Preliminary Report on UN-REDD Panama Programme Rupture Offers Recommendations

unredd13 June 2013: The preliminary report by a team investigating the withdrawal of the National Coordinating Body of Indigenous Peoples in Panama (COONAPIP) from Panama's National REDD+ Programme has been delivered to the UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD) along with recommendations on how to proceed in Panama and how to apply lessons learned from the experience to the design and implementation of REDD+ programmes elsewhere.

The report is expected to be discussed by the UN-REDD Programme Policy Board at its 26-27 June 2013 meeting in Lombok, Indonesia.

After COONPIP withdrew from the Panama programme in February 2013, raising concerns over respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and the lack of measures for their full and effective participation in the National Programme, UN-REDD appointed a two-person independent investigation and evaluation team consisting of an anthropologist and the former Executive Secretary of the World Bank Inspection Panel. A preliminary report on their findings, conclusions and recommendations was produced for the Board after their working visit to Panama to interview parties involved in the dispute; a final report is due to be produced in July after a second visit.

The preliminary report calls for the UN Resident Coordinator in Panama to convene a high-level meeting between the chiefs and authorities that comprise COONAPIP and the agencies that comprise UN-REDD to reflect on the lessons learned from the programme and discuss ways to collaborate in the future. It also calls on the Panama's National Environment Agency (ANAM), together with Panama's National Indigenous Policy Directorate, to convene a meeting with the chiefs and authorities of COONAPIP to discuss possible mechanisms for consultation, participation and consent of indigenous peoples in future REDD+ strategies in Panama. As for UN-REDD, it recommends that it document the experiences and lessons learned from the episode and use them to inform the practical application of their guidelines and policies, and to define with greater precision the types of frameworks, mechanisms and procedures UN-REDD must follow with indigenous peoples prior to approving a UN-REDD programme in a country.

The Panama REDD+ Programme is being implemented by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), together with ANAM. [IISD RS Sources] [UN-REDD Panama] [IISD RS article on COONAPIP withdrawal] [UN-REDD Press Release]