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Elifuraha Laltaika,
Former Indigenous Peoples Representative to the UN-REDD Programme Policy Board



10 December 2013

Update: the Panama Government, through its National Environmental Authority (ANAM), and Indigenous Peoples, through the National Coordinating Entity of Indigenous Peoples in Panama (COONAPIP), Agree to Re-open UN-REDD National Programme

The UN-REDD Programme Policy Board congratulated Panama on its progress towards resolving the differences with the National Coordinating Body of Indigenous Peoples in Panama (COONAPIP) and announced the approval of a no-cost extension of Panama's National UN-REDD Programme until June 2015. The extension was approved together with a review of the new results framework of the Programme and with the full agreement of COONAPIP, who co-presented on a panel with the Government of Panama's National Environment Authority (ANAM) at the Eleventh Meeting of the UN-REDD Programme Policy Board, which took place from 9-10 December in Geneva.

The National Programme had been suspended since March 2013, when the UN-REDD Programme launched an independent investigation and evaluation of the Programme in response to allegations from COONAPIP that the rights of indigenous peoples had not been respected as part of Programme activities. Over the last few months, ANAM and COONAPIP have been engaged in extensive consultations to resolve issues and develop an Environmental Agenda between Indigenous Peoples and the ANAM, which includes a revised result framework of the UN-REDD National Joint Programme of Panama. The General Assembly of COONAPIP, which took place on 29 November 2013 in Playa Muerto, in the Darien province of Panama, approved the Environmental Agenda jointly developed between ANAM and COONAPIP.

"We feel satisfied that the process followed with ANAM will help us to correct issues, and COONAPIP is going to engage again in the Programme,"said Candido Mezua, President of COONAPIP. "It is time to trust again," he added.

Mezua emphasized that REDD+ had to be conducted with full respect for the rights of indigenous peoples, asking for the support of UN agencies to ensure that rights such as free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) are respected and appropriate grievance mechanisms are made available for indigenous peoples. He further underscored the complexities and nuances of REDD+ and offered COONAPIP's contribution to national REDD+ efforts.

ANAM was grateful for the guidance received from UN-REDD Policy Board members, and highlighted the centrality of indigenous peoples' rights in the revised National Programme. "This process has taught us something: we better understand the perspectives of indigenous peoples," stated Gerardo Gonzalez, Director of Basins at ANAM. "Their participation is now guaranteed and we know they are main protectors of the forest."

The UN-REDD Programme Policy Board, comprised of representatives of partner countries, indigenous peoples and civil society, donor countries and UN agencies, was deeply appreciative of progress made in Panama and of the joint efforts of COONAPIP, ANAM and the UN-REDD Programme to resolve the conflict. Members noted that the experiences in Panama provided valuable lessons for other REDD+ countries and highlighted the importance of strong stakeholder engagement processes.

For more information, please contact the UN-REDD Secretariat,




Actualización: el Gobierno de Panamá, a traves de la Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente, y los pueblos indígenas, a traves de la Coordinadora de Pueblos Indigenas de Panama (COONAPIP) acuerdan la continuación del Programa Nacional ONU- REDD

La Junta Normativa del Programa ONU -REDD felicitó a Panamá por su progreso hacia la resolución de las diferencias con la Coordinadora Nacional de Pueblos Indígenas de Panamá (COONAPIP) y anunció la aprobación de una extensión sin costo del Programa Nacional de país hasta Junio del 2015 . La extensión fue aprobada junto con una revisión del nuevo marco de resultados del Programa y con el pleno acuerdo de COONAPIP, quien co-presentó en un panel con la Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente de Panamá (ANAM) en la Undécima Reunión de la Junta Normativa del Programa ONU-REDD, que se llevó a cabo el 9-10 de Diciembre en la ciudad de Ginebra.

El Programa Nacional había sido suspendido desde Marzo del 2013, cuando se lanzó una investigación independiente y evaluación de medio termino del programa en respuesta a denuncias de COONAPIP de que los derechos de los pueblos indígenas no habían sido respetados por el Programa. En los últimos meses, la ANAM y COONAPIP llevaron a cabo una serie de consultas para resolver diferencias, revisar y proponer una Agenda Ambiental entre los Pueblos Indigenas y la ANAM, donde tambien se hace una reformulacion del marco de resultados del Pograma Nacional ONU-REDD Panama. La Asamblea General de la COONAPIP, celebrada el 29 de Noviembre de 2013, en Playa Muerto, Provincia de Darien, Panama, aprobo la Agenda Ambiental que se establece de manera conjunta en un convenio ANAM-COONAPIP
"Nos sentimos satisfechos de que el proceso que se sigue con la ANAM ayudará a corregir los problemas y COONAPIP va a participar de nuevo en el programa ", dijo el Sr. Cándido Mezua, Presidente de COONAPIP. " Es tiempo de confiar de nuevo", agregó.

El Sr. Mezua hizo hincapié en que REDD + tiene que ser llevado a cabo con pleno respeto de los derechos de los pueblos indígenas requiriendo el apoyo de agencias de ONU para garantizar que se respeten estos derechos, como el consentimiento libre, previo e informado (CLPI) y la disponibilidad de mecanismos adecuados de reclamos para los pueblos indígenas. Además, subrayó las complejidades y matices de REDD + y ofreció la contribución de COONAPIP a los esfuerzos nacionales de REDD +.

ANAM agradeció la orientación recibida de parte de los miembros de la Junta Normativa de ONU-REDD y destacó la importancia de los derechos de los pueblos indígenas en el Programa nacional. "Este proceso nos ha enseñado a entender mejor las perspectivas de los pueblos indígenas", dijo Gerardo González, Director de Cuencas en la ANAM. "Su participación está garantizada y sabemos que son los principales protectores de los bosques."

La Junta Normativa del Programa ONU -REDD, integrado por representantes de los países socios, pueblos indígenas, sociedad civil, países donantes y agencias de la ONU, expreso su profunda satisfacción por los progresos realizados en Panamá y por los esfuerzos conjuntos de COONAPIP, ANAM y el Programa ONU- REDD para resolver el conflicto. Los miembros de la Junta Normativa señalaron que la experiencia de Panamá ha proporcionado lecciones valiosas para otros países REDD + y destacaron la importancia de contar con procesos de participación de las partes interesadas.

Para mayor información, por favor contactar  a:


24 September 2013

Update on the Status of UN-REDD’s Panama National Programme

In response to concerns raised by Panama’s National Coordinating Body of Indigenous Peoples, the UN-REDD programme commissioned the same team to conduct a two-step process starting with (i) an investigation, aimed at ascertaining the concerns, that concluded in August 2013 and (ii) an evaluation, with the purpose of looking into the programme itself and recommending adjustments to it.

A preliminary investigation report was presented in June 2013, following which the team conducted a second mission in July 2013 to Panama devoted primarily to the evaluation component. A draft evaluation report was produced and has been posted on the UN-REDD programme website and distributed to stakeholders awaiting their feedback by September 23rd. The final report is expected to be received on October 11th following adjustments to be made at the discretion of the evaluation team based on feedback received.

In the meantime the UN-REDD team supporting the programme has initiated the preparation of a management response in collaboration with ANAM. A consultation workshop between ANAM and COONAPIP was held from 2 to 5 September resulting in opening the dialogue process to develop an agreed road map which COONAPIP will submit to its council. While the road map is broader than REDD+, it does encompass issues of direct relevance to the Programme.

A revised results framework and request for an extension of the Programme, agreed with Panama’s stakeholders, is expected to be presented at the next Policy Board meeting in December 2013.

The investigation and evaluation were conducted in line with the UN Evaluation Group’s guidelines and standards of which the three UN-REDD agencies are members.


12 September 2013

Draft Report of the Independent Investigation and Evaluation

The draft evaluation report of the Panama National Program is now ready for comments and feedback to Birgitte Feiring, lead evaluator. The draft was prepared by an independent Investigation and Evaluation Team assessing complaints made by COONAPIP against the UN-REDD Panama National Programme based on an initial mission to Panama from 28 May – 07 June 2013 and a follow up mission to Panama in July 2013.

Download the report here in English | Español



4 July 2013

Preliminary Report of the Independent Investigation and Evaluation Presented to the UN-REDD Policy Board

The independent Investigation and Evaluation Team assessing complaints made by COONAPIP against the UN-REDD Panama National Programme has released a report of its preliminary findings, based on an initial mission to Panama from 28 May – 07 June 2013. The Team received input from a wide range of stakeholders. The preliminary report was presented at an information session on June 24th at the 10th UN-REDD Policy Board meeting in Lombok, Indonesia, where senior representatives from ANAM and the President of COONAPIP responded to the preliminary findings.

Key initial findings indicate that, while there were no violations of individual human rights by the UN-REDD Programme, there were faults in the National Programme design, and a proper participatory process with clear roles and responsibilities was not established in Panama which hampered the subsequent inclusion of indigenous peoples in the implementation of activities.

The report also includes recommendations to ANAM, the UN-REDD Programme, and the UN Resident Coordinator in Panama based on the findings.

The Team will undertake a follow up mission to Panama in July 2013 and release its final report in August 2013.



30 May 2013


Press Statement

Independent Investigation and Evaluation Team Arrives in Panama

The two members of the independent investigation and evaluation team, Ms. Birgitte Feiring and Mr. Eduardo Abbott, arrived in Panama on 28 May 2013, to carry out an investigation into complaints made by the National Coordinating Body of Indigenous Peoples in Panama (COONAPIP) against the UN-REDD Panama National Programme and an evaluation of the National Programme, with a special emphasis on the participation of indigenous peoples.

For this initial mission, the team will be in Panama from 28 May to 7 June 2013. The team also held preliminary meetings at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York last week.

This team was selected following a process carried out by the Social and Environmental Compliance Review Unit of UNDP’s Office of Audit and Investigation. Terms of reference describing the scope of the team’s work and the timelines of the investigation and evaluation were posted on the UN-REDD Programme’s website last month and are available here.

The investigation team welcomes and encourages input from any parties wishing to contribute information. The team can be contacted by email at: and They can also be reached in Panama by phone at: (507) 6918 0558 and (507) 6773 4039.

12 April 2013

Call for External Consultants to Conduct Investigation AND Mid-Term Evaluation of the UN-REDD Panama National Programme

The UN-REDD Programme is seeking consultants to carry out an investigation and mid-term evaluation of the UN-REDD Panama National Programme. The proposed investigation and evaluation are expected to (1) to investigate complaints raised by the National Coordinating Body of Indigenous Peoples in Panama (COONAPIP) against the UN-REDD Panama National Programme; (2) to thoroughly assess the implementation of the National Programme from time of approval to mid-term, with a special focus on issues of stakeholder engagement; and (3) to provide guidance and recommendations for future implementation of the National Programme and corrective action that should be taken to address COONAPIP's concerns.

Interested applicants are invited to submit an application to referencing “Panama evaluation” in the subject line by 23 April 2013. The application should contain a current and complete C.V. in English or Spanish with indication of the email and phone contact. The application should also include the candidate’s daily rate for the assignment. Qualified women and members of social minorities, including indigenous peoples, are encouraged to apply. Further details of the assignment are available in the Terms of Reference. Read more...



23 March 2013


The UN‐REDD Programme launches independent evaluation of its activities in Panama

The UN-REDD Programme reiterates its unwavering commitment to promoting and upholding the rights of indigenous peoples. The UN-REDD Programme’s policy and programming continues to be informed by and adheres to a human-rights based approach, and full respect for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Representatives of indigenous peoples form part of the UN-REDD Programme’s Policy Board, the Programme’s consensus-based governing body, which also includes representatives from partner countries, donors, civil society and UN agencies. Indigenous peoples play a critical role in key decision-making processes in the 16 partner countries that have active National Programmes.

Accordingly, the UN-REDD Programme has acknowledged and taken immediate steps to address the concerns raised by COONAPIP, the National Coordinating Body of Indigenous Peoples in Panama, in their letter dated 27 February 2013 in which the organization withdraws from the UN‐REDD Programme in Panama.

In response to the recent communications from COONAPIP, a delegation of senior representatives from the UN-REDD Programme undertook a mission to Panama from 20 to 21 March 2013 to meet with stakeholders. The high-level mission had a meeting with technical staff of COONAPIP, as senior officials were not available. In this meeting, COONAPIP reiterated their decision to withdraw from the National Programme in Panama. The UN-REDD Programme acknowledges and respects COONAPIP’s decision. The mission also met with government representatives, including the Minister of Environment, UN agencies and project staff.

The UN‐REDD Programme notes with concern COONAPIP’s allegations of human rights violations and seeks further clarification and specific details on this matter. The UN‐REDD Programme will immediately launch an independent evaluation of the National Programme, with a view to thoroughly investigate the allegations made by COONAPIP. Although the evaluation will assess the entire National Programme, it will place particular emphasis on the participation of indigenous peoples in the Programme. The evaluation is expected to be completed by June 2013 and the results will be made public and disseminated widely as soon as they are available. Until such time, any new activities of the National Programme in Panama are suspended.

Information on the National Programme in Panama is available at here.

For further information please contact: Mario Boccucci, Head, UN‐REDD Programme Secretariat,


UN-REDD Communications on its National Programme  in Panama

Independent Investigation and Evaluation Team Arrives in Panama
English - Español - Français

UN-REDD Statement Regarding Recent Communications with COONAPIP
English - Español - Français

More Information

UN‐REDD Programme activities in Panama