By Chris Lang
The 2nd Asia Parks Congress starts today in Sabah, Malaysia. The meeting “will help set the agenda for protected areas in Asia for the next ten years”.
The press release highlights the dangers of the target under the UN post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework of protecting 30% of the planet’s land and water by 2030 – the 30×30 target. “The threat for expanding this conservation model is thus very high and a lot is at stake for forest communities,” WRM notes.
World Rainforest Movement and the All India Forum of Forest Movements recently put out a report titled, “Struggles for the right to live in forests declared Protected Areas in India. Experiences of Communities in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh“.
The report documents how,
A model of aggressive “fortress conservation” pursued by forest officials and park managers, with support from international conservation NGOs and some industries, has been systematically displacing indigenous peoples and traditional forest communities in three of the Central Indian states: Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. This has created long-standing conflicts and evictions from Tiger Reserves in particular.
This is one of three reports and statements featured in WRM’s press release. The second is the statement “NO to Nature-based Dispossessions“, posted on REDD-Monitor in September 2021:
The third is a recent report titles “15 Years of REDD: A Mechanism Rotten at the Core”. The report includes 11 articles exposing the problems with REDD, uncovering REDD for what it really is: “a racist scheme that can never be improved or fixed because it is designed to ‘keep the oil flowing’ and, with this, the capitalist system that is driving the current climate, forest and social crises”.
The report includes a contribution from REDD-Monitor:
Here’s WRM’s press release marking the start of the Stop 2nd Asia Parks Congress:
Stop the Racist Conservation Model!
Expanding Protected Areas in Asia also means expanding evictions, violence and further deforestation
World Rainforest Movement, 20 May 2022
From 24-29 May, 2022, IUCN’s 2nd Asia Parks Congress aims to set the agenda for Protected Areas in Asia for the next ten years.
For big conservation NGOs, the UN, corporations, and their allies, ‘Protected Areas’ largely mean enclosed areas without people, guarded by armed rangers. Across Asia, Protected Areas have a disturbing history of violence, evictions and long-standing conflicts with forest communities.
A recent report released by All India Forum of Forest Movements (AIFFM), together with the World Rainforest Movement (WRM), exposed the difficult realities of various Indigenous People and forest communities living in and around Protected Areas in the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in India.
>>> Download the report: Struggles for the right to live in forests declared Protected Areas in India. Experiences of Communities in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
The Asia Parks Congress will be the first IUCN regional event following the UN post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) plan, which includes the target of establishing at least 30 per cent of the Earth’s land and water as Protected Areas by 2030 (the 30×30 target).
The threat for expanding this conservation model is thus very high and a lot is at stake for forest communities.
The enclosure of forests as Protected Areas is also often labelled by the IUCN and the UN as ‘Nature-based Solutions’ (NbS). This misleading term however, opens the door for corporations to use these areas for claiming to be compensating the pollution they create elsewhere.
“More and more corporations, from Total to Microsoft to Unilever, are making ‘nature-based solutions’ the core of their climate action plans while the conservation industry taps into corporate ‘nature-based solutions’ funding to expand their control over forests,” alerts a statement released earlier this year by 364 organizations.
>>> Download the Statement: No to Nature-Based Solutions Dispossessions!
The idea of NbS builds on the harmful legacy of the failed REDD+ mechanism, which includes the grabbing of large areas of lands and forests and heavy restrictions on peasant and forest communities on how they can use their forests.
A recent WRM publication gathers eleven articles to reflect on the fundamental and dangerous dimensions of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), the dominant forest policy around the world since 2007.
>>> Download the report 15 Years of REDD: A Mechanism Rotten at the Core
Protected Areas, in tandem with so-called Nature-Based Solutions, REDD+ and other offset schemes, are already harming forest communities around the world as well as allowing the destruction of forest and climate chaos to further worsen!