Forests

Experts call for greater attention to indigenous people to preserve forests, fight climate change

A third of global forests are under some form of management by families, smallholders, local communities and indigenous people

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Friday 22 July 2016

Governments across the world must pay greater attention to indigenous people, local communities and smallholders to restore degraded landscapes and achieve climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Food and Agriculture Organization Assistant-Director General René Castro Salazar said that the issue of indigenous rights to land and territories was “critical” for the success of climate change initiatives.

“Unless we help indigenous peoples achieve secure land tenure and better governance, it will be very hard to achieve long-term solutions,” Castro Salazar said.

Tough scenario

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the United Nations special rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, said that very few countries had so far made a clear commitment to a requirement in the Paris Climate Change Agreement about ensuring the rights of indigenous people.

She also highlighted the large number of deaths of people protecting forests and rights to land in 2015.

A third of global forests are under some form of management by families, smallholders, local communities and indigenous people. Government-recognised community forests alone hold an estimated 37.7 billion tonnes of carbon stock.

Family smallholders, local communities and indigenous people have a key role to play in preserving these carbon stocks by reducing deforestation, managing forests sustainably and restoring tree cover.

In addition, an estimated 1.5 billion hectares of land hold potential for smallholder farmers to combine agriculture with trees.

Experts called for climate change initiatives to shift towards giving greater ownership to local communities, indigenous people and smallholders.

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