The Guna General Congress has taken the decision to reject all REDD projects in Guna Yala territory in Panama and specifically to reject a proposed project by Wildlife Works Carbon, a US-based REDD project developer.
The Guna General Congress took place in the community of Muladub from 6-9 June 2013. Delegates from all 51 communities in Guna Yala took part, including two non-indigenous communities. One of the key issues for the Congress was whether to accept or reject the Wildlife Works Carbon REDD pilot project in the Guna Yala territory.
Wildlife Works Carbon presented its proposed project to the Guna General Congress in October 2011. Public consultations about the project, organised by the Research and Development Institute of Kuna Yala, finished in April 2013.
On the Amanecer Indigena blog, Guna indigenous lawyer Atencio López notes that,
At the end of the discussion, a representative of Wildlife Works Carbon thanked the Congress for the opportunity provided by the Gunas and said he accepts and respects the sovereign decision adopted by the Gunas.
The Guna General Congress also went a step further and prohibited anything to do with REDD in Guna Yala.
The resolution from the Guna General Congress is posted in full here, with the original in Spanish below.
Resolution No. 5
The Guna General Congress in its ordinary session held in the community of Sasardi Muladub, on June 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th, 2013, wielding the legal powers vested in it by the Fundamental Law and Bylaws of the Comarca, issued the following resolution.
That since 2011, the U.S. company Wildlife Works Carbon (WWC) presented its proposal on the design and joint implementation of the REDD+ pilot project in the Gunayala Comarca to the Guna General Congress for its approval or rejection;
That broad consultations were held with the communities of the Comarca on numerous occasions until this phase was exhausted and [the matter] was brought to the plenary of the General Assembly for its approval or rejection;
First: The general assembly of the Guna General Congress rejects by absolute majority the project “design and joint implementation of the REDD+ pilot project in the Gunayala Comarca” and decides to shelve it.
Second: The Guna General Congress withdraws from all discussions at the national and international level on the REDD+ issue, until what time as the Congress makes another decision on the matter.
Third: All the Guna national or international governmental and non-governmental organizations are prohibited from organizing events, conferences, workshops and other activities on the issue, [or risk being] sanctioned in accordance with our bylaws and Fundamental Law.
Issued in the community of Sasardi Muladub, Gunayala Comarca, on the 9th day of the month of June, two thousand and thirteen (2013).
PHOTO Credit: Guna Yala – Tides Blog.