Including REDD (Reductions of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) within the post-2012 agreements is an incredibly important choice that faces UN delegates. The Bali Climate Action Plan provided a roadmap which included emissions from land use, land use change and forestry (LULCUF) within the agreement. This has been a particularly devisive issue within the conference, because it impacts many constituencies and is poorly defined. There is a need for the language within the post 2012 agreements to effectively provision for carbon sequestration, biodiversity, governance, and indigenous rights. Sequestering carbon is the primary objective for REDD projects. However, managers of initial pilot projects around the world suggested that biodiversity, governance, and particularly indigenous rights need improvement. The cartoon below depicts some of the potential problems.

There are numerous social activists who have come to the conference to voice their opinions about how indigenous rights should be strengthened within REDD programs. Several Side Events within the conference have included indigenous people on the panels. For example, one side event had an indigenous activist from Panama who claimed that REDD was a farce. He like many others hold this view, because the economic incentives that are promised for protecting forests never end up helping the local people.  He has developed an international network with other indigenous leaders and has consistently found that indigenous peoples were not given proper input into REDD projects.  Existing forestry management practices often already acknowledge the right of indigenous people to have rights. In Panama 34% of the forests are set aside as indigenous land. However, on the ground indigenous peoples are often manipulated and do not have the right of free an informed consent. REDD programs can sometimes be seen as an act of neo-colonialism, because the forest land is taken away from indigenous peoples to guarantee carbon offsets for developed countries. Therefore, REDD programs should be established as a way for people from developed nations to fund better management practices within developing nations.

Economic as well as moral considerations need to be evaluated for REDD projects. Often the unique life style and culture of indigenous people make it difficult for them to adapt to mainstream forms of life. The implementation of these projects should help to incentivize sustainable management of the forests, while ensuring that indigenous people are not suppressed by these measures. One way to help indigenous people economically is to set up profit sharing programs, where the local people benefit from deforestation prevention. This was exemplified in the JUMA project that was mentioned in . Ultimately, there is a need for REDD projects to include sustainable development and provisions to ensure indigenous rights.

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