In a bold bid to stem decades of conflict, slow global deforestation and respect the rights of indigenous peoples to lands they have lived on and protected for centuries, 37 governors from nine countries made a firm commitment today to partner with forest communities as an indispensable part of the global response to climate change.
The Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF Task Force), made up of state and regional government leaders whose territories include more than one-third of the world’s tropical forests, endorsed a landmark set of “Guiding Principles for Collaboration and Partnership Between Subnational Governments, Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities” (ES, ID, PT). Eighteen indigenous groups and seventeen civil society organizations, including Earth Innovation Institute, have supported the drafting and endorsement of the principles.
“We call on the world to recognize our ability to protect the forests that are critical to preventing climate change,” the Forest Guardian Alliance states in their Letter from San Francisco from the Forest Guardians. “Forests are the only safe and affordable solution for capturing and storing carbon, and modern science has shown what we have always known for centuries…We can outperform all other forest managers, public or private.”
The alliance is comprised of the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), the Mesoamerican Peoples and Forests Alliance (AMPB), and the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Indonesian Archipelago (AMAN).
The guiding principles underscore the growing commitment of local and regional governments to protect forests through a ground-up approach that starts in communities, states and provinces. They commit governors to respecting the rights of forest peoples to their land and resources, while adhering to landmark tenets such as “free, prior and informed consent,” as expressed, for example, in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Earth Innovation Institute is proud to have helped facilitate this historic partnership to protect the rights of forest guardians, support indigenous livelihoods, and guarantee their participation in decision-making – all with the goal of a healthy and equitable planet.