Despite setbacks in the global negotiations on climate change which are due to come to a head in Copenhagen this month, there is a growing expectation that, on forests at least, some kind of agreement will be forged. Thanks to sustained advocacy by indigenous peoples and allied NGOs, with encouraging support from some governments, businesses and conservation agencies, there is a growing awareness that measures to 'Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation' will not work without good governance, just tenure regimes and respect for the rights of forest peoples. Whether governments will agree texts that make this clear remains to be seen. For FPP updates from Copenhagen, please visit
Getting these principles implemented may be even harder. As our new series of briefings on 'rights, forests and climate' makes clear, World Bank agencies are failing to apply safeguards meant to protect indigenous rights, while companies are overriding community concerns. Both the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and a new study by FPP and partners conclude that Indonesia's laws, including a new regulation on 'REDD', do not protect indigenous peoples' rights and livelihoods. Meanwhile in Argentina forced evictions of indigenous peoples from their land continue. We need government commitments first but we need serious implementation too. This need was emphasised in the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity, where governments' obligations to 'protect and encourage indigenous peoples' customary use of natural resources are increasingly accepted.
Marcus Colchester Director Forest Peoples Programme