Today, we have tried to understand more about the impact of climate change on deforestation and how the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) established in the Paris Agreement can help protecting indigenous peoples’ rights.
First of all, a delegate from the Rainforest Foundation Norway presented us the results of their latest report, aimed at assessing the role of tropical forests in the mitigation of climate change for six key countries (Brazil, Indonesia, Peru, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar) and what these countries’ NDCs mean for the future of these tropical forests.
As a matter of fact, tropical countries need to half deforestation and forest degradation by 2030, if they want to meet the Paris Agreement goal of keeping the increase of world temperature below 1.5 degrees. Moreover, an increased recognition of the lands rights of indigenous people is a compelling issue in order to prevent serious risks for their daily existence.
However, when it comes to analysing actual results, none of the NDCs of these countries is in line with the goal of limiting greenhouse emissions and deforestation will probably speed up in Peru and in the DRC.
The environmental policy of Indonesia, represented by Anggalia Putri Permatasari, is the only one to have a specific goal for forestry protection in their environmental policy. However, the government is still allocating more funds for deforestation than for the effective preservation of the national forests and the normative in this regard is characterized by lack of transparency and corruption.
Another controversial issue is that in many cases, such as in Myanmar, forest preservation restricts the right of local communities to use their natural resources. And when these rights exists, they are in most cases vague and not legally binding, as pointed out by Milena Bernal from the Asociation Ambiente y Sociedad of Colombia.
The most pessimistic view, however, has been expressed by Patricia Zupi, from the Rede de Cooperação Amazonica Brasil: after the election of Jair Bolsonaro in November of this year, her country is witnessing a reversal in the process of reforestation just started by the previous government. Unfortunately, on a more general level, there is no concrete plan for addressing deforestation and if nothing will be done, forest degradation would increase in several tropical countries, which are among the poorest nations in the world.
Our hope is that the negotiators here at the COP24 will take into serious consideration the problem of deforestation and will reach a common agreement on a more sustainable solution. But most of all, we hope that the COP24 will raise awareness about a problem still unknown by the majority of common citizens.