‘No signing of REDD contracts in Madre de Dios and San Martin’: Indigenous organisations call on their communities to exercise caution
San Martin and Madre de Dios are the two regions earmarked for the development of pilot REDD activities in Peru. Both regions are facing an avalanche of over 20 REDD projects oriented towards the voluntary carbon market. Many of these sub-national REDD+ projects are descending on the ancestral territories of indigenous peoples including the Shawi, Awajun and Kechwa in San Martin, and the Ese Eja, Yine, Shipibo, Amahuaca, Arakambut and Machiguenga in Madre de Dios. In Peru, approximately 20 million hectares of indigenous territories have no legal recognition which means that REDD may often pose a threat rather than an opportunity.
During meetings in May and June 2011, CODEPISAM and FENAMAD, the indigenous organisations of San Martin and Madre de Dios, declared that REDD projects should not be implemented in their regions until all pending territorial claims are respected. In San Martin, the collective territorial rights of the Awajun, Kechwa and Shawi peoples were asserted, as well as the claims of 64 communities still requiring recognition and titling. These include those communities whose lands are overlapped by the “Cordillera Escalera” regional conservation area, in contravention of their right to free prior and informed consent (FPIC). At the meeting in Madre de Dios, the claim of the Ese Esja to their ancestral territory, which is affected by two protected areas (Bahuaja Sonene National Park and the Tambopata Reserve), was reaffirmed, as well as the rights of the Arakambut to determine whether and how REDD projects proposed for the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve should go ahead.
A consensus was reached at the meetings in both regions that communities should not sign REDD contracts until indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ rights are guaranteed and the nature of REDD projects and programmes have been clearly defined at a national and international level. Both organisations established their own REDD committees (mesa REDD Indigena) to monitor regional REDD developments, to continue to voice indigenous concerns and to put forward grassroots proposals for forest protection and the reaffirmation of indigenous peoples’ rights.
 Coordinator of the Development and Defense of the Indigenous Peoples of San Martin.
 Federation of the Native Peoples of the river Madre de Dios and its tributaries.