REDD+ safeguards: more than good intentions? Case studies from the Accra Caucus



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A volume of case studies from the Accra Caucus on Forests and Climate Change was launched at the latest round of UNFCCC negotiations in Bonn, at a highly attended side event on June 11 2013 with the following speakers: Pasang Dolma Sherpa from the Indigenous Peoples Network NEFIN in Nepal, Adrien Sinafasi of the indigenous Peoples Dynamic Group (DGPA) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Benardus Steni of HuMa, Indonesia, and Eric Parfait Essomba of the Centre for Environment and Development (CED), Cameroon. Jean La Rose, of the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) in Guyana could not travel to Bonn for the event.

This is the third volume of case study reports from the Accra Caucus on Forests and Climate Change, reporting on the implementation of REDD+ in the following countries; Guyana, Nepal, Indonesia, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The first set of case studies from the Accra Caucus, published in 2010, outlined the risks of implementing REDD+ in countries with a poor forest governance record; the second volume, in 2011, confirmed that the REDD+ readiness process had done little if anything to address these concerns.

The Accra Caucus has followed the international REDD+ negotiations since 2008, and its members are heavily involved in advocating for a rights-based approach, to ensure that the rights of forest peoples are respected and form an integral part of efforts to tackle forest loss. Indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities have generally been the main defenders of tropical forests.

To be effective and ensure lasting forest protections, REDD+ must be constructed in a way that supports their struggle.

The report showcases lessons from the ground in Guyana, Indonesia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Nepal and presents evidence from the perspective of civil society, indigenous peoples and forest-based communities, and show that there are continuing concerns about the current direction of REDD+, in some countries. It shows that engagement of civil society must be taken seriously by governments, and not used to legitimize processes without taking concerns raised seriously.        

The country based examples presented here reveal that some governments lack understanding of implementation of the REDD+ safeguards. The lack of common standards open the door for diverging views and practices, meaning that while some countries may spend significant resources and effort on the implementation of safeguards, others may take shortcuts. The consequence of these shortcuts can be human rights violations and other unintentional negative effects from REDD+.