The Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) held its final session for COP14 yesterday. Three interventions were prepared: from the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change; the International Youth Delegation; and the Global Forest Coalition.
The first two were read out during the SBSTA. “The last words that SBSTA heard for 2008 were ours on REDD,” says Josh Wyndham-Kidd from the International Youth Delegation. “There were a few moments of stunned silence following the statement.”
Statement of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change
December 10, 2008
We acknowledge the efforts of some Parties who have supported and worked with us to reflect our rights and our full and effective participation in this COP14. However, we denounce those Parties, including Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Australia who continue to exercise, outmoded, outdated colonial power structures that the rest of the world left behind decades ago.
We remind the parties that UNFCCC is not a consensus document and perhaps a time has come for a simple majority vote that lets these four nations know how isolated their position is.
Today, on the 60th Anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights it is appalling that any United Nations body still denies extending the Rights enshrined in this document to the Indigenous Peoples of the planet. It is a abrogation of BOTH the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Reference to the draft text ON SBSTA 29 agenda item 5, on REDD (Reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries: approaches to stimulate action] .In the annex of this document, 1 ( c) , we are profoundly disappointed that the Indigenous Peoples fundamental rights, INCLUDING the UNDRIP and other existing Human Rights instruments (Convention ILO169) are not included in the operative paragraphs of the latest document of SBSTA29 .
We, are not one single indigenous people, as the document states. we are a multitude of indigenous Peoples from multiple countries, with multiple languages, diverse cultures and background and experiences. To reduce all this, to the concept of a singular unitary experience is a denial of the richness of diversity that exist within, the framework of indigenous peoples as a collective of individual nations.
For this reason, we, appeal to the UNFCCC and Parties to take affirmative action to reaffirm the rights of Indigenous Peoples as codified in UNDRIP and other relevant Human Rights instruments (EG. Convention ILO 169). Any decision or measure that will be adopted at this COP, in particular the REDD process, should consider the principle of free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples and our rights as Indigenous Peoples, to say No. Indigenous Peoples must not be excluded from, and should be centrally involved in and benefit from, all climate change and forest programs and policies at all levels to ensure that they deliver justice and equity and contribute to sustainable development, biodiversity protection, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
We demand an immediate suspension of all REDD initiatives and carbon market schemes in Indigenous Peoples territories until indigenous peoples rights are fully recognized, protected and promoted.
Please, we urgently call for the ministers to take the issue of Indigenous Peoples Rights up at the High Level segment.
International Youth Delegation
Intervention to SBSTA Plenary Session, December 10, 2008.
On behalf of the International Youth Delegation, thank you for this opportunity.
It is well known that forests play a critical role in regulating carbon in the atmosphere. But they are also the home and source of the livelihoods of 1.6 billion people. They protect our watersheds, regulate water flow and disease, and recycle nutrients. Their contribution to the world’s biodiversity is unparalleled.
We cannot continue to view forests in a utilitarian, compartmentalized, reductionist manner. Forests are more than trees and carbon. Forests are life.
Given the crucial roles played by forests, the International Youth Delegation has been closely monitoring the negotiations surrounding REDD. We are encouraged to see that REDD is a priority here in Poznan, but are gravely concerned about certain proposed features and omissions within the REDD mechanism and the weak recommendations SBSTA has made to the UNFCCC.
Any REDD mechanism must be first and foremost a mechanism for forest protection and climate stabilization, not a mechanism by which Annex-I countries avoid domestic mitigation actions. An offset mentality and massive corporate profits are not, and should not be, the aims of this scheme. Buying a plantation in a developing nation cannot replace genuine reductions at the source of emissions – in nations like mine.
Going back to first principles, it is vital that the UNFCCC definition of forests be changed to exclude woody-crop plantations. They store less carbon, less securely and less permanently. We are truly astounded that this seemingly obvious point requires comment. The conversion of natural forests to plantations is deforestation, pure and simple. The perverse outcomes of the Kyoto definition have shown us that. Moreover, forest degradation should be wholistically defined as any loss of carbon carrying capacity or any harm to biodiversity.
Critically, a REDD mechanism must clarify and strengthen the land tenure rights of local and indigenous peoples, not further degrade them. It was shocking to hear yesterday that some nations here – my own included – wanted to negotiate away the rights of first peoples. Our message on Human Rights Day is that these rights are non-negotiable.
Representatives of indigenous peoples have come all the way to Poznan to speak with you here. Why should they wait until February 15 to submit this recommendation to the UNFCCC? How can we expect someone to be a responsible steward of the land if he or she knows that it could be wrested from them at any moment? Land scarcity and insecurity have been at the root of countless conflicts throughout human history, but we remain confident that we can find a way to secure Green Carbon that won’t ultimately require the deployment of the Blue Helmets.
I know that the indigenous peoples here, and the International Youth Delegation, will express our views to you throughout this process, for as long as it takes. Just be aware that, for many peoples, and the ancient forests that sustain them, every day that we take to deliberate is another day of irreversible destruction.
We ask only that you take our thoughts into account when planning for the future of our generations.
Your children are tired of dressing up like polar bears and penguins in and effort to convince you to act in a manner consistent with science and conscience, a manner that respects the natural cycles and systems that govern us.
Your children are tired of being called foolish for prioritizing the preservation of our common home over profit margins.
Your children are tired of reminding you that we are here to safeguard the survival of all countries and all people.
Shalt thou be saved but hear the whole world cry?
I once heard that the single thing that all humans share is a desire to pass on to their children a secure future. Please – give us a reason to believe this is true. Give us a bold, binding and just climate treaty that features science-based targets, effective LULUCF rules, and an equitable REDD mechanism.
The International Youth Delegation Forest Policies Working Group would like to meet with your delegation to discuss the potential for collaboration to ensure that any REDD negotiations and outcomes contribute to a safe climate for us and future generations. Please contact us at youthforests [at] googlegroups.com
The International Youth Delegation is a consortium of over 500 young people from over 50 countries. We are the largest ever youth presence for a conference of this kind. We are here in Poznan to provide the youth voice in the negotiations and to remind governments that they are bargaining with our future
Subsidiary Body on Scientific, and Technological Advice
Agenda item 5
Reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries: approaches to stimulate action
Contribution by the Global Forest Coalition
As global coalition of NGOs and IPOs from all continents, which have followed different international forest policy processes since 1995, we would like to express our concern about the potential lack of coherence between the outcomes of these negotiations and the many existing legally binding and non legally binding international agreements related to forests and the rights of forest peoples. We feel that an agreement that does not include a binding commitment ensuring coherence with, in particular, the Expanded Program of Work on Forest Biodiversity of the Convention on Biodiversity and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, would not only imply breaching those agreements, it would also violate the clear commitment towards improved international policy coherence your Heads of State have expressed during the UN Reform process.
We would like to congratulate the many Governments, Indigenous Peoples and communities that have successfully halted deforestation and forest degradation by conserving and using their forests in a sustainable manner. Many governmental and non-governmental actors have highlighted that there is a fundamental, unsolvable tension between efficient REDD mechanisms and equity in this respect. A system that rewards countries, Peoples, and communities for reducing deforestation will always be unfair to the many countries, Peoples, and communities that have already halted deforestation and forest degradation. Market-based approaches will strongly increase such inequities. A combination of a public fund with carbon finance will not be a solution for this dilemma, as it is expected that a carbon markets might deliver a tenfold more finance than a public fund. So we would end up with a system in which countries, Peoples, communities that have not complied with their Rio ’92 commitments in the field of forests would receive far more funding than those countries, Peoples, communities that have complied. This is particularly unfair for women, and Indigenous Peoples, who are on average far less involved in activities leading to large-scale deforestation. But it is unfair for many countries in this room too.
What we plea for, is recognition of the ecological debt caused by climate change through the provision of at least 0.1% GDP in new and additional funding, part of which should be used to support countries that comply with Article 4.1(d) of the FCCC and other forest and human rights agreements. We strongly support the comments by the International Indigenous Forum on Climate Change in this respect.
 This statement is also supported by the Society of Threatened Peoples