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Briefing paper on REDD+, Rights and Indigenous Peoples: Lessons from REDD+ Initiative in Asia

The idea of including ‘reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries’ in the global climate change negotiations was first presented by the Coalition for Rainforest Nations in 2005, at the UNFCCC’s 11th Conference of the Parties in Montreal, Canada. Five years later, in 2010, REDD was part of the agreements reached at the 16th COP in Cancun Mexico. During these five years REDD has evolved considerably. While the original idea behind REDD was to pay forest owners for preventing deforestation and thus reduce carbon emissions, the Cancun Agreement broadened the scope of REDD to include both actions that prevent emissions and actions that increase removal of carbon from the atmosphere, i.e. conservation and sustainable management of forests – thus the term “REDD plus”.

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Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change Adaptation in Asia

It is estimated that there are 350-400 million indigenous peoples in the world; two-thirds of them live in Asia1. However, it is difficult to give an accurate total number of the population of indigenous peoples because many are not recognized and reflected in national censuses in Asia. Indigenous peoples are some of the most impoverished, marginalized and vulnerable peoples in the world and are also the most affected by climate change impacts and its uncertainties.

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INTRODUCTION: Global efforts are currently underway to protect and restore forests as part of global initiatives to address and mitigate climate change. These efforts are formally referred to as REDD plus – (REDD+, or Reduced Emissions from Deforestation, forest Degradation, conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries) and are considered by many as a historic opportunity for forest conservation.

Critics point at the complexity of REDD+ and its inherent difficulties, predicting it to fail. Others, however, already consider REDD a “remarkable achievement” since the idea of REDD has been taken “to the point where a working model is on the horizon – all in a mere five years” (Mercer et.al. 2011: 272)

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Training Manual on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in REDD+ for Indigenous Peoples


 This Training Manual on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in REDD+ for Indigenous Peoples is the third in a series of four manuals after What is REDD?, What to do with REDD?, and Understanding Community-based REDD+. The first two publications (i.e., What is REDD and What to do with REDD?) were focused on raising awareness of indigenous communities for a better understanding of the concept of REDD+, on what the possible impacts and opportunities of REDD+ are, and how to protect their rights in REDD+ processes and mechanisms. The manual on Understanding Community-based REDD+, on the other hand, focused on assisting indigenous communities to gain knowledge, skills and equip them for full and effective participation in REDD+.

This manual is the product of the collective work of indigenous peoples’ leaders and representatives engaging in processes related to REDD+. The process that has resulted in this manual includes a write-shop of indigenous representatives from REDD+ countries, a review of materials relating to REDD+ and FPIC, and consultations with indigenous experts. The initial draft served as the guide for the Regional Training of Trainers (TOT) on FPIC in REDD+. This process ensures the reflection of the perspectives of indigenous peoples in development of this manual.

Since the REDD+ final design and architecture - including its key elements such as financing and the system of information, implementation and monitoring of safeguards - is under negotiations for a comprehensive agreement on REDD+, this manual should be treated as a working guide. It shall be updated according to key developments relating to REDD+ and the experiences and insights of indigenous peoples on the application of environmental and social safeguards, including the right to FPIC of indigenous peoples in REDD+.

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(Khmer Version) Info Poster: Indigenous Peoples, Climate Change and REDD

What is Climate Change?

Any change in global temperatures and precipitation over time largely due to human activities that are emitting “green house gases” GHG – mainly carbon dioxide. The accumulation of “green house gases” (GHGs) in the atmosphere, which traps the heat that comes into the earth, is then causing global warming.

The impacts of climate change are then felt in all parts of the globe through the unpredictable weather patterns, long droughts, massive flooding, and tsunami, among others. Indigenous peoples who have the least contribution to global warming with their simple, low carbon-lifestyles, are now suffering from the adverse impacts of climate change resulting in food insecurity, loss of livelihoods and traditional knowledge, displacements among others.

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