Features & Commentary
Paraguay's National Programme for REDD+
REDD Regional Technical Advisor for the UN-REDD Programme in Paraguay, Santiago Carrizosa, highlights the steps Paraguay has taken since 2008 to develop their National Programme document for REDD+, which will be presented at the upcoming UN-REDD Programme Policy Board meeting in November.
Reducing deforestation and forest degradation in Paraguay is imperative not only to control the release of emissions into the atmosphere, but also to preserve the livelihoods of all forest-dependent communities. Such a forest-livelihood relationship takes on a special meaning particularly in the context of uncontacted groups such as the Ayoreo who still live a nomadic life in the forest. Of the several different sub-groups of Ayoreo, the most isolated are the Totobiegosode. Since 1969, many have been forced out of the forest, but some still avoid all contact with outsiders. Ensuring the integrity of the forested homeland of the Ayoreo and all other Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities is one of the main challenges of the UN-REDD Programme in Paraguay.
|Credit: Veronique Gerard |
Since late 2008, when the UN-REDD Programme was launched in Paraguay, the Secretariat for the Environment (SEAM), the National Forestry Institute (INFONA), FAO, UNDP, and UNEP have been working closely with the Coordinating Committee for Indigenous Peoples (CAPI) and other civil society organizations to develop a proposal for a national capacity building REDD+ programme in Paraguay. REDD+ is an initiative that goes beyond protecting and enhancing carbon stocks and also supports ecosystem and social benefits, such as the conservation of biodiversity, watershed protection, sustainable management of forests, carbon payments to communities, and improved governance. To achieve these multiple benefits, REDD+ requires the full engagement and respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and other forest-dependent communities.
The development process of the UN-REDD National Programme in Paraguay has been guided by the UN-REDD Programme Operational Guidance on the Engagement of Indigenous Peoples and Other Forest Dependent Communities, which underscores the importance of respecting Indigenous Peoples’ rights, including ensuring their full participation and inclusion, and seeking their free, prior and informed consent, as per the provisions of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. CAPI, the main coordinating body of Indigenous organizations in Paraguay, is composed of 14 organizations of Indigenous Peoples and has been participating in the process and providing valuable advice to ensure an informed, transparent, and participatory process in Paraguay. In fact, CAPI is one of the members of the National Technical Team together with SEAM and INFONA that are working on the National Programme.
Developing Paraguay's National Programme is a process that has received the input of multiple representatives from government, civil society, and Indigenous People’s organizations. Since October 2009, CAPI has held four informative workshops on climate change, REDD+ and UN-REDD Programme concepts, principles and operational modalities which provided key elements for the proposal. One of the key contributions of CAPI derived from this process is Chapter 3 of the National Programme document, entitled “Guidelines of the Coordination for Self-Determination of the Indigenous Peoples (CAPI) for implementation of the National Joint Programme in Indigenous Peoples’ Territories”. This is significant as this is the first time that a UN-REDD National Programme includes such a chapter. The chapter states 14 key points that will guide the implementation of the National Programme in Indigenous Peoples’ territories. For example, one of the guidelines states that “no REDD+ activity will be initiated without the free, prior and informed consent of such peoples or community.”
Furthermore, output 3.2 of the National Programme includes an activity for the development of a consultation protocol for free, prior and informed consent for REDD+.
On 25 June 2010, following intensive working sessions between SEAM, INFONA and CAPI, the National Technical Team pre-approved a preliminary draft of the UN-REDD National Programme for consideration at the UN-REDD Programme Policy Board that will meet in Washington, D.C. on 4-5 November 2010. The main objective of this proposal is to support the Government of Paraguay in its efforts to overcome the drivers of deforestation and degradation of forests, hence, ensuring that the country is ready for REDD+. To achieve the proposed objective, the preliminary draft proposes to pursue the following three o utcomes and respective outputs:
Outcome 1: Improved institutional and technical capacity of Government and Civil Society organizations to manage REDD+ activities in Paraguay
Outcome 2: Capacity established to implement REDD+ at a local level
Outcome 3: Increased knowledge and capacity building on REDD+ for forest dependent communities, especially indigenous peoples and other relevant stakeholders in the country
As the UN-REDD Programme Policy Board reviews the above proposal in early November, the Paraguayan National Technical Team (SEAM, INFONA, and CAPI) will continue with the consultation and awareness-raising process for the document amongst Indigenous Peoples groups and representatives of government and civil society. Comments from these stakeholders, UN-REDD Programme staff, and other relevant actors will be incorporated into the proposal in early 2011 and the National Technical Team hopes to initiate its implementation in mid-2011. The process undertaken by SEAM, INFONA and CAPI since late 2008 suggests that the UN-REDD process is on solid ground and shows potential for the preservation of the forested homeland of the Ayoreo and other Indigenous Peoples in Paraguay.
|Santiago Carrizosa |
Santiago Carrizosa is the REDD Regional Technical Advisor for the UN-REDD Programme in Paraguay and is based in the UNDP Regional Centre in Panama City, Panama.