In an article published in the Jakarta Post, senior officials of the Indonesian REDD+ Agency (the government body charged with reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) argue that recognising the collective land rights of forest peoples is key to curbing climate change and promoting sustainable use of natural resources.
The global forest crisis is worsening as infringements of the rights of indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities are rising, according to a detailed assessment of nine country cases. Climate change mitigation and conservation policies must place community land rights and human rights centre-stage if they are to achieve the goal of sustainably reducing deforestation says the report.
After a major inter-continental gathering on Deforestation and the Rights of Forest Peoples held between 9 and 14 March 2014 in Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, indigenous and forest peoples called on the international community, governments and international organizations to secure and respect their customary rights to their forests, lands, territories and natural resources in conformity with international law.
The Forest Peoples Programme and Indonesian partner organisations co-hosted an international workshop on deforestation and forest peoples' rights that resulted in the Palangka Raya Declaration on Deforestation and the Rights of Forest Peoples.
The week-long event and Declaration represent important steps in indigenous and forest peoples' assertion of their rights and their central place in global, national and local efforts to tackle the continuing crisis of deforestation.