Climate Change

Climate Change

An increasing amount of attention has been paid in recent years to the relationship between forests and climate change, with the alarming revelation that deforestation and forest degradation constitute nearly 20% of all anthropogenic sources of greenhouse gases. This has given renewed impetus at the international level to protect and conserve the world’s forests, particularly those in the tropics and sub-tropics, and the carbon stored within them.

One proposal currently being considered under the auspices of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as part of a post-Kyoto climate agreement is a programme on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries that has come to be known as “REDD”. The intention of REDD is to channel payments from developed countries to developing countries in exchange for reductions in forest-related emissions.

However, forests ecosystems are diverse and dynamic, as are the millions of Indigenous peoples and local communities that depend on them for their livelihoods and customary ways of life. Although much remains to be determined regarding the mechanics of REDD, a variety of stakeholders are raising significant concerns about its potential to negatively affect natural forest ecosystems and forest-dependent Indigenous peoples and local communities.

Forest-dependent communities are some of the poorest on the planet and have a long history of being marginalized within governmental decision-making, and it is uncertain how their interests will be protected throughout the implementation of such a potentially powerful international mechanism at the local level. It poses significant challenges to communities and has the potential to further undermine the communities who are the stewards of our forests.

While a great deal of attention has been paid to the international aspects of REDD, there has been much less focus on how it will affect forest-dependent communities. Natural Justice is working with partners to ensure that the lessons relating to community-based resource governance and management are fully considered in the development of REDD, including in the biodiversity and social safeguards currently under review by the UN-REDD Programme and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. We have also published on the issues and are working with partners to explore the application of biocultural community protocols in the context of REDD.

For more information about REDD negotiations under the UNFCCC, read IISD reports and analysis and REDD-monitor. For more about BCPs and REDD, please download the following publications:


Embracing Complexity: Meeting the Challenges of International Forest Governance (IUFRO, 2011)
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Faraway, So Close: A Legal Analysis of the Increasing Interactions Between the CBD and Climate Change Law (Morgera, 2011)
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Sacred Natural Sites: Guidelines for Protected Area Managers (Wild and McLeod, 2008)
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REDD, Forest Governance and Rural Livelihoods: The Emerging Agenda (CIFOR, 2010)
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Free, Prior and Informed Consent in REDD+: Principles and Approaches for Policy and Project Development (RECOFTC and GIZ, 2011)
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What is REDD? A Guide for Communities (AIPP, FPP, IWGIA, and Tebtebba, 2010)
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Biocultural Community Protocols: Articulating and Asserting Stewardship (Moving Images & Natural Justice, 2012)
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Rooibos Robbery: A Story of Bioprospecting in South Africa (Steps Southern Africa, 2012)
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Maldhari Biocultural Community Protocol Photo Story (Sahjeevan & Natural Justice, 2012)
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Biocultural Community Protocols: A Toolkit for Community Facilitators
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