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Recognizing communities’ rights to forests is crucial to combating global climate change

A new report authored by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC), and World Resources Institute (WRI) shows that at least one quarter of the carbon stored aboveground in the world’s tropical forests is found in the collectively-managed territories of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. Because these communities often lack secure rights to their land, one tenth of the world’s carbon contained aboveground in tropical forests is in collectively managed forests that lack formal, legal recognition. Without secure land tenure and natural resource rights for Indigenous Peoples and local communities, these forests are at risk of illegal exploitation by more powerful interests, leading to the destruction of forests and the release of immense stores of aboveground carbon into the atmosphere.

Read more: Recognizing communities’ rights to forests is crucial to combating global climate change

Addressing Indigenous Peoples’ Marginalisation at International Climate Negotiations

Indigenous Peoples (IP) are a critical and inadequately considered population in the climate change crisis. On the one hand, IP represent a rich source of local environmental knowledge and adaptability that can significantly contribute to global solutions1. On the other hand, IP globally face systemic discrimination and exclusion from political and economic power. This is particularly pertinent at the United Nations international climate change negotiations (UNFCCC) where IP are largely marginalised and their voices dismissed. To address climate change fairly and effectively, the marginalisation of Indigenous Peoples needs to be addressed. We propose actions necessary to right the scales and respect human and Indigenous rights.

Download this file (IP-marginalisation_CComberti.pdf)IP-marginalisation_CComberti.pdf[ ]1872 kB

Coverage of Selected Side Events at the Marrakech Climate Change Conference

Highlights for Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Joan Carling, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), said that some of the approved GCF projects pose serious threats to Indigenous Peoples, citing a dam project in Nepal. She said that while the GCF has adopted the IFC standards as interim safeguards, these were not considered in the Nepalese dam project. She stressed that there is a need to recognize Indigenous Peoples' rights and obtain their consent to the use of their land and resources, properly compensate them for such usage and include them in a benefit-sharing arrangement, should consent be provided.

Joan Carling, AIPP, said that if the Paris Agreement is to be effectively implemented, “we must go beyond business as usual and recognize Indigenous Peoples’ rights to ensure that their knowledge, culture and well-being continue.” 

Kittisak Rattanakrajansgsri, AIPP, focused on the holistic land use and livelihoods system of Indigenous Peoples as a means to adapt to climate change. Using a case study from the Huay Hin Lad Nai community in Thailand, he addressed, among others: categories of land types and land use; rice cultivation practices; and mixed farming. He concluded that the way the community uses resources reflects their intricate knowledge of the different ecosystems within their territory. 

Download this file (COP 22 Side Events.pdf)COP 22 Side Events.pdf[ ]5616 kB

Addressing Indigenous Peoples’ Marginalisation at International Climate Negotiations: Adaptation and resilience at the margins

This paper presents observations and interviews from COP21 in Paris to present the case for a restructuring of the UNFCCC to improve participation of IP. We conclude with recommendations to improve the situation: 1) Promote IP to full member status at the UNFCCC; 2) Employ IP as experts in work-streams and decisions around adaptation and loss & damage; 3) Direct and restructure financial streams, including the Green Climate Fund, towards increasing the autonomy and voice of IP; and 4) Ensure respect for IP and their rights and livelihoods at all levels of the negotiations, and decisions and programmes arising therefrom.

Download this file (SSRN-id2870412.pdf)SSRN-id2870412.pdf[ ]637 kB

Asia Indigenous Women’s Recommendations for Climate Change Policy-Makers

On 30th of October 2016, 32 indigenous women from eight countries[1] in Asia gathered in Yangon, Myanmar for AIPP’s 3rd Regional Exchange visit. Over the four-day event, the participants shared experiences; best practices and lessons learned on the impacts of climate change in their communities, such as creating conservation zones in watershed areas and surrounding forests and adjusting cultivation calendars to adapt with irregular weather patterns. Below is the summary and recommendations. 

Download this file (AIPP_Statement.pdf)AIPP_Statement.pdf[ ]392 kB