Understanding Community-Based REDD+ A Guide for Indigenous Communities

Understanding Community Based-REDD+ A Manual for Indigenous Communities

Introduction

In December 2010, after years of negotiations, an agreement on REDD was finally reached at the 16th Conference of Parties (COP 16) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Cancun, Mexico. Indigenous representatives worked hard to get the rights and concerns of indigenous peoples included in the agreement and they were successful. The references to indigenous peoples and their rights in this agreement are not as strong as they would have liked them to be, but at least they were included. And the agreement also refers of the UNDRIP, even though only in the Annex.

If you have already gone through and studied the first community guide “What is REDD?”, you will be familiar with the REDD agreement, and you will remember that the crucial paragraph is number 72, in which country Parties (that means governments) are requested to ensure “the full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders, inter alia, indigenous peoples and local communities” when developing and implementing their national strategies or action plans on REDD.

Paragraph 2 of Annex 1 of the agreement gives the details of the safeguards that governments are asked to promote and support when implementing REDD+. And one of these safeguards again talks of “the full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders, in particular indigenous peoples and local communities”.

But what does “full and effective participation” mean? This question is the main motivation for writing this manual.

 

What is the purpose of this manual?

While our first community guide “What is REDD?” aims to help indigenous communities to understand what REDD+ is and what its implications may be for them more generally, this manual looks at REDD+ at the project level and tries to provide some guidance to finding answers to questions like: How does REDD+ fit into the overall livelihood and forest management systems of indigenous peoples? How does REDD+ work on the ground? What are the typical activities of a REDD+ project? Who are involved in a REDD+ project? What are the particular knowledge and skills needed for implementing a REDD+ project?

By assisting communities in finding answers to such questions, the purpose of this manual is to help indigenous communities acquire the knowledge and skills needed to take a decision on whether to join a REDD+ project, and if they do, to be able to fully and effectively participate in it.

Like the first manual, this second manual does NOT intend to convince anybody to be for or against REDD+. It was written solely with the intention to help communities form their own opinion. And in order to do that it is important that communities fully understand how REDD+ works at the concrete project level before they start considering whether to join or not.

However, we believe that full and effective participation of indigenous peoples is only possible in the context of a REDD+ project that fully recognizes and protects IP rights and respects and promotes indigenous peoples’ social and cultural systems. Therefore, this manual is based on and seeks to promote in a holistic way an approach to REDD+ that respects and promotes

• The rights of indigenous peoples as provided for in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

• Indigenous peoples’ social and cultural systems, values and practices

• The protection of the environment and biodiversity.

Who is this manual for?

The manual will be useful for indigenous communities who:

• Are going to be affected by REDD+ projects initiated by outsiders and who, therefore, need to know what it is all about to be able to decide whether to go along with it or not

• Are considering to be a part of a larger REDD+ scheme initiated by others and want to know how to ensure their full and effective participation

• Are considering of having their own REDD+ project with an outside partner and want to know how this can be done so that they remain in control

Each country has its own set of laws and policies that affect a community’s decision making on REDD+. Nevertheless, 147 member countries of the UN have approved the UN Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The UNDRIP is an important tool for indigenous peoples to assert their rights vis-à-vis REDD+ project. In the first community guide “What is REDD?”, there is a separate chapter dealing with the UNDRIP and why it is important and useful for indigenous communities in the context of REDD+. Besides the UNDRIP, the UN has also developed a number of other international legal instruments that can be used for the protection of your rights.

Furthermore, it is important to remember that in addition to the REDD agreement mentioned earlier, the UNDRIP and other international legal instruments, most of the big players in REDD+ - the UN REDD Programme, the World Bank, donor countries or conservation agencies – have policies that at least to some extent recognize and protect the rights of indigenous peoples.

How do you use this manual?

If you are not even sure what REDD+ is at this point, do not worry. Our previously published community guide “What is REDD?” will equip you with the required basics. And if you want to know more, you can look up the references listed there. There is also a glossary so that you can easily look up unfamiliar terms you come across.

This manual is the second of a series of four manuals:

I. What is REDD?

II. Understanding Community-Based REDD+

III. FPIC for REDD+ - A guide for indigenous communities

IV. Advocacy, Lobbying and Negotiation Skills in REDD+

The first community guide “What is REDD?” intends to help indigenous communities gain a general understanding of what REDD is, what the “plus” in REDD+ means, what the possible impacts of REDD+ are and how their rights can be protected. To get into a REDD+ project, there are many technical requirements, and we want to ensure that the community is not left out in this part of the project; these are discussed in the second manual of our series “Understanding Community-Based REDD+”. This manual also covers some technical information that may be useful to the community whether or not they engage in REDD+, for instance inventory of their carbon stock. The purpose of this manual is to help indigenous communities acquire the knowledge and skills that would be needed for a full and effective participation in REDD+.

After knowing what REDD+ is all about and what it entails to be part of a REDD+ project, the forthcoming third manual “FPIC for REDD+ - A guide for indigenous communities” will provide an introduction to the principle of Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) and guidance on how FPIC can be applied. Its purpose is to help indigenous communities make a decision on whether they want to engage in REDD+ in general, or in a particular REDD+ project, and to ensure that their rights are fully protected.

Finally, in order to get their rights recognized by governments and other actors involved in or responsible for REDD+ strategies, programs and projects indigenous communities, their leaders and organisations may have to take action in the form of advocacy campaigns, lobbying decision makers, and in any case they will have to negotiate in order to make sure their positions are adequately taken into considerations. The aim of the fourth manual in this series on “Advocacy,

Lobbying and Negotiation Skills in REDD+” is to help improve the skills needed for all so that their advocacy and lobby work can be more effective.

This manual consists of four parts:

I. Before we start: Some basic concepts and facts

The first module of this manual gives a short introduction which will first reflect on the meaning of participation and how genuine participation is only possible if people are fully empowered, i.e. are in control of the process. It is followed by a brief outline of what Community-based REDD+ is.

II. Community-based REDD+ in practice: Some basic knowledge

This part has two modules: The first (Module 2) focuses on those aspects of forest conservation which under REDD+ are called “co-benefits”: biodiversity and livelihood. After introducing these two topics, an overview of different forms of land use in tropical forests, how they impact on biodiversity and what they offer in terms of livelihood for indigenous communities is given. This is followed by a chapter on the costs and benefits of REDD+ and a concluding chapter on land-use planning. The second module of this part (Module 3) tries to explain how REDD+ projects work, what are their components and what knowledge and skills are needed in their implementation. We are not covering all aspects in detail and the manual does not aim at providing the comprehensive technical training needed for independent REDD+ implementation.

Our objective is to ensure that communities gain sufficient knowledge to fully assess what participation in REDD+ implies, including the need for more specific capacity building and support. We will provide some references that will help in accessing these.

III. Community-based REDD+ in practice: Some useful skills

The third part aims to help communities acquire some skills that are useful not only in REDD+ projects, but also in community-based forest management in general. This part also consists of two modules. The first (Module 4) provides a simple guide on how to conduct independent carbon stock assessment and carbon monitoring. This is only one of the skills needed for the successful implementation of Community-based REDD+ projects. Communities may need to acquire other skills as well, which should be assessed with the help of a needs assessment. But carbon monitoring is for most a new activity and few communities may possess these skills already. Furthermore, being able to make carbon stock assessment and do regular carbon monitoring independently will be crucial for remaining in control of a REDD+ project. The second module of this part (Module 5) introduces two forest management techniques that have been developed and found very useful by the Ikalahan, an indigenous people of the Northern Philippines, FIT and enrichment planting. These techniques may also be helpful in the context of a REDD+ project.

IV. Do we want REDD+? Steps in assessing readiness for REDD+

In the final part of this manual (covered in Module 6) we will provide some guidance on how a community can make an assessment of and take a decision on a REDD+ project. It will briefly discuss how the principle of Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) can guide a community in dealing with REDD+ projects initiated by outsiders. After that guidance will be offered on how a community can assess whether it is ready to engage in a REDD+ project.

There are additional parts which will provide useful information:

  •  A glossary gives a handy definition for terms related to REDD+.
  •  The annex
  •  References are provided for each module if one would like to learn more about REDD+.
  •  A CD with various resources, like some of the references in PDF, MS Excel exercise files and visual material for the preparation of PowerPoint presentations (table of contents  
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