Globally, climate change negotiators are considering the introduction of a new financial mechanism, known as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), that could generate billions of dollars for reducing forest loss in the tropics. Meanwhile, the Government of Norway has already pledged up to 3 billion Norwegian kroner annually (US$ 500 million) to cut emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in tropical countries.
"To achieve long-term reductions in deforestation and forest degradation, it is absolutely necessary to respect and strengthen the rights of indigenous and other forest dependent communities," says Lars Lvold, director of Rainforest Foundation Norway. "Many of these schemes are still being developed, and major decisions on how to spend the money will be made in the next few years. For us, the question is whether this money will result in a great deal of good or a great deal of harm to the environment and forest communities."
Previous attempts to reduce deforestation and forest degradation have largely failed, often due to a lack of attention to human rights, property rights and transparency.
"There are growing conflicts between indigenous peoples and both forestry companies and conservation organizations. Imposed forest management initiatives are only viable if they respect the customary rights of forest peoples and ensure they have control about what happens on their lands. Indigenous peoples must be accepted as full and fair participants in all climate negotiations," said Joji Carino, Director of TEBTEBBA, the Indigenous Peoples' International Center for Policy Research and Education.
Conference organizers worry that REDD could fuel corruption and provoke tensions and land grab situations unless good governance, policies and the rule of law are first put in place.
"Indigenous peoples are rightly co
|Contact: Jeff Haskins|
Rights and Resources Initiative