1. The below statement was delivered at the SBSTA REDD+ Contact Group Meeting on Non-Carbon Benefits and Non-Market Based Approaches:
Thanks Chair and Distinguished Delegates, for this opportunity to speak on behalf of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change. I am Grace Balawag of Tebtebba and the Indigenous Peoples Partnership on Climate Change and Forests.
As we always reiterate, most of the remaining forests in the world today are found in Indigenous Peoples’ customary-owned or managed territories, lands and resources. In addressing climate change, we insist that non-carbon benefits and non-market approaches should be supported in all aspects of the process and should be interconnected with the UNFCCC REDD+ safeguards as agreed to by the Parties in Cancun.
Non carbon benefits should be defined within a human rights framework including respect for, and recognition of, the rights of indigenous peoples to lands, territories, natural resources, self-determination, and our unique world views, traditional knowledge and customary governance systems in relation to the forests with our immeasurable cultural and spiritual values for sustenance consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Parties to the Convention must implement the safeguards adopted in Cancun, as these are mandatory and essential to the success of REDD+ implementation in all phases. In addition, community-based monitoring and information systems by indigenous peoples are equally important as an effective way to monitor the non-carbon benefits and implementation of safeguards.
We put forward these priority proposals, to be integrated in framing the non-carbon benefits:
- Establish mechanisms for the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in these discussions, including their Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).
- Encourage governments to provide legal measures to respect, recognize and protect the rights of indigenous peoples in all stages of REDD+ consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and ILO Convention 169
- Prevent forced eviction/relocation of indigenous peoples
- Recognize indigenous peoples’ customary, informal and traditional laws and institutions and governance systems
- Ensure the recognition and security of indigenous peoples’ customary tenure rights to lands, territories and natural resources as a pre-requisite for any REDD+ project or programmes and provide the financial support for demarcation of their lands and territories
- Respect the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples and provide support for the strengthening of traditional forest management systems and practices of indigenous peoples
- Establish grievance mechanisms at the local, national and international levels, ensuring full, effective and institutional representation and access of indigenous peoples in these mechanisms.
- First, all climate change adaptation and mitigation policies, strategies, actions and programmes should take into account the collective rights of indigenous peoples on forests, land, territories and resources in line with international standards and instruments.
- Second, full and effective participation of indigenous peoples must be ensured in all REDD+ phases, governance systems and institutional arrangements, as provided in the Cancun Agreement, and should be subject to Free, Prior and Informed Consent.
- Third, independent recourse or complain mechanisms must be available for indigenous peoples to express grievances and facilitate conflict resolution.
- Fourth, methodological guidance on non-carbon benefits and Safeguard Information Systems must respect and promote community-based monitoring and information systems, including traditional knowledge, customary laws, and the forest management practices of indigenous peoples. Technical assistance and capacity building must be prioritized and supported.
- Fifth, States must demonstrate their commitment to effective and timely reporting on addressing and respecting safeguards, in all Phases of REDD+.
- Finally, I would like to express our deep concern regarding the preambular paragraph on livelihoods in Annex 5. The term “livelihoods” inherently encompasses the ways of life of indigenous communities, therefore implying that traditional livelihoods “may be dependent on activities related to drivers of deforestation and forest degradation.” As countless indigenous communities have demonstrated around the world, traditional livelihoods are not related to drivers of deforestation. Rather, indigenous peoples’ traditional forest conservation and management practices have contributed both to adaptation and mitigation of climate change. Our livelihoods need to be acknowledged as part of the solution, not part of the problem.