By Northern Dispatch
Posted by Bulatlat.com
BAGUIO CITY—“No to market-based mechanisms!” This was the resounding position of delegates to the International Conference on Indigenous Peoples Rights, Alternatives and Solutions to the Climate Crisis as they criticized the proposed solutions of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC).
Market-based mechanisms would not benefit the indigenous peoples (IP), said Frances Quimpo of the Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC), adding that some of the mechanisms could even worsen the environmental degradation.
Quimpo said these mechanisms do not only undermine the IPs’ role in environmental preservation, it also reward the traditional players in deforestation. She explained that these mechanisms allow the industrialized countries to buy a license to pollute the environment.
The industrialized countries are pushing for these mechanisms because these are cost-effective and profitable to them, said Quimpo. “It would only mean business as usual for the industrialized countries,” she added.
Among the mechanisms the IP groups criticized in the conference was the REDD, which according to Sandy Gauntlet of the Global Forest Coalition is a “commercialization of nature.” He lamented that IPs were excluded from the policy-making of REDD as only governments of mostly industrialized countries can afford to participate in that undertaking. He said these countries are also the major players in causing the degradation of the environment.
“It is absolute insanity to go to the very people who destroyed the environment for the restoration of what they have destroyed,” Gauntlet said.
IPs have been historically responsible for the conservation and sustainable use of forests in their territories, Gauntlet continued. He said IP territories encompass a considerable proportion of areas that are important for biodiversity.
He pointed out that industrialized countries have even changed the definition of forest and deforestation to suit their flawed programs of addressing the global crisis. He said it has reduced the number of trees that need to be present at a very low level and even considered agro-fuel plantations as forests. Gauntlet said that according to these definitions, the cutting down of most of the trees in the forests by logging corporations is not deforestation as long as the forest has the potential to regrow its cover.
Gauntlet countered that such definition is not the only problem with these mechanisms because the issues on land ownership and land use remain. He urged the IPs to continue asserting their rights to their lands and in determining how to utilize these as he called on the industrialized countries to recognize the rights of IP to their territories.
“You must learn that your land, language and culture are not negotiable. You (IPs) do not negotiate your rights. They are your birthright and they will stay with you for the rest of your life. At no point in your life should you negotiate your rights,” he stressed. Posted by (Bulatlat.com)