Protecting Indigenous Rights In Climate Policy

Promoting indigenous peoples’ rights in climate conservation initiatives

International Law Principles for REDD+ second version is now available! (Sept. 2013)

New comments from the Center on various REDD+ proposals by the World Bank and UN-REDD: World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’s Carbon Fund Draft Methodological Framework (Oct. 2013)


What is REDD+ and why is it important to Native peoples?

Wapichan village of Isherton, South Rupununi (Region 9), Guyana

As part of global climate negotiations, the world’s leaders recognized that deforestation is one of the leading causes of climate change, and launched a program to protect forests in developing countries. REDD+, which stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, allows developed countries, like the United States or France, to get credits toward reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by paying developing countries, like Mexico and Indonesia, to conserve their forests. A large percentage of REDD+ projects, however, are targeting indigenous peoples’ lands due to the fact that indigenous peoples own or live within much of the world’s remaining forests. Because indigenous peoples often lack legal land titles, their lands are vulnerable to takeover by governments, conservation groups, or private investors who wish to receive money through a REDD+ program. We’ve already seen indigenous communities violently expelled from their lands, or swindled by land speculators into signing away access to their forest resources through REDD+ projects. If REDD+ initiatives do not have strong policies preventing this type of abuse, violations will only get worse as more money is invested in REDD+.


International Law Principles for REDD+ 2013 version is now available!

In order to reorient REDD+ to respect the rights of indigenous peoples and address substantial risks to their livelihoods and ways of life, the Center developed the International Law Principles for REDD+: The Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Legal Obligations of REDD+ Actors


Center Advocacy with REDD+ implementing agencies:

The World Bank, the United Nations’ UN-REDD Programme and several other international agencies are implementing REDD+ projects. These institutions are currently in the process of developing their internal policies and regulations to govern REDD+ projects. Unfortunately, draft policy proposals have not contained effective protections for the rights of indigenous peoples. For this reason, the Center has been pushing REDD+ implementing institutions to adopt safeguards that are consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In our advocacy, we have made it clear that the World Bank, UN-REDD, and other agencies implementing REDD+ must ensure that no REDD+ project violates the rights of indigenous peoples, including their full ownership rights to land and natural resources and their right to self-determination.


Read the Center’s Comments and recommendations on the following
REDD+ Policy Proposals: