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REDD+ - Traditional Knowledge and Climate Science series

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With deep connections to nature, the world’s Indigenous peoples and local communities are experiencing some of the most pronounced affects of climate change. This video documents a United Nations process that is bringing together traditional communities and climate change scientists, especially at two conferences held in Mexico and Australia. I came here today to listen because these other indigenous peoples are very strong in their culture We witnessed a dialogue of different cultures. This series focuses on some of the key links between traditional knowledge and science and the policy solutions being workshopped. The scientists are beginning to say, Hmmm, there's something we need to know as science is based on what its based on observation, and the traditional knowedge also somehow is based on observation. Indigenous peoples have something to contribute in terms solutions to the problem of climate change. In response to climate change, governments are recognizing the key role forests play in absorbing carbon and regulating the globe’s climate. Every time a forest is cleared it contributes to the climate systems’s destabilization. A scheme that aims to save forests is REDD+ by reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation as well as other sustainable forestry practices. REDD+ uses market or financial incentives to reward countries and communities for halting deforestation and keeping the carbon in their forests. through top-down initiatives, forest communities around the world are grappling to understand its implications. Patrick Anderson works on REDD+ projects in Indonesia, and has been mediating between different stakeholders. (Patrick Anderson, Forest People's Programme) I work there a lot on REDD now, because there's about 1 or 2 hundred million dollars a year flowing into Indonesia, bi-lateral and multilateral funding to develop REDD readiness to develop Indonesia’s ability to reduce its emissions, because there's a national commitment to reduce its emissions, and most greenhouse gas emissions in Indonesia are from deforestation. REDD+ projects function best when they incorporate the strengths of local forest conservation and community stewardship. In Indonesian Borneo, the Setulang community provides an example of forestry management using traditional customary law that could benefit a REDD + project. Villager people understand the agreement of their great grandparents. There is a designated area for rice paddy fields, an area specifically for gathering housing and construction wood, and an area that’s Tana Olen (forbidden forest) where it is forbidden to damage or log trees. Sometimes, we check that the trees in our Tana Olen, have not been illegally logged. Often at the community level, I‘d go in and if I might talk about REDD because there is a developer planning to do something there, the first assumption from communities is, “Oh, look this is another conservation project, we know what that means,” and the model of conservation in Indonesia is to clear a protected area; kick the people out. Now people know that, they know the bad impacts of it and of course they are totally against it. And so when they learn that REDD is about reducing emissions, it’s not about stopping emissions, and that it could become their project — for a community to say, “Actually, in this area, maybe my kids or grandkids are going to want to clear some forest to do some agriculture...” That can be your plan. “That area that we've always kept as forests, we want to keep as forests, even though the government had a plan to issue an oil palm license there, we want to keep that as forest...” When communities hear that it could be their plan for their land and they could be supported in that, there, you know, there is interest there. Despite lofty ambitions, REDD+'s community level implementation has been criticized as lacking follow through. They told us that a carbon trader would give us a fee for every tree that we do not cut down. That's what the people told us. Is it true? I am still wondering. (Marcus Colchester, Forest People's Programme) When you go to the communities and ask them, “Do you agree to this, do you know about it, are you benefiting?” the answer is, “Well, we've hardly heard of it, we haven't really been consulted, we are not really part of the project planning yet, we’ve been waiting a long time now and we still haven’t seen any benefits. Yet, you know, we’re beginning to see that logging is coming back, and oil palm plantations are coming back and so we’re not really sure this is working.” Some communities are concerned that reducing deforestation in one place may cause increased deforestation in another place. (Vicky Tauli—Corpuz, Phillipines) There are many indigenous peoples who think that promoting the carbon market and getting indigenous peoples to be thinking even of carbon offsets is commercialization of nature but there are other indigenous peoples who believe that they have been contributing in reducing greenhouse gas emissions since time immemorial and so they have to be respected and also rewarded by the world at large. A basic tenet of the REDD+ scheme is Free Prior and Informed Consent, which in theory gives communities the right to decide whether or not they want a REDD+ project on their land. (Paul Little, USA)So, when you get whether a REDD+ regime, or other carbon abatement schemes, one of the things that is always brought up that is necessary is the issue of safeguards, the issue of free and prior informed consent, a series of issues that tie into what we call a rights-based perspective. However, now with the world’s forests are gaining economic value as carbon sinks, new pressures and management agendas are beginning to emerge, and indigenous rights to consent are sometimes sidelined. Because it’s like the ones negotiating are states, they are thinking in terms of what money they can get, but they are not necessarily thinking of the benefits or the incentives to the people themselves who are protecting the forests. It is not always clear who owns the carbon rights and potential credits under a REDD+ scheme. Forest communities say that establishing legal tenure or rights is essential to help them access the benefits, whilst continuing sustainable management practices that keep the carbon locked in the forests. The developer costs for REDD are large. It’s several hundred thousand dollars to develop a REDD project. Communities cannot do that by themselves and so they find themselves in association with a REDD project but not being the leaders and so our work has been to help them to try and assert their rights in the context of someone else’s plan. Not all REDD+ projects need to be top down. One of the first REDD+ community-driven projects can be found in Brazil. The Amazonian Surui people harnessed the potential of the scheme and found the finance to develop their own carbon project. Researcher Gabriel Carerro reported on the work. (Gabriel Carerro, Brazil) Their aspirations was rescue their culture. So they felt that they were losing their culture, so in order to do that they wanted to, get back to their own traditional land uses of cultivating their traditional foods and also generating income. They also wanted to participate in every process. They didn’t want to be outside of the project development. For other peoples, the Amazonian Surui’s efforts were instrumental in bringing about the recognition of Free, Prior and Informed Consent. The agreements that were reached in Cancun which were affirmed in Durban, say that when REDD activities are being implemented they should respect the rights of Indigenous peoples they noted the existence of the UN declaration on the rights of Indigenous peoples it includes the need for full and affective participation of indigenous peoples and of course it also talks about good forest governance and the need to address land tenure issues and the drivers of deforestation. When considering a REDD+ project on their lands, it is possible for forest communities to assert their rights. There is growing recognition that quality FOREST conservation, stewardship and accountability are enhanced by local ownership. For full interviews and support materials:

Video Details

Duration: 9 minutes and 48 seconds
Country: Japan
Language: English
Genre: None
Producer: United Nations University
Views: 102
Posted by: unuchannel on Sep 21, 2012

As of September 2011, the main global REDD database had 480 registered projects in 36 countries amounting to $3.35bn. The vast majority of these projects are on Indigenous lands and/or territories.

The scale of the REDD experiment, combined with the lack of relevant experience with REDD+ projects, has meant that projects have confronted considerable problems and delays. A recent global review of REDD+ projects noted that they face many challenges, including: criteria for sustainable forest management, monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, local tenure arrangements, permanence and baseline issues that can be effectively addressed only if local communities are able to properly participate in the REDD+ projects.

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