Closing the Gap: Rights-based solutions for tackling deforestation

Closing The Gap
Closing The Gap

Closing the Gap: Rights-based solutions for tackling deforestation

This paper aims to inform forest policy makers, governments, businesses and others developing policies, standards and initiatives to reform global supply chains to tackle forest loss and uphold human rights. It synthesises findings from FPP and partner case studies on forest peoples’ rights and tropical deforestation in Indonesia, Malaysia, Colombia, Peru, Paraguay, Guyana, Liberia, Cameroon and DRC. Additional analysis and updated information stems from wider ongoing FPP work on human rights and conflict commodity supply chains in the same countries. Obstacles to reforms in supply chains driving forest loss and related rights violations are identified alongside multiple factors limiting the effectiveness of national and global forest and climate policies. Different zero deforestation (ZDF) policy approaches are evaluated and rights-based solutions are presented.

Along with actions to secure the land and territorial rights of forest peoples, this review finds that moratoria with conditions requiring government and company reforms before logging/land clearance bans are lifted can also be powerful in promoting change and safeguarding rights. Tools like the High Carbon Stocks Approach (HCSA) and jurisdictional policies, which combine the application of commodity and legal standards within a sub-national political geography or ‘jurisdiction’, may offer innovative approaches to respecting rights and ensuring legal and sustainable supply chains. However, these types of interventions are largely untested and carry considerable risks that top-down forest zoning and flawed law enforcement could marginalise and dispossess forest communities.

Key questions remain: How are past illegalities and injustices addressed? How are human rights protected? Who ensures the whole jurisdiction is ‘compliant’ and against which norms and standards?