Article | 20 Juil, 2010

Indigenous peoples and REDD-plus

Challenges and opportunities for the engagement of indigenous peoples and local communities in REDD-plus

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Photo: Bernardo Peredo

Indigenous peoples and climate change

“…Indigenous peoples (IP) face specific challenges as a consequence of climate change and related policy measures. Indigenous communities are among those who contribute least to carbon emissions, and at the same time are some of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. In many cases, indigenous peoples, whose livelihoods often depend on their land and its natural resources, have been pushed to climate sensitive, resource-poor areas due to outside developments and historical marginalization from decision-making. Remaining indigenous territories are often particularly at risk and the impacts of climate change are already felt by many indigenous peoples. Factors that further contribute to their particularly high vulnerability include the lack of land and resource security, weak governance systems that do not respect their institutions and customary law, poor information access, low income, and lack of full and effective participation in decision-making processes that determine the mitigation and adaptation measures planned to be applied to their native lands.

Simultaneously, the potential for indigenous peoples to contribute to the design and implementation of sustainable mitigation and adaptation measures is considerable. Due to their long histories of adapting to climatic variability and ecosystem changes and since their livelihoods are so closely linked to their natural environments, they offer valuable long-term observations and examples based on their traditional knowledge, innovations and practices. These include traditional methods of fire and water management, agro-forestry techniques, shoreline reinforcement and seasonal migration.

Although such strategies have increased their resilience to environmental variation over centuries, their adaptability today is often constrained by the severity of climate change impacts as well as restrictions imposed by the broader socio-political context including reduced access to key lands and resources. Because IP vulnerability to climate change impacts is largely determined by the degree to which their full range of rights is recognised and secured, a rights-based approach (RBA) to mitigation and adaptation initiatives can help increase their resilience…”

REDD-plus and indigenous peoples

“…REDD-plus is a climate mitigation mechanism under negotiation at the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) that aims to generate financial flows for forest related CO2 emissions reductions and removals. In line with the Bali Action Plan and the Copenhagen Accord, REDD-plus includes reductions in deforestation and forest degradation as well as the conservation, sustainable management and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. REDD-plus can include payments for indigenous peoples and other communities that have managed and conserved forests and whose continued conservation or management efforts can protect the forest against possible deforestation and /or degradation. While contributing to the fulfilment of mitigation objectives, REDD-plus can also contribute to adaptation of vulnerable groups.

 This said, although REDD has the potential to create new opportunities for indigenous peoples it may also bring additional risks. Although REDD-plus could enhance capacities, affirm rights and increase the potential contributions by indigenous peoples to forest conservation, if not approached with care, it could actually undermine these benefits. Indigenous peoples’ vulnerabilities are exacerbated by the lack of clear land tenure and policy frameworks in regard to indigenous peoples, ineffective law enforcement and unrecognised customary and ancestral rights. This may create situations where REDD-plus could represent an additional threat…”

Read more in the attached document.