Colombia, Ecuador and Peru are committed to including an indigenous approach in forest management

Colombia, Ecuador and Peru are committed to including an indigenous approach in forest management

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According to the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), the central organization of the indigenous organizations of the Amazon, the indigenous territories of the Amazon Basin, which represent 25% percent of the total area, contain forests that store between 30 and 46 million tons of carbon. In this context and taking into account the potential for mitigation of climate change that these territories represent, COICA formulated a first proposal with an indigenous focus on REDD +, the United Nations mitigation mechanism.

The project, also called “REDD + Indígena Amazónico (RIA), was created by COICA and WWF Germany, together with the WWF of the countries involved and Brazil. With a budget of 2,750,000 euros for the period 2014-2017, it is 90% financed by the German Ministry of the Environment through the International Climate Protection Initiative (IKI) while WWF contributes the remaining 10%.

The origin of this alternative concept to REDD + emerged at the 2011 Amazon Summit, according to Ricardo Burgos, Director of RIA, who presented the latest progress of the project in the climate negotiations that are taking place in Bonn this week. Burgos recalled that RIA focuses on "generating knowledge about the contribution of indigenous territories to adaptation, mitigation and resilience to climate change, strengthening the governance of indigenous territories and raising awareness of national policies."

One of the main characteristics of the indigenous approach is a comprehensive and holistic vision of climate change that goes beyond carbon sequestration, including other goods and services that forests and indigenous territories can provide. “REDD + only considered losses, that is, carbon credits and there was no other space. RIA has opened and expanded it, having a strong impact because those points are already in the Paris agreement, "said the RIA director.

About 2 million hectares affected

The project, which is carried out in various indigenous territories in the three countries involved, is in various phases. In Colombia, this year the holistic concept began to be implemented in the indigenous registry of the Putumayo Estate, La Chorrera community, which has an area of ​​1 million hectares. Likewise, field studies are being carried out on biodiversity, carbon and threats to the forest. While in Ecuador, whose land has not been specified but which will cover an area of ​​more than 250,000 hectares, training activities have been carried out since last year.

"In Peru, the governance strategy for implementation is much clearer," said Burgos. In the Amakarei communal reserve, of 540,000 hectares, a system of indigenous management approach is being worked on in the reserve management contracts. Likewise, environmental studies and a cultural map have been carried out, among other actions.

Regional vision with international component

Although the first problem for indigenous peoples is land rights, RIA must face particular complications such as long distances and the scarcity of transportation in the area, as well as cultural differences, the generation of technical information such as deforestation rates or the variability of the data that refer to the rate of forest renewal. However, the most difficult thing for Burgos is "to establish dialogue processes with the countries since there may be many sensitivities from each of the parties."

In addition to the strong regional vision, the project also incorporates an international component including the participation of Amazonian indigenous leaders in international negotiation spaces. “With little time, the project has already influenced the Paris Agreement. Article 5 on forests has to do with the indigenous agenda and our indigenous points of view have already been considered ”, highlighted Burgos. However, "there should be mechanisms that make explicit the contribution of indigenous peoples to climate change, especially in forest territories," he added. Likewise, he considered it vital to maintain indigenous rights in the texts, who with "their simplicity of life and low emissions make a habitable world possible."


Video: Webinar: Development perspectives of Amazonian Indigenous Peoples post COVID-19. (July 2022).


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