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What to do with REDD? A manual for indigenous trainers

What to do with REDD? A manual for indigenous trainers

What is REDD” and “What to do with REDD?” are two booklets produced for indigenous peoples. The first provides a detailed overview of what REDD is and the second is a training manual for indigenous trainers to facilitate a training on REDD for indigenous peoples.

Produced by four NGOs (Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, Forest Peoples Programme, International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs and Tebtebba) the 188-page training manual provides information for a five-day-long training session. The booklet “What is REDD?” provides the necessary background information for the trainings.

The training manual has two aims:

  1. To help indigenous leaders gain a deeper understanding of how REDD works and what the issues related to REDD are which are most relevant for Indigenous Peoples.
  2. To help indigenous leaders improve their skills in supporting their communities when dealing with REDD, in advocacy, lobbying and negotiations with government agencies, bilateral and multilateral agencies or private companies engaged in REDD programmes.

The training manual can be downloaded here: “What to do with REDD? A manual for indigenous trainers” (pdf file, 7.7 MB).

The booklet, “What is REDD” can be downloaded here (the description of the various chapters is from IWGIA’s website):

Introduction and Part I: Climate Change – Download

Introduction to the book and a short introduction to climate change – its causes and how it affects indigenous peoples, with some information on climate change negotiations and mitigation measures.

Part II: REDD – Download

An introduction to REDD, how it works, how it is funded and how it impacts on indigenous peoples.

Part III: The UNDRIP and What Indigenous Communities Can Do – Download

An introduction to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and how indigenous people can use it in relation to REDD programmes.

Appendices – Download

A checklist to help indigenous communities dealing with REDD programmes, links to further information, and a glossary of technical terms and acronyms.

The checklist at the end of the booklet is based on a community check-list developed by FERN and the Forest Peoples Programme and is reproduced here:

Carbon projects and programmes

If your community is approached to be part of a project or programme that will be funded by the carbon market, by carbon finance funds, or that will create carbon credits then it is important to try to get as much information as possible before entering into any agreement. This checklist is intended to provide a minimum list of questions that you should get answers to. You should also access the advice of a trusted lawyer before signing anything.



  • Where is the project, how big an area does it cover, what are the names and number of affected people(s) or communities?
  • What kind of land rights does your people or community hold over your lands and territories? Are your rights customary and untitled, customary and titled, individual and titled, individual and untitled, communal and titled or communal and untitled, or some other form of right?
  • Are you being proposed as a party to the contract selling the carbon credits? If yes, who is the named seller? If no, what company, agency or other entity is the named seller?
  • What is the length of time that the project covers? What are the different stages of the project and their respective durations?

The financing mechanism

  • Is the project funded through the sale of carbon offset credits or through other funding or a mix of the two?
  • If the project is funded by the sale of carbon offset credits, what kind of information has been provided to you pro-actively, and what information has been requested by the community during project and contract negotiations on:
    • Who is the buyer? Who pays for the carbon rights which the community is considering to sell and at what average price? What are the prices for comparable projects?
    • Possible legal implications of signing a carbon offset contract and on possible impact of such a (long-term) contract on ownership rights over the carbon in the forest, both for present and future generations.
    • Possible implications of both decreasing and increasing carbon prices for the specific project? E.g. will the community benefit if carbon prices go up or do they receive a fixed sum payment irrespective of the price for which offset credits are traded? With regard to falling prices, will payments to the community be linked to the price of carbon on an international carbon market? Are contractual obligations linked to payments agreed on in the
      carbon contract signed?

What you should know….
…on the climate implications of carbon offsets generally:

(1) the buyer of the carbon credit is purchasing the right to continue to release fossil fuel emissions at home by paying the community to change behaviour and thereby reduce emissions which they are responsible for;

(2) carbon offset projects never reduce emissions and lead at best to stabilisation of emissions while the scientific consensus is that emissions need to be reduced by some 80-90% over the coming decades and peak around 2015 if climate chaos is to be avoided;

(3) carbon offset projects will justify continued and expanded extraction of oil and coal with all its human rights, social and environmental consequences.

  • If the project is financed through a fund, has information been provided pro-actively or requested by the community during the presentation and negotiation of the project on the objectives of the fund, where the fund is located, who is providing the funding and whether those providing the funds are getting carbon emission offset rights in return for their contribution.


  • Who was the negotiating partner, if one?
  • Who has negotiated for you or is proposed to negotiate for you? Will you negotiate by yourself?
  • Who will be signing the contract on behalf of your people or your community? How has this been decided?
  • Have you had independent legal advice and/or an opportunity to discuss the contract and its implications on rights with a lawyer?
  • Was there a lawyer representing or advising you present during the negotiations?
  • Were the national laws of the country discussed as they may affect the carbon contract?
  • Has the contract been written and presented in the language of your people or the language spoken in the community, or at least a language that community members can understand?
  • Have women been involved in the consultation and decision making?
  • Did the consultation process allow for feedback from community members? Was the consensus of the people of the community obtained in accordance with their custom and tradition? If not, why not?
  • Has the community been given a copy of the contract and other documentation related to the carbon offset project?
  • Assuming there are restrictions on the use of the forest, how have these been negotiated within your community?
  • Do the restrictions affect all members of the community equally? Who is affected most, who the least?
  • Is there a process to address unequal impact?
  • Does the project create any new jobs? If yes, by what process are jobs allocated or provided and what kind of jobs?

What you should know…
…on a proper consultation process.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights gave a ruling after dealing with the case of the Saramaka People vs Suriname Government which outlines some key aspects of the duty to consult. The same should also apply to negotiation of forest carbon projects:

  • The state and those authorised by it have the duty to both accept and disseminate information, and ensure constant communication between the parties;
  • Consultations must be undertaken in good faith, through culturally appropriate procedures and with the objective of reaching an agreement;
  • Indigenous and tribal peoples must be consulted, “in accordance with their own traditions, at the early stages of a development or investment plan, not only when the need arises to obtain approval from the community, if such is the case. Early notice provides time for internal discussion within communities and for proper feedback to the State;”
  • The state must ensure that the indigenous and tribal peoples are aware of possible risks, including environmental and health risks, so that the proposed project is accepted knowingly and voluntarily; and,
  • Finally, consultation should take account of indigenous and tribal peoples’ traditional methods of decision-making.

Do you think that the consultation and negotiation process related to the proposed project meets all of these requirements?


  • What is the time period of the contract? Is it the same as the length of the project?
  • Does the contract limit or restrict your right of access and use or the right of use for other neighbouring communities? If yes, have these limitations been fairly negotiated and has fair compensation been provided under the contract?
  • How are the payments being determined?
  • If the selling of credits is part of the contract, how many credits are these?
  • Is the payment received linked to the price of the carbon?
  • Did you have your own financial analysis to assist in arriving at the agreed price? Is the payment made as one-off fixed sum or a continuous payment for as long as the contract lasts?
  • What rules or regulations have been put in place to make sure the carbon remains in the forest during the contract period? Who has put these rules and regulations in place?
  • Who carries the risk if something happens to the forest/trees? What happens if the carbon is lost through accidental events like a wildfire? Would you have to pay money back to the contract partner?
  • Has sufficient information been provided/sought for you to understand both the responsibilities and benefits as agreed upon in the contract?


  • Who is responsible for the implementation of the rules and regulations agreed on in the contract? Who is monitoring the implementation?
  • What enforcement mechanism is in place to ensure that the contractual obligations are met?

Leave a Reply


  1. The Earth belongs to every Man and Woman equally – period!

  2. El manual sobre Qué es REDD? y Qué hacer con REEDD? debería ser producido en español, existen posibilidades?

  3. @Arturo Avila – I understand that both booklets are being updated and will be translated in French and Spanish. I’ll post the updated versions and translations when they are available.

  4. Si, tanbien creo que sea mui util que se tenga una versión em español. Así yo posso ler e estudiar.

    Gracias, e perdona por mi portuñol, soy brasileño.

  5. Seria muy bueno tener el documento en español, estariamos muy agradecidos.

  6. any update on the translated spanish versions? i was going to start translating and adapting the checklist for communities annex/document, but if it will be translated soon, then i should wait for the organizations’ translation of it…

  7. @Gilberto, @Wilfredo Delgado, @Claire – I asked Forest Peoples Programme when the updated versions and translations will be ready. Here’s their response (links added):

    “It is currently in the process of translation, and then will be printed by Servindi in Peru. It will be electronically available immediately upon translation being completed (estimated 2 weeks, as the first section is done already). The printing should take another month and copies can be requested from FPP, IWGIA, Tebtebba or direct from Servindi.”

    I’ll do a post with the updated versions and translations as soon as they are available.

  8. Dear Chris…

    May I translate this valuable books into Bahasa Indonesia? If not, may be you could advice some other ways?


  9. @Faisal – Thanks for this offer. Please get in touch with the organisations that produced the report: FPP, IWGIA and/or Tebtebba. REDD-Monitor was not involved in any way in producing these reports, this is just a post about the reports.

  10. Hi brothers, I writing you in representation of the COORDINATOR OF THE INDIGENOUS ORGANIZATIONS OF THE AMAZON BASIN – COICA.

    We are organizing a workshop in Surinam from march 7 – 11 and we want know if we can use your manual called: “What to do with REDD? A manual for indigenous trainers”, we are very happy if it´s possible to develop a consensus between the indigenous people around the world.

    I wait your request.


    Juan Carlos Chacón

  11. @Juan Carlos – Thanks for this – of course you can use the manual “What to do with REDD?” for your workshop. Please note that an updated version was published in November 2010, available on Forest Peoples Programme’s website:

    English: “What to do with REDD? A manual for indigenous trainers” (pdf file 12.5 MB)

    Español: “¿Que es REDD? Una guia para las comunidades indigenas” (pdf file 15.2 MB)

    Français: “Qu’est-ce que la REDD ? Guide à l’intention des communautes autochtones” (pdf file 7.6 MB)