Protecting Indigenous Rights In Climate Policy
Posted on Jun 15, 2012
The Indian Law Resource Center Releases International Law Principles for REDD+
We’ve already seen indigenous communities violently expelled from their lands, or swindled by land speculators into signing away access to their forest resources through REDD+ projects. If REDD+ initiatives do not have strong policies preventing this type of abuse, violations will only get worse as more money is invested in REDD+.
“Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” (REDD+) initiatives have been proposed as a means of combating climate change, while at the same time providing development opportunities for developing countries, indigenous peoples, and other communities who possess forested lands. For indigenous peoples and other forest communities, however, REDD+, poses significant risks. In order to reorient REDD+ to respect the rights of indigenous peoples and address substantial risks to their livelihoods and ways of life, the Indian Law Resource Center proposes the International Law Principles for REDD+: The Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Legal Obligations of REDD+ Actors
The REDD+ Principles identify a pathway to implement a human rights-based approach to development within REDD+ initiatives. The goal of the REDD+ Principles is to educate actors engaged in REDD+ and indigenous communities potentially affected by REDD+, regarding the human rights implications of these initiatives. For States and international agencies engaged in REDD+, the REDD+ Principles identify both the applicable international legal obligations and the rights of indigenous peoples that must be protected.
Please let us know what you think! The REDD+ Principles are put forth as a draft for discussion and improvement. We look forward to comments, suggestions, and alternative drafts. Please direct feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our brief SURVEY.
As part of global climate negotiations, the world’s leaders recognized that deforestation is one of the leading causes of climate change, and launched a program to protect forests in developing countries. REDD+, which stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, allows developed countries, like the United States or France, to get credits toward reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by paying developing countries, like Mexico and Indonesia, to conserve their forests. A large percentage of REDD+ projects, however, are targeting indigenous peoples’ lands due to the fact that indigenous peoples own or live within much of the world’s remaining forests. Because indigenous peoples often lack legal land titles, their lands are vulnerable to takeover by governments, conservation groups, or private investors who wish to receive money through a REDD+ program. We’ve already seen indigenous communities violently expelled from their lands, or swindled by land speculators into signing away access to their forest resources through REDD+ projects. If REDD+ initiatives do not have strong policies preventing this type of abuse, violations will only get worse as more money is invested in REDD+.
Center Advocacy with REDD+ implementing agencies:
The World Bank, the United Nations’ UN-REDD Programme and several other international agencies are implementing REDD+ projects. These institutions are currently in the process of developing their internal policies and regulations to govern REDD+ projects. Unfortunately, draft policy proposals have not contained effective protections for the rights of indigenous peoples. For this reason, the Center has been pushing REDD+ implementing institutions to adopt safeguards that are consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In our advocacy, we have made it clear that the World Bank, UN-REDD, and other agencies implementing REDD+ must ensure that no REDD+ project violates the rights of indigenous peoples, including their full ownership rights to land and natural resources and their right to self-determination.
Read the Center’s Comments and recommendations on the following REDD+ Policy Proposals:
Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Draft Guidelines on Stakeholder Engagement in REDD+ Readiness with a Focus on the Participation of Indigenous Peoples and Other Forest-Dependent Communities, June 2011