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REDD+ Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation

Stakeholder engagement

Indigenous peoples and local communities are custodians of 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity, and manage at least 24 percent of the total carbon stored above ground in the world’s tropical forests. Therefore, local communities, indigenous peoples, smallholders and their organizations must all play a significant role in management of forest resources and land use more broadly. Further, free, prior and informed consent from indigenous communities is a critical element in achieving full stakeholder engagement.

Broad, active stakeholder engagement is essential to ensuring that local REDD+ initiatives are anchored in local communities, which must have the ability to fully participate in, contribute to, and benefit from REDD+. Participation should include men and women, forest-dependent communities, NGOs, forest and farm producer organizations, private-sector entities, research and academia, and local and state authorities across sectors relevant to REDD+. FAO works to ensure that civil society organizations, indigenous peoples, as well as marginalized forest-dependent communities, have a greater voice in decisions affecting forests, land use and land-use change.  

Community-based forestry monitoring - where government, indigenous committees, councils, and civil society actively participate – helps to build an important knowledge base of land-use dynamics and forest-cover change for forest policy frameworks. FAO also promotes national multi-stakeholder engagement in all stages of its national FREL/FRL development, from the initial planning stage to the final submission to the UNFCCC. 

In Panama, for example, indigenous representatives have learned how to use fixed-wing drones for community forest monitoring, with the support of FAO through the UN-REDD programme, the Ministry of Environment and indigenous authorities. As some of the country’s main forest dwellers, indigenous peoples can play an invaluable role in monitoring and conserving forests, a fundamental resource for food security.

With FAO’s support, members of the main indigenous communities of Panama received training on the use of drones and other technologies to track changes in land use that could endanger forest ecosystems. The drones can help to identify changes in specific points of the forest cover, subject to deforestation and degradation pressure, which are only observable with high resolution aerial images. Monitoring with drones can generate information throughout the year, even during the rainy season. It is also useful for monitoring forest fires and crops, allowing for better management of natural resources in indigenous territories.

Read the e-Agriculture Promising Practice Brief: Drones for community monitoring of forests