UN REDD and indigenous peoples
Approximately 70 million indigenous peoples depend on forests for their livelihoods and another 350 million rural people reside in or near them. Many of these communities have long-standing relationships with forested land and have customary rights that are legally recognized.
The active involvement of indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities in forest management produces positive results, such as lower rates of deforestation. However, indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities are often disproportionately impacted by ecosystem degradation, and these groups, despite being rights-holders, often lack political power and voice.
In order to uphold basic human rights and to increase the success of REDD+, it is imperative to enable these groups to participate in REDD+ decision-making at the local, national and international levels. The UN-REDD Programme has a specific focus on indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities, while also encouraging broader multi-stakeholder processes.
The UN-REDD Programme supports a number of different activity areas in support of this goal at the global and at the national levels. The UN-REDD Programme also works closely with the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) to ensure harmonization of approaches.
To ensure effective engagement, UN-REDD developed joint Guidelines on Stakeholder Engagement in REDD+ Readiness with a Focus on Indigenous Peoples and Other Forest-Dependent Communities which were developed collaboratively between the UN-REDD Programme and the World Bank hosted Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). They provide guidance to countries in their work on stakeholder engagement in REDD+ in activities supported by both or either initiative.
In 2013, UN-REDD also launched the Programme Guidelines on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) and its associated Legal Companion which outlines existing international law and emerging state practice affirming that indigenous peoples have the right to effective participation in the decisions, policies and initiatives that affect them and that FPIC is a legal norm that imposes duties and obligations on the states.
The Guidelines outline a normative, policy and operational framework for seeking and obtaining FPIC in the context of REDD+. There will be periodic updates to this version based on the application of the Guidelines, increased information and experience related to the application of FPIC more generally, and continued input and feedback from governments, indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities, practitioners, experts and partners.