REDD-plus and the protection of indigenous peoples under international law
Abidin, Handa Satyanugraha
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The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) regime has been developing a voluntary climate change mitigation mechanism that is called ‘Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries; and the Role of Conservation/Conservation of Forest Carbon Stocks, Sustainable Management of Forests, and Enhancement of Forest Carbon Stocks in Developing Countries’ (REDD-plus). One of the most important aspects of the implementation of REDD-plus activities is that the activities should not violate the rights of indigenous peoples that live within and near the forest areas. This research has identified at least three main approaches that can be used by indigenous peoples to protect their rights in the context of REDD-plus. The first approach is the UNFCCC approach that uses the UNFCCC regime to protect indigenous peoples in the context of REDD-plus. The second approach is the human rights approach; it uses human rights treaties and their bodies, the regional commissions and courts on human rights, as well as the UN bodies and special rapporteur that are pertinent to indigenous peoples’ issues to protect indigenous peoples in the context of REDD-plus. The third approach is the financial approach that uses the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD Programme) and the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) to protect indigenous peoples in the context of REDD-plus. In order to increase the protection of indigenous peoples in REDD-plus, a coherent approach needs to be created and enhanced through cooperation and coordination by the parties that are directly or indirectly involved with the three respective approaches listed above. It should be noted that the available protection for indigenous peoples in the context of REDD-plus are currently insufficient to quickly address cases where the rights of indigenous peoples have been violated in REDD-plus activities. In order to address this insufficiency, as well as to achieve a coherent approach to protecting indigenous peoples in the context of REDD-plus, the research recommends the establishment of a REDD-Plus Committee supported by a REDD-Plus Panel to develop and increase the protection of indigenous peoples in REDD-plus, should REDD-plus is placed outside the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). On the other hand, if REDD-plus is placed under the CDM then the research recommends the establishment of a Committee on REDD-Plus under the CDM and a Panel on the CDM. The existence of the pertinent committee and panel can be expected to bring benefits in the context of REDD-plus as well as in wider contexts, such as climate change, human rights, and international law through its contribution to reduce the risks of the negative effects of the fragmentation of international law.