OSLO (15 October 2008)Unless based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and forest communities, efforts by rich countries to combat climate change by funding reductions in deforestation in developing countries will fail, and could even unleash a devastating wave of forest loss, cultural destruction and civil conflict, warned a leading group of forestry and development experts meeting in Oslo this week.
The experts are gathering in Oslo with policymakers and community leaders for a conference on rights, forests and climate change. The conference was organized by two non-profits, Rainforest Foundation Norway and the US-based Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI).
Speaking at the meeting, Norway's Minister of Environment and International Development, Erik Solheim, says efforts towards reduced emissions from deforestation in developing countries should be based on the rights of indigenous peoples to the forests they depend on for their livelihoods, and provide tangible benefits consistent with their essential role in sustainable forest management.
"In addition to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, early action, pilot projects and demonstrations should safeguard biodiversity, contribute to poverty reduction and secure the rights of forest dependent communities in order to achieve any degree of permanence, legitimacy and effectiveness," said Solheim.
Deforestation is responsible for about 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing it is seen as one of the quickest and cheapest ways of cutting emissions.
"Moves to finance reductions in tropical deforestation and forest degradation are necessary and welcome," said Andy White, Coordinator of RRI. "But on their own they won't solve the problem. Poorly devised, they could even make it worse. If such initiatives are well designed they can not only secure carbon but present a global opportunity to address the underlying c
|Contact: Jeff Haskins|
Rights and Resources Initiative