Climate Change News


Members of the indigenous community in La Roya, Peru (Photo: Juan Carlos Huayllapuma/CIFOR).

REDD+ has potential to exacerbate conflicts over land and abuses of Indigenous Peoples' rights, unless it is reoriented to promote participation and to strengthen indigenous rights. In a new publication from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), scientists Juan Pablo Sarmiento Barletti and Anne Larson analyze multiple allegations of abuses of the rights of Indigenous Peoples in the context of readiness and implementation of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) mechanism, part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's (UNFCCC).

This study reveals that some allegations of rights abuses arise from REDD+ implementation itself, while others emerge from the pre-existing context in which REDD+ is unfolding, and which it may exacerbate.

Despite these concerns, the study also highlights the opportunities for a rights-based approach to REDD+. Researchers remind that promoting and strengthening the rights of Indigenous Peoples will contribute to achieve REDD+ targets.

"Indigenous and community rights-holders need to be at the center of REDD+ or any successful global climate change solution," expressed Juan Pablo Sarmiento Barletti, a Seconded Post-Doctoral Fellow at CIFOR.

The study suggests eight specific recommendations, concerning three main areas of action: REDD+ safeguards; Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC); and rights to territory and self-determination.

Research shows that the implementation of REDD+ safeguards is affected by each country's political and socioeconomic priorities and framed within existing legal interpretations of rights. Although payment schemes require clearly defined safeguards and benefit-sharing schemes, these are not being properly implemented by governments or enforced by the international community. Rather than being seen as a tool to discourage negative impacts, REDD+ safeguards must be reframed to recognize the key role of Indigenous Peoples in climate change initiatives and protecting forests, researchers suggest.

Most REDD+ projects did not apply Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC), took decisions prior to community consultation, and purposefully withheld information to manage community expectations, the study notes. The highly technical character of REDD+ is an additional challenge to the participation of Indigenous Peoples, unless there are concerted efforts to build capacity at the grassroots level. Ensuring the consistent participation of indigenous men and women throughout REDD+ processes is imperative, researchers conclude, as well as building capacity and following clear guidelines for FPIC.

As for rights to territory and self-determination, the review demonstrates how REDD+ may exacerbate pre-existing land-related tensions. The study observes that REDD+ focuses on tropical forests in countries with weak systems of governance and histories of land tenure conflicts, structural discrimination and violence towards Indigenous Peoples. Sarmiento Barletti and Larson suggest that, whenever REDD+ encounters unfulfilled claims to territory, it should lead efforts to define land tenure titling and formalization initiatives.

Background and methodology

Researchers conducted a systematic search of scholarly literature looking for allegations of rights violations, as defined under the United Nations Human Rights conventions, the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) or the International Labour Organisation's Covenant 169 (ILO 169). Sarmiento Barletti and Larson found 85 articles detailing allegations in various countries, which are at different stages of REDD+ readiness and implementation. Examples of allegations include abuse of the rights to freedom from forced removal from their lands, participation in the decisions that affect them, or redress for land and resources taken or damaged without consent.

Source: CIFOR | 10 November 2017



* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

We know climate change will heavily impact communities’ access to clean drinking water and decent sanitation systems – but the inability of local, national and international institutions to coordinate means that available climate finance is not being matched with solid plans to help those in need. It’s time for a clear path of action.

The headline figure for helping developing countries cope with climate change -- $100bn pledged by wealthy countries in the lead-up to the Paris climate treaty – sounded impressive. However, getting that money released is only the first part of the struggle. Those governments with nations and communities already struggling with a changing climate are failing to get to grips with how to channel that money to where it is most needed: to assist the poorest and most vulnerable people. 

Read more: From climate change prevention to climate protection


Sculptors put the finishing touches on one of seven paper mache elephant sculptures on display in exhibit ‘We Love Our Momos’ at Mahabandoola Park, Yangon. Nyan Zay Htet/ The Myanmar Times

COMMUTERS could be excused for thinking someone spiked their morning laphet yay with reports of a rather unusual site in downtown Yangon today; a herd of elephants out the front of city hall towering above the gridlock of cars and buses. 

But these aren’t hallucinations.  This very real sculpture exhibition marks the beginning of a six-month campaign to draw attention to elephant poaching and confront the crisis which has seen Myanmar’s wild elephant population reduced to alarming levels.

Read more: As Myanmar’s elephants vanish, artists bring them to life in downtown Yangon



Climate change resilience in agriculture and livestock sectors is one of the focus areas of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to support Myanmar’s effort to attain food security in the next five years, the agency’s country representative said.

Read more: FAO aims to make Myanmar farming climate-change proof


Delegates arrive at the convention center during the COP 23 Fiji UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany (Nov. 6, 2017). Image Credit: AP Photo/Martin Meissner

When Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama assumed the presidency of the 23rd meeting of the UN’s climate change convention on November 6, he was a long way from his Pacific home. Fiji is the first Pacific Island country to host a UN Conference of the Parties (COP), but is doing so remotely from Bonn, Germany.

With a population of less than one million people, Fiji has taken on an outsized role at the United Nations in recent years, becoming a much more prominent leader on climate change than many much larger countries.

Despite being held in a cold German city, COP 23 will have many Fijian touches. Fiji will lead a dialogue following the Pacific principles of “Talanoa” – sharing stories to build empathy and trust. Bainimarama also plans to delegate formal proceedings so that he can play “a roving role” and be on hand “to resolve any difficulties in the formal negotiations.”

Read more: Can Fiji Save the World?


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Jakarta. Indonesia's Peatlands Restoration Agency, or BRG, on Tuesday (07/11) showcased the progress it has made in restoring the country's peatlands at the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC COP 23, in Bonn, Germany.

Read more: Indonesia Shows Off Progress in Peatland Restoration at UN Climate Change Summit


A satellite image showing deforestation in Malaysian Borneo to allow the plantation of oil palm. Photo: NASA via Wikimedia Commons

Too much Halloween candy is a recipe for a stomachache. It’s also part of the recipe for climate change.

Most candy, along with many snack foods and other products like soap and makeup, contains palm oil.

Read more: A common ingredient in Halloween candy is contributing to climate change


November 8 marks the fourth anniversary of Haiyan’s landfall in the Philippines. The super typhoon was the strongest ever to make landfall.

Today, the world continues to be devastated by even more extreme weather events. This year alone saw flooding in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Vietnam, and the United States; drought in Somalia; Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in the Caribbean and the U.S.; and just last week, Storm Herwart in Germany, Czech Republic, and Poland.

Read more: Fighting the Creeping Catastrophe of Climate Change


A man walks through a muddy road after a flood in George Town, Penang, Malaysia November 6, 2017. Source: Reuters

Malaysian authorities are taking steps to help the thousands of people in its northeastern states of Penang and Kedah who have been hit by one of the worst floods in its history, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Jaafar says today, adding that climate change is one of the causes for the abnormal downpour.

At least seven have been reported dead and thousands have been affected by floods that have submerged cars, damaged buildings and uprooted trees last weekend. Heavy monsoon rains exacerbated by the effects of climate change have caused water levels to rise up to 2.7m, the minister said.

Read more: Malaysia: Climate change behind Penang’s devastating floods


Copyright: Panos

  • Climate finance not working to save forests or their indigenous custodians

  • Investment in agriculture and development outstrips that for forest protection

  • Upholding indigenous people’s rights is the most effective way to healthy forest 

[LONDON] Climate finance, while efficient in sectors such as renewable energy, is not effective in protecting increasingly threatened forests or the rights of their inhabitants, a new report shows.

Read more: Climate finance failing on forest protection


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