Nepal: Is REDD+ indigenous-friendly?
Funded by the World Bank and part of a UN initiative to Reduce Emissions for Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD), the REDD+ programme introduced by the government of Nepal has emerged a national priority since 2010. However, this government-led effort to combat climate change has come under fire from indigenous rights activists, who have raised two questions: how is the programme going to be indigenous-friendly and how will the government-led mechanism ensure the inherent right of indigenous peoples to access their forest and forest-related resources?
A large majority of indigenous people in Nepal live in and depend on the forest for their livelihood and cultural survival; they have longstanding role as stewards of the forest. This endows them with a special status in the context of REDD, and according to such organisations as the Lawyers’ Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP), the implementing agencies have a duty to ensure the meaningful participation of local indigenous communities.
Photo: A national conversation and dialogue with indigenous peoples on forest-related policies and programmes in Kathmandu. Credit: Dev Kumar Sunuwar
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