Recognizing that native forests and jungles partake in both functions and processes of life in the planet and its vital importance in climate processes, as well as its vulnerability to climate change, the participants in the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth demand that members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) include in their discussions and resolutions the following points.
1. DEFINITION. The definition of forest that includes plantations, as used heretofore in UNFCCC negotiations, is unacceptable. Monocultures are not forests. Therefore, we demand a definition for negotiations on climate that recognises that native forests and jungles (forest hills, temperate forests, dry forests, mangroves, native Andean forests, Patagonian forests, paramo or moorlands, wetlands, reedbeds, rattan fields, and other ecosystems on earth) are rooted in Mother Earth, and are the big home where plants, animals, water, soil, pure air, and human and spiritual beings coexist. Native forests and jungles contribute to life by: 1) protecting fragile ecosystems, 2) participating in the water cycle and in watershed regulation, 3) protecting us from floods, erosion, natural disasters, pests, and diseases, 4) adding to food sovereignty, 5) providing shelter; natural, ancestral, and traditional medicine; and non-timber and timber goods, 6) housing biodiversity and unrevealed natural healing elements. As a result, we find it inacceptable to reduce native forests and jungles to a mere measurable amount of carbon or to the providers of services.
2. RIGHTS. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples must be fully recognised, implemented, and included by the Parties in UNFCCC discussions, taking into account, specially, that most of the forests and jungles are in the lands of Indigenous Peoples and Nations, indigenous, people and communities that live in forest, populations of African descent; peasant, aborigine, ancestral, and traditional communities (henceforth called the Peoples). We demand the acknowledgment of Peoples’ collective rights to their lands and territories as the best strategy and as a priority in preventing deforestation and forest degradation and in protecting native forests and jungles. The Peoples are ancestral protectors, conservators, and dwellers of their native forests and jungles; they are autonomous and sovereigns of inalienable, indefeasible, unatachable, and non transferable territories. Similarly, the role of women and children in preserving cultures and conserving native forests and jungles must be recognised.
3. CAUSES OF DEFORESTATION/THREATS. Deforestation and forest degradation are the outcome of a historical process of colonial exploitation, of the capitalist system, and of over-consuming developed countries. The multilateral programmes of the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and other multilateral funding agencies and institutions are also responsible for deforestation, for the unrestrained unfolding of productive chains, for the advance of agricultural and industrial frontiers and intensive stockbreeding, for the consumerist and capitalist degradation patterns of the extractive model of mining, the wood industry, shrimpers, agro-businesses and agrofuels, dams and hydroelectric power plants, hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation, constructions. Transnational pharmaceutical and biogenetic corporations are accountable, too. The causes and threats of deforestation lie in the pressure of humans alienated by the capitalist system, and in unsustainable production and consumption development patterns imposed by prevailing transnational corporations and designed by market laws that turn trees, and forest and jungle resources into tradable goods.
4. REDD. We condemn neoliberal market mechanisms such as the REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) mechanism and its + and ++ versions, as those ones related with markets, that are violating our Peoples’ sovereignty and right to free informed prior consent; as well as the sovereignty of national States. This mechanism is violating the rights, uses, and customs of the Peoples and the Rights of Nature.
We demand instead that contaminating countries acknowledge their ecological and climate historical debt, and transfer financial and technological resources directly to the Peoples, nations and ancestral indigenous, aborigine, and peasant organic structures so they can restore and maintain forests and jungles. Thus can real funding of plans for a comprehensive life and for living well be ensured with direct compensation, in addition to the funding committed by developed countries, outside the carbon market, and never used as offsets of carbon market. Consequently, we demand that countries, when applicable, stop local forest and jungle market-based initiatives that propose inexistent and conditioned results.
Tree plantations under CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) within the Kyoto Protocol framework are a false solution that threatens native forests and jungles and violates Peoples’ rights. Plantations for carbon credits as well as for agrofuels are a false solution to climate change. The false solutions, like war and the aggression to sovereign countries and territories, are driving Mother Earth to exhaustion.
5. PROPOSALS. Solutions must be holistic, respect Mother Earth and the rights of humanity, and promote a harmonious integration of economic and environmental policies.
People’s ancestral knowledge, and community and local practices have historically contributed to balance ecosystems, and should thus be included as solutions to deforestation, forest and jungle degradation and fragmentation. We propose forming a group of Experts on Climate Change, not exclusively centred on scientific knowledge, but with the full and effective participation and representation of the Peoples who depend on native forests and jungles. This group would be a UNFCCC advisory body that would promote forest conservation in an ancestral way, fostering and strengthening people’s capacities, revaluing their knowledge as world heritage and thus valuing their cultural identity. There should be at least a 50% participation of women.
– The direct involvement of organised Peoples in the management and administration of protected areas must be promoted in all countries as part of policies integrating Peoples and directly relating native forests and jungles, territory, and water basins.
-Degraded native forests, ecological floors, and basins must be recovered without the intervention of capitalism-related actions or the promotion of perverse covert actions, like tree plantations strictly targeting the carbon market and not full forest recovery.
-Institute a new process where Peoples who depend on forests and jungles participate fully and effectively in all actions to manage and conserve forests.
-Countries must abolish forest concessions, since historically these concessions have had intensive mercantile purposes and have expanded with no respect for harmony with Mother Earth.
-Conventional formal education based on maximum productivity does not agree with the ancestral knowledge of an integrated conservation management of forests and jungles. In consequence, governments are asked to complement study plans at primary, secondary, and university levels with ancestral knowledge.
– We demand from governments a World Programme of Ecological Forest and Jungle Restoration directed by the Peoples.
– Implement and consolidate forest seed banks, of autochthonous fruits and flowers, according to the location.
– Change structural laws to enforce drastic punishment for slashing and burning native forests and jungles.
– Encourage the union of agriculture and native forests and jungles as the components of a whole entity.
– Support initiatives like that of the Yasuni ITT, Ecuador, to leave petroleum under the earth, forgo the exploitation of hydrocarbons in native forests and jungles, and seek biodiversity preservation and respect for life.