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Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact

What is REDD? A Guide for Indigenous Communities (3rd Edition)

Global efforts are currently underway to protect and restore forests as part of global initiatives to address and mitigate climate change. These efforts are formally referred to as REDD plus – (REDD+, or Reduced Emissions from Deforestation, Forest Degradation) conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries) and are considered by many as a historic opportunity for forest conservation.

Critics point at the complexity of REDD+ and its inherent difficulties, predicting it to fail. Others, however, already consider REDD a “remarkable achievement” since the idea of REDD has been taken “to the point where a working model is on the horizon – all in a mere five years” (Mercer 2011: 272)

Since the very beginning of the idea of REDD indigenous peoples have been apprehensive of the possible impact of REDD-related actions on their communities and they have consistently sought to ensure that their rights and concerns are respected and taken into account in any REDD+ actions or policies. Still, many indigenous communities know very little about REDD+ and there is an urgent need for them to know what REDD+ is and what possible impacts – both positive and negative – it may have on their lives and wellbeing.

This book seeks to help indigenous communities and their organisations to provide their people with basic information on REDD+. It is intended as a guide in understanding climate change, REDD+ and how they relate to the recognition and exercise of the collective rights of indigenous peoples.

As a guidebook for communities, the content is simplified and accompanied by illustrations and photos for visualization. Translated versions of this Guidebook in several languages have been and will also be published in REDD+ countries in Asia and elsewhere.

This publication on REDD+ and indigenous peoples is divided into three parts. The first part is an overview on climate change and adaptation. In this section we provide a basic understanding of the phenomenon of climate change, factors for global warming, and impacts or effects of climate change on indigenous peoples and their livelihood activities in different landscapes and geographical locations. The section also addresses the actions being taken by governments and the international community. This includes a summary of information on the major adaptation and mitigation measures agreed upon by states under the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

This part of the book is not intended to provide comprehensive information on climate change, but rather to help gain a basic understanding for indigenous communities of this complex issue, and the context in which the idea of REDD+ has been developed.

In the second part of this guidebook we turn to REDD+. The importance and the roles of forest, as well as how the concept of REDD came into being, are dealt with in this section. We provide background information about REDD+ implementation and the role of states under REDD+ projects, programmes and schemes – both those developed and those planned – and the role of developed countries. This contains also information on proposed REDD+ financing mechanisms and in this connection we address briefly the issues of carbon trading and the carbon market(s) and their relationship to REDD+.

In the final paragraphs of part two we explain how REDD+ relates to indigenous peoples, and why it is critically important for indigenous peoples, especially those living in forests, to gain knowledge and understanding of REDD+. It then elaborates on the specific impacts of REDD+ on indigenous peoples from the perspective of indigenous peoples themselves. As such, it dwells on REDD+ in relation to the role of forests in climate change, and on the potential negative impacts for the recognition and exercise of the collective rights of indigenous peoples, especially on the right to land, territories and resources, and to indigenous peoples’ livelihoods and well being. It however also discusses what the potential benefits and opportunities of indigenous peoples under the REDD+ scheme are with respect to strengthening the recognition of their rights, and whether and how they can benefit economically.

The third part of this guide book is on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and how it can be used to promote and protect the rights of indigenous peoples under REDD+ and other actions relating to the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change. It provides a summary of the contents of the UNDRIP, and it elaborates on the right of indigenous peoples to land, territories and resources, the right to development, and to Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). This section also contains a list of suggestions for practical actions that indigenous peoples can take to promote, advocate and assert the recognition and exercise of their collective rights in relation to REDD and other climate change actions. It is followed by a check list for communities, which includes the most important questions that communities should get answers to when they are approached to be part of a project or programme that will be funded by the carbon market, by carbon finance funds, or that will create carbon credits.

At the end of this section is a list of references to other relevant materials on REDD and climate change is provided, which indigenous communities can access if they want to have more information.

As an information guidebook for indigenous communities, this publication is aimed at increasing the awareness and understanding of indigenous communities and supporting them to take action for the promotion and protection of their rights with respect to REDD+ and climate change actions. For this third edition the text has been revised to bring it up-to-date with recent developments.

The International Work Group on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) and Tebtebba jointly prepared this Guidebook. Publishing this guide book is part of their collaboration in working on climate change, REDD+ and indigenous peoples. This third edition has been produced with funding from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Swiss Development Cooperation.

Click here to download this publication.

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