Features & Commentary
Regional Workshop in Ecuador Focuses on Rights and REDD+ in the Amazon
Civil Society representatives from the UN-REDD Programme participated in the workshop which recommends the establishment of a regional REDD+ Observatory for the Amazon that focuses on the rights of Indigenous Peoples in REDD+.
By: Juliana Splendore, IPAM
The Regional Amazonian Workshop on Rights and REDD+, organized by Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) and Center on Planning and Social Studies (CEPLAES), was held during 30 May to 2 June in Quito, Ecuador. The event’s objective was to share information and experiences from REDD+ initiatives, particularly with regards to the engagement of Indigenous Peoples and civil society, social and environmental safeguards, and the issue of rights to natural resources, including the rights of native indigenous territories. The Amazonian Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) in Brazil participated in this workshop as the UN-REDD Programme Policy Board civil society representative for the Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) region, alongside regional UN-REDD Programme staff. The workshop included the participation of NGOs and some government representatives working on REDD+ in LAC.
In its presentation, IPAM representative, Mariana Christovam, explained the UN-REDD Programme’s objectives and resources, while highlighting key components and activities of the approved National UN-REDD Programmes in the LAC region. Ms. Christovam also spoke about civil society participation in the UN-REDD Programme, stressing the functions of the UN-REDD Programme Policy Board, which includes representatives of Indigenous Peoples and civil society. Challenges, successes, and IPAM’s next steps in its function as civil society representative to the Policy Board were also presented, such as producing newsletters to communicate information of the most important REDD+ events. IPAM intends to continue to visit other LAC partner countries of the UN-REDD Programme together with COICA (the Indigenous Peoples’ representative for LAC on the Policy Board), to strengthen the development of REDD+ in important meetings.
|Group work allowed the participants to go into greater depth on key issues, including rights, safeguards, information and control systems, stakeholder consultations and FPIC.
During the workshop, other presentations focused on: the background of international debates concerning REDD+; the decisions taken by the UNFCCC COP 16 (Conference of Parties) and the perspectives for UNFCCC COP 17; the REDD+ process in Ecuador; and international initiatives such as the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and the UN-REDD Programme. Nationally-led REDD+ processes and initiatives in Paraguay, Guyana, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador were presented, including details on Ecuador's Socio Bosque Program and the Mesa REDDinitiative in Peru. The Mesa REDD initiative is a group in Peru composed by over 60 civil society and indigenous organizations and representatives of the private sector which provides inputs into the Peruvian REDD+ strategy and policy with the government.
Much of the workshop’s focus was on rights over national resources, information and control systems, social and environmental safeguards, consultations, and Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). At the end, work groups were created to broaden the debate concerning these subjects, and on the last day the groups shared the main discussion points of each group with all the participants. Work groups highlighted the importance of considering territory rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities as a priority in the REDD+ context, the necessity of systematizing and publicizing different experiences of safeguards monitoring and verifying systems, and the importance of informing local communities of their rights established at the international level, such as in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
The event concluded with brief comments given by representatives of each country concerning disclosure initiatives, training and an overview of civil society groups that look at issues of climate changes and REDD+. The final suggestion was the creation of a regional REDD+ observatory similar to the initiative of Brazil’s civil society, the REDD+ Observatory. A report is being developed that includes the workshop discussions, conclusions, and presentations.
Events such as this one are fundamental for the strengthening of the relationships between civil society and Indigenous Peoples in LAC. During the workshop, the context of REDD+ discussions in different countries in the region were made clearer and included how civil society and Indigenous Peoples are being organized in this context; seeking alternatives to best take advantage of the benefits that REDD+ can offer them.
IPAM intends to carry out missions to UN-REDD Programme partner countries in LAC to strengthen relationships with representatives and obtain more information on the consultation processes in-country. The objective is to expand civil society participation in the design and implementation of National UN-REDD Programme activities and strategies and to share information on the advances made by the UN-REDD Programme on the national and international level.
|Juliana Splendore is an international relations specialist for the Amazonian Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), based in Brasilia, Brazil.