Indigenous Peoples showcase REDD+ in action at UNFCCC-COP18
(Doha, Qatar – 29 November 2012)
-- Representatives of Indigenous Peoples (IPs) organizations from five Amazonian countries today showcased indigenous REDD+ pilot projects across the Amazon region at an official side event at UNFCCC-COP18. They are part of COICA, a coalition of IP organizations from nine Amazonian countries.
The group highlighted that of the 800 million hectares of the Amazon Basin, the most important and strategic biome in the planet, nearly 200 million hectares are titled in the name of Indigenous Peoples – representing a globally significant 12% of the world’s tropical forests. In addition, the group noted that indigenous REDD+ pilot projects encompass more than four million hectares of the Amazon.
It was a significant moment, in that never before had IPs from five different countries come together to share and coordinate their experiences with implementing REDD+ activities at a UNFCCC COP.
Among the key issues highlighted by the group were:
• Recognition of territorial and ancestral rights of IPs
• Need to address drivers of deforestation
• Importance of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC)
• Development and implementation of national REDD+ strategies
• Need for simple mechanisms
• Value of IPs participating in the design and implementation of REDD+
Bruce Cabarle, Leader of WWF’s international Forest and Climate Initiative spoke at the event and acknowledged the important role that IPs play in the REDD+ process and reiterated WWF’s support for IPs.
“As a strategy to keep carbon in the forest, IP territories seem to be a very, very effective way to do that, with the same performance record as protected areas in reducing the rate of deforestation,” said Cabarle. “We cannot achieve our national or global objectives without IP engagement.”
The group also showcased its Indigenous REDD+ Proposal, which Cabarle noted is significant, as it “moves beyond the question of safeguards and talks about generating positive social and environmental benefits as a primary objective.”
WWF has provided technical and scientific advice to COICA members since 2008 in the development of their REDD+ Indigenous Proposal. While COICA representative’s political views remain their own, and are not necessarily those of WWF, there is much common ground between our respective members .