Rights-based rainforest protection. Why securing the rights of forest peoples is the right way to save the forest
The loss of the world’s rainforest has for decades been recognised as a serious, global environmental problem, both by rainforest nations and the international community. Still, 13 million hectares of tropical forest disappear every year. There is, thus, an urgent need for intensified efforts at the appropriate scale and with the right approach. In this report, Rainforest Foundation Norway shows how a rights-based approach is both the most effective way to protect the rainforest, as well as the best way to avoid that forest protection leads to human rights violations. Political will to shape and implement the right forest management policies at the national level in rainforest nations is necessary to halt the destruction of the rainforest. The international community, and particularly the rich nations, have an obligation to support these measures. They will also be among the beneficiaries when the world’s most important reservoir of biodiversity and a globally significant climate regulator are protected. But efforts of forest protection will never be sustainable if they ignore the rights and interests of people living in the world’s forests. Rights-based rainforest protection takes as its starting point the customary rights of local forest communities to their traditional lands, resources and culture. It is an approach normatively grounded in international human rights standards and operationally directed to promoting and protecting human rights. Rights-based rainforest protection is built on the acknowledgement of the key role of local communities and indigenous peoples in the management of forests.