By Johnson Cerda and Adam Grider
Today, August 9, 2017, the Dedicated Grant Mechanism for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (DGM) is excited to celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. This date was chosen by the UN to recognize the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations, which developed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). This year marks the 10th anniversary of the adoption of UNDRIP, which is a historic document establishing standards for the collective and individual rights of indigenous peoples.
UNDRIP enshrines the rights of indigenous peoples to self-determination and control over traditional lands, territories, and resources, among many others. These rights are particularly relevant in the context of forestry and climate change. Deforestation and forest degradation are key contributors to climate change, and they increase the vulnerability of forest-dependent populations and their indigenous/traditional knowledge systems. Unfortunately, by attempting to protect these forests, some initiatives have cut off the access of indigenous peoples to their traditional lands, territories, and resources.
While climate change mitigation, including through the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), is an important goal, it cannot be sustainably achieved without the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities. Indigenous leaders, together with the Forest Investment Program, created the DGM, an innovative system that gives communities direct access to climate finance and technical support so that they can advance their own priorities in the pursuit of sustainable forest management. This includes support for strengthened legal recognition and land tenure, increased role in climate- and forestry-related decision-making, and development of sustainable livelihoods. Through their engagement with the DGM, indigenous peoples are better able to fill their traditional roles as stewards of the forests, simultaneously protecting nature and their own rights.
Additional information about the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples can be found on the UN’s website, and a live webcast of their celebration is available through UN Web TV from 3 - 6 p.m. EST. To learn more about the DGM, please explore our website (www.dgmglobal.org) or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.