Statement by indigenous peoples, local communities and NGOs at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP 14. Poznan, 9 December 2008

Statement by indigenous peoples, local communities and NGOs at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP 14. Poznan, 9 December 2008

Indigenous peoples, local communities and NGOs challenge the removal of their rights from UNFCCC decision on REDD

We, the undersigned representatives of indigenous peoples, local communities and non-governmental organizations monitoring the progress of negotiations in Poznan are outraged that the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand opposed the inclusion of recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities in a decision on REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) drafted today by government delegates at the UN Climate Conference.

These four countries (often known as the 'CANZUS Group') want to include REDD in the future climate agreement, but they oppose protecting the rights of the indigenous and forest peoples who will be directly affected by REDD measures. In discussions today, these countries insisted that the word "rights" and references to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples be struck from the text.

This is totally unacceptable for indigenous peoples, local communities and supporting NGOs, as the forests which are being targeted for REDD are those which indigenous peoples have sustained and protected for thousands of years. The rights of forests peoples to continue playing this role and being rewarded for doing so has to be recognized by the UNFCCC Parties. Any REDD mechanism that does not respect and protect the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities will fail.

We therefore demand that an unequivocal reference to rights and to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples be reinserted into the Draft COP14 Decision text on REDD.

Signed by

  • The Accra Caucus on Forests and Climate Change, comprised of more than 30 civil society organizations from three tropical continents
  • Accion Ecologica
  • Forest Peoples Programme
  • Friends of the Earth International
  • Global Forest Coalition
  • Global Justice Ecology Project
  • Indigenous Peoples' Forum on Climate Change

  • Pacific Indigenous Peoples Environment Coalition
  • Rainforest Foundation Norway
  • Rainforest Foundation UK
  • Tebtebba Foundation
  • ___________________________

    Link to photographs by Ben Powless of indigenous peoples' protest at the UNFCCC - 9 December 2008