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Development Agression as Economic Growth: A Report by Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)

Executive Summary

The world leaders are meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012 to discuss the state of the world’s biological resources and sustainable development. The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio +20, comes amidst a time when the world’s resources are now controlled by a few, and where economic development is driven by unbridled resource extraction. Even before sustainable development became a global agenda, indigenous peoples had been practicing their own sustainable, self-determined development in their homelands. It is for this reason that the Rio Conference in 1992,1 under Principle 22 of the Rio Declaration and Chapter 26 of Agenda 21, recognized the vital role of indigenous people in sustainable development and identified indigenous peoples as one of the nine Major Groups. This was reiterated by the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002 where more that 100 Heads of States “...reaffirm[ed] the vital role of the indigenous peoples in sustainable development.”2 It was the first time that a High Level UN Summit used the phrase “indigenous peoples” with an “s” in its Outcome Document. This was the result of the intense and sustained advocacy and lobby efforts of indigenous leaders, organizations and movements.

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Comic Book: Forest is Life-A Story on Climate Change, Forests and Communities

Climate change is a commonly-discussed issue nowadays, and has become an environmental problem affecting people throughout the world. Climate change is resulting in shifting weather patterns and other global effects such as unseasonal rains that affect agriculture, droughts, increased temperatures, floods, plagues and diseases. Global warming is mainly the result of CO2 levels rising in the earth's atmosphere. Scientists say about 18% to 25% of the global CO2 emissions are a result of destruction and degradation of forests. This book provides information on climate change and REDD (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries) one of the mitigation measures currently promoted for helping decrease emissions of carbon into the atmosphere.

As a handbook for communities, the content is simplified and accompanied by illustrations and photos for visualization. It is intended primarily for communities (villagers), minorities and students as a guide in understanding climate change, REDD and how they relate to the full and effective participation of local people/indigenous people.

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Customary Law in Forest Resources Use and Management - A Case Study among the Dzao and Thai People in North-West Vietnam

Vietnam is home to 53 ethnic minority groups who mostly live in the forested uplands. Numbering over twelve million people, they highly depend on forests for their livelihood and development. But the pressures on these forests are ever increasing, posing a serious threat to the lives and stability of millions of people.

 
Since the early 1990s, Vietnam has attempted to address deforestation by decentralizing forest management. Under the forest land allocation programme long-term use rights over forest land are provided to individual households and communities. However, while the programme has been successful in improving forest conservation, the benefits of the programme have been unevenly distributed. Especially in mountainous areas, where the majority of ethnic minorities live, its implementation has been slow and many communities remain without secure tenure rights.

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Drivers of Deforestation? Facts to be considered regarding the impact of shifting cultivation in Asia

An estimated 260 million indigenous peoples live in Asia. Most of them inhabit forested uplandswhere a large number of them practice shifting cultivation, which is also called as swidden cultivationor rotational farming. For them, shifting cultivation is not merely a technique of farming; it is theirway of life. Government policies and laws have attempted to limit or outright ban shifting cultivationsince it is considered a primitive and destructive form of land use. Recently, several governments of theregion involved in REDD have identified shifting cultivation as a driver of deforestation in their REDDReadiness-Plan Idea Note (R-PIN) and Readiness Preparation Proposals (RPP).

Decades of research on virtually every aspect of shifting cultivation has generated sufficient evidence toprove that its sweeping condemnation by government bureaucrats, politicians or professionals is basedon insufficient and erroneous information, or quite simply myth.

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Thai Version: "Climate Change, Trees and Livelihood: A Case Study on the Carbon Footprint of a Karen Community in Northern Thailand"



 

Conclusion of the Study:

Ways of life and agricultural patterns of highland peoples do not contribute adversely to climate change. On the contrary, traditional livelihood practices of these peoples are helping to balance the ecological system, effectively mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change and maintain a sustainable food security. The research has proven three major points:


  • Farming activities of the Huay Hin Lad community cause little emission: only 476 tons of carbon (1,745.33 tons of CO2) from shifting cultivation fields and 68 tons of carbon (249.33 tons of CO2) from corn production. Rice fields release only 0.8 ton of Methane (16.80 tons CO2 equivalents) and corn fields release 0.1 ton of Nitrous oxide (31 tons CO2 equivalents) from using urea fertilizer. The community's capacity (total) to store carbon is 720,627 tons (equivalent to 2,642,299 tons of CO2). Annual carbon emission therefore is only 0.08% of the carbon stored.
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