On Denial and Despair

A certain apocalyptic Hollywood blockbuster doing the rounds at cinemas worldwide promises, once again, to scare us out of our wits with the threat of unavoidable, impending doom. It has arrived just in time to add extra spice to media commentaries on global catastrophe ahead of COP 15 at Copenhagen. Coincidence? You be the judge.

Click here to read the full commentary authored by RECOFTC’s Ben Vickers.

Forests and Climate Change Mitigation: Local People Hold the Key

About 450 million people live in and around Asia-Pacific forests. They hold a vital stake in the success of REDD.

To ensure that local people work for REDD, and that REDD works for local people, the following is essential:

  • Going beyond REDD to REDD+ so that good forest management can be rewarded. REDD+ will capture the full value of the forest sector’s contribution to climate change mitigation and deliver benefits to managers who are already performing well.
  • Local people’s access, use, and management rights must not only be protected but need to be strengthened. This is essential for sustainable forest management and thus for REDD or REDD+. The rights, roles, and contributions of vulnerable groups – including indigenous peoples, the poor, women, and children – need to be recognized.
  • Carbon-financing benefits for local people must be additional. They must expand, not replace, existing benefits. Adequate safeguards for transparent, equitable, and accountable benefit sharing are essential to minimize negative social impacts and enhance REDD’s contribution to poverty reduction.
  • Meaningful participation of local and indigenous peoples is vital. Free, prior, and informed consent; shared decision making; and proper transparency and accountability must be the minimum standard. This requires the strengthening of currently weak governance systems, building trust amongst partners, and a commitment, especially by the more powerful players, to listen and learn. Without this, conflicts are likely.
  • Effective institutions, knowledgeable decision makers, and skilled forest managers are essential. These require capacity building at all levels, particularly at the grassroots

The complete RECOFTC brief can be accessed here

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