CISU Supported project

Background and brief project description

The negotiations on REDD+ safeguards at international level are finalized and COP21 has adopted theremaining decisions with regards to REDD+, including on the SIS. While the agreements on REDD+ do address indigenous peoples’ rights, the language agreed on is not very strong. Much more advocacy work is therefore needed to ensure that these international agreements are properly translated into action at the national level.

The project “REDD+: Securing community land and forest rights in Thailand and Myanmar” aims at addressing the need for greater national-level advocacy for stringent REDD+ safeguards that fully respect the rights of indigenous peoples in accordance with the UNDRIP, and the need for related legislative and policy changes, in particular with respect to land rights, and for on the ground monitoring of REDD+ implementation. The expected result of the project is a stronger indigenous voice and influence in climate change negotiations and the protection of indigenous peoples’ rights to land and resources at national and local level, particularly in REDD+.

The project has been designed for a two years period, from February 2016 to end of January 2018. It is implemented by two local partner organizations in Myanmar, Promotion of Indigenous and Nature Together (POINT) and the Ethnic Community Development Forum (ECDF) and the Indigenous Peoples’ Foundation for Education and Environment (IPF) in Thailand. IPF is the local lead organization, being in charge of coordination among the three partners, consolidating narrative and financial interim reports, monitoring and backstopping in the form of advice and training to the two partners in Myanmar. The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) is the project holder and thus responsible for overall supervision and reporting to CISU. IWGIA was also responsible for facilitating activities at international level, i.e. participation of project partners in UNFCCC related meetings.

The project proposal was developed by the four partner organizations jointly, under the leadership of IWGIA. In project document’s problem analysis three main problems are identified which the project seeks to address:

  1. Lack of knowledge about existing policies and laws on land use, land rights and REDD+, their current and upcoming reforms, as well as international legal instruments on indigenous peoples’ rights among indigenous communities, local governments, and key line agencie
  2. Limited capacity of indigenous representatives, particularly indigenous women, to effectively engage with and participate in policy making on land and natural resource rights and REDD+, and thus limited participation of indigenous peoples in key policy developments.
  3. Insufficient protection of land and resource rights of indigenous communities. There is a lack of secure tenure rights to land and forests, in particular rights to customary communal land ownership and the related NRM systems. There are conflicting policies and laws and an implementation gap with respect to international obligations, as well as an information gap to the international level on local realities.

The primary target group of the project are the indigenous organisations, networks and their leaders. The secondary target group are duty bearers and other stakeholders, e.g. key government line agencies in Myanmar and Thailand, local governments and key indigenous political parties and, in Myanmar, Ethnic Armed Groups (EAG), civil society organisations at national and international levels that are engaged in land rights, land use, climate change and REDD+, as well as the media.

The overall objective of the project is: Indigenous communities’ rights regarding land and resource rights are secured and reflected in the future climate change agreements and implemented at the national and local levels, particularly on REDD+.

Corresponding to the three main problems identified, three objectives were formulated which the project seeks to achieve:

  1. Indigenous communities, their CSOs as well as key stakeholders in government line agencies, local governments, political parties and EAGs are informed about indigenous peoples’ concerns, positions and demands in key policy making processes related to REDD+ safeguards, land and resource rights.
  2. Indigenous organizations and leadership, including women, have the capacity to effectively engage in key policy making and legal reform processes related to land rights and REDD+. They are empowered to effectively participate, invoke and monitor their rights, consult with their communities and express their views, needs and concerns.
  3. Improved policies and laws regarding REDD+ safeguards and non-carbon benefits, including land and resource rights of indigenous communities at the national and regional levels, in line with the international standards and instruments.

The project’s logical framework provides indicators and the means of their verification for each of the three objectives. And for each objective expected outputs have been formulated and activities through which these are to be produced. The project document concludes with a description of the project’s overall strategy, a risk assessment and the project’s management approach.