Governments met in Tianjin (China) in early November for a UN Climate Talks session to prepare for the Conference of the Parties (COP16) taking place in Cancun (Mexico) in December. No real advancement was registered towards a legally binding agreement, with parties postponing any decision on emissions reductions to 2011 at COP17, and governments remained reluctant to make strong commitments on safeguards for REDD+. COP 16 was expected to deliver a series of COP Decisions including “Readiness phases of activities that contribute to mitigation actions in the forest sector (REDD plus).” However, the Chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA), Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe, is now aiming at a single COP decision encompassing topics on which she believes progress has been achieved (including REDD+).
No negotiation was held in Tianjin on the new REDD+ text emerging from the Bonn sessions, which now includes stronger language on indigenous peoples’ rights and against carbon offsets proposed by Bolivia. Members of the REDD+ contact group under the AWG-LCA only shared views on safeguards, financial support and technical support, but gave no mandate to the Chair to prepare a draft decision. G77 countries stressed that they would not accept any commitment to reduce their emissions if developed countries do not commit to providing them with financial resources, nor would they accept any obligation on monitoring, reporting and verification.
In this context some alternatives were flagged, such as an ICA (International Consultation and Analysis) and/or including relevant data in a Universal Periodic Review to be sent by parties to the UNFCCC secretariat. Hence, Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) and partners will be in Cancun to work together with the Indigenous Caucus to ensure that any outcome on REDD+ explicitly includes a commitment to respect indigenous peoples’ rights, such as those included in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and other international human rights obligations and instruments. Otherwise, the price to be paid by millions of indigenous peoples and their habitats would be far too high.