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UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues intervenes on REDD in Poznan

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UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues intervenes on REDD in PoznanAt its meeting today, the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice discussed REDD. During the meeting, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) made an intervention.

In the intervention, Tauli-Corpuz emphasised the risk that REDD could reinforce centralised governance and finance for forests and undermine the role of indigenous peoples in managing their forests. The UNPFII also emphasised the importance of rights, called for using the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as an overarching framework for REDD and stated that “No REDD project should be done on indigenous peoples territories without obtaining their free, prior and informed consent.” UNPFII is the official UN body dealing with indigenous issues. The statement can hardly be ignored.

STATEMENT OF THE UNITED NATIONS PERMANENT FORUM ON INDIGENOUS ISSUES (UNPFII)

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz
Chairperson, UNPFII

Agenda Item 2: Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD): approaches to stimulate action

Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA)
2nd Meeting, 2 December 2008
Poznan, Poland


Thank you very much Madame Chair for giving me the opportunity to speak under this Agenda Item on REDD.

The 7th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues had for its special theme, Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples, specifically on the impact of climate change mitigation measures on indigenous peoples. One of the issues discussed was REDD, as this is a mitigation measure being proposed to be included in the 2009 Copenhagen Conference of Parties.

We listened closely to indigenous representatives who expressed their fears on the potential risks that can result from the implementation of REDD. In our concluding observations we expressed that one risk of REDD is that it will further reinforce the highly centralized governance and finance for forests and that discussions on this will become highly technical, thereby excluding indigenous peoples again from sharing their traditional knowledge on forests and from controlling and managing their own forests. Indigenous peoples have shown that they are the best custodians and stewards of forests. Global data coming in shows that the most of the world’s remaining forests are found mainly in indigenous peoples territories.

We believe that the renewed focus on forests should be used as an opportunity to push for policy and legal reforms on forests and indigenous peoples rights. This can also be an opportunity for indigenous peoples to further enhance their traditional knowledge on forest and biodiversity conservation.

The Permanent Forum is of the view that undertaking reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation without the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in making the design and in its implementation will lead to failure. It, therefore, calls on the international community and on the governments to ensure that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) be used as an overarching framework for the design, methodologies, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of REDD. No REDD project should be done on indigenous peoples territories without obtaining their free, prior and informed consent.

As far as methodological issues are concerned, the Forum asserts that indigenous peoples should be involved in the development of methodologies related to REDD. Their traditional knowledge on forests and biological diversity cannot be under-estimated. Measures should be undertaken to involve them in developing these methodologies and their capacities should also be enhanced.

The reports of the various consultations we held and other UN bodies and NGOs held with indigenous peoples on this issue will be submitted to the Secretariat for your use.

Thank you, Madame Chair.

 

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  1. Dear Colleagues,

    Thank you very much for your important contributions at the recent meetings in Poznan. I strongly urge UN bodies and agencies including the UNPFII to please engage Tibetan people in your UN programmes and projects regarding climate change and deforestation as China has devastated Tibetan forest ecosystems at an alarming rate causing lamentable consequences to Tibetan people, their dwellings, forests, water, pasturelands, watersheds, farms and livelihoods. Tibetan people are severely punished, abused and imprisoned for peacefully expressing their concerns to Chinese authorities therefore we need the assistance of the United Nations to intervene in substantive dialogue between Chinese government leaders and the Tibetan people who are suffering from hunger and displacement as a result of initiatives aimed at population transfer into Tibet. Tibetans are a minority in their once free and independent nation. I call on the UNPFII to please assist our Tibetan sisters and brothers of Tibet. This is a very serious matter of grave human rights and humanitarian concern. The Tibetan voice is muted in Tibet. China denies that there are indigenous peoples in Tibet and China and therefore does not abide by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    We urge you to give the Tibetan situation careful consideration. There are many atrocities occurring in our world as I write, however the Tibetan situation remains dire because China is unwilling to hear the concerns of everyday Tibetan citizens regarding the serious social/cultural and environmental impacts to their sacred natural and cultural resources within their holy land. More than 1.2 million Tibetans were killed by Chinese forces and today 6 million Tibetans remain in Tibet. More than 6000 Tibetan temples and sacred scripts were demolished by Chinese invaders. Please help.

    “We cannot rewrite history but together we can determine the future.”
    -Dalai Lama
    Sincerely,

    Dr. Amy Eisenberg
    World Care Project Manager for Tibetan Projects
    Sonoma County Indian Health Project
    Center for World Indigenous Studies