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Indigenous People Question Climate Projects in the San Martín Region

The REDD+ Project Analysis Workshop –carried out before quarantine– observed that one of the inconsistencies is the financial entities’ overconfidence in the territorial legal security goals.

Servindi, April 2, 2020. - Representatives of the Shawi, Kichwa and Awajún indigenous peoples expressed their concern to prevent climate projects in the San Martín region from weakening their land rights and for them to value their contributions to mitigation.

Gathered in a workshop held from March 11 to the 13 in Tarapoto, the bases of the Coordinadora de Pueblos Indígenas de San Martín - Codepisam (Coordinator of Indigenous Peoples of San Martín) agreed that the projects should be improved.

The REDD+ project analysis workshop in San Martín observed that one of the inconsistencies lies in the financial entities’ overconfidence in the territorial legal security goals.

Such is the case of the FIP Project - financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) - which has a limited goal of 10 to 12 titled communities, when there are 89 pending titles.

The workshop evaluated the Proyecto Catastro (Cadastre Project) critically, the Titulación y Registro de Tierras Rurales, Tercera Etapa - PTRT3 (Titling and Registration of Rural Lands, Third Stage), which in almost 5 years has not titled a single native community.

Such background, demonstrates inefficiency and causes frustration, discomfort and indigenous peoples to legitimately distrust public and private operators.

The participants concluded that financial entities (World Bank and IDB) and the Peruvian State should give concrete and unequivocal signs that no project will advance without consolidating community territorial security.

They observed that the few ongoing community-titling processes are progressing slowly compared to the explosion of titles for private estates and forest concessions, for private conservation and for large agroforestry investments.

The favoritism of private interests is driven by the carbon businesses that will come with the Emission Reduction Program (PRE), financed by the World Bank.

This situation fuels the dispute over territory and fuels conflicts due to the overlapping of territorial rights, to the detriment of indigenous communities that possess ancestral territorial rights.

This occurs despite the fact that the World Bank is aware of the importance of territorial legal security as a precondition for any REDD+ project, as part of its own socio-environmental safeguards.

During the workshop, there was a virtual dialogue with representatives from the World Bank and the IDB, and changes were made to the design of the PRE to meet the territorial demand of 124 communities in San Martín.

In addition, spaces were proposed to solve conflicts caused by the overlapping of the Cerro Escalera Regional Conservation Area and the Cordillera Azul Park, among other private ventures.

Likewise, there was a proposal to redirect productive investment towards community life plans, to value the ecosystem services provided by their territories - beyond carbon - and to promote indigenous economy ventures.

Injustice or budget calculation error?

Another important issue concerns the “rights allocation” activity (titling) with which the PRE is expected to reach 50 percent of the emission reduction goal.

This activity would receive just over 1% of the total budget, while "agribusiness and reforestation" will receive 24%, despite contributing only 2% of the reduction.

In times like these, in which the State must optimize the use of the resources at its disposal, the participants insisted on spending climate funding appropriately, as this is the only way to speed up the recovery of the country's most vulnerable economies.

Data:

The workshop was convened and organized by Codepisam, a regional organization affiliated with the national organization AIDESEP, and had the support of the Bank Information Center (BIC) and Forest Trends. Specialists from Amazon Watch, Forest Peoples Program, Paz y Esperanza and Servindi participated.

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