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Indigenous groups wary of post-Kyoto agreement
An article by Ben Block of WorldWatch discusses how indigenous peoples and traditional groups are expressing concern over further disempowerment that may result from the new post-Kyoto climate agreement.
Negotiators and advocates are considering mechanisms to protect standing forests from deforestation under the much-cited Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) component. Block states in his article that,
“Several indigenous groups initially opposed REDD due to their suspicion that it would be another form of Western land-grabbing. But climate negotiators say a solution would ideally benefit the traditional stewards of the world's forests through some sort of financial compensation. As awareness grows about the potential benefits for forest peoples, some indigenous leaders are shifting towards wary support. But they still emphasize that without official land rights for indigenous peoples, REDD will likely lead to further suffering.”
Advocates complain that at a time when indigenous peoples’ rights to land should be at the forefront of climate change adaptation dialogue, first peoples are often sidelined and granted only ‘observer status’ at international meetings. “When you don’t have recognized status, you’re not existent. You’re not at the table,” stated Kanyinke Sena, the Indigenous People of Africa Coordinating Committee’s Eastern Africa representative.
The policies under consideration would allow industrialized nations to compensate developing states for protecting their forests through a REDD mechanism built into the new climate treaty. Indigenous communities were however, left out of consultations on a REDD pilot program launched by the World Bank in July. At recent talks on the REDD program, Amazon Alliance hand-delivered a letter to World Bank president Robert Zoellick demanding that the Bank “cease its exclusion of indigenous peoples and the violation of our rights.”
Despite increasing visibility of indigenous peoples at international climate change talks, indigenous community representatives still feel that their voices and concerns are marginalized. Commenting at the World Bank, Juan Carlos Jintiach, the executive co-director of Amazon Alliance and a member of the Shuar tribe of Ecuador stated, "I don't want them to ever forget us. There are not just trees there; there are human begins there now."
Posted By Lopaka Purdy at 9:46am on September 25, 2008
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