Tuesday, 20 July 2010

JOAS Climate Change focal point comments on Civil Society excluded from interim REDD partnership meeting

JOAS Climate Change focal point, Jen Rubis, comments on Civil Society excluded from interim REDD partnership meeting in Brazil.

16 July 2010

While certainly this train of events for is alarming for civil society, I would say that for Indigenous Peoples, it was even worse. The International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) is a long-existing platform open to all Indigenous Peoples and that serves as the IPO constituency at the UNFCCC and one that brings together IP organizations and networks from local to national, regional and international levels. Neither the IIPFCC or even indigenous organizations that are active at the IIPFCC had received any invitations, funded or otherwise by the Interim REDD+ Partnership to the meeting in Brazil. Certainly it represents a step backwards from the Government of Norway’s Climate and Forest Initiative (NCFI) meeting in May 2010, the precursor to this Initiative, where Indigenous Peoples were invited, though only as observers.

Jen Rubis at the COP 15 UNFCCC Climate Change Negotiations, Copenhagen 2009.
Photo by
Ben Powless

All these leads to the worrying trend that, despite promising steps in the proposed international regulatory framework for REDD regarding the rights of Indigenous Peoples, there is little prioritization for putting the principle of full and effective participation into practice. The participation of Indigenous Peoples is a right internationally recognized in various conventions and international agreements to which all parties to the Partnership have signed on to.

Participation in the process is not equal agreeing to or endorsing the REDD+ Partnership, and in no way tantamount to the free, prior, informed consent of the rightsholders. However it is a necessary pre-condition to Indigenous Peoples being able to make a decision, without prejudice to the outcome of the decision. Furthermore, full and effective participation has to be facilitated and supported at all levels and it is not participation when decisions on when and who to participate are not made by Indigenous Peoples through our own processes but by other parties.

We as Indigenous Peoples continue to state that we are rightholders in this process. Our participation is only one aspect of our rightful and legitimate concerns regarding the REDD+ partnership process. The lack of our participation is in itself a violation of our rights by governments. The trend to not even acknowledge our participation as stakeholders is alarming and does little to reassure us that

1, governments are serious and determined to stop the violations of our human rights and indigenous peoples’ rights; that these violations will not continue at international and national level and that REDD will not contribute to these violations; and

2, that this hasty process of implementation, without participation or even consultation, will bring about the result that the governments are trying to achieve i.e. real, meaningful reductions in emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

Jen is a Dayak, from Sarawak and the Climate Change focal point for the Indigenous Peoples’ Network of Malaysia (JOAS)

No comments: