Pressroom  >  Press Releases  >  DEC 10: Expert Panel to Discuss “Free Riding” and the Exclusion of Amazon Indigenous Territories from REDD+ Climate Funding
ADVISORY Climate Communities Forests

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Genevieve Bennett

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Leaders from indigenous organizations, conservation NGOs, and academic will host a virtual roundtable exploring the issue of how many Amazonian indigenous territories are de facto excluded from climate finance mechanisms like REDD+, with serious implications for both climate justice and achieving Paris goals. The 75-minute event will take place online on Thursday, December 10th at 3 pm UTC, marking international Human Rights Day. Registration is available at this link.

The event will be moderated by Andrew Revkin, celebrated environmental journalist and Director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute Initiative on Communication Innovation and Impact. Speakers include:

  • Juan Carlos Jintiach, Technical advisor, COICA (Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin)
  • Victoria Tauii-Corpuz, Executive Director, Tebtebba
  • Oliver Phillips, Professor, Leeds University School of Geography
  • Carmen Josse, Coordinator of RAISG (Amazonian Network of Georeferenced Socio-Environmental Information)
  • David Kaimowitz, Senior Advisor, Climate and Land Use Alliance
  • Beto Borges, Director, Communities and Territorial Governance Initiative, Forest Trends

Deforestation rates have historically been very low on Indigenous lands. For example, Indigenous  populations  of  the Amazon  own  210  million  of land with an overall  deforestation  rate is 0.8% – which is even less than that of protected areas (1.1%) and significantly lower than that of the  Amazon  as  a  whole.[1]  The Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies estimates the Amazon basin stores up to 140 billion tons (127 billion metric  tons)  of  carbon,  with  approximately  one-third  in  titled  or  occupied  (e.g.,  not  yet  titled)  by  Indigenous  Territories  or  communities. If the entire Amazon forest was lost, and its carbon emitted into the atmosphere, it would be the equivalent of up to 140 years of all human-induced carbon emissions.

Climate funding instruments set  forth  by  governments  under  the  United  Nations  Framework  Convention  on  Climate  Change including REDD+ (Reducing  Emissions  from  Deforestation  and  Forest  Degradation) have focused on incentives to reduce deforestation.

In practice, this means that actors who have historically protected in their forests, and thus are not in a position to reduce deforestation and thus mitigate emissions, are effectively sidelined from accessing climate funding benefits.[2] This phenomenon has called “the perverse effect of REDD+.”[3],[4]

Speakers at the December 10th virtual event will explore indigenous contributions to climate mitigation. The discussion will examine implications for social justice, and how overlooking indigenous contributions to climate security may weaken the world’s ability to achieve the Paris Agreement targets, and potential solutions.

Members of the press are invited to register here.