An “unprecedented opportunity” presented at the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples: Report on globally important ecosystem services – BBC News

19 September 2014 | To read the full article, click here >>

Recognising the land rights of local people could provide cost-effective protection for many of the world’s tropical forests, a report says.

But existing initiatives to tackle deforestation were poorly suited to deal with the issue, it added.

However, there was an “unprecedented opportunity” to act as more nations were willing to acknowledge indigenous peoples’ right to own and control land.

The report will be presented at the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. […]

“As customary owners and stewards of large areas of the world’s forests and drylands, threats to the rights of these communities place undue risk on the ecosystems that must be preserved to mitigate climate change and provide global environmental benefits,” it warned.

But it said that the plight of some of the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities was being more widely recognised, presenting an “unprecedented opportunity” to act. […]

Redd schemes offer financial incentives to encourage governments and companies in developing countries to offset their CO2 emissions against forest protection, conservation and afforestation projects.

However, campaign groups feared that without recognised tenure rights to their land the schemes would leave indigenous communities vulnerable to exploitation or eviction.

Mr White told BBC News that he was hopeful that a new mechanism – the International Land and Forest Tenure Facility (ILFTF) – would help increase the clarity and security of the communities’ rights. […]

It is expected to establish a small number of pilot projects in early 2015 before becoming fully operational in 2016.

However, RRI research suggests that the majority of forests in developing countries are still owned by national governments. […]

“We hope this will see other nations listening and willing to learn and move ahead and take similar types of reform in the future.”

Source: BBC News – Time is right for global focus on forest land rights
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