Resources

Making Palm Oil Accountable?

Globally oil palm plantations continue to expand at a rapid rate. World leader, Indonesia, has raced past Malaysia to become the number one producer. Latest data from the Indonesian watchdog NGO, SawitWatch, suggests that oil palm plantations in Indonesia now cover 11 million hectares, up from 6 million hectares only five years ago. New plantings are spreading to the smaller islands of the archipelago and to the less developed areas of eastern Indonesia. Hopes that a Presidential promise of a 2 year moratorium on forest clearance would slow the crop’s expansion – part of a deal to reduce green house gas emissions - have also evaporated as the government has excepted areas where preliminary permits have already been handed out.

World Bank controversial Program-for-Results (PforR) proposal raises alarm bells

In March 2011, the World Bank launched a controversial proposal that would allow projects within so-called programmatic loans to borrower countries to go ahead without application of the Bank’s specific safeguard policies. Civil society organisations and indigenous peoples have raised major concerns about this initiative, which they fear in its current form would reduce the accountability of World Bank finance and could trigger a worldwide race to the bottom in social and environmental standards among multilateral and regional development banks.

New FPP Publications:

FPP has published two new publications; 'Oil Palm Expansion in South East Asia: Trends and implications for local communities and indigenous peoples' and 'Divers paths to justice: Legal pluralism and the rights of indigenous peoples in Southeast Asia'.

New Forest Peoples Programme Report: The reality of REDD+ in Peru: Between theory and practice. Indigenous Amazonian peoples’ analyses and alternatives

This report compiled by national and regional indigenous organisations in Peru (AIDESEP, FENAMAD, CARE) and the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), collates indigenous peoples’ experiences with REDD policies and projects in the Peruvian Amazon. The report analyses the policies and strategies of the Peruvian government, examines the roles of international agencies and scrutinises pilot REDD initiatives already underway in indigenous territories.

Lessons from the field: REDD+ and the rights of indigenous peoples and forest dependent communities

In October 2011, Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) conducted a survey of our local partners asking them to pinpoint key experiences and emerging lessons learned in relation to REDD+ and rights issues over the last three years. Partners who contributed include the Centre for Environment and Development (CED) and Association Okani (Cameroon), CEDEN (DRC), Foundation for the Promotion of Traditional Knowledge (Panama), Amerindian Peoples Association (Guyana), Association of Village Leaders in Suriname, Association of Saamaka Authorities (Suriname), AIDESEP (Peru), Federation for the Self-Determination of Indigenous Peoples (Paraguay) and Scale-up, Pusaka and FPP field staff (Indonesia). Observations and lessons are also drawn from workshops with local partners, field studies and issues stemming from indigenous peoples’ representatives in dialogues with national and international REDD+ policy-makers. Key observations and lessons are summarised below.

Some key issues of relevance to UNFCCC COP17

The articles and related information in this special edition e-bulletin contain a number of findings and pinpoint issues that are pertinent to the discussions and negotiations that will take place in Durban in relation to REDD+. Some key elements that require due consideration by Parties and policy-makers, include, inter alia, the need to:

Global Climate Talks: Business as Usual or Progress on Social and Rights Issues?

•    Low likelihood that Durban will deliver a binding and comprehensive agreement on GHG reductions •    No agreement on long-term climate financing while Green Climate Fund talks proceed with difficulty •    Limited progress on a Safeguards Information System in REDD+ •    UNFCCC considers non-carbon values of REDD+ •    Indigenous Peoples adopt “Oaxaca Action Plan” on climate

Governments gathering in Durban in late November for COP17 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) face a daunting task. They will have to make progress on crafting an agreement on greenhouse gas emissions reductions within an effective, monitorable and binding legal framework, while securing the necessary financial resources needed to support developing countries on their path towards low carbon development. The survival of the Kyoto protocol is at stake. Some countries will not support the second commitment period: the United States is advocating for a “pledge and review” system, while other countries propose a broader instrument that would engage both developed and developing countries.

REDD+ Financing – Some Contradictory and Some Emerging Assumptions

As covered in the Global Climate Talks article in this bulletin, it seems that State Parties to the UN Climate Convention, meeting in Durban 28 November to 9 December 2011, are unlikely to reach a decision on the use of public and private finance for REDD+ and that this will seemingly be left to the discretion of governments[i].

However, while that may be the official ‘non-position’ that is strengthened at Durban, there are four key factors regarding REDD+ financing that need to be borne in mind. These were discussed extensively and very usefully at the recent Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) 11th Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change[ii] held in London on 12 October 2011. To differing degrees, these four issues are influencing the emerging REDD+ negotiations and preparations at international, national and project level.

Swedish International Development Agency supports Forest Peoples Programme to help forest communities impacted by REDD in the Democratic Republic of Congo

In terms of natural resource endowment, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the wealthiest countries in Africa. However its citizenry are amongst the poorest in the world. Some of the most impoverished and politically marginalized people – indigenous and local forest communities - live here.  They mostly rely upon forests and other natural resources to secure their basic livelihoods through subsistence forest hunting and gathering, and small-scale agriculture.  These forest peoples currently have little or no influence over national and provincial decisions about how their customary lands will be used by commercial or conservation groups, whose interests are often in conflict with forest communities’ needs, priorities and basic human rights.

GEF Council to adopt revised Environmental and Social Safeguards in November

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) secretariat will propose to the next GEF Council meeting a revised set of Environmental and Social Safeguard Standards and accountability mechanisms that will accompany such standards.

With the GEF’s increasing engagement in REDD+ related activities and a long history of involvement in protected area establishment and management, these standards will be essential to ensuring that the expansion of GEF delivery partners does not result in a lowering of standards in GEF-financed projects. 

The indigenous peoples of Cameroon: from Ngoyla-Mintom to national recognition

In dialogue with parliament and the government

Compared to the 1990s and the start of the 21st century, the question of giving recognition to the indigenous peoples of Cameroon has, in recent years, become a central issue, if still in a somewhat tentative way.

Indeed, on the 1st and 2nd of September 2011 in Yaounde, Cameroon, parliament and the government held a dialogue on indigenous peoples. The meeting brought together members of the National Assembly (under the umbrella of the Parliamentarians’ Network, REPAR), representatives of ministries with projects affecting indigenous peoples, development partners, UN special representatives and a substantial delegation of indigenous peoples: Baka, Bakola, Bagyeli and Bororo. A new phenomenon was the willingness to consider what is involved in giving recognition to indigenous communities, as was demonstrated by the extensive question and answer sessions between the members of the National Assembly and the indigenous peoples.