Indigenous peoples strive for recognition of their rights as international agencies scramble for REDD+ deal

Francesco Martone (FPP), Daysi Zapata (AIDESEP) and Chief Kokoi Tony James
Francesco Martone (FPP), Daysi Zapata (AIDESEP) and Chief Kokoi Tony James, Wapichan leader & President of APA, attending World Bank FCPF meeting
By
FPP

Indigenous peoples strive for recognition of their rights as international agencies scramble for REDD+ deal

While inter-governmental climate negotiations (UNFCCC) still face major stumbling blocks to achieving a global agreement on climate change finance, independent initiatives on REDD+ have multiplied in the past few months. At the same time, indigenous peoples continue to express concerns that insufficient measures are being taken to respect their rights. The Governments leading the ‘Interim REDD+ Partnership’, for example, have held meetings in recent months that have not given enough space for indigenous peoples’ participation. Meanwhile the key donor agencies in the ‘Partnership’ are seeking to harmonize their REDD-related activities and finance: the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) has responsibility for ‘readiness planning’ and preparation activities (the so-called ‘first’ phase’) and then a ‘third phase’ of actual REDD actions; the World  Bank’s Forest Investment Programme (FIP) has funds for a ‘second phase’ of  implementing the ‘readiness plan’; and UN-REDD, which deals with measuring, reporting and verification (MRV), stakeholder engagement and indigenous peoples’ participation.

The increasingly complex international architecture for REDD finance will now involve other actors as “Multiple Delivery Partners” (MDP), including the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), UN agencies like the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), as well as multilateral development banks. The shape and direction of future REDD financing rules and related safeguard frameworks are now coming under increasing pressure from recipient countries and large conservation NGOs, who are pressing for quick access to REDD funds and support for sub-national REDD projects. At the same time, some donor governments seem to be keen to disburse funds to show their public at home that they are taking action to tackle global climate change.

The potential losers in this scramble for REDD money could be indigenous peoples, due to the lack of focus on securing their rights. Indigenous leaders in several countries are voicing increasing concern over the lack of meaningful plans to address land and resource rights in REDD readiness planning. At the latest FCPF Participant Committee meeting, held last month in Washington DC, the Vice-President of the Peruvian Amazonian indigenous organisation AIDESEP, Daysi Zapata Fasabi, stated that the government of Peru is presenting the appearance of engaging in meaningful consultation with indigenous peoples, but in practice is apparently more interested in pushing the REDD process ahead and attracting private sector investment in sub-national REDD projects.  For this reason, the government of Peru is being accused of engaging in a “game of appearances” in its efforts to attract international finance for its national REDD+ plans. AIDESEP emphasises that one fundamental precondition for sustainable REDD finance must be the fair and effective resolution of the outstanding land and territorial claims of indigenous peoples in the Peruvian Amazon (See links).

At the Washington meeting, the FCPF launched the MDP approach, which might end up being used as a tool by the World Bank to unblock its controversial FCPF programmes, which have come under criticism by indigenous peoples and civil society in countries such as Panama and Paraguay. At the same time, the FCPF is introducing a new common Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) which could result in agencies cherry-picking the lowest common social and environmental standards. With the Cancun UNFCCC COP16 likely to deliver a political endorsement of REDD readiness, determination will be needed to ensure that the demands and proposals of indigenous peoples and their communities are fully written into international standard setting on REDD+. Until these standards and commitments are secured, REDD+ will continue pose a major threat to the rights and freedoms of indigenous peoples and forest dependent communities.

Further information:

  1. Forest Peoples Programme Comments on the draft R-PP template (v.5). November 2010.
  2. Statement of Daysi Zapata, Vice-President of AIDESEP to the World Bank FCPF Participants Committee. November 2010.
  3. AIDESEP Letter to the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), Technical Advisory Panel (TAP), Peruvian Ministry of Environment (MINAM) and other entities involved in the REDD process. October 30th, 2010.
  4. AIDESEP Statement on REDD policies and indigenous peoples’ rights. 28 October 2010
  5. AIDESEP Comments on Draft Peruvian Forest Law. 22 October 2010 (only available in Spanish)
  6. AIDESEP Letter to Ministry of Environment. September 2010.
  7. Taking stock of Copenhagen: Outcomes on REDD+ and rights FPP briefing, January 2010
Daysi Zapata, Vice-President of AIDESEP, speaking at the World Bank FCPF meeting, November 2010, Washington DC
Daysi Zapata, Vice-President of AIDESEP, speaking at the World Bank FCPF meeting, November 2010, Washington DC
By
FPP