UNESCO’s “On the Frontlines of Climate Change” Forum Discusses Indigenous Views and REDD

© On the Frontlines of Climate Change19 May 2009: “On the Frontlines of Climate Change,” an internet forum launched by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in partnership with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), has published an article on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).

The article, titled “Indigenous Worldviews & REDD,” highlights perspectives from Central America. An indigenous Bribri, Alí García Segura, cautioned against REDD implementation that conflicts with worldviews of indigenous peoples. Explaining the history of his people, he noted that “carbon is an external concept,” as it cannot be separated from other elements of “a web of life.” He expressed his fears about changes in customs due to increased interactions with foreigners, and noted that development projects have failed to result in benefits to his people. In conclusion, he called for enhanced communication between financial institutions and indigenous communities, identifying the need for a “dialogue mechanism.” He emphasized that REDD efforts will not only fail, but rights will also be violated, if traditional knowledge is not considered when implementing REDD projects. [The Article]