Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Panama’s forest tribes want UN carbon projects scrapped

Alex Kirby in Responding to Climate change:  Indigenous people in Panama are asking the United Nations to close down its global forestry programme, REDD, in their country. REDD – Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation – is designed to slow climate change by preventing the destruction of the world’s most vulnerable forests.

It is a key part of the UN’s attempts to tackle a warming climate, and failure in Panama will have impacts much further afield.

The demand, by the National Coordinating Body of Indigenous Peoples in Panama (Coonapip), will test a provision of the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which says they have the right to refuse projects and investments which affect their natural resources.

“When it comes to the forests of Panama, we are not mere stakeholders to be consulted,” said Betanio Chiquidama, president of Coonapip and cacique (chief) of a reserve that is home to more than 33,000 people in the east of the country. “More than half the country’s forests are on the lands of indigenous people. How can an effective plan to save these forests be negotiated if the indigenous leaders are not at the table?..."

Satellite image (NASA) of Panama

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