REDD reaches Capitol Hill

Yesterday, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) called on Congress to address tropicaldeforestation in U.S. climate change legislation at an event organized by Avoided Deforesation Partners at the Russell Senate Office Building. Lugar, the most senior Republican in the U.S. Senate, said, “Deforestation is a critical national security challenge because of its connections with threats from climate change and food security.”

For more on the event, check the press release. For more on ADP, Monga Bay has an interview with founder Jeff Horowitz. Their approach seeks to bring a global REDD scheme to scale using market mechanisms and private sector funding. They also state that “indigenous communities using or living in a forest must be respected. These groups should be engaged, and should also be the principal beneficiaries of financial incentives to reduce deforestation.”


Women and Climate Change Video

This video was prepared for a side event of the World Social Forum organized by RRI and CAPRi on Women’s Rights and Climate Change.

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Invitation to NGO-only listserv on FCPF

The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) is a fund managed by the World Bank to help developing countries prepare for a REDD incentive system, including initial readiness and pilot projects. In an effort to improve access to information on the FCPF for the NGO community, a Google Groups listserv (“fcpf-ngo“) has been created, managed by the Bank Information Center. If you represent an NGO and are interested in sharing information on, sign up here.

The FCPF Charter allows for one NGO observer to sit in on the meetings of the FCPF Participants Committee. In an effort to reach a wider audience,  the listserv will pass on information and documents about the FCPF process, as well as be the main method of collecting inputs from NGOs for the NGO Observer to present at Participants Committee meetings.


Applications for FCPF NGO Observer are available in English, French and Spanish.

The deadline for submission is Friday, Feb. 6. Voting will begin on Monday, Feb. 9.

Rights and Resources at World Social Forum


Headed to Belem for the World Social Foum? Already in the thick of it? The CGIAR Systemwide Program on Collective Action and Property Rights (CAPRi) and Rights and Resources Initiative have a stall at WSF, so please stop by and find out more about their work at the intersection of tenure reform and climate change.
Are you or your organization attending WSF as well?  Send a message to and let us know!

New events on rights & climate change

Courtesy of Arctic Network for the Support of the Indigenous Peoples of the Russian Arctic


Courtesy of Arctic Network for the Support of the Indigenous Peoples of the Russian Arctic

Two new international events are coming up this spring that will address rights, climate change and forests:

Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change | Anchorage, U.S. | April 20-24

The International Circumpolar Council (an organization representing 160,000  Inuit living across the Artic in Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Russia) is hosting a “Global Summit on Climate Change” in Anchorage, Alaska. Two to three hundred indigenous peoples and observers will convene to share indigenous knowledge and experience with climate change adaptation and formulate the messages they will carry to COP-15 negotations in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009.  Online registration will begin in early February at their website

For more information: The Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education (aka TEBTEBBA) has produced a Guide on Climate Change & Indigenous Peoples (including an entire section on REDD & IP). Joji Carino of TEBTEBBA participated in the Oct. 2008 Conference on Rights, Forests and Climate Change in Oslo, Norway– available here. Minority Rights Group has a series of diverse testimonials from indigenous peoples impacted by climate change. 

Forest Tenure, Governance & Enterprise | Yaounde, Cameroon | May 25-29

This five-day international conference is organized and co-sponsored by the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife of the Government of Cameroon, the International Tropical Timber Organization, and Rights and Resources Initiative. The conference will be held from May 25-29, 2009 in Yaoundé, Cameroon. While the five-day event will cover an array of issues related to tenure in Africa, the first half of the second day is devoted to tenure issues related to climate change adaptation and mitigation, and exploring connections to governance, livelihoods and social and economic justice. More details are available on RRI’s website, where the agenda will soon be released.

Post-Poznan, what place for rights in REDD?

Pointing fingers - whos to blame for removing rights from REDD?

Pointing fingers - who's to blame for removing rights from REDD? Image courtesy IISD Reporting Services.

Those hoping to see rights of indigenous peoples and local communities included in the Draft  Conclusions of the 29th Session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice will disappointed to see that  these rights were, according to the NGO newsletter ECO, “edited out due to political inconveniences.”. Government negotiators (particularly for Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.) opposed language in Agenda Item 5 that linked REDD to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP.)

Several motivations have been offered for the resistance. Delegation leaders for Canada and U.S. have said that they support the participation and consultation of indigenous people on REDD, but struck the explicit reference to indigenous peoples’ rights. In a press conference at Poznan, Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice stated that UNDRIP “has nothing whatsoever to do with climate change.”

Guatemalan Environment Minister Luis Ferrate offered an explanation for some countries’ (though not Guatemala) unwillingness to affirm indigenous rights because they felt there were “separatist implications of creating nations within a nation, which is a territorial question.” Ugandan SBSTA negotiator Xavier Nyindo Mugumya, speaking to the Ecosystem Marketplace, finds the contention results partly from the countries’ different historical and cultural contexts. The history of colonization in Latin America, for example, has made indigenous peoples’ campaigns very salient, whereas “the implication of including the rights of indigenous peoples in a draft would impinge on the constituents of an American negotiator…because if you are American, you don’t have a definition of ‘a people’; instead, you are by law free as individuals.”

The question of rights and REDD has not been completely tabled, however – paragraph 11 of the Decision invites Parties to “submit views on issues relating to indigenous people and local communities” by Feb. 15, and paragraph 6 calls for an Expert Meeting on REDD before the next convening of the SBSTA, the scientific and technical advisory body.  In a recent press statement, indigenous peoples’ advocate Victoria Tauli-Corpuz voiced her hope that this meeting “should be used to go more deeply into the methodological issues relevant for indigenous peoples,” while linking with “the policy issues” of the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action, which is responsible for UNFCCC policy formulation.

With this news, many environmental campaigners are increasingly worried that human-rights aspects of mitigation efforts are falling behind private sector activity. World Rainforest Movement told The Guardian that if market mechanisms like REDD move forward without safeguards for local ownership, “indigenous people will almost certainly see their rights diminish and control over their lands disappear.” And REDD-Monitor points out that, although Poznan did little to ensure the rights of indigenous and local peoples over the forests they live in, the insurance industry (with support from UNEP) is already gearing up to profit from insuring forest carbon.

As the ECO editors put it soberly, “Anyone who imagines REDD will provide credible, permanent emission reductions without the involvement of these people in a fully inclusive process has been drinking too much Zubrowka.”

Poznan slows, CANZUS strikes rights from REDD text

Progress towards a declaration in  Poznan seems to have slowed down a notch at this mid-point in negotiations, according to several bloggers. Get a sense for the substance and mood of the climate talks with these posts:

The latest post today from REDD-Monitor is most distressing.  “Rights struck from draft text on REDD” informs us that

the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are now opposing the inclusion of references to the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in the COP14 decision text on REDD.

Read the full post. We’ll see whether the “CANZUS” group’s allergic reaction to the rights of forest communities will calm by the end of the week. As another Poznan blogger, DeSmog, wrote,  “it’s hard to believe that 8,000 people can have gathered from every corner of the world to no good effect.”

On the upside, the Government of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative recently released its Funding Scheme for Civil Society. Hopefully, given the Initiative’s support of tenure rights, this financing will give a boost to rights-based responses to climate change.