Climate Change, REDD and Concerns of IPs: an interaction program with Local Government Agencies of Dolakaha

Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities Climate Change and REDD Partnership Programme organized a one day interaction program on “Climate Change, REDD and the Concerns of IPS” in coordination with NEFIN District Coordination Council Dolakaha on 2nd October 2012 at the DDC hall in Charikot. The main aim of this interaction program was to update the issues of Indigenous peoples to the local government bodies as their role will be vital during the formulation of National REDD Strategy. The other purpose was to alert and disseminate knowledge about climate change and its impact, particularly on IPs concern. The other associated aims were to share the updates among the participants about REDD+ and its safeguard policies, FPIC in REDD+ and Forest Carbon Trust Fund. The interaction program included noteworthy representations of government bodies, members from Dalit Alliance, REDD+ Advisory and Monitoring Committee, FECOFUN, Department of Soil Conservation and other REDD+ stakeholders. Excellent presentations were made on Impact of Climate Change on IPs, REDD activities in Charnawati watershed, and Concepts of REDD and IPs concern by Hari Jirel-Vice Chairperson, Jeevan Lama-Chairperson and Laxmi Bhujel, member of NEFIN DCC- Dolakha respectively. More importantly, CCMIN officer- Ms Kamala Thapa Magar’s planned presentation on Impact of Climate Change and its mitigation and adaptation strategies at national and international level was the major highlight of the programme. In addition, the discussion was held on ILO-169 and the rights of IPs under UNDRIP.

The opening session was conducted by a short welcome speech by Laxmi Bhujel followed by introduction of the participants. The documentary shows on Climate change and REDD activities were screened to help the participants further understand and internalize the concepts on CC and REDD. The key speaker Mr.Kedarnath Dahal- DFO presented the views of various academias on Climate Change. He further said that the reality of climate change is ambiguity. Similarly, Mr. Sher Bahadur Shrestra- an officer of Department of Soil Conservation opined his views on CC, its mitigation and adaptation strategy and also highlighted both IPCC report A&B on CC. Last but not the least, Vice- Chief District officer –Mr. Madhav Adhikari presented his views on climate change and its impact on IPs. He expressed that IPs have less access to education, health and other basic amenities in comparison to others. Their major source for the survival is only the forest. He further stated that these very forests are the ancestral and customary lands of IPs with a significant historical and spiritual relationship and thus IPs should not be considered simply as stakeholders to climate change discussion but rather as rights-holders. Furthermore, Rajan Dhanuke- Vice-Chairperson of Dalit Alliance expressed his view that IPs and more particularly Dalits are more victimized by the impact of climate change. In the mean time he also expressed his grievances about the benefit sharing mechanism of REDD+ under which the executive members of community forestry user’s groups are reportedly irresponsible in distributing the REDD money meant for IPs and Dalits.

The interaction program also included discussions on opportunities and challenges created by REDD+ pilot project under Charnawati watershed. In this matter, most of the REDD stakeholders viewed REDD as a major mitigation strategy of CC. They opined that because of the increased awareness level of the communities towards forest conservation, forest density has also seen an increase these days. Overall, REDD incentives have resulted in meaningful reductions of carbon emissions, have supported pro-poor development, helped to conserve biodiversity, and secure vital ecosystem services. On the contrary, the uncertainty of the future carbon trade has left people in confusion and quandaries, leading them to urge the government to expedite the process of preparing REDD strategy.

The open discussions helped the interaction program to be more unrestrained and forthcoming. All the queries raised by the participants were duly responded to. The program came up with the conclusion that the impact of Climate Change is seen all over the world and IPs are more victimized by its effect because they live in fragile and marginalized land. Hence, they should be given special emphasis. Regarding REDD pilot project Indigenous peoples and Dalits should be given more focused and process that followed by the Forest Carbon Trust Fund should have first priority in benefit sharing. \While participation and decision making process, inclusiveness and full and effective participation of Indigenous people should be prioritized.

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