accurate
    information to enable good governance of the REDD+ program.
  8. The REDD+ program complies with applicable local22 and national laws and international
    treaties and agreements.

Download the draft REDD + Social and Environmental Standards [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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Pacific Comments on REDD
Special guest article from Fiu Mata’ese Elisara/Executive Director of OLSSI, Samoa




Some 15 participants from Tonga, PNG, Solomon, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Cooks, Samoa, NZ and Australia attended a Pacific workshop on REDD held in Nukualofa USP Centre, Tonga, from 29 to 31 July 2009. Representing indigenous peoples, civil society, and governments, they also discussed related issues such as climate change, forest protection, and role of indigenous peoples and local communities that severely impact our region on a daily basis.

Specific concerns of indigenous peoples raised in the meeting included their rights in line with United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), particularly their rights to free, prior and informed consent, sovereign right to self-determination and rights to lands, territories, environment and natural resources that needed to be upheld and respected.

Participants were deeply alarmed by the accelerating climate devastation brought about by unsustainable development, and experiencing profound and disproportionate adverse impacts on Pacific cultures, human and environmental health, human rights, well-being, traditional livelihoods, food systems and food sovereignty, local infrastructure, economic viability and their very survival as indigenous peoples.

The meeting called consumer nations to adequately address the issue of ecological debt to the global south and not shift liability for their own unsustainable production and consumption to those nations, like the counties in the Pacific, not responsible for the high level of climate emissions.

There was also concern about insufficient capacity building on forests and climate change discussions and negotiations in the communities, the lack of adequate resourcing, funding and representation of indigenous communities at international climate discussions and negotiations, and the failure of governments to adequately and accurately represent the views of indigenous and forest-dependent communities in the region.

The meeting wished to remind governments that Pacific peoples and especially indigenous peoples are on the front line of climate change, whether they are from ‘developed’ nations or not, and do not automatically have access to the benefits of a developed economy.

Call for Action

The meeting, by way of its Tonga Declaration, stated its concern that in its current form REDD is misleading and is a false solution to climate change. It erodes indigenous land rights and fails to account for the long term and ongoing conservation and land management of forested areas by Pacific countries, indigenous peoples, and forest dependent communities. Participants called for all nations in the Pacific to sign on to the UNDRIP and for any agreement on forests to fully and explicitly uphold the rights under UNDRIP, the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). All rights under UNDRIP must be included into the CBD and UNFCCC, and the customary and territorial land rights of Indigenous Peoples and forest-dependent communities must be recognised and enforced by any international agreement on forest policy.

The meeting called for the suspension of all REDD initiatives in indigenous lands and territories until such a time as Indigenous peoples’ rights are fully recognised and promoted, and community consent has been obtained. The linkage of REDD to markets risks allowing Annex-1 countries to avoid responsibility for reducing emissions in their own countries and could even increase net carbon emissions. Carbon offsetting and the inclusion of REDD credits in carbon markets will do nothing to address the underlying causes of climate change, nor will carbon offsetting and market mechanisms provide the predictable and reliable funding required for addressing deforestation.

Participants demanded that forests not be included in carbon trading schemes, and call on all governments to halt deforestation and keep fossil fuels in the ground; not trade one for the other. Forests need to be protected, but they must be protected by strengthening and enforcing forest legislation, not using market mechanisms.

The meeting supported the call for binding emissions reductions targets for Annex 1 countries of at least 45% below 1990 levels by 2020, and at least 95% by 2050 and other elements of the AOSIS positions. Annex 1 countries must therefore deliver on their commitments to making real and effective emission reductions.

Participants were alarmed that some international climate and forest agreements were not legally binding and that there was a disconnection between these international negotiations and inadequate national greenhouse targets and obligations.

It called for real and genuine solutions to climate change, not false solutions like ocean fertilisation, REDD, bio-fuels and monocultures for plantations that erode and violate the rights of Indigenous peoples and forest-dependant communities, and destroy biodiversity.

Participants objected to the current definition of forests under the CBD, UNFCCC and the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and demanded that any definition of forests must strongly differentiate between plantations and natural forests to incorporate fundamental indigenous understandings of forests and account for the vast differences in carbon storage capacity.

Whilst the participants supported the positions of the Pacific Council of Churches (PCC) and Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) on adaptation responses and emission targets, they nevertheless recognised the non-negotiable positions of some small island nations and their sovereign rights to continue to exist as countries and to fight climate change to the end.

Participants were also gravely concerned about inaccurate carbon accounting, and the vast amounts of money allocated by donor nations for the protection of forests through flawed solutions to climate change, including REDD and called for accurate carbon accounting on forests, and for any funding for REDD, appropriate technology transfer must be prioritised for community based forest management schemes, managed through strengthened mechanisms within the UNFCCC that include impacted communities and in accordance with Indigenous rights under UNDRIP. Donor nations should not fund international financial institutions, like the World Bank to implement projects that support flawed solutions to climate change.

The workshop thanked the Kingdom of Tonga and the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Tonga for their hospitality, and expressed their gratitude to the Global Forest Coalition and the Government of the Netherlands for their coordination and funding of the workshop.

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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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Dialogue on REDD Finance Mechanisms The Forests Dialogue’s consensus-based Statement on Forests and Climate Change

beyond reddBeginning in December 2007, The Forests Dialogue (TFD) has led a multi-stakeholder dialogue process focused on developing a clear, unified message and common set of principles illustrating the factors and conditions necessary to maximize forests and people’s ability to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The initiative has involved more than 275 diverse leaders representing all stakeholder groups from around the world. The Forests Dialogue on REDD Finance Mechanisms was held in New York from 25-26 April 2009. A summary report was prepared by the co-Chairs Jan McAlpine (UNFF-S) and James Griffiths (WBCSD) with Stewart Maginnis (IUCN).

The concerns of Indigenous Peoples were highlighted with respect to the extent to which their interests will be represented in the Copenhagen negotiations and in subsequent implementation of post-2012 REDD arrangements. Whether and how REDD finance mechanisms could i) adequately
address conflicts between de jure and de facto traditional land tenure arrangements and ii) accommodate the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) were two elements that were highlighted as being of particular concern. Dialogue participants noted the importance of acknowledging and addressing these issues within any REDD financing arrangement.

Concern was also voiced by some groups with respect to the prospect of ensuring fair distribution of REDD payments. It was brought to the meeting’s attention that the majority of forest communities live in situations where at least some of their rights to benefit from forest land and resources are contested. It was also highlighted that the interests of these groups have to be taken into account not only for ethical reasons but also to avoid the types of future conflict that could jeopardize the potential contribution of forests to stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs).

“Perhaps the most resounding consensus reached in New York was the importance, from a climate mitigation perspective, of ensuring that REDD plus is properly integrated into post-2012 arrangements and the value of ensuring such measures are harmonized with policy frameworks that promote Sustainable Forest Management … [This] presents an opportunity to advance forest-related consultation and decision-making processes to include key stakeholder groups, with particular emphasis on forest rights-holders (i.e. Indigenous Peoples, Forest Communities, individual family forest owners & small-holders as well as other categories of land-owners).” — Co-Chairs Report, Dialogue on REDD Finance Mechanisms

TFD has also produced a comprehensive consensus Statement on Forests and Climate Change titled “Beyond REDD: the Role of Forests in Climate Change” that includes significant references to indigenous peoples’ rights, and lays out 5 guiding principles and over 100 suggested actions for stakeholders including government climate negotiators. This document also includes 5 Briefing Notes.

Download the 58 page Beyond REDD: the Role of Forests in Climate Change report [pdf]… or Review the meeting materials [website]…

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Views on issues relating to indigenous peoples and local communities for the development and application of methodologies Submission of FERN and Rainforest Foundation UK to the UNFCCC
Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), 15 February 2009

fern rffThe submission by FERN and Rainforest Foundation UK to the UNFCCC SBSTA on indigenous peoples rights and climate. spells out that recognition of forest peoples’ rights is pre-condition for a successful forest – climate agreement.

“Upholding the rights and promoting the interests of indigenous peoples and local communities in the development and implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation measures is not only necessary to ensure consistency with applicable international laws, norms and standards; it is also an essential prerequisite to ensure the effectiveness of climate measures. This is all the more true in the case of forest-climate policies, such as those aimed at “reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation” (REDD), because much of the world’s remaining forests in developing countries are located in the ancestral and customary lands of indigenous peoples and local communities. Any UNFCCC forest-climate agreement will have major implications for the rights and welfare of indigenous peoples and local communities, and, in turn, indigenous peoples and local communities in forested areas will impact the effectiveness of the agreement.” – Extract from the FERN & RFF submission

The submission concludes that an effective forest-climate agreement should:

  • Recognize rights and FPIC as pre-conditions,
  • Develop acceptable and effective methodologies to monitor governance improvements and
    social impacts of climate change mitigation measures, and
  • Recognise and protect collective and customary forest tenure and management systems,
    including measures to safeguard communities’ subsistence, cultural or spiritual values.

Download the 4-page Views on issues relating to indigenous peoples and local communities for the development and application of methodologies submission [pdf]…

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Moving Ahead with REDD: issues, options and implications A Angelson (editor), Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Bogor, Indonesia, 2008.

cifor bookThis CIFOR publication discusses questions relevant to creating mechanisms that fully exploit the potential of REDD and their implications for the design of global REDD architecture.

Chapter 11 by David Brown, Frances Seymour and Leo Peskett addresses achieving REDD co-benefits without doing harm. It focuses on social co-benefits associated with pro-poor development; protection of human rights and improvement in forest governance; and environmental co-benefits, particularly enhanced biodiversity protection and soil and water quality and availability.

The chapter considers the extent to which the various REDD design options which are addressed in previous chapters can be made compatible with desired co-benefits, and avoid doing harm. Accordingly, for each of the three sets of co-benefits, the chapter summarises opportunities and challenges of direct relevance to negotiations on the global architecture of an agreement on REDD; and implications for REDD implementation at the national level and below.

Any REDD-induced changes in national-level forest governance are likely to have major effects on the well-being of forest-dependent populations, including indigenous peoples.” – Chapter 11, Moving ahead with REDD: Issues, options and implications

Section 2.5.3 addresses Equity and co-benefits. Most REDD proposals include non-climate objectives related to the distribution of benefits and costs, livelihoods/poverty reduction, protection of rights, and/or biodiversity. The equity considerations have several dimensions, including fair distribution of benefits between and within countries and the effects of REDD activities on local and indigenous communities. Criteria for assessing co-benefits include economic development and poverty reduction, biodiversity, rights and forest governance.

Download the 156 page book Moving Ahead with REDD: issues, options and implications [pdf]…

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