04 Nov.

We are a solution for the protection of forests: Guardians of the Forest in Berlin

After a two-week bus tour of European capitals, the delegation of indigenous peoples and local communities from 14 countries released in Berlin new evidence that their efforts are central for protecting nature’s best carbon storage system

BERLIN- (November 01, 2017) The Guardians of the Forest conducted a press conference in the German capital, in which they presented proven evidence of their capacity in forest management.
“We are a proven solution for the long-term protection of forests, whose survival is vital to achieve the global objectives regarding climate change, but in return, we face violations of human rights, violence in our communities, criminalization of our peoples and the murder of our leaders “- Said Mina Setra, Secretary General of the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago (AMAN) representing 17 million people in Indonesia.

Mina Setra from AMAN, during the press conference. Berlin, Germany. November 01, 2017

Richard Houghton from the Woods Hole Investigation Center. Berlin, Germany. November 01, 2017

At the press conference, the delegation joined researchers from the Woods Hole Research Center from United States, the Prisma Foundation from El Salvador and Ecociencia from Ecuador, to warn the public about the urgent need to invest in the protection of the land and forests of indigenous peoples and rural communities, and invest in them as a vital strategy to save tropical forests.
“We have developed powerful evidence that proves tropical forests can absorb and store large amounts of carbon, which slows down climate change by removing a significant portion of our emissions to the atmosphere,” said Richard Houghton, senior scientist at the Woods Hole Center “the research also identifies a key way to make this a reality: supporting indigenous peoples and local communities in the protection of their forests.”

Andrew Davis from Prisma Institute during the press conference. Berlin, Germany. November 01, 2017

According to Andrew Davis, researcher at PRISMA, many of the efforts of the German cooperation in Central America have fallen short of their objectives, often because conservation funds have favored governments instead of favoring indigenous peoples and other local forest communities.
“Our investigation suggests that strategies aimed at reducing emissions and forest conservation can not succeed without the support of indigenous peoples and other local forest communities. Climate funding must recognize the importance of forests as a tool of mitigation and the role of forest peoples”.

Indigenous peoples and local communities with strong territorial rights outperform all other forest managers

According to the second report made public in Berlin, the Amazonian forests within the territories of Indigenous Peoples in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru serve as major barriers to deforestation, despite facing increasing threats.
The report published by the consortium of RAISG scientists, indigenous leaders and climate change policy experts revealed that 83% of deforestation in the Amazon basin from 2001 to 2015 occurred outside the Indigenous Territories (IT) and Natural Protected Areas ( ANP) that cover more than 50% of the Amazon.
Dinamam Tuxá, of the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) said that “there is concern that the downward trend in deforestation could be reversed, in light of the recent changes in federal policies.” These are intended to restrict the rights to land of indigenous peoples and other rural peoples, guaranteed by the Brazilian Constitution.

Dinamam Tuxá during the press conference. Berlin, Germany. November 01, 2017

The solution and the message that the coalition of indigenous and community leaders bring to Berlin and Bonn is to address the list of demands and proposals of the Guardians of the Forest:
  • The end of criminalization and violence against indigenous leaders and other environmental defenders
  • Land titling
  • Direct access to climate finance
  • The real implementation of the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in matters affecting communities
  • The recognition of traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and local forests communities as a climate solution
These priorities are essential to mitigate climate change, since a large amount of forest carbon stocks are found in indigenous and community territories.
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