Unfinished agendas for forests and climate change, 20 July 2106, World Forest Week event, FAO HQ
Local communities, indigenous people, smallholders and their organizations
as the enabling actors to address climate change
The Forest and Farm Facility, the FAO’s Forestry Department and regional partners organized a day long side event during the World Forest Week to refocus our attention on the primary role that smallholder farmers and their organizations play in the sustainable management of the world’s forests, particularly within the context of climate change.
Participants of the event agreed on a Statement that urges national governments, intergovernmental bodies, donors and international organizations to refocus and revise climate change mechanisms to directly and effectively engage local communities, Indigenous Peoples, smallholders, women, youth, and other vulnerable populations and their forest and farm producer organizations as the enabling actors to address climate change.
Secure rights on land and territories
A third of forests globally are under some form of management by families, smallholders, local communities or indigenous people. Their collective activities together makes them the largest investors in forests which, in turn, provide important sources of livelihoods and contribute massively to food security as well as climate mitigation and resilient adaptation. However previous experience tell us that engagement of indigenous people and local communities in climate change programmes is not enough. Failure to find the best way to engage with local stakeholders and align their interests with forest conservation will significantly compromise the chances of achieving the carbon sequestration and mitigation targets.
Urgent need to implement the Paris Agreement
Successful examples of Indigenous peoples and local communities engagement in climate change initiatives were shared. Local communities were engaged in REDD + strategies in Mexico, by collaboration on land planning, and forest monitoring. In Vietnam building technical capacity enhances local groups to engage in local dialogue to identify climate change strategies. Sweden experience shows that incentives to plant trees for farmers is essential for restoration.
Women are leaders in climate change activities
Cécile Bibiane Ndjebet explained that in Africa women are responsible for 82% of the food production. They are also very active in tree nursery and tree planting and are leaders in adaptation and mitigation activities at local level. Not only participation but also effective and direct engagement of women is needed in climate change actions.
Enabling conditions for Indigenous peoples and local communities
The Statement calls for:
Governments and international agencies to ensure implementation of effective REDD+ safeguards, the application of free prior and informed consent (FPIC), and put in place measures to reduce violence against Local communities, Indigenous Peoples, smallholders, women, youth, and other vulnerable populations and their forest and farm producer organizations.
Global financing mechanisms, government programmes and private investors need to direct investment and support towards Local communities, Indigenous Peoples, smallholders, women, youth, and other vulnerable populations and small enterprises for readiness, implementation, monitoring of results and processes to ensure transparency, and enhance sustainable livelihoods using an integrated landscape approach.
Climate change initiatives to modify result-based payment mechanisms, such as REDD+, towards recognition of concrete actions to improve the enabling environment and transparency for the engagement of local communities, Indigenous Peoples, smallholders, women and youth, and their organizations together with the qualitative assessment of forest cover and the trees they manage on their farms.