This is the second in a series of blogs recording a Q and A session with Pavel Jezek from the Acre Government in the Brazilian Amazon. In the first blog, Pavel explained his role and how Acre is using the REDD+ Social and Environmental Safeguards standard. In this second blog, Pavel discusses the benefits and challenges of this safeguards process, how the Government is working with indigenous people in Acre and his reflections on topics on the agenda of the Lima hosted UN climate change conference later this year.
What has been the importance of the safeguards process in Acre so far?
For me, the most important thing has been the interaction with CEVA (a governance group with government and civil society) members and other stakeholders, with the objective of building consensus about the local adaptation of the indicators and the self-evaluation of the use of safeguards. It has been a learning process, not only about indicators, but also on transversal themes, on subjects such as gender, transparency, equitable benefit sharing, climate change, environmental services, effective participation, etc. This has strengthened the dialogue and interaction between stakeholders and their engagement in decisions, as well as strengthening the knowledge base for decision-taking.
Acre is a state with significant indigenous populations, including some un-contacted or recently contacted peoples. How has your approach to safeguards affected the inclusion of indigenous peoples and or their interests in planning and implementing ISA Carbon in Acre?
It’s important to say that, in Acre, our REDD+ approach has not started from zero. For example, there is an indigenous policy that predates REDD+ that has led to the elaboration of management plans for indigenous territories. The REDD Early Movers programme helps to implement these plans according to the needs – and the vision – of the indigenous communities.
The creation of an indigenous working group (a branch of CEVA within the SISA, the state law for incentives for environmental services) was important to specifically address the groups’ life visions, desired development pathways and relationship with nature, and how to contribute with resources of the REDD Early Movers programme. The working group has representation from 12 of the 15 ethnic groups in the State. Of course, there is no contact with the uncontacted groups, but supporting the contacted groups can allow them to help the uncontacted ones, if needed, and this is already occurring in some instances. Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) is included in the system of principles and criteria.
Participation and transparent communication should meet the requirements of FPIC. Because the SISA was constructed in a participatory manner it assumes consent in this sense. Private projects will be required to respect the FPIC concept, in all phases of development. As most of the territories are within the forest areas, the support from SISA’s ISA Carbon programme is in recognition of the conservation of carbon stocks. The model we are using is one of stock and flow, so other activities in the state may be focussed on emission reduction – for example, sustainable agriculture production.
This December Lima will host the annual UNFCCC conference. One of the issues to be discussed is REDD+ safeguards. Specifically, SBSTA (the technical body of the convention). Based on your experience, what would your advice be?
We are receiving guidance and support from the REDD+ SES initiative which is aligned to the UNFCCC agreements. The guidance is very ambitious and could be simplified to address practical and relevant issues at the state level. The decision on how to adapt the guidance at the jurisdictional level in Acre is made by CEVA. We have had the flexibility to adapt it, but we still found that it was effort-intensive and demanding, especially on the contributions required by the stakeholders. It has also required political commitment from the state. On the other hand, I see it has been a learning process that has led to a higher quality of the outcomes and of local capacities.
This concludes Part Two of this three-part blog Q and A. In the next and final installment, Pavel discusses safeguards work elsewhere in Brazil, working with international partners and the future for Acre’s work in this area.
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