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Indigenous peoples bypassed at Cancun Climate Change conference

….Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD). pays lip service to indigenous land tenure and practices, while often undermining and even prohibiting them.

The Missing Delegate at Cancún: Indigenous Peoples, NatGeo News Watch, 10 Dec 10, As nearly 200 delegates gather at the Conference of the Parties in Cancun, Mexico, writer Dennis Martinez points out that Indigenous peoples and their advocates have no official seat among nations, and yet have experienced the worst impacts of climate change.

To solve the problem, delegates of the wealthy nations have a climate-mitigation plan of choice — carbon offsets embodied in a program called Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD). But for healthy and stable ecosystems, Martinez finds that it fails to measure up to an overlooked method: continued indigenous stewardship.

So they are at it again. At last year’s summit in Copenhagen for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the most powerful nations on the planet failed to set binding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Meeting in Cancun, Mexico, this week, the industrialized countries are repeating the performance. They are, again, avoiding the drastic cuts recommended by scientists — and, again, diverting attention to the alternative these countries put forward in Copenhagen: a proposal that allows them to continue polluting, and offset the results via forest conservation.

The proposal is a suite of options known as REDD+ or REDD (for “Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries”).

Funded by the World Bank, wealthy countries, and three UN agencies, REDD is designed to allow polluters to offset the emissions in industrialized countries by paying for the carbon absorbed in standing trees of developing countries…….

Any agreement at Cancun would give REDD a tremendous boost as industrialized countries would release billions of dollars in pledges; and if the agreement hitches REDD to a carbon market, reassured investors would pump in massive amounts of capital. According to a perhaps-generous estimate by the UN-REDD Programme, the total infusion could reach “up to $30 billion a year,” which proponents say will put saving the planet on a sound financial footing.

But even if everything worked perfectly in such a carbon market, REDD would not actually stop greenhouse gas emissions at the tailpipe or smokestack — it would just generate pollution credits…………..

Perhaps most tellingly, all the talk of silver linings and “win-win” has failed to win over arguably the most vulnerable constituent in the REDD debate: traditional Indigenous peoples.

From the glacier-fed valleys of the Himalayas and Amazonia, to the thawing Arctic, to the islands of Papua New Guinea and savannah of Kenya, indigenous peoples act as stand-ins for all of us. They are experiencing the first, most direct impacts of climate change (while bearing the least responsibility for them).

Because many of these indigenous cultures depend directly on their local environments for sustenance, they are the most vulnerable to climate disruption, and have the most to lose. So their perspective should give us pause…………REDD pays lip service to indigenous land tenure and practices, while often undermining and even prohibiting them. If the participants at Cancún allow or reinforce the separation of indigenous communities from their ancestral forests, and disregard the biodiversity crisis while evading necessary emission cuts, it would be worse than the usual injustice to marginalized traditional cultures. It would be a betrayal of future generations of all humanity.

The Missing Delegate at Cancún: Indigenous Peoples – NatGeo News Watch

December 10, 2010 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, indigenous issues

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