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Expert Workshop Furthers Indigenous Peoples’ Participation in REDD+

The Expert Workshop held in Germany explored how key REDD+ initiatives can further support and improve the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples (IP) in REDD+.

How can we encourage and enable full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in REDD+ decision-making? How do we move IP participation from a formality to meaningful collaborative decision-making? How do we progress from consultation to full participation and inclusion in policy design and implementation for REDD+?

These were the central questions of an Expert Workshop on "Practical Approaches to Ensuring the Full and Effective Participation of Indigenous Peoples in REDD+" held in Weilburg, Germany, 10-12 September 2013. The Workshop was jointly hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), and the UN-REDD Programme. It brought together 80 indigenous leaders, government representatives, civil society practitioners and international experts from 24 countries to discuss these critical issues and develop recommendations for the REDD+ community.

Expert Workshop on "Practical Approaches to Ensuring the Full and Effective Participation of Indigenous Peoples in REDD+" held in Weilburg, Germany.

The Workshop provided a valuable opportunity for the UN-REDD Programme to review participation with indigenous peoples in the last five years and, crucially, what more needs to be done. It was clear that years of dialogue and collaboration between indigenous peoples, civil society, government partners and REDD+ initiatives have provided a strong foundation to build on. There was also space for frank and constructively critical discussion that shed light on some of the difficult and contentious issues that surround IP participation.

Discussions were informed by one global and three regional input papers that reviewed national- and local-level experiences of IP participation.
The participants identified a number of key issues, including the following:

  • Indigenous peoples seek a much deeper and sustained engagement that goes beyond participation in REDD+, thus the need to look at issues surrounding IP participation more holistically in the context of broader national development debates;
  • There is a need to focus more on addressing the substantial issues related to REDD+ (i.e., the recognition of collective land rights and the need for joint demarcation of indigenous peoples’ lands), in addition to the procedural ones; and

There is a need to support indigenous peoples to determine and communicate how they would like to be represented at local, national and global levels, through their customary institutions in order to improve legitimacy of consultations.

The UN-REDD Programme was particularly grateful for guidance stemming from the Expert Workshop that could assist to refine and improve its work on IP participation. Speaking on behalf of the UN-REDD Programme, Dr. Charles McNeill, Senior Policy Advisor for UNDP, underscored the Programme’s commitment to integrating the messages from Weilburg in its work going forward. He noted a number of commitments on the part of the UN-REDD Programme to work more closely with IP and government partners to ensure this, including efforts to tailor guidelines to national contexts and bolster support to capacity building efforts.

As Joan Carling, the Executive Director of the Asian Indigenous People Pact noted, “We are discussing the future of IPs, not only the present, and the need to approach issues of participation from a long-term perspective, with a clear and shared vision of where we are going.”

The Expert Workshop contributed to defining that shared vision. The UN-REDD Programme remains committed to contributing to further refining and implementing shared goals in IPs participation in REDD+.

Key documents from the Workshop, including the final workshop report with the recommendations from participants, which will be released in early October 2013, can be accessed here.





In this issue


Measuring Reporting and Verification Training for Solomon Islands’ Forestry Officers and Stakeholders

Cambodia REDD+ Consultation Group Selected

UN-REDD Strengthens Capacities of Indigenous People in Peru

REDD+ Talks: Leaders from Business, UN and Forest Communities Highlight a Promising Mechanism to Tackle Climate Change

Meetings in Costa Rica’s Indigenous Territories Analyze Safeguards

Expert Workshop Furthers Indigenous Peoples’ Participation in REDD+

Reports & Analysis

Two New Go-REDD+ Issues From UN-REDD in Asia-Pacific

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