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FPP Releases 2010 Annual Report
A message from the Forest Peoples Programme Director Marcus Colchester about the 2010 Annual Report:
It is an old English custom that on your 21st birthday, you are given the ‘keys to the door’, symbolising your right to control property. As the Forest Peoples Programme completes its 21st year, it is finally becoming clear to policy-makers that the key to sustainable, equitable and climate-friendly development of forests is respect for the rights of forest peoples, including their right to ‘property’ – to own and control their ancestral forests. It has taken a long time to change an elitist mind-set that forests are best conserved by being taken out of people’s hands and entrusted to the State for ‘scientific’ management. Yet we have seen how under State control the world’s forests have been massively depleted. Now, long term academic studies show that indeed locally controlled forests are better for conservation, better at storing carbon and more productive for local livelihoods. Actually this has long been obvious, even if incontrovertible statistical data was lacking, but the lesson has been resisted by those from State and private sector agencies that benefit from the status quo through logging, plantations, land grabs and taking bribes.
Now that ‘saving the forests’ is again seen as a global imperative – as a cheap way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions while fossil fuel-dependent economies convert to alternative sources of energy – the battle to get forest peoples’ rights recognised has once more become a hot subject. Much of FPP’s effort this year has been to work from the bottom-up with forest peoples to help them deal with pilot projects for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) and at the same time to make sure that global agreements about REDD recognise forest peoples’ rights. We have made important progress and the main REDD agencies (among which the World Bank notably is lagging behind) do recognise that indigenous peoples’ right to give or withhold their free, prior and informed consent must be respected. The challenge in the years ahead is to make sure these promises translate into secure community control in practice. We thank all those who have supported us in this work.
Read the report in its entirety here.
Posted By Adam Houston at 11:48am on June 01, 2011
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