Important achievements on rights and safeguards in REDD at UNFCCC now risk being seriously watered down and reinterpreted in REDD policy debates and practices, posing significant threats to the environment and indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples gathered in Cancun in December 2010 to defend previous gains on rights and safeguards in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations. While some important commitments have been secured on paper, the current challenge is to ensure that these are properly translated and interpreted by those actors that are increasingly engaging in REDD readiness. A final assessment of how the Cancun outcome will impact on REDD is not possible at this stage, considering that policy processes and political positioning require time and resources to evolve and consolidate. However, evidence is starting to consolidate about the hiatus existing between rhetoric and practice, confirming that what was achieved in Cancun might turn out to be nothing but a strong political mandate to intensify support and proceed with REDD readiness while diluting some of the key requirements in terms of rights and safeguards. The convergence between the haste to access funds for readiness and start putting carbon credits on the market and the lack of political will to ensure stringent checks and balances might represent a major threat to indigenous peoples and the environment. REDD countries are resisting any additional commitments to Monitoring, Reporting and Verification while donor governments and agencies engaged in REDD are likely to translate the Cancun agreement as they see fit.