The report “Increasing the benefits of REDD++ for Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities through a jurisdictional approach” was presented, at the end of last August, in the framework of the Annual Meeting of the Climate and Forests Governors Work Group in Jalisco, Mexico.
The report explains the necessity for greater inclusion of indigenous peoples and traditional communities in conservation initiatives, as they are the ones who have handled their territories more efficiently.
The territories of indigenous peoples and traditional communities that are formally recognized by governments comprise about 18% of the world’s tropical forests, covering over 350 million hectares in 30 tropical countries. For thousands of years, indigenous and traditional peoples have been administrators and protectors of the forests, as they have used them sustainably. These communities contribute to the mitigation of climate change, maintaining carbon in the tropical forests and preventing it from being released into the atmosphere, where it heats up the planet. However, the role of these communities in the protection of tropical forests has not been properly recognized.
The research was published in a side event organized by Earth Innovation Institute, PRISMA, the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB), the Climate and Forests Governors Work Group and Forest Trends; it is the result of a collaborative effort among some members of AIME International Consortium (Earth Innovation Institute, PRISMA and ProNatura South) of which the AMPB is a partner, and partners of the Sustainable Alliance of the Tropics (Earth Innovation Institute, Institute for the Common Good and INOBU).
The new report was conducted by the IBD California Science Institute and represents two years of research by five organizations (Earth Innovation Institute, Institute for the Common Good, Inobu, Prisma- the Salvadoran Research on Development and Environment Program and ProNatura South) and was supported by Forest Trends, NORAD and USAID. The following tropical regions are analyzed in the report: Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Mesoamerica and Indonesia, and it recognizes the AMPB as a central player for REDD++ in Mesoamerica.
REDD++ and DRBE jurisdictional approach brings together all players in a region, including indigenous peoples and traditional communities, in the creation of sustainability plans. It also ensures that the financial benefits of protecting the forests, for example funding from other governments or sales of carbon credits, is distributed among all players. This territorial governance of indigenous peoples is a guarantee for REDD++ projects.
“The indigenous peoples and local communities are the ones who have fought to protect tropical forests in the regions of Mesoamerica, the Amazon and other regions of the world and therefore there must be a formal integration of their proposals into the various initiatives to protect the forests” said Cándido Mezúa, Secretary of International Relations of AMPB.
Such approaches are possible as long as there is participation and full and formal integration of indigenous peoples, and as long as their rights are respected; in the same way, it is possible to restraint deforestation and placate the causes and consequences of climate change as long as there is territorial governance, and local capacities and mechanisms for dialogue at local level are strengthened. The AMPB and its member organizations have a key role in a project with an international scope like AIME, in which they are the main bearers of territorial banners.