REDD Forest Protection Program Could Threaten Rights of 350 Million People

amazon tribesmen photo

photo: Chany Crystal via flickr

Though support, both political and financial, for the UN REDD forest protection scheme has been growing, there's also a growing opposition voice expressing the concern that, though keeping forests standing is a good thing, the REDD program could well run roughshod over the rights of indigenous people as international financiers, corporations and timber companies get involved. Mongabay points out that an alternative vision of REDD is being put forth by the Accra Caucus on Forests and Climate Change that addresses these concerns:

"When forest-dependent communities gain control over forest resources, they are best at protecting them against destruction by others. Providing REDD funding to industrial logging or strict nature conservation programs that do not respect local peoples' rights and usages of the forest could be counter-productive, and fuel conflict and poverty," explains Nat Dyer of the Rainforest Foundation UK, which is a member of the coalition making up the Accra Caucus on Forests and Climate Change.

To ensure that REDD protects the rights of some 350 million indigenous people living in an near forests, the Caucus recommends: 1) Full and effective participation of local peoples; 2) Recognition of indigenous land rights; 3) Employing community-based forest management, which allows for sustainable forest use by local communities. Furthermore, any REDD deal must be made with "free, prior and informed consent" of indigenous groups.

amazon deforestation photo

photo: Samuel M Beebe/Ecotrust via flickr

This is latest in a long line of reports stating that indigenous rights are crucial to stopping deforestation. We'd be wise to pay attention to this.

Stopping deforestation is crucial for both preventing climate change--remember that emissions from deforestation are about the same as those from the entire transportation sector--and preserving biodiversity, but in our efforts to do that we can't continue to sideline the concerns of indigenous people, just because it seems easier than changing behavior in highly polluting developed and developing nations.

Like this? Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

More on Deforestation:
Indigenous Rights Crucial to Reducing Carbon Emissions from Deforestation
Legal Opinion Finds Indigenous Amazon Tribe Owns Carbon Rights
REDD Forest Protection Scheme Still Missing Key Safeguards as Barcelona Climate Talks Close

Related Content on