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CALL FOR STRONGER LOCAL FOREST RIGHTS TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE

Recent data suggest that governments are failing to take advantage of a potent opportunity to fight climate change by strengthening local land rights and laws.

Studies suggest that about 10-20% of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by deforestation each year. Experts also argue that in areas formally supervised by local communities, deforestation rates are dozens to hundreds of times lower than in areas overseen by governments or private entities.

A report also explains that governments, donors and other climate change stakeholders tend to undermine the contribution that strengthening communities forest rights can give to address climate change related issues.

For instance, in areas such as Guatemala and Brazil, strong local tenure resulted in deforestation rates 11-20 times lower than outside of formally recognized community forests. Additionally, in parts of the Mexican Yucatan, the findings were even 350 times lower.

In this framework, experts warn that the climate implications of these forests are significant. However, the rights to protect forests are weak, increasing the risks to lose the potential benefits of these forests.

Thus, policymakers and the donor community should undertake concrete environmental policies to link land rights with momentum on climate change, strengthening these efforts through instruments as finance mechanisms.

In this context, the international community needs to focus on the recognition of local forest rights. In this way, boosting local forest rights will represent a key issue in order to reduce the consequences of climate change and poverty.

 

The gLAWcal Team

The EPSEI project

Friday, 25 July 2014

(Source: The Guardian)