REDD governance and effective local participation

27 March 2009

To be effective, UN-REDD must work with both the state and with civil society organizations such as NGOs, writes Crispin Swedi Bilombele (Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Africa). If forests are given a financial value, then it is understandable that indigenous peoples fear the emergence of conflicts, especially between themselves and the state. We think that the UN-REDD program should be able to work with NGOs on a case-by-case basis, depending on the countries involved. UN-REDD should take advantage of existing experience with grassroots-level mobilization, and apply this expertise within the framework of specific projects such as on agroforestry. In our country, deforestation is due in particular to itinerant and ‘slash and burn’ agriculture, firewood and the export of forest products. Alternatives can be found for these three causes of deforestation. These solutions would allow sustainable forest management to emerge in DRC, but only if UN-REDD adopts the approach of working with grassroots NGOs, and does not waste funds on an inoperative bureaucracy on the ground.

Are the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and REDD going to address Nepalese indigenous peoples’ customary systems? No! writes Kamal Rai (Nepal, Asia). REDD emphasizes mainly politics and business for new colonization rather than rights, traditional lifestyle, custom, culture and the spiritual aspects of society. Trading in carbon emissions causes negative impacts for indigenous peoples’ traditional lifestyles. Indigenous peoples demand that their universal rights be recognized: free, prior and informed consent; full and effective participation and ownership of resources. If NO rights, we have the right to say “No REDD”!

REDD is a controversial subject for the Zo Community, notes Keihawlla Sailo (India, Asia). The majority of the Zo population lives in villages depending very much on forest wealth. They depend on forests for fuel. Many depend on shifting cultivation. Their livelihood coincides with the forests. It is the Zo traditional way of life to depend on Jhuming (shifting) cultivation since time immemorial. Recently, the land use policy advocated by our government has proposed to do away with Jhuming cultivation. Hydro-power projects and oil explorations are being planned, exploiting our lands and forests for the benefit of third parties and the government, who will receive nearly all royalties. Our contention is that whatever developments are to be projected in our lands and territories, they should be planned for the benefit of our community.

How can governments ensure that community voices are heard in discussions on REDD?

What are you doing in your community to take an active part in the REDD debate?

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