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Press Release

In a new study released today, researchers say they have identified significant flaws in ambitious forest preservation projects underway in a densely-forested region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where a decision on future investment by the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) is imminent. The DRC province of Mai-Ndombe has been a testing ground for international climate schemes designed to halt forest destruction while benefiting indigenous and other local peoples who depend on forests for their food and incomes, with US$90 million already dispersed or committed for climate finance in the province.

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Con su sombrero de ala ancha, Carlos Pérez Sebastián, nuestro guía de campo durante la semana, afirmó: “La silvicultura comunitaria es una gran alternativa para el desarrollo, pues mejora los espacios verdes, el oxígeno, el agua y la biodiversidad. Al practicar la silvicultura comunitaria, estamos garantizando un mejor futuro para nuestros hijos y nietos”. Carlos explicaba esto al pie de una ladera que un ejido (grupo forestal comunitario) había restaurado con especies autóctonas en Cruz de Oco

In India, making the business case for community forest rights

In 2006, India’s parliament passed the Forest Rights Act, or FRA — a groundbreaking legislation that recognizes the rights of forest dwellers to protect and manage forest resources. Over 10 years after the legislation has passed, only 3 percent of the land on which forest dwellers could potentially claim community forest rights has been secured, according to the Rights and Resources Initiative.

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Press Coverage

The biggest rainforest news stories in 2018

Recognition of the role local and indigenous communities have in stewarding forests continued to grow in 2018. More reports and studies argued that securing indigenous peoples’ land rights is one of the most cost-effective mechanisms for protecting forests and mitigating climate change. Accordingly, philanthropic attention and dollars shifted toward such efforts, including a pledge by group of 17 philanthropic foundations at the Global Climate Action Summit to support recognition of indigenous peoples’ and traditional communities’ collective land rights and resource management as part of their land-based climate change mitigation programs. A study co-authored by UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples and the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) even put a dollar figure on the labor and cash indigenous peoples invest in forest conservation efforts, estimating the annual contributions of such “Forest Guardians” at $1.7 billion.

The global community should address environmental issues as human rights issues

Overall, these approaches, which are framed as human rights issues alongside environmental issues, have a drastic impact on the globe’s future. In September, The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) published a study that found that “legally recognized indigenous and community forests tend to store more carbon and experience lower rates of deforestation than other forests.” RRI’s findings reinforce the view that locally managed forests, whether it is indigenous lands or communal lands, help connect the health of nature with the health of people and ultimately the health of our collective future.

Indigenous peoples denounce ongoing land rights violations in Ecuador

Indigenous people in Ecuador say their territorial rights are being systematically violated, according to a top United Nations official. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, is urging the Ecuadoran government to form a “truly plurinational and multicultural society” in accordance with its constitution and international law.

The Chao Lay, or people of the sea, have lived on the shores of Thailand and Myanmar for generations, fishing and foraging. But the community may be facing its greatest threat yet as marine conservation efforts limit their traditional fishing grounds, and a tourism boom pits them against developers keen on the patch of land that their boats, homes and shrines sit on.

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