By Chris Lang
On 23 September 2014, Peru and Norway signed an agreement to reduce deforestation. AIDESEP, the main organisation for the indigenous peoples of the Peruvian Amazon, and Rainforest Foundation Norway welcome the deal, but warn that Peru must improve its “policy and practices on forests and indigenous peoples’ rights”.
The deal was launched during the Climate Summit in New York. Ollanta Humala, the President of Peru took part in a press conference with Erna Solberg, Norway’s Prime Minister; and Barbara Hendricks, the German Minister for the Environment.
Germany’s role involves continuing “its current support to Peru on climate and forest issues”, according to a statement on the UN Climate Summit website.
Under the deal, Norway will pay US$300 million to Peru in support of Peru’s efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation.
The money is not all for payment for results. Norway will pay US$50 million until 2017 for implementing reforms and institution building. Between 2017 and 2021, Norway will contribute US$250 if Peru succeeds in reducing emissions from deforestation.
The Declaration of Intent between Peru and Norway is available here. The Declaration of Intent includes specific targets on stopping deforestation:
to contribute to the achievement of the target of zero net emissions from land use change and forestry in Peru by 2021 and the national target of reducing deforestation by 50% by 2017 and additional reductions thereafter.
Under the Declaration of Intent, Peru intends (among other things) to:
- Give all relevant stakeholders, including local communities, indigenous peoples, civil society, and women, the opportunity of full and effective participation in REDD+ planning and implementation.
- Respect the rights and proposals (as REDD Indígena Amazónico) of indigenous, forest dependent and local communities to give or withhold their Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) to operations on lands to which they hold legal, communal or customary rights, and ensure that those tenure rights are respected.
- Seek a proportional and progressive scaling up of financing, actions and results over time, based on the principle of payments for performance.
- Deploy a jurisdictional approach when and as appropriate
- Ensure coordination and active collaboration with all other REDD+ relevant initiatives, including the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), the United Nations collaborative initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in developing countries (UN-REDD), the Forest Investment Program (FIP), and other bi- and multilateral REDD+ relevant initiatives taking place in Peru.
Phase II of the Partnership, which is due to start in January 2015, includes a target on indigenous land rights:
Increase by at least 5 million hectares the regularization of indigenous lands, specifically native communities (sum of demarcation plus issuing of land right/title) (2017)
In a statement about the deal with Norway, President Humala said, “There is growing evidence that economic growth and environmental protection can be combined.”
But as AIDESEP and Rainforest Foundation Norway point out, Peru has recently weakened its environmental policies relating to forests. On 9 July 2014, the Standing Committee of Congress approved Proyecto de Ley N° 3627/2013-PE. The law is designed to ease environmental restrictions to encourage private investment and boost the economy.
Over the last decade, Peru’s rate of deforestation has increased. Global Forest Watch data reveals that in 2012, Peru lost 246,000 hectares of tree cover, more than double the area lost in 2011. Between 2001 and 2012, Peru lost 1.5 million hectares of forest.
Only a few weeks before the UN Climate Summit, four Asheninka indigenous leaders were murdered near the border with Brazil. They were fighting against illegal logging.
Here is AIDESEP and Rainforest Foundation Norway’s statement about the Peru-Norway deal:
Peru and Norway sign major agreement for forest protection:
– Urgent need for improvement in Peru’s policy on forests and indigenous peoples, leading organizations say.
24 September 2014
AIDESEP and Rainforest Foundation Norway welcome the Peru – Norway agreement to reduce deforestation, that was signed in New York today, September 23, but major improvements in Peru’s policy and practices on forests and indigenous peoples’ rights are needed urgently in order to stop forest destruction in Peru, according to the two organizations.
AIDESEP is the main organization for the indigenous peoples of the Peruvian Amazon, and Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) is a major international organization for indigenous peoples’ rights and rainforest protection, based in Oslo.
In the agreement, Norway commits to pay 300 million USD to Peru, if Peru takes several measures to improve its forest policy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. AIDESEP and RFN hope that this will imply a major shift in Peru’s forest management. Peru has lately weakened its environmental policies related to forests. As data recently published by RFN show, Peru did not achieve to reduce its deforestation rate during the last decade. According to Global Forest Watch, Peru lost 246,000 hectares of tree cover in 2012, more than the double of the year before. Indigenous peoples in the Amazon depend on forests for their survival, but are facing increased threats by logging, oil and gas development and other encroachment on their traditional territories. Earlier this month, four indigenous leaders fighting against illegal logging were murdered, and so far the government has not taken any action to recognize these leaders’ legitimate demand for land titling for the indigenous group they represented.
It is positive that the partners in the agreement want to promote public policies to fight illegal logging and other causes of deforestation and forest degradation, and that they want to cease the authorizations of conversion of forest land to agricultural use, which in the case of palm oil is especially urgent. Moreover, the agreement clearly defines phases for preparation, transformation and emissions reductions, linking the financial contributions to the fulfilment of such obligations. Peru will have to deliver on both implementation mechanisms and policy changes during the first two phases in order to enter in the third phase. Close monitoring and full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in all processes are necessary for this agreement to be implemented and for Peru to honor its obligations by international conventions.
AIDESEP and RFN encourage both parties to avoid the risk that the agreement may become only a statement of intentions, not reality, due to the strong conflict of interest within the Peruvian government and because of weak formulations regarding indigenous peoples’ control over their ancestral territories. Key points that should be strengthened are policies to avoid further land grabbing from indigenous to other uses; to secure transparency and full participation by indigenous peoples and civil society; and the implementation of the forest law that includes measures against further forest degradation and an effective promotion of community forest management.
The agreement confirms that there will be a large increase in the delimitation and land titling of indigenous lands. The Amazon indigenous peoples have registered claims for the titling of 20 million hectares of their ancestral lands in the Peruvian Amazon, and experience from other places show that where indigenous peoples control their lands they also protect the forest. This agreement should be seen as a first step towards recognizing the indigenous land claims and the indigenous organizations’ role as a key partner to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, it is not sufficient to title indigenous communities, as the agreement mentions. Peru will have to incorporate indigenous peoples’ collective right to their territories, in accordance with the obligations the country assumed when signing and ratifying ILO Convention 169, and title their complete lands which include very significant rainforest areas. Effective indigenous control of Amazon rainforest territories is necessary in order to protect the forest and its biodiversity against destruction and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.