Indigenous Peoples Section

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IAIA Section: Indigenous Peoples

This section addresses indigenous issues in impact assessment, including developing guidelines for the recognition and full inclusion of indigenous concerns in all aspects of impact assessment, traditional knowledge, and impact assessment capacity building for indigenous people. The Aashukan Declaration was adopted by IAIA in 2017.

Co-Chairs:  Kepa Morgan 


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REDD report on Mesoamerica and forest dynamics, IP participation

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Discussion started by Bridget John 9 years ago

Despite worrisome trends in Mesoamerica that official REDD processes are not adequately addressing rights, benefit distribution, or the underlying causes deforestation and degradation, forest communities and indigenous peoples still have a critical opportunity to leverage support for halting deforestation in favor of an alternative path for REDD that strengthens their rights, enhances forest governance and supports their visions of development. This is one of the key findings from a series of reports produced by the PRISMA Foundation and the CABAL Group, two non-profit research and policy advocacy organizations in Central America who performed new work on REDD in 2009 and 2010 with the support of the Ford Foundation and the Charles and Lucille Packard Foundation.

As summarized in the Synthesis Report for REDD in Mesoamerica, the new reports include several new key findings related to REDD and forest dynamics in the region:

•     Mesoamerica has undergone a transition from traditional patterns of agricultural expansion and forest loss, to a mosaic of simultaneous processes of deforestation, degradation and forest regeneration. Nevertheless, intense pressures persist over certain forested regions from agro-fuel and agro-industrial expansion, mega-tourism projects, extractive industry, rural migration and regional transportation infrastructure projects.

•     The official “REDD readiness” programs in the region have suffered from serious weaknesses, including an overly technical, centralized approach that has been largely limited to environmental and forestry agencies, without the meaningful integration of other key sectors related to drivers of deforestation. These programs have also largely failed to ensure adequate participation and consultation of forest communities and indigenous peoples, and have lacked meaningful efforts to address the underlying causes of deforestation, tenure disputes and core issues such as rights and governance.

•     REDD pilot projects designed to access carbon markets have been plagued with obstacles such as unresolved tenure issues and technical challenges that have impeded progress and resulted in significant costs, with little to no benefit for participating communities. 

The reports propose an alternative to the existing programs in the region, one that seeks to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation through the gradual and sustained support of the local social organizations, institutions and governance systems of forest communities and indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica. With over 40 million hectares of indigenous and community forest lands in the region, this proposal has significant potential to achieve emissions reductions not by technical, top-down or centralized projects, but through the recognition of and support for the central and crucial role that forest communities play as stewards of Mesoamerica’s forests.

To view more publications related to this issue, consult web sites  PRISMA Foundation ( and Grupo Cabal (

Comunications Team,PRISMA Foundation
Revalorizing rural communities and spaces
(503) 2298 6853

1 Reply
Reply posted by Martin Haefele 9 years ago

It is at the same time reassuring and devastating to see that a lack of meaningful participation by indigenous people (real or perceived) and the failure to address underlying causes of environmental degradation troubles other regions as well.  It seems to be somewhat of a global problem.  That raises the question: is there a global solution or must we continue to try to find local ones?


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