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Tebtebba Bangkok Press Statement Print

Implications on Indigenous Peoples of the Decision on REDD Plus in the Cancun

BANGKOK, 6 April 2011 - After several years of negotiations on REDD in the UNFCCC, the 16th COP of the UNFCCC held in Cancun in December 2010 finally came up with a decision on REDD Plus. This decision includes the social, environment and governance safeguards which we have long fought for since the 2007 Bali COP. Aside from recognizing the need to protect the rights and knowledge of indigenous peoples and members of local communities, it also urges Parties to ensure their full and effective participation in the development, implementation and evaluation of REDD Plus. In addition to these, it requests Parties to address the drivers of deforestation, land tenure issues, forest governance and gender considerations.

It is also important to note that the decision calls for a robust and transparent national forest monitoring system and a sub-national monitoring system, if appropriate. Furthermore it states that a system to provide information on how the safeguards are being addressed and respected throughout the implementation of REDD Plus be developed. All these will be undertaken with the provision of adequate finance, technical and technological support for developing countries who volunteer to do REDD Plus.

These have very important implications for forest-dwelling and forest-dependent indigenous peoples in developing countries.

Firstly, it is crucial that baseline information be established on the state of the forests and the biological diversity found therein. The drivers of deforestation and existing policies and laws (both statutory and customary laws) which relate to land and resource tenure, governance and indigenous peoples’ rights, as well as women’s rights in relation to forests and resources, should also be part of the baseline data. The traditional knowledge and practices of indigenous peoples in forest and natural resource management should also be part of this. Massive research should be done to establish these baseline data which will be needed to monitor whether REDD Plus is contributing in lowering greenhouse gas emissions, improving lives of indigenous peoples and other forest dwellers and achieving sustainable development.

An information system to monitor REDD Plus needs to have a good baseline data. There is also a need to establish indigenous-sensitive and gender-sensitive indicators which will feed into the REDD Plus information system. Indigenous peoples from various countries met last week to start developing these measurements and indicators which we will share with the Parties and other stakeholders.

Secondly, massive and systematic information and awareness raising activities on REDD Plus should be done both by the Parties and by indigenous peoples, themselves. Developments in the implementation of REDD are happening very fast in some countries and indigenous peoples are not provided the right and adequate information to make their own decisions on REDD. There is still a lack of understanding of REDD Plus and its implications on indigenous peoples.

Thirdly, processes and mechanisms to ensure the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in REDD Plus decision-making bodies and the implementation and evaluation of activities should be established jointly by Parties with indigenous peoples. Processes to ensure that the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples are obtained before REDD Plus is implemented in their territories.

Finally, mechanisms at the global and national levels should be established to ensure that indigenous peoples benefit equitably from the incentives and finances for REDD Plus. This means that indigenous peoples should be able to have direct access to finances and technical and technological resources to support them in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancing the carbon stocks in their forests. Indigenous peoples maintain that even before REDD Plus came into the picture in the UNFCCC, they have been doing this since time immemorial. This is the reason why the last remaining tropical forests in the world today are found in indigenous peoples’ territories.

We are aware that there are many efforts both by Parties and by voluntary carbon traders and speculators which do not adequately involve and ensure indigenous peoples’ participation and which do not respect our rights. We therefore appeal to all Parties to rectify these weaknesses and inadequacies so that REDD Plus will have a chance of succeeding. We maintain that if safeguards and our rights to our forests and to participation are not properly respected and protected, the contribution of forests to mitigation and the capacity of forests to adapt to climate changed will be doubtful.


Contacts: Tebtebba c/o Vicky Tauli-Corpuz: email – vicky[AHT]