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UN-REDD Participates in Substantive Forest Day 5 Discussion Forum on REDD+ Safeguards in Durban

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Issue date: 
6 December 2011
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The event entitled, “Social safeguards: Protecting the rights and interests of Indigenous Peoples and forest-dependent communities in REDD+” was held during Forest Day 5 (FD5), on 4 December 2011 to coincide with the UNFCCC’s COP17 in Durban, South Africa.

 The Discussion Forum looked at past experiences regarding the participation of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in forest management as well as ongoing developments and different approaches to REDD+ safeguards with a focus on lessons learned and the challenges ahead.

The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP/UN-REDD) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) co-organized the forum.

Key Messages that emerged from the FD5 Discussion Forum on REDD+ Safeguards included:

  • Traditional knowledge, governance and institutions provide a solid basis for sustainable forest management.  These traditional practices should be the starting point for the design and implementation of REDD+ strategies.
  • UNFCCC agreements on REDD+ safeguards are important and necessary but not sufficient – we still need to invest in building capacities to implement the safeguards.  
  • There are an emerging set of tools and methodologies, developed for example by the REDD+ SES initiative, FCPF and the UN-REDD Programme, that could help countries to do this. 
  • REDD+ initiatives will require clear and secure land and forest rights for indigenous peoples and local communities. 
  • Sustained political will at the national level is fundamental to the full and effective implementation of REDD+ safeguards. 
  • The big opportunity now with REDD+ is to have safeguards that not only do no harm but also ensure positive social and environmental impacts. 
  • Flow of information is really important – but not just top down. Leaders in government need to be able to listen and learn from communities. 
  • There is a need to build the capacities of governments to better understand and implement REDD+ safeguards.  A key role of multi-lateral initiatives like the UN-REDD Programme is to build capacity of governments to do this, including helping countries implement their international obligations at national and local level, including for example, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as noted in the Cancun Agreements.
  • At the same time, there is also a need to build capacities at the local government and local community level about climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation, REDD+ and related safeguards. 
  • One of the greatest challenges facing the effective implementation of REDD+ safeguards is how to set up a robust monitoring and reporting system – information systems.

The following REDD+ experts participated in the Forest Day 5 Discussion Forum on REDD+ Safeguards: 


  • Alexander Buck, Executive Director, International Union of Forest Research Organizations
  • Charles McNeill, Senior Policy Advisor, UN Development Programme

 Keynote addresses

  • John Parrotta, IUFRO Task Force Coordinator and US Forest Service
  • Joanna Durbin, Director, Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance


  • Carola Borja, Director of Mitigation, Ministry of Environment, Government of Ecuador
  • Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education (Tebtebba), Philippines
  • Juan Carlos Jintiach, Coordinator of the Indigenous Organisations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), Ecuador
  • Roger Muchuba, Environement Resources Naturelles et Developpement Institute (ERND Institute), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
  • Kanyinke Sena, Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC), Kenya

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Extpub | by Dr. Radut