Seven national indigenous organisations attended the launch on 17 February of the Ministry of Environment’s prior consultation process on regulations proposed to implement the recent climate change law. Given the priority in climate change mitigation accorded to REDD + (Reduction of Emissions Derived from Deforestation and Degradation), many came from the Amazon region.

The law itself was passed in April 2018 and the ministry has devoted the intervening months to drafting operational procedures, including definitions of terms and levels of responsibility for policies, strategies and plans to reduce greenhouse gases.

Although they feature prominently in the legislation, the indigenous peoples represented at the workshop were not impressed by the consultation process so far. AIDESEP, which represents 1,809 communities and 109 federations, developed its own mitigation strategy in 2011. This is known as REDD Indígena Amazónica, and AIDESEP believes it should be central to the law’s operational measures.

Fearful that the communities will be side-lined from a process in which they are uniquely placed to lead in their own territories, AIDESEP has requested oversight by the ILO to ensure good faith in the consultation. Prior experience of ‘carbon cowboys’ has warned Peru’s indigenous peoples of the hazards, as well as the potential advantages, of monetizing carbon offsets.

According to CIFOR, the UN forestry research body, free prior and informed consent (FPIC) is essential for national REDD+ initiatives, empowering indigenous peoples to protect their forest territories. Otherwise, it says, “REDD+ risks exacerbating issues of unsecured rights and pre-existing conflicts over land in the contexts in which it is being readied and implemented”.