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Features & Commentary

UN-REDD Hosts Regional Lessons Learned Workshop on Social and Environmental Safeguards

At a recent consultative workshop in Bangkok participants shared knowledge and experience on safeguard policies in REDD+.
By: Kanwar Muhammad Javed Iqbal and Pasang Sherpa

The safeguard policies in REDD+ for indigenous peoples and local communities is the backbone of REDD+ implementation across Asia. Therefore, it is very important that these safeguards ensure and recognize their traditional knowledge, customary law and practices for their sustainable forest and natural resource management systems and livelihoods.

Photo credit: Keiko Nomura
engaged in stimulating discussions during the Social and Environmental Safeguards Workshop in Bangkok, Thailand

The recently organized workshop “Third UN-REDD Regional Lessons Learned Workshop on Social and Environmental Safeguards” by the UN-REDD Programme in Bangkok, Thailand from 5-6 March 2013 captured the aspirations of safeguard standards development processes by different initiatives, including standards of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) and CARE International along with country specific experiences of many countries such as Bhutan, Indonesia,  Mongolia, Nepal, the Philippines and Viet Nam. The workshop provided an opportunity to participate in the workshop and increase understanding and knowledge on the development of safeguards policies from different approaches and perspectives including local and private sector initiatives. The methodology of the workshop focused on the internalization of the participants’ understanding through group discussions followed by different country and local level experiences sharing on safeguards initiatives. This helped increase understanding of safeguards development initiatives and process in REDD+ implementation within diverse contexts. Since the group discussion mainly focused on the suggestions for the betterment and effective implementation of safeguards, this provided an opportunity to internalize challenges, identify gaps along with suggestions in the process of developing national REDD+ strategies in countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

In Nepal, developing Social and Environmental Standards (SES) is a part of designing a national REDD+ strategy, which is one of the expected results of the implementation of the Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP). The component 2d of R-PP: Social and Environmental Impacts present the importance of Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (SESA) for avoiding the negative impacts and ensuring the positive and additional REDD+ benefits for securing the livelihoods and rights of indigenous peoples and local communities along with the conservation of biodiversity, maintaining cultural heritage, gender balance, capacity development and good governance. The SESA process in Nepal is slow in comparison to the development of other standards like SES in REDD+ initiated by CCBA. However, the Government of Nepal undertook a joint mission in 2011 to initiate the SES process and identify synergies with the development process of SESA later on. The challenge for Nepal is the integration process of these two safeguards because SESA in R-PP is mandatory and SES is voluntary. The initiation of the country led indicators with inputs from indigenous peoples and local communities in Nepal both on first and second  revised versions of the REDD+ SES indicators under the sevenprinciples is praiseworthy for the recognition of the right holders and stakeholders in the REDD+ process, however, but how they would be ensured in SESA of R-PP in Nepal is still not clear and guaranteed.

This example illustrates how indigenous peoples and local communities are facing challenges in the development of safeguards policies in REDD+ implementation in countries like Nepal. Governments, indigenous peoples, and local communities need to develop safeguard frameworks that address the issues of indigenous peoples in relation to their traditional customary practices, knowledge, and land tenure systems for sustainable forest management and livelihoods while simultaneously adhering to the aspirations contained in related international conventions and treaties, such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Therefore, the efforts by the UN-REDD Programme to organize a workshop that allowed different countries to share their views and  experiences on safeguards policy in REDD+ has given an opportunity to provide  experiences in developing indigenous peoples and local community friendly safeguards in REDD+ for its effective implementation in Asia-Pacific. It is also recommended that similar workshops and meetings in both national and local levels be organized to understand the views of, and receive recommendations from indigenous peoples and local communities in each REDD+ countries in Asia-Pacific.

With 12 years of rich professional experience in the field of environment and development including climate change mitigation, Mr. Kanwar Iqbal is associated with Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Pakistan as Senior Policy Researcher. He is part of many national and international institutions in the capacity of Focal Person, Adviser and/ or Board Member. He is also the current civil society organization representative for Asia-Pacific on the UN-REDD Programme Policy Board. Pasang Sherpa, lecturer, at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in Tribhuvan University Kathmandu Nepal since 1997. Mr. Sherpa has already published two books on the Sherpas and now working on his forthcoming books on Bhyashi/ Sauka and Raji, the highly marginalized indigenous groups in Nepal. He has been working as a researcher and resource person for the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) in the field of indigenous knowledge, customary law and practices in the forest, land and resource management along with policy and programs on forest, land tenure issues in relation to indigenous peoples rights in REDD+ in Nepal.







In this issue


UN-REDD Hosts Regional Workshop on Social and Environmental Safeguards

Strengthening Forest Related Frameworks to Support REDD+ Implementation

Bangladesh Paves the Way in Climate Financing Sector

Cambodian National REDD+ Taskforce Established

Zambia Steps up Efforts on Stakeholder Engagement Ahead of REDD+ Strategy

CBFP-COMIFAC Strengthens Gender Equality Considerations

UNEP, CIFOR and UN-REDD to Host “Forests Africa: Opportunities for a Green Economy” Conference

Features & Commentary

UN-REDD Hosts Regional Lessons Learned Workshop on Social and Environmental Safeguards
By: Kanwar Muhammad Javed Iqbal and Pasang Sherpa

The Republic of Côte d’Ivoire and the Republic of South Sudan Embark on Stakeholder Engagement in REDD+ Initiatives
By: Anne Martinussen

Reports & Analysis

Launch of “Legal Analysis of Cross-cutting Issues for REDD+ Implementation: Lessons Learned from Mexico, Viet Nam and Zambia” Publication

New Go-REDD+ Issue Looks at the Evolution of REDD+

Looking ahead

International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition
13-15 May, 2013: Rome, Italy

12th Session of United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
20-31 May 2013: NY, USA

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