Global Forest Coalition https://globalforestcoalition.org Global Forest Coalition Mon, 18 Jun 2018 20:51:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 UN plans for aviation biofuels and carbon offsets condemned by 88 organisations worldwide https://globalforestcoalition.org/aviation-biofuels-open-letter-pr/ https://globalforestcoalition.org/aviation-biofuels-open-letter-pr/#respond Mon, 11 Jun 2018 09:20:17 +0000 https://globalforestcoalition.org/?p=8741 For immediate release, Monday 11th June 2018. 88 organisations from 34 countries have called on the UN’s International Civil Aviation Agency (ICAO) to ditch plans for aviation biofuels and carbon offsets, as the Agency’s governing body convenes in Montreal to finalise proposals for a controversial “Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme” [1]. An Open Letter by the groups [2] warn that ICAO’s proposal could incentivise airlines to use large quantities of biofuels made from palm oil in their tanks in order …

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For immediate release, Monday 11th June 2018.

88 organisations from 34 countries have called on the UN’s International Civil Aviation Agency (ICAO) to ditch plans for aviation biofuels and carbon offsets, as the Agency’s governing body convenes in Montreal to finalise proposals for a controversial “Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme” [1].

An Open Letter by the groups [2] warn that ICAO’s proposal could incentivise airlines to use large quantities of biofuels made from palm oil in their tanks in order to meet greenhouse gas targets – even though member states rejected biofuel targets last autumn amidst concerns about palm oil.

Simone Lovera, Executive Director of the Global Forest Coalition, one of the signatories of the Open Letter warns: “Palm oil is one of the main drivers of deforestation worldwide, which is a major cause of carbon emissions, yet we could soon see airlines be rewarded under absurd, industry-friendly UN rules to burn biofuels made from it.”

Proposed biofuel targets for aircraft were rejected by member states in October 2017 [3], but groups fear that the proposed new rules will introduce large-scale biofuel use ‘by the backdoor’.

Nele Mariën from Friends of the Earth International highlights the groups’ concerns about the second part of the UN proposal – carbon offsetting for airlines: “There is no way of reaching the goal to limit global warming to 1.5oC unless all states and sectors rapidly phase out their carbon emissions. This means that there can be no role for offsets”.

The Open Letter urges member states to reject the biofuel and offsetting plans and to end and reverse the growth in aviation.

Almuth Ernsting from Biofuelwatch explains: “Biofuels and carbon offsetting are dangerous attempts at conning consumers and the public by greenwashing an industry which is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions globally. The UN and its members need to tackle aviation growth if they are serious about preventing the worst impacts of climate change.”

Contacts:

Almuth Ernsting, Biofuelwatch, +44-1316232600 (UK)
Nele Marien, Friends of the Earth International, ++32-488652153 (Belgium)
Simone Lovera, Global Forest Coalition, ++595-981-407375 (Paraguay)

Notes:

[1] The Council of the International Civil Aviation Agency, a specialised UN agency, will be meeting in Montreal from 11th to 29th June. It is due to decide on rules for the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction for International Aviation (CORSIA) scheme. The draft rules were published in January: transportenvironment.org/publications/aviation-carbon-offsetting-scheme-icao-circulates-draft-rules

[2] The Open Letter with the list of signatories can be found at biofuelwatch.org.uk/icao-letter

[3] See transportenvironment.org/press/countries-reject-plan-aviation-biofuels-targets

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Community Conservation Resilience Initiative in Nepal https://globalforestcoalition.org/community-conservation-nepal/ https://globalforestcoalition.org/community-conservation-nepal/#respond Mon, 04 Jun 2018 17:40:21 +0000 https://globalforestcoalition.org/?p=8688 Download the summary report (Nepal) Introduction The Federation of Community Forestry Users in Nepal (FECOFUN) conducted the CCRI assessment with communities in the Barandabhar corridor, the Basanta corridor and the Panchase landscape in Nepal. Community forests in these areas, covering about 12,000 ha (DoF, 2016), are managed by 215 legally recognised Community Forest User Groups. The user groups have played a critical role in conserving the biodiversity and ecosystems in these areas. These corridors and landscapes are socioculturally diverse and …

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Download the summary report (Nepal)

Introduction

The Federation of Community Forestry Users in Nepal (FECOFUN) conducted the CCRI assessment with communities in the Barandabhar corridor, the Basanta corridor and the Panchase landscape in Nepal. Community forests in these areas, covering about 12,000 ha (DoF, 2016), are managed by 215 legally recognised Community Forest User Groups. The user groups have played a critical role in conserving the biodiversity and ecosystems in these areas.

These corridors and landscapes are socioculturally diverse and represent diverse ecosystems that Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) depend for their income generation and livelihoods (MoFCS, 2014). The social mix is heterogeneous with more than 45 ethnic groups, but in general the majority are Indigenous Peoples who have rich traditional knowledge and customary sustainable use practices relating to the management of community forests (MoFSC, 2015).

The Community Forest User Groups’ rights of tenure over the forestlands and resources are recognised by the Forest Act 1993 and Forest Regulation 1995 in the form of community forests. Some of the IPLCs’ customary practices relating to forest resources have been integrated into the formally approved Forest Management Plans of the Community Forests, but in practice Indigenous Peoples are struggling to have their informal practices and other customary rights related to forest use—such as collecting non-timber forest products, shifting cultivation and grazing—recognised in the forestry legislation and forest management plans (NEFIN, 2016).

The CCRI assessment process and tools included interviews, plenary workshops, focus group discussions, individual story-telling and a literature review. Some of the participatory practices were adapted during the assessment based on the recommendations of the user group members, agencies and stakeholders.

Watch a short video about the CCRI in Nepal here:

 

Community conservation initiatives and impacts

community conservation nepal

A community forest managed by community forest user groups in Dolakha district. Dil Raj Khanal/FECOFUN

According to Nepal’s forest legislation (Forest Act 1993 and Forest Regulation 1995), the national forest can be managed in five different ways (community forest, leasehold forest, religious forest, government- managed forest and protected forest). Community forestry is supposed to be a nationally prioritised forest management regime, but in practice government agencies are reluctant to recognise this. The local communities, through the user groups, have a legal right to claim their adjoining national forests to manage as additional community forest based on this legislation. However, the Nepalese government has been reluctant to hand the national forests in these areas over to local communities as community forests, because they are a main source of revenue for central government, which auctions timber and non-timber forest products (FECOFUN, 2015).

However, after various advocacy campaigns by the local communities, including in these corridors and landscapes, the government’s District Forest Offices eventually handed over the majority of the national forest to Community Forest User Groups as community forests.

The user groups have made significant contributions to reducing deforestation and forest degradation through natural regeneration processes that promote ecosystem regeneration and are resulting in an increase in wildlife species in Nepal (MoFSC, 2016). They are conserving biodiversity and eco-systems, including in the new areas of national forest that have been handed over. For example, the communities’ efforts in the Panchase landscape have reduced soil erosion, landslides and floods and contributed to conserving the Phewa Lake of Pokhara valley, which is highly important for the promotion of eco- tourism in Nepal (UNDP, 2015).

Likewise, the community forests have contributed to controlling the encroachment of forests for other purposes. However, local communities have been negatively impacted by the expansion of protected forest areas by central government in different parts of Nepal, including in the Barandabhar and Basanta corridors.

External and internal threats

The main external threat has been the Nepalese government’s already mentioned reluctance to hand national forest over to the Community Forest User Groups. The local Community Forest User Groups have been putting pressure on the government to hand them over and have largely been successful in this.

Tenure rights are a problem in protected areas. The above- mentioned corridors and landscape were declared as protected forests in 2012, despite strong protest from local communities against this centralised decision from the government, which prioritised the protection of the forests over securing communities’ tenure rights over them. The more protection- oriented provisions in the forest management plans for the community forests in these particular areas mean that the local communities are unable to exercise their rights even though they are legally held.

Internal weaknesses include gaps with respect to gender equity and social exclusion in the executive committees of the Community Forest User Groups. This is despite the fact that some strong and beneficial policy provisions intended to ensure gender equity and social inclusion are included in the Community Forestry Development Programme Guideline (Revised 2015). This is because of many people’s limited awareness about their legal rights with respect to community forestry, which results in socially marginalised groups benefiting less from community forests.

It is also the case that even though 35% of the income from a community forest needs to be allocated for pro-poor forest dependent households in order to help them conduct income- generating activities, some user groups are allocating lower amounts in practice. The forest management plans of the community forests need to be reviewed to secure the rights of poor households over forest resources, and equitable sharing of the benefits generated from community forestry.

Solution-oriented approaches and strategies

Traditional fishing practices in a community conserved wetland area. Ramesh Bhushal

The Community Forest User Groups and their federation, FECOFUN, have been advocating for measures to address these threats and major issues, with a campaign to protect community rights over community forests at community level. The CCRI assessment has added value and supported these campaigns in an organised and effective way, including through its parallel legal review, and a strategic planning meeting of the central FECOFUN at the national level. The following strategic approaches have been designed to address the above- mentioned and other associated threats:

Local campaign for community forestry: The Forest Act 1993 recognises and gives top priority to community forest, and local communities have developed a long- term advocacy campaign to demand community forest in those areas where the remaining national forest has not been handed over as a community forest.

Legal capacity building for securing tenure rights: FECOFUN has developed a plan for legal capacity building for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities to help secure the community rights which are guaranteed under Nepal’s forest legislation, because the local communities still have limited legal knowledge about community forest law and other legal provisions which give priority and preferential rights to local communities.

Revision of forest management plans: The government expects each Community Forest User Group to review their forest management plan five years after approval, (although they should be able to review whenever they wish under the Forest Act 1993). The local FECOFUNs associated with each of the 753 Community Forest User Groups in Nepal have developed a short- to long-term strategy to mobilise resources from local governments, government agencies and the user groups to facilitate the revision of forest management plans in such a way that they recognise, support and promote the customary rights of IPLCs in community forest as well as other forest management regimes.

Integration of gender equity and social inclusion in community forestry: During the ‘national level workshop on gender equity and social inclusion in community forest’ FECOFUN and the user groups developed a strategic plan to revise their bylaws and forest management plans for the integration of gender equity and social inclusion in community forestry.

Equitable sharing of benefits generated from community forestry: This is one of the critical issues when it comes to securing benefits from the community forests for poor households. As a result of the campaigns, government agencies, local governments and stakeholders including FECOFUN are giving a high priority to maintaining the equitable sharing of benefits generated from community forestry.

Testimony

“We have spent a great deal of our time over the last twenty years conserving the seventeen community forests in this Barandabhara corridor, but the government is still hesitating about handing over the core areas of this forest to us as a community forest. Political leaders have often tried to obstruct us by going to the leadership of Community Forest Users Groups, but we have established a practice of equal leadership of women in community forest based on policy guidance and our bylaw.”

Asha Lopchan, member of the auditing committee of Chaturmukhi Community Forest User Group and Barandabhar protected Forest Council, Chitwan district

Preliminary recommendations

On the basis of the findings from the CCRI assessment in Nepal, fulfilling the following preliminary recommendations will strengthen community conservation:
• The remaining national forest in these three areas needs to be handed over to the local communities as community forests, so that they can control their further encroachment and restore degraded forest.
• The central government should respect the forest tenure rights of local communities as recognised in the forest legislation. Previous decisions that contradict the forest legislation should be cancelled.
• Government agencies, local governments and stakeholders including development partners should be required to provide technical and other needed support services to local communities to facilitate the revision of their forest management plan.
• The Community Forest User Groups need to revise their forest management plans and other annual plans and programmes to integrate gender equity and social inclusion into community forestry and secure the equitable sharing of benefits generated from community forests for poor households.
• FECOFUN needs to strength its local FECOFUN branches to sustain advocacy campaigns at community level and secure community rights over the forest resources.
• The legal capacity of the user groups needs to be strengthened through a legal awareness programme at community level to empower communities to advocate for the expansion of community forests.
• There are many success stories showing how the Community Forest User Groups’ work at the community level is instrumental to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and local communities’ ambition to share their success stories in international policy spaces should be supported and facilitated.

This summary is based on a full CCRI report about the communities’ conservation resilience assessment in Nepal, which can be found here.

Download Report of the Community Conservation Resilience Initiative in Nepal here.

References
DOF (2016). Our Forest (Hamro Ban), an Annual Report (2015-2016). Department of Forests (DoF), Kathmandu, Nepal http://dof.gov.np/publications/all_yearly_public ations

FECOFUN (2015). 20 Year’s Glimpse of FECOFUN, Federation of Community Forestry Users, Nepal (FECOFUN), Kathmandu, Nepal

MoFSC (2014). Nepal Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2014-2020. Government of Nepal, Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (MoFSC), Kathmandu, Nepal. July 2014.

MoFSC (2015). Strategy and Action Plan 2015-2025, Terai Arc Landscape, Nepal. Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (MoFAC), Kathmandu, Nepal.

MoFSC (2016). Conservation Landscapes of Nepal, Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Kathmandu, Nepal
http://d2ouvy59p0dg6k.cloudfront.net/downloa ds/conservation_landscapes_of_nepal.pdf

NEFIN, (2014). Consultation and Dialogue of Indigenous Peoples on Forest Related Policies and Strategies: National Workshop Report,

Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN), Kathmandu, Nepal http://nefinclimatechange.org/wp- content/uploads/2014/07/Final-Report1.pdf

UNDP (2015). Ecosystem-based Adaptation in Mountain Region in Nepal, Annual Progress Report 2015, UNDP Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal

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Community Conservation Resilience Initiative in Sabah, Malaysia https://globalforestcoalition.org/community-conservation-malaysia/ https://globalforestcoalition.org/community-conservation-malaysia/#respond Mon, 21 May 2018 21:50:24 +0000 http://globalforestcoalition.org/?p=8504 Download the summary report (English) INTRODUCTION The Community Conservation Resilience Initiative (CCRI) was undertaken with five villages in Sabah. These emblematic sites were chosen as they reflect diverse land use practices that are commonly observed by their respective communities. Sg. Eloi is in the Pitas district, specifically in the mangrove areas at the mouth of the Pitas River, and community members are working to protect, restore and apply sustainable use of their community mangrove forest. Alutok is in the Tenom …

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Download the summary report (English)

INTRODUCTION

Mapping community resources. PACOS Trust

The Community Conservation Resilience Initiative (CCRI) was undertaken with five villages in Sabah. These emblematic sites were chosen as they reflect diverse land use practices that are commonly observed by their respective communities.

Sg. Eloi is in the Pitas district, specifically in the mangrove areas at the mouth of the Pitas River, and community members are working to protect, restore and apply sustainable use of their community mangrove forest. Alutok is in the Tenom district, parts of which is located within a commercial forest reserve, the Sipitang Forest Reserve, and the community is working to secure and highlight their traditional practices of forest management. Kiau is located at the foot of Mount Kinabalu in the district of Kota Belud and community members are now actively seeking formal recognition for their lands from the government, and the revival of their traditional practices. Mengkawago is in the district of Tongod, the whole of it within a commercial forest reserve, the Mengkawago Forest Reserve, and community members are trying to secure the community forest for the continuity of their traditional practices. Terian is in the district of Penampang, on the mountains along the Crocker Range. The core village settlement is located right next to the boundary of the Crocker Range Park but parts of the broader territory are overlapped by the Park. They are working to strengthen their community watershed management system.

With independent funding from the Commonwealth Foundation, this three-year project (2015-2017) aims to increase the resilience of the Indigenous Peoples’ customary institutions and natural resource stewardship systems through constructive engagement with decision-making processes. The project involves documentation of customary institutions and natural resource stewardship systems, strengthening of local and international networks, and engagements with policy- and decision-makers to improve implementation of supportive laws and to promote legal and institutional reform. It involves five communities from different parts of Sabah, each facing different issues.

COMMUNITY CONSERVATION INITIATIVE AND ECOLOGICAL IMPACT

Jungle trekking during the visit to Mengkawago. PACOS Trust

People in the Tombonuo ethnic group from Sungai Eloi, Pitas, depend on their mangrove forests for protein, fuelwood and medicinal plants. In addition, the mangrove area is a place for spiritual purposes. The community identifies and manages their conservation areas based on traditional customary uses and practices.

The Murut Tahol of Alutok, Ulu Tomani, is a community of forest-dependent hunter-gatherers, and they take special care of their forest. For example, they practice tavol in preparation for large and important occasions such as weddings. Tavol prohibits hunting and resource gathering in specific areas in the forest for specific time periods, ensuring resources are not depleted and preventing conflict and competition in the community.

Located at the foothills of Mt. Kinabalu, the Kiau community forest conservation area is a 1,024-acre forest area set aside by the community as a heritage area. The Dusun community is focused on revitalising traditional forest practices such as the use of Dusun forest terms (boros puru) and giving respect to the forest spirits (mamatang/mamason). To conserve this forest, they have also formulated a protocol to govern its use.

In Mengkawago, the forest-dependent Sungai Rumanau community is one of the few communities that still maintains knowledge of harvesting wild honey from bees that establish their hives in a particular tree species (Menggaris). The community has been documenting their traditional knowledge of wild honey collection within their community forest area, which they have also been attempting to protect. By harvesting honey sustainably, the community also protects the surrounding forest area, providing broader environmental benefits.

The Dusun community in Terian lives on the hillside and are mainly farmers who grow paddy (rice) and cash crops such as rubber. They depend on the Terian River for their livelihood and have a micro-hydro turbine to generate electricity and a gravity-fed water system to provide clean water, and are actively managing and maintaining the condition of the river and watershed in their village.

INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL THREATS

Efforts have been made by the community to replant affected areas with mangrove trees. PACOS Trust

A large-scale shrimp farming project in Sungai Eloi is clearing mangroves vital to the community’s livelihoods and the surrounding environment. More than 2,000 acres have already been cleared since 2012. The Environment Protection Department approved the EIA and the company plans to clear another 1,000 acres despite protests from the communities and certain NGOs. The community leaders are also facing threats – part of a growing global trend of threats towards indigenous leaders and environmental defenders.

Part of Alutok and its community forest are located in a Class II Forest Reserve and now held by a company concessionaire (Sabah Forest Industry), making the community’s land tenure insecure. They face threats of encroachment, as they have no rights to the forests, and the prospect of losing their community forest through deforestation and monoculture planting of Acacia Mangium. The wild flora and fauna in the forest area would also be depleted.

Initially, the communities of Kiau used the forests in their customary territory as hunting grounds where they could forage and hunt. After the State Government designated most of these forests as a state park in 1964, the communities lost ownership and, subsequently, their traditional practices of hunting and gathering were prohibited. Although the forests were excised from the park in the 1980s, legally they are still State land and the community thus still faces insecure land tenure. There are also concerns about proposed tourism development with the area being open to land title applications by interested companies.

Mengkawago has been included within a Class II Forest Reserve since 1984. Like in Alutok, the community has no governing power over the forest area and it can be logged by the concessionaire. Other human activities (such as hunting) within the Forest Reserve are prohibited without a licence, which affects the community’s access to forest resources and their traditional forest-dependent practices.

While Terian is fairly isolated and has poor access to gravel roads, it is among the nine villages in danger of being submerged or relocated by development of the proposed Kaiduan Dam (12 km2 would be submerged and 350 km2 gazetted as water catchment reserve). Even before the proposed dam, Terian struggled to get recognition of the parts of their territory, including hunting grounds, which overlapped with a state park (Crocker Range Park).

Watch a short video about the CCRI in Malaysia here:

 

POTENTIAL SOLUTION-ORIENTED APPROACHES, STRATEGIES AND POLICIES

Sungai Eloi, Pitas
The community is promoting the environmental, social and cultural importance of the mangroves and their management and protection, and is appealing to the company, state government and related agencies to stop the clearing of the mangroves and assist with restoration. Community members are also raising awareness about their struggles at regional and international meetings related to human rights and biodiversity conservation.

Alutok, Ulu Tomani
In Alutok, they will organise workshops and community meetings to form a tavol committee to raise awareness amongst the community and youth on the importance of tavol, and increase exposure and understanding of laws relating to the preservation and conservation of tavol. There are also plans to organise trainings and exposures for the tavol committee’s capacity in documentation and to consolidate all of their training and skills. They also hope that by promoting tavol as a good practice for forest stewardship, it can be recognized and supported by the government and key decision-makers, leading to their community forest being excised from the Forest Reserve —or at the very least to have governance and management of the community forest devolved to them within the Forest Reserve.

Kiau, Kota Belud
The community is currently trying to gain recognition for their conservation area by working together with Sabah Parks and Ecolinc (an existing project aiming to increase connectivity between Crocker Range Park and Kinabalu Park, including through recognition of ICCAs) and applying for a Native Reserve title in the hopes of protecting the forest in accordance with their traditional practices. They want the government to recognise the community forest reserve, and to do so, they plan to further document their practices, update their community protocol and have meetings with relevant government agencies.

Mengkawago community members harvesting honey.
PACOS Trust

Mengkawago, Tongod
The community of Mengkawago hopes to show the importance and multiple values of the forest area and secure legal recognition and protection of their customary lands, practices and livelihoods. To date, the community has successfully completed their community map and community profile and has documented their historical sites. They are also in the process of documenting their traditional practice of honey collection as an example of community forest stewardship. The community is hopeful that by documenting this traditional activity, they could reach a formal agreement with the Forestry Department as a form of mutually beneficial conservation of the forest area. This agreement could also pave the way to addressing existing tensions between the Forestry Department and the community over agroforestry activities (Lasimbang, 2016).

Terian, Ulu Papar
Terian will appoint a working committee, organise awareness campaigns and have dialogues with relevant stakeholders to show that they are stewards of the watersheds and surrounding forests—which are also part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The community hopes that plans for the Kaiduan Dam will be reconsidered if not halted altogether and their traditional protocols recognised. Efforts to establish a Community Use Zone with Sabah Parks have yet to come to fruition, though this area is now recognised as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. There could be an opportunity to engage with UNESCO over the concerns with the dam, though more pervasive challenges remain with government funding and approval processes.

PRELIMINARY CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Community ritual to ask for help from the forest spirits to protect the mangroves from encroachment and destruction. Sudin Ipung/G6

The communities involved have demonstrated their resilience and ability to be stewards of their customary territories, but significant challenges remain that threaten their territories and practices in both the short- and long-term. Consolidating their community protocols will provide a clear basis for targeted dialogues and negotiation with government agencies and other stakeholders. Currently there are existing provisions in policy and legal frameworks that can be implemented by the government. However, challenges must be overcome to ensure the objectives can be achieved, including the elimination of possible conflicts of interest, appropriate recognition for various forms of communities’ customary laws and stewardship systems, ensuring equitable governance and effective management of natural resources in areas overlapping with communities’ territories, overcoming challenges with coordination and jurisdiction between government agencies, and promoting culturally appropriate research and education (Lasimbang, 2016).

A common recommendation across all of the communities is to seek recognition of their community protocols from the Native Court, especially where the state legal system has fallen short in its recognition of customary law and traditional knowledge and practices.

Sg. Eloi, Pitas
Any further development of the shrimp farm should be halted to prevent further damage to the mangroves and the project developers should pay for restoration of the mangroves destroyed. The Environment Protection Department should retract the environmental impact assessment clearance for the aquaculture project and undertake a public review, with full and effective participation of the villages in that area. An independent review should be undertaken of the impacts of the federal and state governments’ ‘poverty eradication’ programmes (such as the shrimp farming project). The community should be allowed to determine what form of development is appropriate to their way of life. Another legal option being considered is to work with the Drainage and Irrigation Department to recognise Water Conservation Areas in the community’s mangrove areas.

Alutok, Ulu Tomani
The Sabah Forestry Department should excise the community forest from the Class II Forest Reserve or reclassify it as a domestic forest reserve (Class III) and devolve governance and management responsibilities to the community, based on indigenous knowledge and practices. This arrangement should not impose any requirements to clear the forest under the guise of ‘poverty eradication’. At the very least, a co-management agreement should be established with the community for the community forest.

Kiau, Kota Belud
Sabah Parks should continue to assist with efforts to recognise the community’s conservation practices but should do so in ways that are tailored to each community in the Ecolinc (corridor) area, including by considering the pros and cons of Native Reserves and other forms of legal recognition more fully with the community before proceeding with gazettement. Sabah Parks and companies interested in tourism operations in the area should also assist the community in setting up eco-tourism initiatives in accordance with the community’s protocol and development plans. Another option being considered is to work with the Sabah Forestry Department to demarcate and gazette their community forest reserve in accordance with the community’s protocol.

Mengkawago, Tongod
Similar to Alutok, the Sabah Forestry Department should excise the community’s traditional territory from the Forest Reserve or at least reclassify it into a Class III Forest Reserve and devolve governance and management responsibilities to the community, based on indigenous knowledge and practices. At the very least, the Forestry Department, concessionaire and community should establish a co-management agreement to allow the community secure access to forest products for their subsistence use and to protect the trees on which the honeybees depend. The community should also be compensated with land agreed by the community that is of relatively equal size, quality and fertility as what has been cleared by the concessionaire. An additional option being considered to support their livelihoods is to work with the Forestry Department’s Social Forestry Unit to assist the community to establish a local enterprise for the harvested honey.

Terian, Ulu Papar
The state government should immediately halt plans to build the Kaiduan Dam and identify alternatives for addressing the city’s water supply needs, including by retrofitting pipes to stop leakages. Sabah Parks and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment should play a more active role in supporting the communities in Ulu Papar to resist the dam and should leverage the designation of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve to recognise the communities’ contributions to water catchment stewardship and biodiversity conservation more broadly, and the need for sustainable economic activities in the area. This could include legally recognising Water Conservation Areas and Community Use Zones. The community’s watershed management protocols should be formally recognised and supported by all relevant government agencies.

Testimony

Olon Somoi, 46 years old, Kampung Sungai Eloi, Pitas

“The mangrove is our home. It was devastated by the shrimp farm. We have no support from the leaders to defend our land. In 2012, we were threatened when we tried to hunt for food in our traditional hunting grounds. We are severely affected without our traditional foods. There are fewer lukan (shells), fish, and crabs. Some days, there are none. Land applications in Kampung Kuyu were cancelled in favour of the farm. We want ICCA to continue in our community. We are restoring our mangroves on our own, and we want them untouched. We will die defending our land.”
– Aunty Olon, Native Customary Rights Land defender

Download Report of the CCRI in Sabah, Malaysia here.

REFERENCES

Sabah Forestry Department, 2011. Sabah Forestry Department Annual Report 2010. Sandakan, Sabah. http://www.forest.sabah.gov.my/pdf/ar2010/index.htm

Lasimbang, J., 2016. “At least 5 communities practise ‘Tagal Hutan’. Workshop on Promoting Tagal Hutan to Conserve Traditional Indigenous Practice, Enhance Watershed Management and Address Climate Change. Daily Express, 18 February, p2a. http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=106900

Lasimbang. J., 2016. “Tagal Hutan to conserve culture, land and forest through development of a Policy Framework”. http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/rap/Asia-Pacific_Forestry_Week/doc/Stream_4/ST4_24Feb_Jannie_-_Tagal_Hutan_land_rights.pdf

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GFC Annual Report 2017 https://globalforestcoalition.org/annual-report-2017/ https://globalforestcoalition.org/annual-report-2017/#respond Sun, 20 May 2018 18:10:42 +0000 http://globalforestcoalition.org/?p=8533 We are happy to share our 2017 Annual Report: “In Defence of Real Forests and their Communities”. As a global coalition, we have come far. Founded in 2000 with just 19 members, the Global Forest Coalition has brought together 94 diverse organisations from 62 countries. Together, we work to defend the world’s forests and forest peoples, threatened by a dangerous consumer culture that is promoted by transnational corporations.

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We are happy to share our 2017 Annual Report: “In Defence of Real Forests and their Communities”. As a global coalition, we have come far. Founded in 2000 with just 19 members, the Global Forest Coalition has since succeeded in bringing together 94 diverse organisations from 62 countries. Together, we work to defend the world’s forests and forest peoples, threatened by a dangerous consumer culture that is promoted by transnational corporations. But nature is not a commodity, and life is not for sale. Instead, we must fight for the rights of the people that depend on forests and call them home−Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and women.

2017 was a year of important accomplishments and celebration for GFC. But we also grieved the death of our dear comrade, Wally Menne, a ferocious defender of forests in South Africa and around the world. For GFC, and so many other forest activists, it is hard to imagine a world without Wally. We honour his life and spirit, and take inspiration from his vision and passion.

Download the Annual Report: Web quality (3.8MB) / Low resolution (1.5MB)

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Urgent help needed for those affected by the dam tragedy in Colombia https://globalforestcoalition.org/urgent-help-needed-for-those-affected-by-the-dam-tragedy-in-colombia/ https://globalforestcoalition.org/urgent-help-needed-for-those-affected-by-the-dam-tragedy-in-colombia/#respond Thu, 17 May 2018 23:37:49 +0000 http://globalforestcoalition.org/?p=8558 The hidroituango, hydroelectric project in the department of Antioquia is the largest infrastructure currently running in the country. Since April 28, technical failures have occurred for the plugging of the Cauca river tunnel, which has generated an emergency due to the overflowing of the river, putting at risk the lives, houses, livelihoods and work of thousands of families. On May 16, the powerhouse dam, in trying to evacuate the accumulated water, collapsed, causing a catastrophe that could become the most …

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The hidroituango, hydroelectric project in the department of Antioquia is the largest infrastructure currently running in the country. Since April 28, technical failures have occurred for the plugging of the Cauca river tunnel, which has generated an emergency due to the overflowing of the river, putting at risk the lives, houses, livelihoods and work of thousands of families.

On May 16, the powerhouse dam, in trying to evacuate the accumulated water, collapsed, causing a catastrophe that could become the most serious for this Latin American country in ecological and social terms.

The aforementioned conditions have led to the evacuation of 4,985 people downstream of the works involved; more than 1,000 are in unsafe shelters, with shortages of food and medicines and at least 12 riverside villages are on alert for floods and avalanches, products of the damming of the Cauca River. The manager of Empresas Públicas de Medellín -EPM- company that executes the project, talks about 120 thousand potential affected downstream. This is only referring to the humanitarian impacts.

The atmosphere in the region is one of fear, discouragement and despair. At this moment, national and international solidarity is urgently needed for communities that have lost their livelihoods and relationships with the environment. We urgently call all to join the voices that demand to know those responsible and the actors involved in this tragedy; we call with utmost urgency as well, emergency forms of support for the affected families, who now require immediate measures to solve the most pressing needs. For this reason, we appeal to everyone’s humanity and solidarity to urgently give donations from outside Colombia. You may deposit your donation at the following link:

 

https://globalforestcoalition.org/instrumental-pages/support-gfc/

Photo is of the landslide in the dam area, by: Movimiento Ríos Vivos

For more information, please visit the websites of CENSAT Agua Viva and Movimiento Rios Vivos:
http://censat.org/
https://defensaterritorios.wordpress.com/

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Fiu Mata’ese Elisara Steps Down as Board Member of the Global Forest Coalition https://globalforestcoalition.org/fiu-mataese-elisara-steps-down-as-board-member/ https://globalforestcoalition.org/fiu-mataese-elisara-steps-down-as-board-member/#respond Thu, 10 May 2018 07:05:09 +0000 http://globalforestcoalition.org/?p=8495 10 May, Bonn: Fiu Mata’ese Elisara from Samoa, former Chairperson of the Global Forest Coalition (GFC), has stepped down from his duties as board member today. Fiu served on the board since 2010 and was GFC’s chairperson from 2010 until 2012. He will be replaced by Ms. Aydah Vahia Akao of the Network of Indigenous Peoples in the Solomon Islands. Vahia Akao was nominated by member organizations of GFC in the Pacific region and was formally appointed to the board …

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Fiu Elisara at GFC board meeting, July 2017. Muhammad Ikhwan/GFC

10 May, Bonn: Fiu Mata’ese Elisara from Samoa, former Chairperson of the Global Forest Coalition (GFC), has stepped down from his duties as board member today. Fiu served on the board since 2010 and was GFC’s chairperson from 2010 until 2012. He will be replaced by Ms. Aydah Vahia Akao of the Network of Indigenous Peoples in the Solomon Islands. Vahia Akao was nominated by member organizations of GFC in the Pacific region and was formally appointed to the board at the annual GFC board meeting held on 4 May in Bonn, Germany.

The Global Forest Coalition [1] is a worldwide coalition of 94 Indigenous Peoples’ Organisations and environmental groups from 62 different countries striving for rights-based, socially just forest conservation and restoration policies. It has two offices, one in Asuncion, Paraguay and the other in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. GFC staff work from 12 different countries.

“GFC expresses deep gratitude to Fiu, both for his contributions and teachings, and for his commitment to Indigenous Peoples and their territories. His knowledge, clarity and persistence have left a strong mark upon our organization. We wish him great success for the future,” said Diego Alejandro Cardona of Censat Agua Viva – Colombia, the current chairperson of GFC.

Fiu Mata’ese Elisara, an indigenous Samoan, has an impressive thirty-year long career advocating for Indigenous Peoples rights and action to address climate change behind him. He is the Executive Director of the Ole Siosiomaga Society (OLSSI), an Indigenous Peoples Organization in Samoa, since 2002. Elisara worked for the United Nations Development Program for eight years (1993-2001). Before that he was an official with the Government of Samoa, following the negotiations of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biodiversity. He represented the Samoan government and Pacific Indigenous Peoples during various global conferences and summits.

“It was an honour for me to have served GFC as a Board Member and its immediate past Chair. I especially found invaluable the opportunity to join other activists in GFC’s global work defending the rights of Indigenous Peoples and our forests, fight climate change, and advocate for the survival of Mother Earth. My decision to resign is due to my desire to spend more time with family and grandchildren but I depart knowing that GFC is in great hands and will continue to excel and succeed moving into an exciting future” said Elisara.

“Fiu steered GFC through some of its most difficult years with great wisdom, tact and leadership”, says Simone Lovera, executive director of the Coalition. “His insights greatly shaped our organization and we learned so much from him. We are deeply grateful to him.”

Fiu’s successor, Aydah Vahia Akao is a well-known campaigner for the rights of Indigenous Peoples, women, and Pacific Peoples. She has closely followed many national, regional, and international policy processes, including the Convention on Biodiversity. She was actively involved in the Community Conservation Resilience Initiative [2]. She will bring a profound knowledge of customary sustainable use, traditional knowledge, and its contribution to forest and biodiversity conservation to GFC.

“I am most humbled to become part of the GFC’s Board representing the Pacific region. It is indeed an honour. I make a profound commitment to serving GFC and especially defending our forests, Indigenous peoples, and our cultures that connect deeply with our biodiversity,” said Ms Vahia Akao.

“I am confident that Ms Aydah Vahia will make an excellent GFC board member and has made the commitment to be commensurately active in this work. I want to thank the GFC board for approving her as our nomination to take over from me. I wish her all the best into the future,” said Elisara.

Notes
[1] https://globalforestcoalition.org/

[2] More information about the CCRI can be found at: https://globalforestcoalition.org/resources/supporting-community-conservation/ The Community Conservation Resilience Initiative (CCRI) is a joint effort of a large number of indigenous peoples’ organizations (IPOs), women’s groups and NGOs coordinated by the Global Forest Coalition, who are carrying out bottom up assessments of community led conservation efforts in communities across 22 countries. The CCRI aims to contribute to the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD’s) 2011­2020 Strategic Plan for Biodiversity by providing advice on the most effective and appropriate forms of support for community conservation.

Contact Info
Fiu Mata’ese Elisara
fiuelisara51@gmail.com
+685 7791999

Aydah Vahia
aydah.g.vahia@gmail.com
+677 7588111

Simone Lovera (Executive Director, GFC)
Global Forest Coalition
+595-981-407375 (Paraguay)
+31-6-47392511 (Europe)
simone@globalforestcoalition.org

Ashlesha Khadse (Media Officer, GFC)
Cell and whatsapp: +91 8600839193 (India)
ashlesha@globalforestcoalition.org

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Climate Talks in Bonn must Target the Big Four Drivers of Deforestation – Beef, Soy, Palm Oil, Wood, say Forest Activists https://globalforestcoalition.org/climate-talks-bonn-must-target-drivers-of-deforestation/ https://globalforestcoalition.org/climate-talks-bonn-must-target-drivers-of-deforestation/#respond Sun, 06 May 2018 08:18:20 +0000 http://globalforestcoalition.org/?p=8491 6 May: More than 50 forest activists from organizations in the Global North and South gathered in Bonn to tell the UNFCCC to discuss the climate impacts of the big four drivers of deforestation – beef, soy, wood, and palm oil- which are together responsible for the majority of deforestation worldwide with devastating impacts on climate. The activists gathered in Bonn in the backdrop of the United Nations Bonn Climate Change Conference [1] ongoing from 30 April to 10 May. …

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6 May: More than 50 forest activists from organizations in the Global North and South gathered in Bonn to tell the UNFCCC to discuss the climate impacts of the big four drivers of deforestation – beef, soy, wood, and palm oil- which are together responsible for the majority of deforestation worldwide with devastating impacts on climate. The activists gathered in Bonn in the backdrop of the United Nations Bonn Climate Change Conference [1] ongoing from 30 April to 10 May. They participated in a workshop to address these big four deforesters organized by the Global Forest Coalition [2] on 5, 6 May.

The Bonn Climate conference will cover a range of issues like the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP) and a set of decisions required to operationalize the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The activists highlighted that to tackle deforestation in the climate regime these four key commodities have to be addressed from both a demand and supply approach. Increasing demand for these forest-destroying commodities is leading to huge swathes of forest being replaced by vast monoculture plantations and pasture, especially in the global South.

Beef is the worst deforesting culprit [3] and South America, home to the world’s most precious tropical forests, is a region dramatically impacted by demand for livestock products. Between 1990 and 2005 clearing forests to make way for pasture was responsible for 71% of deforestation in seven Latin American countries [4]

“Any climate action must challenge free trade agreements that promote deforestation from beef. Look at the ongoing EU Mercosur agreement for instance- it will lead to even worse impacts in South America because the EU is gearing up to buy large quantities of prime Latin American beef – this will destroy our forests for cattle rearing [5].” said Miguel Lovera of the Global Forest Coalition

“Soy production mostly for animal feedstock is is turning precious ecosystems like the Brazillian Cerrado into a massive soy farm! So many endemic species are going extinct,” said Diana Aguilar from FASE.

Palm oil is second only to beef in its climate impacts and is leading to serious deforestation in Southeast Asia. “300 football fields of forest are lost in Indonesia for palm oil every hour! [6],” said Mohammaed Ikhwan of Serikat Petani Indonesia.

The use of Palm oils in biofuels is rising fast in the EU. “There is this idea that EU is very sustainable and palm oil is being phased out but 54% of pam oil imports were destined for EU biofuels. Growth in Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil production is the main reason why the EU’s use of palm oil for biofuels increased sixfold between 2010 and 2015,” said Almuth Ernsting of Biofuelwatch.

Wood is mainly geared towards the paper, pulp, in more recently towards bioenergy . Most of the industrial scale bioenergy production is concentrated in the EU which imports massive amounts of wood to burn it to produce electricity as part of its sustainable energy targets [7]. “the myth that bioenergy is sustainable as compared to other sources is being spread by institutions like the UN and the EU. This is a big lie. Burning wood causes more emissions than burning coal!” said Oliver Munnion of Biofuelwatch.
The activists represented organizations like Brighter Green, US, Corporate accountability international , CCFD-Terre Solidaire, Biofuelwatch, FASE Brazil, All India Forum of Forest Movements, and many others.

Notes

[1] http://sdg.iisd.org/events/48th-sessions-of-the-unfccc-subsidiary-bodies/

[2] Global Forest Coalition is a worldwide coalition of almost 92 NGOs and Indigenous peoples’ organizations from 60 different countries striving for rights-based, socially just forest conservation policies. Link: https://globalforestcoalition.org/media

[3] https://globalforestcoalition.org/whats-steak-real-cost-meat/
[4] De Sy et al (2015). Land use and related carbon losses following deforestation in South America, De Sy V, Herold M, Achard F, Beuchle R, Clevers JGPW, Lindquist E & Verchot LV, 2015 http://www.cifor.org/library/5892/landuse-patterns-and-related-carbon-lossesfollowing-deforestation-in-south-america/
[5] The whole of Mercosur in exchange for a plate of beef https://globalforestcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/EU-Mercosur-EN.pdf
[6] https://deforestationandpalmoil.weebly.com/uploads/1/8/8/5/18854416/wwf.pdf
[7] Biomyths document https://globalforestcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/bioenergy-report1.pdf

Contact in Bonn
Coraina de la Plaza
coraina.delaplaza@globalforestcoalition.org
+31 6 26290703

Simone Lovera (Executive Director, GFC)
Global Forest Coalition
+595-981-407375 (Paraguay)
+31-6-47392511 (Europe)
simone@globalforestcoalition.org

Almuth Ernsting, Biofuelwatch
biofuelwatch@ymail.com, Tel: ++44-131-6232600

Mia McDonald, Brighter Green USA
+1 917 626 8702, macdonald@brightergreen.org

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The big four drivers of deforestation: events in Bonn, May 2018 https://globalforestcoalition.org/the-big-four-drivers-of-deforestation-events-in-bonn-may-2018/ https://globalforestcoalition.org/the-big-four-drivers-of-deforestation-events-in-bonn-may-2018/#respond Fri, 04 May 2018 08:35:46 +0000 http://globalforestcoalition.org/?p=8486 International workshop Saturday 5 & Sunday 6 May 2018, Bonn Deforestation is a key cause of climate change and significantly undermines the climate resilience of countries and communities. Just four key commodities – beef, soy, palm oil and wood (for bioenergy, paper and timber), are by far the leading cause of global deforestation and forest degradation. Beef is now recognised to be the worst deforesting culprit, and it is also a major cause of climate change. Soy production has been …

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International workshop

Saturday 5 & Sunday 6 May 2018, Bonn

Deforestation is a key cause of climate change and significantly undermines the climate resilience of countries and communities. Just four key commodities – beef, soy, palm oil and wood (for bioenergy, paper and timber), are by far the leading cause of global deforestation and forest degradation. Beef is now recognised to be the worst deforesting culprit, and it is also a major cause of climate change. Soy production has been expanding as a result of its use in the livestock sector as animal feed, turning it to another leading cause of forest loss. The increasing demand for wood to be used in wood-based bioenergy or the paper industry, and the increasing demand for palm oil for biodiesel and food are leading to huge swathes of forest being replaced by monoculture plantations. Palm oil is second only to beef in its climate impacts and leading to serious deforestation in an increasing number of countries.

This workshop aims to deepen understanding and analysis of the role of beef, soy, wood and palm oil as drivers of forest loss, and the role that trade policies and agreements, and the corporate take-over of environmental policies, play in promoting the expansion and overconsumption of these commodities. It will look at the demands and alternatives proposed by rightsholders, including women, Indigenous Peoples and local communities, in key countries affected by these drivers. It will also provide a platform to exchange experiences and lessons learned from current and past campaigns addressing forest loss, and develop ideas for new approaches that are rights-based, socially just and holistic.

UNFCCC side event

Monday 7 May 2018, 15:00–16:30, room Berlin

The conclusions and recommendations from the “Addressing the big four drivers of deforestation” workshop will be presented at a side event at the UNFCCC negotiations, in Bonn.

 

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Community Conservation Resilience Initiative in Colombia https://globalforestcoalition.org/community-conservation-colombia/ https://globalforestcoalition.org/community-conservation-colombia/#respond Sun, 22 Apr 2018 04:44:04 +0000 http://globalforestcoalition.org/?p=8411 Download the summary report (English | Español) Download the full report (Spanish only/Solo español)   Summary Report of Preliminary Findings – Colombia INTRODUCTION In Colombia, Afro-descendant communities and peasants from La Alsacia, La Reserva Barbas de Mono and La Reserva Maklenkes have been participating in the CCRI since 2016, representing diverse territories, ecosystems and livelihoods. The Afro-descendant people of La Alsacia lives in the southwest of the country, on the western cordillera in the department of Cauca. [1] They are …

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Download the summary report (English | Español)

Download the full report (Spanish only/Solo español)

 

Summary Report of Preliminary Findings – Colombia

INTRODUCTION

In Colombia, Afro-descendant communities and peasants from La Alsacia, La Reserva Barbas de Mono and La Reserva Maklenkes have been participating in the CCRI since 2016, representing diverse territories, ecosystems and livelihoods.

The Afro-descendant people of La Alsacia lives in the southwest of the country, on the western cordillera in the department of Cauca. [1] They are organised as a Community Council—a form of internal administration created through Article 5 of Law 70, which recognises collective land ownership and seeks to protect the identity and rights of black communities as an ethnic group [2]. They have suffered multiple forced displacements in their history, so they lodged an appeal under this law to obtain their collective property land title. They inhabit and protect a mountainous area of land, measuring approximately 1,088 ha, of which 600 ha are for conservation.

The communities of the Los Maklenkes and Barbas de Mono reserves are on the other side of the country, on the eastern mountain range in the department of Santander. Their reserves are 12 and 55 ha respectively, but surrounding them are self-declared family reserves of up to 113 ha, all belonging to the Colectivo de Reservas Campesinas y Comunitarias de Santander (a participatory process to conserve the Andean forest started in 2008 by communities with the support of Fundaexpresión). These community organisations are peasants and, unlike the Afro-descendant community in La Alsacia, they have no special rights. They are organised into community action boards or collectives, managing community aqueducts and reserves for example. Los Maklenkes is very close to the fourth most populous city in the country, Bucaramanga, and feels the impacts of tourism. Barbas de Mono is located in a rural area that was severely affected by the armed conflict up until a few years ago.

Watch a short video about the CCRI in Colombia here:

In Colombia, decades of armed conflict have seriously impacted communities and their capacity to conserve their territories. The most common reaction has been the displacement and abandonment of territories, and Colombia has more internally displaced persons that any other country (7.4 million in 2016).[3] Parents have restricted the places that children and young people can travel to, and there are problems with anti-personnel mines in some places. All this has contributed to a loss of knowledge about territories. This is a fundamental problem, as it is difficult to appreciate and defend something not well known.

All the communities have been aware of the CCRI assessment process since its inception in 2014, and they agreed to participate representing communities with similar experiences and challenges. In 2016 a national workshop emphasised the relationship between megaprojects and their impacts on the communities’ territories, highlighting the role of community conservation initiatives. The communities also met and exchanged their various reflections and advances at the Festival of Rural and Urban Expressions in Bucaramanga in September 2017. The dynamics and contribution of the proposed national coordination body, as outlined in the CCRI methodology, was vital [4]. This group of people—the project advisors—come from different areas of knowledge and activities, interpreting the communities’ thinking and practices, and orienting or providing reflections that are then taken back to the communities and other bodies.

Taking gender concerns into account, both in terms of principles and methodologies, and prioritising the participation of all groups within the communities, methodologies were developed that reflected the cultural practices of each population, to promote the participation of girls, boys, young people and women. To facilitate the participation of women some activities were carried out in their homes. In Barbas de Mono community, women participated the most, they spent a considerable amount of time analysing their role and fundamental contributions, and considering the perceptions women have about their communities’ needs and opportunities.

A legal review identified regulations that may either benefit or negatively impact community management initiatives. Two instruments approved for the promotion and application of the green economy model, within the context of the peace process, are considered to be harmful to the communities’ conservation initiatives because they could undermine traditional conservation values, especially by promoting the further commercialisation of nature. [5,6] These are the Document CONPES 3886 Policy Guidelines and National Program for Payment for Environmental Services (PES) for Peacebuilding [7] and Decree 870 of May 25, 2017, which establishes payments for environmental services and other incentives for conservation. [8]

Community Conservation Resilience Initiative in Colombia

community conservation colombia

CCRI process, La Alsacia Community Council. CENSAT/GFC

In La Alsacia the community has a deep knowledge of their natural heritage. They have their own names and classification systems for fauna and flora, and internal regulations to monitor harmful activities. For example, they prohibit the planting of crops for illicit use due to their environmental, social and cultural impacts. The community stressed the need to read and understand outside interests and threats in order to be able to address them. In their situation, which is similar to that of hundreds of communities in Colombia, the main threats inherent in the dominant development model and the implementation of the peace agreements are:

  • A strategy to vacate territories on the part of the government and other actors with diverse interests.
  • A loss of collective memory and an ignorance of history, which among other things, may lead to an ignorance of their own culture and the adoption of foreign ones.
  • The armed conflict and its actors, whatever their origin.

Political instability has involved threats to black, peasant and indigenous leaders and communities; clashes between armed groups, including the armed forces of the state; restrictions on mobility within the territories; and either forced displacements or the confinement of the population in the hamlets, both of which have been experienced in La Alsacia. The current peace agreement signed between the government and the current FARC political party is welcomed but the situation remains fragile and makes community management of the territory very difficult. They are pleased that the conflict has receded but are now concerned about what may happen to the conservation area within the context of the peace agreement with the FARC, because the armed conflict previously prevented access to the area and stopped its exploitation by third parties. Also, there are still armed confrontations near the village, and several communities have been subject to new threats. [9] This is a common experience in Colombia, and disputes over land, mainly in afro-descendant territories, are intensified by the rapid expansion of oil palm monocultures.

The community near the Los Maklenkes reserve observed that one of the reasons why they are such a cohesive and resilient community is because of the way they have stayed together in the times of crisis and conflict they have had to endure. Rather than abandon their territory, losing their lives’ work and their means of survival, they chose the highly risky strategy of sending delegates to negotiate with armed actors so that they could remain.

The greatest impact of the CCRI in Santander has been to encourage leaders to think about strengthening their community conservation processes, and to create an understand that this is not about preservation, but about promoting opportunities for more families to benefit from and enjoy nature. In processes that are complementary to the CCRI, both communities have defined their biodiversity monitoring objectives (as has the community in La Alsacia), and within the CCRI they undertook activities to understand and demonstrate the positive impact of community conservation actions. In Los Maklenkes, identification and monitoring of threatened and endangered birds protected in the peasant reserve area is being undertaken. In Barbas de Mono, bird diversity in agricultural areas is being compared with that within the reserve.

The CCRI’s gender-based approach fostered internal observations in the communities, one of which identified the limited participation of women in community processes and activities as one of the main threats to its resilience. The inhabitants close to Los Maklenkes observed that patriarchy restricts women’s access to various activities and community processes, such as the Community Action Boards. This situation is largely determined by men, who decide which spaces or activities their partners and/or daughters may take part in. As part of their CCRI initiative the community chose to study their local fauna through the traditional practice of embroidery which is culturally associated with women. However the men and the children took it up as well, helping to redress the gender imbalance. After representatives of the two communities met, the community in La Alsacia also embarked on an embroidery project, which proved so popular that the majority of families in the community are now aware of the CCRI project, with the active participation of children and their parents.

The Los Maklenkes community identified the erosion of traditional knowledge and practices as a threat to their biodiversity, heritage and culture. Similarly, for the community that manages the Barbas de Mono reserve, the main threats listed related to the dominant development model being imposed from the cities, including potential road development, the development of tourism, the potential privatisation of community managed aqueducts, and community co-optation by mining companies (resulting in a lack of interest from other families in organisational and resistance processes). In this context, they felt that territories and communities are vulnerable to specific threats such as:

  • Institutions, such as the National Federation of Coffee Growers, promising food security while offering technological packages that include credit systems and technical advice about monocultures and agro-toxics in place of shade-grown coffee, creating dependency and imposing conditions that actively prevent food sovereignty within the communities. The problem in this regard is addressed by several authors. [10]
  • An educational system that distances children from their territory and the rural way of life, to the detriment of popular knowledge and traditions.

Finally, there is a repeated experience of the interests and needs of the communities being ignored, by urban policy-makers, by large conservation organisations and even by entities supposedly supporting grassroots processes. The community management and conservation approach is very different to the model imposed by the state and large conservation NGOs. It is not about buying and isolating portions of land, but considering the people linked to the process and their knowledge, culture and skills, as well as land and physical space. There is a high risk for community initiatives when essential aspects of the communities’ resilience, such as autonomy and self-management, are pushed aside to give greater importance to the role of external actors. Such ‘assistance’ can create dependence that weakens the communities’ basic processes.

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Preparing food, Barbas de Mono Reserve. CENSAT/GFC

It is important to prioritise territorial management initiatives that have emerged from the communities. They have legitimacy, a greater probability of permanence, and benefit both human populations and ecosystems. Successful community conservation is based on effective organisation, with broad participation and ownership, where autonomy and community organisation is the priority, and other aspects, such as legal norms, are seen as being complementary rather than the priority. Projects or proposals for advocacy in communities must always be created and agreed upon by them; never devised and imposed from outside the territory. Processes should not be detached from wider contexts either. Community management strategies should provide spaces for dialogue, reflection and debate within civil society, and between the people and the state.

The community with the highest risk of expulsion from its territory identified their capacity to organise, recognise and value the community as an extended family—that must stay together and mobilise together in an autonmous way—as being key to resilience. These elements can be strengthened through their own educational processes, which they can implement themselves.

Popular education was recommended as an important strategy generally, including in relation to respect for people’s rights and state policies. This would help the communities to recover part of the assets they have lost, and identify what has been or is being imposed on them. In this sense, the peasant way of life is relaimed as a reason for pride and an option for a dignified life.

Encouraging productive strategies associated with community management and conservation spaces is critical to the communities’ resilience. This includes dismantling the paradigm created by official systems of protected areas, which treats conservation and the presence of local communities and their productive activities as being mutually exclusive. Agroecology and community management of forests are alternative frames of reference that guarantee a successful political approach that takes territorial and organisational dimensions into account.

In the Los Maklenkes reserve, for example, productive activities compatible with the care of the natural heritage within the reserve include the use of non-timber forest products and the propagation of orchids. In Barbas de Monas the community decided that keeping bees would be a productive activity that is good for biodiversity and would bring the community together—there are now hives managed by families and others that are managed by the community as a whole. Women peasant leaders who carry out productive practices in forests and agroecosystems recommended combining long-term activities, such as timber production, with those that provide short-term results. This is to awaken and maintain interest in long-term components, as well as responding to the pressing needs of families.

Including recreational or sharing activities is important too. Meetings or assemblies do not have to be limited to a political or organisational dimension. They can promote well-being by considering other perspectives which are usually not allocated enough time. Problems and their solutions can be prioritised, while still leaving time for ‘Buen y Bien Vivir’ (Good Living and Well Living).

From a legal perspective, it is imperative to review gaps in legislation, ‘pending’ legislation, and state obligations relating to the rights and claims of Indigenous Peoples, Afro-descendant and local communities. For example, after 24 years, the Presidency has recognised a delay in the implementation of Chapters IV, V and VII of Law 70 of 1993, which deals with “rights of land use, protection of natural resources and the environment; mining resources in the territories of Afro-Colombian communities and on economic and social development respectively”.[11]

It is important that the state ensures that the necessary conditions are in place to ensure that these rights can actually be enjoyed, and people can remain in their territories. For example, among the communities that took part in the CCRI, the one that has suffered the most in terms of threats and pressure to leave their territory is the Afro-descendant one. This is the only community out of the three that actually has legal status recognising their rights in the territory.

Suitable strategies should encourage the participation of a greater number of families in the conservation and community management process, and make the processes and initiatives of community conservation, sovereignty and productive autonomy more visible.

Testimony

Paola’s motivation stems from her roots within the territory and her community. She believes that solutions must come from the community itself as this creates innovative teachings which will reach and influence everyone, whilst making the most of the fact that they are a small population. She feels threatened by the proximity of a rural municipal area where ex-FARC combatants are settled. These people say that they will become part of the region, but without adopting or knowledge of the internal regulations of the Community Council, which may have a variety of negative impacts and affect the territory’s conservation area.

Paola Andrea Choco, La Alsacia Community Council

References

[1] Colombia is dividided administratively into 33 geographic and economic regions. 32 of these are departments governed from their respective capital city. The other corresponds to the capital district of Bogota.

[2] Congreso de Colombia. 1993. Ley 70 de 1993. [pdf] Available at: http://www.acnur.org/t3/fileadmin/Documentos/BDL/2006/4404.pdf [Accessed 11 August 2017].

[3] UNHCR. 2017. Tendencias Globales sobre refugiados y otras personas de interés del ACNUR. Available at: http://www.acnur.org/recursos/estadisticas/ [Accedido 27 marzo de 2018].

[4] Natural Justice and Global Forest Coalition. 2014. Methodology of the community conservation resilience initiative. [pdf] Available at: https://globalforestcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/New-Last-CCR-Initiative-methodology_May-2014.pdf [Accessed 10 August 2017].

[5] ATI, 2014. Trampas de REDD y de otros proyectos de conservación de bosques, http://censat.org/es/publicaciones/trampas-de-redd-y-de-otros-proyectos-de-conservacion-de-bosques [accessed 12 April 2018[.

[6] Lovera-Bilderbeek, A. S. E., 2017. Agents, Assumptions and Motivations behind REDD+. UvA-DARE, University of Amsterdam. 242 pp.

[7] CONPES. 2017. Lineamientos de política y programa nacional de pago por servicios ambientales para la construcción de paz. [pdf] Available at: https://colaboracion.dnp.gov.co/CDT/Conpes/Econ%C3%B3micos/3886.pdf [Accedido 18 enero de 2018].

[8] Presidencia de Colombia. 2017. Decreto 870 de 2017. [pdf] Available at: http://es.presidencia.gov.co/normativa/normativa/DECRETO%20870%20DEL%2025%20DE%20MAYO%20DE%202017.pdf [Accedido 18 enero de 2018].Rodriguez, G. 2010. La consulta previa con pueblos indígenas y comunidades afrodescendientes en colombia. Bogotá D.C.

[9] Verdad Abierta. 2018. Rearmados de toda clase amedrantan a los indígenas de Suárez. [online] Available at: https://verdadabierta.com/rearmados-de-toda-clase-amedrantan-a-los-indigenas-de-suarez/ [Accedido 21 febrero de 2018].

[10] La Silla Vacía. 2013. El café, la primera semilla de la reelección. Available at: http://lasillavacia.com/historia/el-cafe-la-primera-semilla-de-la-reeleccion-41383. [Accedido 02 febrero de 2018].

[11] Presidencia de Colombia. 2015. ¿porqué el Gobierno no reglamenta el capitulo 6 y 7 de la ley 70 de 1993? Eso ayudaria en la solución de la pobreza afro. [online] Available at: http://www.urnadecristal.gov.co/pregunta/porqu-gobierno-no-reglamenta-capitulo-6-y-7-de-ley-70-de-1993-eso-ayudaria-en-soluci-n-de [Accessed 11 August 2017].

 

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Another World is Possible: GFC at the World Social Forum in Salvador Bahia, Brazil https://globalforestcoalition.org/gfc-at-wsf-brazil/ https://globalforestcoalition.org/gfc-at-wsf-brazil/#respond Wed, 18 Apr 2018 12:06:51 +0000 http://globalforestcoalition.org/?p=8397 GFC actively participated in and organised a number of events at the World Social Forum which was held in Salvador, Bahia, 13-17 March 2018. Together with the Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity and several other organisations and social movements, we co-organized two events: The first one titled “Global resistances against corporate power and the struggle for an international treaty on transnational corporations and human rights” discussed the corporate power currently, its growing hegemony and control over …

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GFC actively participated in and organised a number of events at the World Social Forum which was held in Salvador, Bahia, 13-17 March 2018.

Together with the Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity and several other organisations and social movements, we co-organized two events: The first one titled “Global resistances against corporate power and the struggle for an international treaty on transnational corporations and human rights” discussed the corporate power currently, its growing hegemony and control over life in our societies and on our planet. In particular, we discussed the evolving process of the UN Binding Treaty on Transnational Corporations and Human Rights, and how it will affect sovereignty and democracy.

The second event was titled “The Chinese invasion: Its corporations and investments in the world”, which looked at how Chinese investments are advancing globally, particularly in the countries of the so-called Global South. The seminar discussed its nature, answering questions such as: what kind of capital is it? What is the role of the national / provincial state? What are the impacts on the international corporate system? What are priority investment areas? What are the economic, social and environmental impacts of infrastructure and megaprojects?. The seminar was attended by specialists from Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia, and our member groups Fundacion Solon and FASE Brazil presented specific case studies on Chinese investments in Bolivia and Brazil, respectively.

Together with our member groups FASE, Fundacion Solon, and Henoi, we held an event called “Meat as a Driver of Deforestation”. We discussed unsustainable livestock production and its very real impacts on forests, climate and the environment. Case studies were presented from Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and a global overview of the struggles against unsustainable livestock and feedstock production was also presented. We also launched our new briefing paper on the proposed EU-Mercosur trade agreement, which shows how beef is at the centre of the deal.

Our events were very well attended and discussions were engaging and enthusiastic. We also participated in other events such as on preparations for the G-20, the EU-Mercosur negotiations, and sessions on systemic alternatives to global crisis.

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