For the past week and half, climate negotiators have been trying to push forward agreement on important elements of the global efforts to address deforestation and forest degradation emissions. We took one step forward (but unfortunately many hoped we could have taken two steps forward or more). The draft agreement (available here) is touted as a: Deal struck on forests in climate talks by some (Associated Press).
Modest progress has been made on one important element -- we will now be able to negotiate on the tricky political issues of how incentives will be created, to whom they will they flow, and under what rules. This is a positive step forward as we will now be able to get down to the "nitty gritty" details on the deforestation debate (as I discussed here, a number of us were stressing this message in a joint letter).
Unfortunately, a number of us had hoped to begin to get agreement on some key details that aren't caught up in the broader political debate. These are extremely important elements, but not necessarily as "political" (or so we thought). In particular, we were hoping to get agreement on:
- Protection of biodiversity
- Protection of indigenous rights
- Ensuring that the full emissions from deforestation were accounted and that deforestation reductions can't be directly "offset" by replanting of forests
So, how did these important details fair this week?
Protecting indigenous rights? Ensuring that indigenous lands are preserved and the rights of these indigenous peoples are protected has always been a key issue. It looked like there was an emerging consensus from the negotiations in Accra, Ghana on this point. However, some countries have legal issues with an international agreement that enshrines the rights of specific individual groups. This seems to be the U.S. negotiators stated problem. Some developing countries also pushed to have it either excluded or seriously watered down. They either don't respect the rights of indigenous communities, acknowledge that they exist, and/or want the international community to tell them what to do on this issue. Continued...