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World Bank’s FCPF fails to consult with Indigenous Peoples in Honduras

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The Indigenous Peoples Confederation of Honduras (CONPAH) recently wrote a letter to the State Secretary of Natural Resources and Environment, Doctor Rigoberto Cuéllar Cruz, about the lack of consultation relating to the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility in Honduras.

The letter proposes that the government should withdraw of the draft Readiness-Preparation Proposal that has been submitted to the FCPF, in order “to begin a good-faith process for the creation and formulation based on the principle of free, previous and informed consent.” The letter also demands that “GIZ, Rainforest Alliance, USAID, UNDP and other Bilateral and Multilateral collaborators suspend all activities and financing related to the REDD processes in Indigenous and Afro-Honduran territories.”

An English translation of CONPAH’s letter is posted below and the original Spanish version can be downloaded here (pdf file 994.5 kB).

On 23 February 2012, Irina Helena Pineda, the Director of External Cooperation at the Honduran Department of Natural Resources and Environment, wrote to Peter Saile, Senior Carbon Finance Specialist at the World Bank. The letter explains that Honduras will postpone the presentation of the R-PP until the Participants Committee meeting in Colombia in June 2012. Although one of the reasons given for the delay was the letter from CONPAH, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment’s letter does not state that a process of free, prior and informed consent will be carried out before the next draft of the R-PP is produced.

The letter from the Honduran Department of Natural Resources and Environment is available below in Spanish. It is also available on the FCPF website, but the CONPAH letter is not (yet) posted on the FCPF website.

REDD-Monitor has also written to Peter Saile at the World Bank with some further questions about lack of consultation in the FCPF in Honduras. (The email is available below.) REDD-Monitor looks forward to posting his response, along with responses from GIZ, Rainforest Alliance, USAID and UNDP to CONPAH’s demand that they suspend all activities and funding relating to REDD in Indigenous and Afro-Honduran territories.


UPDATE – 2 March 2012: The CONPAH letter has now been posted on the FCPF website. Perhaps FCPF is listening after all. On 29 February 2012, Peter Saile replied as follows: “Please send your request directly to the FCPF Secretariat.” REDD-Monitor therefore sent the same questions to the FCPF secretariat with a copy to Benoît Bosquet, coordinator of the FCPF at the World Bank. REDD-Monitor looks forward to posting the Bank’s response.

UPDATE – 8 March 2012: Benoît Bosquet’s response is posted in full, here.


Confederation of Autochthonous Peoples of Honduras (CONPAH)

Tegucigalpa M.D.C., 8 February 2012

Rigoberto Cuellar, Attorney
Minister of SERNA
Your Office

Ref: R-PP of Honduras: Document not consulted indigenous peoples

We, the Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Peoples, who make up the Confederation of Autochthonous Peoples of Honduras (CONPAH) are surprised to find out that the Government of Honduras, through its Secretary, has submitted to the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), the Readiness Project Proposal (R-PP) named “PREPARATION FOR REDUCING EMISSIONS BY DEFORESTATION AND FOREST DEGRADATION IN HONDURAS”. We believe that this unilateral decision from the State of Honduras, of submitting this document to the FCPF for approval constitutes a violation of our Rights because we as Peoples do not know its content and scope, even more importantly, our free, prior and informed Consent, as mandated by the FCPF guidelines and international instruments that guarantee our Rights, has not been granted.

Given that this R-PP document was drafted without consulting with us, and without our consent, the Confederation of Autochthonous Peoples of Honduras (CONPAH) proposes the following:

1. That the State of Honduras withdraw the R-PP document submitted to the World Bank’s FCPF to begin a good-faith process for the creation and formulation based on the principle of free, previous and informed consent.

2. Through its Federations and members, the Confederation of Autochthonous Peoples of Honduras (CONPAH) will facilitate a consultative process based on the free, previous and informed consent, and in agreement with our overall World view, understanding that this process will be under the control of the Federations united under the CONPAH.

3. We likewise demand that the GIZ, Rainforest Alliance, USAID, UNDP and other Bilateral and Multilateral collaborators suspend all activities and financing related to the REDD processes in Indigenous and Afro-Honduran territories.

Signed:

Bayardo Alemán, CONPAH President
CONIMCHH, President
Norvin Goff, MASTA President
Edilia Isidra Montes, Treasurer CONPAH, P. FFTRIXY
Secretary CONPAH
Erenia Sanchez, Member
Edgardo Benitez M., FITH, President

With copy to:

World Bank/ Carbon Partnership Facility Forest (FCPF)
Regional and Honduras GIZ
Rainforest Alliance
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/Honduras
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)/Honduras
Defender of Ethnic Peoples and Cultural Heritage of Honduras
National Congress of the Republic of Honduras
Indigenous Council of Central America – CICA
Indigenous Federations of Honduras
The Civil Society
Presidency of the Republic of Honduras
Secretary of Indigenous and African descent in Honduras/SEDINAFROH
Forest Conservation Institute – ICF
Archive

From: Irina Helena Pineda
To: Peter Saile
Cc: Stephanie Tam, Raju Koirala, Ken Andrasko, Pierre-Yves Guedez, Benoit Bosquet
Date: 02/23/2012 04:38 PM
Subject: Formal announcement of postponement of draft R‐PP presentation at PC 11

Estimado Sr. Saile,

Después de saludarle muy cordialmente me dirijo a usted a fin de dar seguimiento a nuestra conversación telefónica y donde expresé el interés de Honduras en postergar la presentación de nuestro RPP.

En ese sentido, me permito informarle que el pasado viernes 17 de febrero, el Dr. Rigoberto Cuéllar, Secretario de Estado en los Despachos de Recursos Naturales y Ambiente de Honduras, convoco a una reunión relacionada con la presentación de este documento; en ese sentido, queremos saber si es posible posponer la presentación del borrador del R‐PP del PC 11, a llevarse a cabo en Paraguay, al PC 12 que se estará celebrando en Colombia. Lo anterior debido a lo siguiente:

1) Como usted sabe, el TAP realizó una serie de comentarios a nuestro documento y consideramos que esos cambios y ampliaciones requieren de un mayor tiempo para su cumplimentación, término superior al pautado para presentar las observaciones (2 de marzo).

2) Por otro lado, y como usted tiene conocimiento la Confederación de Pueblos Autóctonos de Honduras (CONPAH) envió a ésta Secretaría de Estado una Comunicación mediante la cual indican que dicho documento no fue debidamente fue socializado ante las comunidades; por lo que valoraremos lo expresado por ellos y procederemos a continuar con las acciones pertinentes de socialización, tal como lo hemos venido haciendo, y seguir los pasos necesarios relacionados con la resolución de la la situación actual ocasionada por la precitada carta.

Es muy importante remarcar, que el Gobierno de Honduras reitera su compromiso y está en la mayor disposición de continuar con los esfuerzos realizados hasta la fecha hasta lograr presentar el documento borrador para el siguiente PC 12.

Les mantendremos informados sobre las acciones que iremos desarrollando en este proceso.

Abg. Irina Helena Pineda
Directora de Cooperación Externa
Secretaria de Recursos Naturales y Ambiente

From: Chris Lang
Date: 29 February 2012 09:47
Subject: Honduras and FCPF
To: Peter Saile

Dear Peter,

Greetings from Jakarta! Long time no see. As you may know, I’m running a website called REDD-Monitor these days (www.redd-monitor.org). I note that the Honduran government has written to the World Bank postponing the presentation of the Honduras Readiness-Preparation Proposal until June 2012. I would be grateful if you could answer the following questions about the FCPF and Honduras.

1. One of the reasons that the Honduran government gave for postponing the presentation of the R-PP was a letter (http://bit.ly/zbrYeN) from the Confederation of Autochthonous Peoples of Honduras (CONPAH). In the letter CONPAH wrote that the “R-PP was drafted without consulting with us, and without our consent”. How is it possible that the R-PP was produced without consulting the most representative body of indigenous peoples in Honduras? Isn’t this in breach of the World Bank’s policy on indigenous peoples?

2. Why has the World Bank not posted the letter from CONPAH on the FCPF website?

3. The letter from the Honduran government refers to a series of comments by the Technical Advisory Panel on the R-PP. Why is the TAP report on the R-PP not available on FCPF’s website?

4. CONPAH’s letter includes a demand that “GIZ, Rainforest Alliance, USAID, UNDP and other Bilateral and Multilateral collaborators suspend all activities and financing related to the REDD processes in Indigenous and Afro-Honduran territories.” How does the Bank intend to respond to this demand?

5. Germany is the largest funder of the FCPF. As you know, last year the German government issued a new human rights policy. This policy specifically includes the principle of free, prior and informed consent and states that Germany “endorses, promotes and advocates” that the World Bank and other multi-lateral agencies turn their attention to the issue of human rights compliance. Yet the World Bank’s policy on indigenous peoples only requires free, prior and informed consultation. Will the World Bank ensure that the principle of free, prior and informed consent is applied in the production of R-PPs, in Honduras and elsewhere? And if not, why not?

Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing from you. Please consider your response to be on the record.

Regards, Chris Lang

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Leave a Reply

  1. Chris,

    Having spent some time in Honduras looking specifically at the potential for REDD, I know first hand how vital consultations with indigenous groups will be to a successful outcome. REDD presents an opportunity for Honduras to move forward with indigenous rights (ie. through land reforms to grant land titles which have been promised to indigenous groups but have not been realized) but paradoxically also presents a danger to infringe on the rights of indigenous peoples (ie. by excluding forest dependent populations from the land they traditionally inhabit because they have no legal title). FPIC is a vital component to ensuring a positive outcome for indigenous groups.

    But I can’t help and wonder if we aren’t getting ahead of ourselves in expecting FPIC BEFORE the R-PP is completed. My impression is that one of the goals of the R-PP is to develop a plan to obtain FPIC and consult with indigenous groups such as CONPAH. I haven’t had a chance to read Honduras’ entire RPP, but I do notice they dedicate an entire sections to consultations and FPIC. FPIC should be an outcome of implementing the RPP, not necessarily in its production. Or am I wrong?

    Don’t get me wrong, certainly involving a group like CONPAH in a preliminary evaluation of the R-PP should have occurred. I just dont think it is realistic to expect all consultations to occur prior to the R-PP (since the R-PP is essentially, in part, a roadmap for these consultations)

    On another note it looks like FCPF published the letter from COPAH, so kudos to you for pushing for more transparency in this process.

  2. @An Observer (#1) – Thanks for this comment. Let’s assume that your analysis is correct: REDD presents an opportunity and/or a danger for indigenous peoples in Honduras (and elsewhere). That just makes it worse that CONPAH was not even consulted before the draft R-PP was submitted to the FCPF.

    If there is a genuine possibility of REDD creating an opportunity for Honduras to “move forward with indigenous rights”, then (by definition) indigenous peoples must be involved from the beginning of the process. Otherwise the “prior” part of FPIC isn’t “prior”, is it?

  3. Agree very much with An Observer. Carrying out a solid consultation process leading to FPIC is not an easy thing to do and first of all, is not for free. The R-PP is essentially a grant application to get the funds needed for such a process, amongst other things. Prior is fine, but prior to what? Prior to planning and carrying out any activities on indigenous peoples’ territories or prior to even being able to ask them about it? However, involving CONPAH should have happened before submitting even the draft R-PP. Rushing things this way doesn’t help to build trust, even if it was on good intentions. Probably a bitter lesson learnt for the Honduran government.