Press release from Tebtebba and CHIRAPAQ

  • Indigenous Peoples point out that the inhabitants of the forest are better qualified than anyone else to understand what is occurring in their territories and to deal with problems such as illegal logging.
  • They demand that the Green Climate Fund allocate funds so that Indigenous Peoples can be trained in the use of technology to measure carbon.

Since 2009, the members of the Global Partnership of Indigenous Peoples on Climate Change and Sustainable Development have participated in international conferences on climate change. They are participating as observers at the COP20 in Lima.

The members stated that due to the active participation of Indigenous Peoples during the COP16 in Cancun, Mexico, they were able to dialogue with and influence the States. This COP in Peru has allowed them to continue this dialogue.

Among those agreements adopted in Cancun were a series of safeguards, in the form of policies and processes to prevent social and environmental damage in preparation and implementation of the REDD programs and projects. REDD is a mechanism which serves to avoid deforestation and degradation of forests. The safeguards highlight the need for countries to promote the respect for Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge and their collective and individual rights and to ensure their full and effective participation in all projects that take place in the forests where they live.

“We hope that REDD does not turn into another way to take away Indigenous Peoples’ territories,” stated Stanley Kimaren Riamit, leader of the Massai of Kenya.

The members of the partnership stated that the value of the forests, where they live, should not be measured only by the amount of carbon on their land. “The forests are our source of life, the foundation of our culture, the home of our ancestors, our pharmacies and our food supply and not only do we benefit from them but so does the entire world,” they explained.

The leaders from Nicaragua, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Kenya and Peru stated that these safeguards require collecting more information about the traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples. Through a public statement they indicated, “As the inhabitants of forest, we are better qualified to monitor what is occurring on our lands, which makes us excellent allies for defending the forests, if the States will allow it.”

However, they mentioned that their proposals for improving the safeguard reporting systems are considered by the States to be a burden and not an opportunity to ensure the respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples. They demand that the reports on safeguards which their States present to the UN, should include indicators on biodiversity, its use, the health of their people, and the titling of their territories.

They stated they understand the limitations that this represents for the States. To this end, the members of the Alliance have worked on a joint integrated monitoring system of the forests of Latin America, Asia, and Africa. This system gathers indicators not only about the forest carbon but also about the traditional knowledge used in connection with forest management.

The successful outcome allows them to affirm that it is possible to incorporate into national forest monitoring systems the traditional systems used by their peoples to care for the forest. The data collected provides for a better design and implementation of REDD programs and other public policies related to the protection of the environment and the adaptation to climate change.

In conclusion, they stated, “During this COP20 in Lima, we hope the guidelines for the next climate agrement, which will be approved in 2015, will recognize and incorporate the practice and knowledge of Indigenous Peoples.”

The Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples on Climate Change and Sustainable Development is made up of 17 indigenous organizations from 13 countries from Latin America, Africa, and Asia. This network seeks to influence decisions, policies and programs related to the adaptation of climate change, mitigation and forests, such as REDD+. For more information please visit the website at: www.indigenousclimate.org

Brazil: CIR Consejo Indígena de Roraima, Cameroon: Lelewal Foundation, The Philippines: Tebtebba (Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education), NNK Naundet ni Napaknuhan ni Kalanguya, SILDAP SIlingang Dapit sa Sidlakang Mindanao; Indonesia: AMAN Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara, ID Institut Dayakologi, Kenya: MPIDO Mainyoito Pastoralists Integrated Development Organization, ILEPA Indigenous Livelihoods Enhancement Partners; Mexico: ASAM-DES Asamblea Mixe para el Desarrollo Sostenible, Nepal: NEFIN Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities, Nicaragua: CADPI Centro para la Autonomía y Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas; Peru: CHIRAPAQ Centro de Culturas Indígenas del Perú; Vietnam: CERDA Centre of Research and Development in Upland Areas; Paraguay: FAPI Federacion por la Autodeterminacion de los Pueblos Indigenas; Democratic Republic of Congo: DIPY Dignite Pygmee; Bangaldesh: Maleya Foundation

Lima, December 5,  2014.

Press contact information:

Verónica Vargas Merino

CHIRAPAQ, Centro de Culturas Indígenas del Perú

Mobile: 950-475-066, Telephone: 423-2757

prensa@chirapaq.org.pe