Day Ten: REDD on the Horizon
December 8, 2010 | No Comments
Just as our CEO, Terry Odendahl, forecasted yesterday, it appears that a new policy on REDD will, in fact, come out of the climate discussions in Cancún. According to the Washington Post, “the formal text on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, or REDD+, as it is known, is almost ready.”
But up to 5,000 people gathered on the streets of Cancún yesterday to protest the development of REDD policy by negotiators and the commercialization of forests. Although the program is one of the only concrete steps towards mitigating climate change—it would preserve the Earth’s forests, the loss of which accounts for 15% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions—it is being developed without the consideration for traditional indigenous knowledge and rights.
Terry caught up with Brian Keane of Land is Life this morning in Cancún to talk about REDD. Brian is on the Indigenous Caucus Drafting Committee for REDD, and he brought a delegation of almost a dozen indigenous leaders to Mexico with funding from Global Greengrants Fund. He told Terry the latest on REDD policy developments at COP16 and how the program is perceived by indigenous communities: (click the photo on the left to hear Brian’s 2-minute run-down)
IF REDD respects indigenous rights to free, prior and informed consent; if REDD is done in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; if REDD recognizes the important role that indigenous knowledge systems play in protecting the forests, then it could be an opportunity. Now the problem is…the way that REDD is developing, it does not do any of these things.
He goes on to speak about the exploitation already seen by those seeking carbon-trading agreements: holding guns to the heads of indigenous leaders; making secret deals with one community representative without anyone’s knowledge… “And I’m sure that for every one story we hear about, there are probably 10 that we don’t.”
There are still two days left of negotiations at COP16. We can only hope that some of Brian’s “IF”s become part of the new policy.