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Coalition calls for indigenous representation in REDD+ Partnership

Indigenous people should have a permanent representative in a partnership of 75 countries that aims to decrease the global carbon footprint through reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), a civil society coalition says.

Asia- and Australia-based members of the REDD+ Safeguards Working Group (R-SWG), a North-South coalition of civil society and indigenous people’s organizations, issued the call for indigenous people to be granted full partner status in the REDD+ Partnership, a global platform for countries to scale up actions and financing for REDD+ initiatives.

“The REDD+ Partnership and the international community are missing an opportunity to learn lessons from the ground on the participation of and respect for the rights of indigenous people,” Climate Justice Programme president Stephen Leonard said in an official release.

“A decision to financially support this participation would be particularly meaningful […] following the recent Constitutional Court decision guaranteeing customary rights to extensive forests across the archipelago.”

The partnership most recently took up the matter at its meeting in Bonn, Germany on June 16, following a proposal from several indigenous people’s organizations. Full partner status would allow indigenous peoples representatives to participate in all partnership discussions and meetings on an equal level.

Alaya de Leon of the Ateneo School of Government in Manila, the Philippines, said having such a representative on board would enable a “two-way learning process”, as country delegates would gain more knowledge about on-the-ground experiences.

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