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Indigenous Peoples’ Calls for Safeguards; Equitable Returns in Nepal’s REDD+ Project

Friday, July 1st, 2022

Bardiya: Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) Climate Change Partnership Program organized a three days sub national training workshop titled “REDD+, Safeguards and Benefit Sharing” in Thakurdwara, Bardiya, on June 27-29, 2022. The objective of the program was to raise awareness and build capacity of indigenous peoples from Nepal’s Emission Reduction Program (ERP) coverage area, on climate change, REDD+ process in Nepal and indigenous peoples stakes and engagement in Nepal’s REDD+ program.

During the program, the participants were oriented on REDD+ negotiations and mechanisms at the international level, related to climate change mitigation and adaptation, particularly the different agreements under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including the Cancun Agreement and Paris Agreement.

Discussions were also held on contents of the Emission Reduction Program Document (ERPD) earlier submitted by the Nepal government to the FCPF and Emission Reduction Purchase Agreement (ERPA) between the two parties that were of particular importance to indigenous peoples. Likewise, the workshop discussed the Safeguard Implementation Plan and the Benefit Sharing Plan under ERPD and also the local indigenous peoples’ customary institutions, particularly the Tharu’s Badghar system, in relation to the ongoing REDD+ project of Nepal.

The program ended drafting a position statement that called the Nepal government for safeguarding the social, economic and cultural rights and wellbeing of the indigenous peoples of the project area. Among other things, the participants have demanded implementation of the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) procedure, indigenous people’s unrestricted access to forest products and other natural resources, avoidance of forced relocation of local indigenous peoples and inclusive participation and equitable benefit sharing in the REDD+ project.

A total of 32 participants (17 males and 15 females) from 5 of the 13 Emission Reduction Program (ERP) coverage districts of the Terai region were present. The five districts were Dang, Banke, Bardiya, Kailali and Kanchanpur. Earlier a similar workshop was held in Amaltari, Nawalparasi and another in Sauraha, Chitwan.

The participants of this workshop included representative from NEFIN’s Provincial Coordination Committee and Districts Coordination Committees, National Indigenous Women’s Federation (NIWF), Youth Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (YFIN), Federation of Nepalese Indigenous Journalists (FONIJ) and different indigenous people’s organizations.

The sessions were facilitated by NEFIN CCPP  Director Tunga Bhadra Rai, Nepal government’s Climate Change Division Chief Dr. Radha Wagle (virtually) and resource persons Dhan Man Gurung and Arun Rai.  The program was organized in support of Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and in collaboration with TEBTEBBA Foundation, the Philippines.