International Conference on Rights, Forests and Climate Change
RRI, in collaboration with Rainforest Foundation-Norway, will jointly host an international conference entitled Rights, Forests and Climate Change, October 15 – 17, 2008 in Oslo, Norway. The event will explore how clear tenure rights and community participation can be built into the design, implementation and monitoring of climate change interventions.
The conference agenda and the list of participants are now available for download. Please visit our conference blog, www.rightsandclimate.org, for more information and updates on the conference proceedings.
Growing global awareness of the role of forests in climate change presents both an opportunity and a threat for forest conservation, the rights of indigenous and other forest communities, and improvements in the livelihoods of forest and rural peoples. All new interventions should be tempered with the knowledge that prior international interventions in forest areas have had limited effect on loss and degradation of forests – primarily due to the fact that there has been inadequate effort to recognize human rights, clarify property rights, enable local enterprise development, and encourage the transparency and accountability necessary for equitable markets and governance to develop.
Pervasive poverty, corruption and social tension in forest areas have not only generated violent conflict and a concentration of forest wealth, but create a situation where new, additional investments risk catalyzing new discord and conflict unless they are carefully and equitably targeted. More than ever, the markets, livelihoods, and fates of forest dwellers are interlinked with those of the global community.
Lessons from early implementation measures will be highlighted, and the institutional structure of REDD and other carbon trading schemes will be discussed. The conference will deliberate how increased flows of investment in the forest sector due to climate change can help create conditions for carbon markets to work: secure forest access and ownership; the removal of regulatory barriers to allow equal and full participation of small forest-holders; and the involvement of smallholders in policy negotiations. The conference will identify concrete measures governments, donors and technical institutions can take to ensure that forest communities are able to adapt to climate change and are taken into consideration by mitigation mechanisms.
Gathering representatives from governments, civil society, indigenous peoples, academia and multilateral organizations, Rights, Forests and Climate Change will be the first major opportunity for the rights community and the climate change community to exchange ideas, lessons and plans for the future. It will provide a platform to take stock of the status of tenure, civil and political rights of forest communities at local, national and international levels and how these rights are considered in climate change discussions.
Through presentations, panels and plenary discussions, the conference will emphasize the roles of forest communities in mitigation strategies and the challenges communities without secure rights will face on a warming planet. Employing the collective expertise convened in Oslo, RRI and RFN hope to hone in on practical actions to recognize, protect and strengthen the rights of forest communities as the world reacts to climate change. Identifying these concrete measures will empower governments, donors, civil society and the private sector to ensure that forest communities are able to adapt to climate change and are taken into consideration by mitigation mechanisms.
In order to make the conference discussions available to the widest audience possible, a blog has been created where live conference updates, presentations and interviews with participants will be posted. Please visit www.rightsandclimate.org.
For more information, please write to Luke Bailey.