August 2020 - Special Edition: International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

As the Covid-19 crisis affects the entire world, Indigenous Peoples are already confronting manifold crises: deforestation by land and agri-business ventures in their territories, persistent lack of tenure rights, economic marginalization, and poor public services for education and healthcare. As Covid-19 spreads, sickening and impoverishing many, Indigenous Peoples are among the worst affected and have the least means to cope – in some cases they have had to resort to isolation. And yet, their territories and knowledge hold key solutions to other crises, like the climate emergency. Indigenous Peoples are at crossroads of global crises and global solutions.

In consequence, the Covid-19 recovery should pay key attention to Indigenous Peoples, addressing their vulnerabilities while financing their green and sustainable lifeways. If Covid-19 recovery is to be socially fair and ecologically sustainable, it needs to place Indigenous Peoples as a core partner, investing in their rights, development projects, communities and economic endeavours. The UN-REDD Programme is ready to make such connections and ensure Covid-19 recovery empowers Indigenous Peoples politically and financially, so the forest solutions they hold are fully deployed.

Since its inception, the UN-REDD Programme has advocated for inclusive, gender-equitable policy formulation and decision making to address deforestation, mitigate climate change and mobilize climate finance. This approach is based on the recognition that the people who live within or in close proximity to forests, and whose livelihoods depend directly on forests, are best positioned to protect and sustainably manage them, thus fully disclosing forest solutions to the climate emergency. To underpin this approach, the UN-REDD Programme delivers technical support to REDD+ countries via three interrelated tracks on social inclusion: stakeholder engagement, tenure security, and gender equality.

On this 2020 International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, as we collectively look to a future that will be shaped by the impacts and recovery from Covid-19, UN-REDD is committed to supporting innovative solutions to accelerate the implementation of REDD+ as a nature-based solution to climate change. A solution that can foster long-term social and environmental resilience while ensuring social equity, inclusion and the realization of human rights through the protection, restoration and sustainable use and management of forest ecosystems. 

Lola Cabnal, indigenous women's leader of the Guatemala forests and UN-REDD Executive Board Member, states that "indigenous women are guardians of forests and transmitters of knowledge". On the occasion of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, she remembers those who gave their lives for the rights of others and reaffirms that "our roots endure and we will continue this struggle until the end of time". The realization of the forest solutions to the climate emergency requires such determination.
Indigenous voices, a policy spark to protect the world's forests

Indigenous peoples and local communities, a recognized puzzle piece for climate crisis solution
Reflecting on the linkages between REDD+, forest tenure and Indigenous peoples' rights: Encouraging progress and challenging gaps
Protected forests, protected communities: Land titling in Peru

Paraguay: traditional indigenous knowledge meets new technologies

The innovation initiative: Panama's indigenous techs

Working together to save Myanmar’s forests

Incentivizing forest conservation in Viet Nam
Mangrove rehabilitation in Nigeria

Kenya: Managing forests through community participation
This resource is made possible through support from Denmark, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the European Union.
Content provided by UN-REDD Programme staff, partner countries and guests. 
All images used courtesy of license holder or through Creative Commons license.