BOGOR, Indonesia (28 de mayo de 2012)_La creciente inseguridad en la tenencia está limitando la implementación de una política de desarrollo sostenible en muchos países, mientras que en la Amazonía brasileña las luchas por la tierra se han vinculado con conflictos violentos y una excesiva deforestación.
Estos temas alarmantes son solamente algunos de los temas discutidos por los participantes en El Diálogo sobre Bosques en Río+20, donde se debatió la forma en que los reclamos por el uso habitual de la tierra hechos por las comunidades indígenas y rurales pueden ser reconocidos y garantizados por los gobiernos.
De acuerdo con un estudio reciente de Forest Peoples Program, mil millones de personas clasificadas en situación de “extrema pobreza” dependen de los recursos forestales para todos o parte de sus medios de subsistencia. Si bien se ha visto recientemente un traslado de la propiedad de los bosques de los gobiernos a las comunidades locales conocido como “transición de tenencia forestal global”, en muchos países la gente de los bosques todavía no tiene la tenencia segura de estas áreas y se les niega el acceso y uso de sus territorios debido a políticas inadecuadas de gobierno, a actividades de las industrias extractivas o a iniciativas de conservación, tales como áreas estrictamente protegidas.
“Los asesinatos de alto perfil de líderes rurales tales como Chico Mendes, la hermana Dorothy Stang y João Claudio Ribeiro da Silva y Maria do Espirito Santo han captado la atención nacional e internacional sobre los resultados devastadores de los conflictos por la tierra en la Amazonía”, dijo Amy Duchelle, científica del Centro para la Investigación Forestal Internacional y facilitadora del diálogo sobre los derechos forestales.
En 2009, una importante iniciativa nacional en Brasil llamada Terra Legal (“Tierra Legal”) fue lanzada para abordar el problema de la inseguridad de la tenencia otorgando títulos de propiedad a alrededor de 300 mil pequeños agricultores, quienes reclaman los derechos sobre las tierras públicas en el Amazonas, explica Duchelle en el diálogo.
Un informe reciente que analiza el impacto de Terra Legal mostró que solamente se habían otorgado en realidad 611 títulos de propiedad de tierra, con una valoración mucho más baja que los precios de mercado, posiblemente promoviendo la especulación de los terrenos, dijo Duchelle. Esto plantea la pregunta: ¿cuáles son los elementos necesarios para una reforma de tierras más sostenible?
“En mi opinión, el tipo de reforma de propiedad que necesitamos es para derechos forestales comerciales accesibles y seguros que incluyan (crucialmente) a la madera y a la dendroenergía. Esto crea el incentivo para gestionar y restaurar los bosques,” dijo Duncan MacQueen, Investigador Principal del Instituto Internacional para el Medio Ambiente y el Desarrollo.
Según Isabel Drigo del Departamento de Ética y Economía de la Universidad de Montreal, los problemas por derechos de propiedad no son solamente acerca de la tierra sino que también conllevan una definición económica muy importante que es necesario tomar en consideración.
“Los gobiernos deben empezar a invertir verdaderamente en el desarrollo de regiones rurales y forestales para crear las condiciones necesarias con el fin de que los pequeños propietarios de la tierra y los bosques puedan producir económicamente en esos lugares. Esto significa un objetivo claro en el presupuesto nacional y la necesidad de luchar seriamente contra la corrupción dentro de los organismos oficiales”.
Estos temas y muchos más están siendo debatidos como parte de Los Diálogos de Río+20, una herramienta para que la sociedad civil se comprometa en los temas bajo discusión en Río con el fin de producir una serie de recomendaciones que serán presentadas a los jefes de estado que se reunirán en Brasil en la cumbre de Río+20.
CIFOR, junto con la Universidadde Yale y la Universidadde San Paulo, está moderando el diálogo sobre los bosques. El diálogo ha ingresado a la fase de redacción de las recomendaciones y es el momento para que usted articule sus ideas sobre cómo podemos integrar a los bosques en el desarrollo sostenible.
Sírvase entrar a Forests dialogue, lea las recomendaciones ya publicadas y presione la tecla (Support) “Apoyo” si usted desea que la declaración sea presentada a los jefes de estado en Río+20. Usted también puede escribir sus recomendaciones presionando “Haga Su Recomendación” (Make Your Recommendation). La elaboración de textos continuará hasta el domingo 3 de junio, fecha en que las recomendaciones que reciban el mayor apoyo serán transferidas a una página Web para votación.
A continuación algunos extractos en inglés del debate en curso, (sírvase tomar nota que no han sido editados).
Mon, May 14, 2012 at 7:19 pm
Forest people can be an asset to a state if they become part of an eco tourism initiative .If they are taught that they can profit more from tourism than poaching or logging . It is a complex problem but forests are becoming more important in protecting all of humanity from runaway global warming.
Mon, May 14, 2012 at 8:21 pm
Deon, I agree with you that tourism can/does play a role in making money from forests. However, ecotourism is especially difficult to transition to/ or develop in war torn countries. In these countries people SURVIVE on poaching, wood/fuel from/ or small illegal/unofficial wood exploitation. Forest people may be excluded and discriminated/exploited as much as the Forest.
Important, is interdisciplinary research in order to continue implementing effective appoaches/change- eg. ecology coupled with anthropology (etnoecology) in order to better understand local markets of forest products.
It may seem rather obvious that in countries were security is a real issue preventing tourists to dare visit, the urgent priority lies in development of for instance Agroforestry (small-scale) projects around forests in order to help people, minimise/prevent poaching/logging pressures. Such projects can be coupled with peer educational projects helping the forest people and hence protecting forests.
Unfortunately, it is only after development/institutionalisation of a country that its security situation may improve; the icing on the cake potentially being the profitable business of ecotourism.
Mon, May 14, 2012 at 8:56 pm
Vasco raises some important issues about limitations in peoples’ rights to access markets (in his example the implications of war on ecotourism suitability).
I would like to respond to Michelle’s initial question about kind of land reform needed to promote sustainable development:
Pervasive tenure insecurity limits the implementation of sustainable development policy in many countries. In the Brazilian Amazon, struggles for land have been linked to violent conflicts and deforestation beyond what would have been cleared for agriculture alone (Alston et al. 2000, Aldrich et al. 2012). The high profile murders of rural leaders such as Chico Mendes, Sister Dorothy Stang and João Claudio Ribeiro da Silva and Maria do Espirito Santo, have drawn national and international attention to the devastating results of Amazonian land conflicts.
In 2009, an important Brazilian national initiative called the Terra Legal “Legal Land” Program (http://portal.mda.gov.br/terralegal; within the broader Law 11.952/2009) was launched to address the problem of tenure insecurity through linking land tenure reform and environmental compliance. The program’s objective was to grant land titles to ~300,000 smallholders who claim rights to public lands in the Amazon. To receive titles, smallholders must have occupied and cultivated a portion of the land since 2004, occupied the area peacefully, be Brazilian citizens, and not own other rural properties or have benefited from land reform efforts. Titles are conditional on compliance with the current Brazilian Forest Code (80% of landholding in forest cover). Proponents ofTerra Legal viewed it as a way to support smallholders’ rights and productive activities; critics considered it a way to legalize land grabbing.
A 2011 report by Brenda Brito and Paulo Barreto of IMAZON (Amazon Institute of People and the Environment) analyzes TerraLegal in its first two years of implementation: http://www.imazon.org.br/publicacoes/livros/a-regularizacao-fundiaria-avancou-na-amazonia-os-dois-anos-do-programa-terra-legal.
Their work highlights that while 87,992 lots were registered in the first two years of the program (an area of 10.3 million hectares) only 611 rural land titles had actual been granted, and less than half of these had started the environmental licensing process. Additionally, program land values were much lower market prices, which could indeed promote land speculation. So, what are the elements needed for more sustainable land reform? In terms of Terra Legal, the authors recommend public access to cadastral data, identification of areas already occupied by traditional communities, reconsideration of the program’s land values in relation to market prices, and continued advancement in the cancellation of false land titles.
What are the limits to sustainable land tenure reform in the places where others of you work?
Tue, May 15, 2012 at 03.26 pm
I think my colleagues in this post could give more interesting points of view in comparison to what I could give in relation to property and customary use rights. Miss Duchelle gave and excellent overview about what has being done in Brazil. However, I would like to raise again the issue of sustainability, and why this is always a challenge in Brazil, which I believe to be a good example for other tropical countries.
The first issue I would like to raise refers to tradition. Many people settled in the official settlements in the Amazon emigrated from other regions, having agriculture as their main focus on their rural production system. The natural way of seeing forest in the land is typically as an additional resource (timber) which can be sold to raise enough funds for equipment or infrastructure. Law has evolved to be more able to closely reprehend such producers, but typically not for showing a better alternative to use forests in a way to conserve them. Many people settled on those lands also did not guarantee minimally their food security in a way to have enough energy to think about conservation. So, the first challenge we have in relation to sustainability is how to find an economic activity for the typical settler in the Amazon which fits in their agriculture schedule and can bring additional revenue?
The second issue I would like to raise refers to the legal instruments. Most settlements and conservation units where traditional people dwell do not have the official plans ordering the use of such lands. In the case of official settlements, INCRA is the federal institution responsible for this task, which is elaborating a human settlement development project. In the case of Conservation Units, is called generically a Management Plan. Without such instruments, few communities were indeed able to carry out the economic activities they are interesting in doing, or to receive support from governments and NGOs to do so. I mean, here the main issue is not the property rights, but the formal access to resources.
Thank you all.
Wed, May 16, 2012 at 07.29 pm
I consider very important your highlights in this topic and I do agree with you. But, i’d like to precise that property rights issues are not only about legal property rights to land. Property rights in Yoram Barzel’s definition, for instance, have a very important economic definition also. It means, the economic property rights is mostly the ability to use some goods or resources and get the rents of this use. That’s the problem for small land holders in Amazon (settlers or extrativistes). Even they achieved legal property rights and even legal instruments are in place, they face many obstacles to use them,economically and legally speaking. Infra-structural barriers (bad roads, no communication or poor communication networks), administrative barriers (complexe and costly procedures), education and technical assistance (poor opportunities to get quality education in one side and poor technical assistance services) prevent them to usufruct rights over resources . You know our Brazilian situation regarding this issue. But, I dare to say this is also true for our latin american and african small holders. So, it’s not a original reccomendation that governments begins to really invest to develop rural and forests regions to create the necessary conditions to small holders of land and forests to reproduce themselves there. It means a clear national budget target and fight corruption seriously inside official bureaus.
Greetings from direct forest atlantic forest in São Paulo!
Fri, May 18, 2012 and 11:05 am
Interesting topic. For me, the type of tenure reform we need is towards accessible and secure commercial forest rights that include (crucially) timber and wood energy. This creates the incentive to manage and restore forests. But rights alone are not enough. In order to translate those rights into a real incentive for sustainable forest management, people need business capacity. Too often forest peoples are considered a threat to sustainable forest management and not the vehicle for their conservation. In Sweden local people control forests and the country has 70% forest cover – and its not just the rights that are secure, but the business capacity that has been built over the last 100 year. But business capacity and rights together are also not enough. A third crucial element is organisation – both to achieve economic scale efficiencies to break into competitive markets, but also to lobby government to secure support for rights and business capacity support. I am not alone in thinking this way – please see and support the proposal to ‘invest in locally controlled forestry’ that has the backing of the international family forestry allinace, the global alliance for community forestry and the international alliance of indigenous and tribal people’s of the tropical forests.
Wed, May 16, 2012 at 04.23 pm
‘Free, Prior, and Informed Consent’ (FPIC) is the principle that indigenous and other local communities have the right to accept or deny proposed projects that may affect lands that they have customarily occupied and/or used. The Indigenous Peoples’ Summit on Climate Change in 2009 brought this principle to the forefront of the REDD+ debate insisting on meaningful local participation in the design and implementation of REDD+. This concept is incorporated in international and national-level social and environmental safeguards’ processes (including UNFCCC REDD+ safeguards’ call for parties to respect the rights of indigenous peoples, the REDD+ social and environmental standards of the Climate, Community &Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA), the Brazilian REDD+ Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria).
The Forest Peoples’ Programme highlights that – despite the importance of the FPIC principle – there are obstacles to its real world application. For instance, how can third-party auditors and governments genuinely verify local consent? And will the decisions of local leaders be accountable to other members of their communities?
It would be interesting to hear from those who have experience with the FPIC process in terms of how such challenges are being addressed.
Wed, May 16, 2012 at 05.47 pm
I have been working as CCB and VCS auditor in REDD projects in Brazil and I am 100% sure that evaluate Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process is among the biggest challenge that the audit team has to deal during validation/verification process for innumerous reasons. First of all, the audit is conducted through sampling and each project has its unique characteristics. Furthermore, the auditors have to open their minds for new cultures. Considering it, in my point of view it is crucial to the auditor team understand the communities’ governance system and respect it during the validation/verification process. Listen to local leader is important, but include the community groups that usually has less voice in the decision making, e.g. women, teenagers and elderly people, in the auditing process is essential, since these groups are the main clue to find out if the FCIP process was conducted in an inclusive manner.
The other point, FPIC process must be evaluate continually, i.e. it is not just a validation issue but also a verification issue. For REDD project inBrazil, two main standard are commonly used, VCS and CCB. In general words, the first one is focus on carbon offset accountability while the second is focus on social and environmental benefits. For this reason, I see some projects being validated in both standards but being verified just on VCS. It could represent a risk in medium term, since VCS does not accomplish FCIP process and for this reason it may not be monitored in appropriate manner during the project life time.
I see that REDD projects are stimulating carbon program, validation/verification bodies and project proponents recreating themselves and FPIC is one of the components that is pushing it.
Thu, May 17, 2012 and 12:48 pm
Dear Talia, Thank you for your thoughts based on experience with third-party verification of FPIC. You remind us that guaranteeing the FPIC principle cannot be a ‘one shot deal’ but rather requires commitment to an iterative process of verification over the course of a project’s life span.