Voices from the field

Voices from the field 1

Herman Kumara, National Convener, NAFSO; General Secretary, WFFP

The climate crisis is being used as an opportunity for vested interests to propagate false solutions like blue carbon, so-called ‘nature based solutions’, seawalls, the 30×30 agenda, debt-for-ocean swaps and more. Under these false solutions, farmers, fishers, Indigenous peoples and peasants are being displaced from their original lands, water bodies and forests, dispossessed of their customary tenure rights, and are facing disruption to their peaceful living with nature.  We urge caution against adopting ineffective climate solutions like 30×30, carbon credits, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP).

Instead, the focus should be on restoring the legitimate traditional, customary, or Indigenous tenure rights of fishing communities and redistributing such rights where they have been infringed upon. Fishers are among the most vulnerable groups during storms and cyclones and the victims of the climate crisis as they often work in open waters and are exposed to the elements. It is important that the state provides better accessible early warning systems and search and rescue operations to ensure the safety and security of fishers during such events. States should prioritize community-centred climate solutions based on traditional ecological knowledge and practices of small-scale fisher communities, instead of technocratic and market-based approaches such as seawalls, tetra pods, blue carbon, and conservation carbon credit solutions. WFFP is fighting back against this trend by strengthening campaigns that seek to educate and warn policy makers and communities against false solutions and instead push for real solutions that are developed in consultation with the affected communities.

Voices from the field 2

Tom Goldtooth IEN presentation to United Nations permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples, April 2024

Last year we requested a special session [of the UN Indigenous Peoples permanent forum] to address climate false solutions, the green economy and their impacts on Indigenous peoples. This request included a moratorium on all false solutions activities until affected Indigenous peoples from the south to the north can thoroughly investigate the impacts and make appropriate demands…

I have been involved with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since 1998. Our network has complied over 20 years of undeniable evidence showing how carbon markets, pricing and carbon offsets mechanisms do not reduce emissions at source.

Carbon markets provide the loophole that many of you have talked to us about. They provide a loophole the fossil fuel industry needs to continue extraction, combustion and with a fossil extractive economy that is wreaking the harmony of mother earth and father sky. We are long overdue for demanding a permanent moratorium on false solutions being negotiated in article 6 of the Paris [climate] agreement. The UNFCCC has goals to finalise these negotiations this year, after 2 decades of polluters profiting from causing human rights violations, land grabbing, division harm and exploiting Indigenous Peoples through carbon markets and REDD[1] plus.”

See the whole event here.

Voices from the field 3

Extract from the Statement of the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty at the Convention on Biological Diversity COP 15 (Conference of the Parties), December 2022

[…] This is the first biodiversity COP since the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants (UNDROP) was ratified, and small-scale food producers should be respected as rights holders by referencing UNDROP alongside UNDRIP (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) in the new Global Biodiversity Framework and the CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity). Every time those in power fail to uphold the human and collective rights of the best custodians of biodiversity, you fail to uphold your duty to protect biodiversity.

We sit in these meetings as people of the land, for the land, listening to so-called debates about land and life, wondering what will happen if you continue to separate people from nature with false solutions? What is Nature to each of you here?

Some propose DSI (Digital Sequence Information), to save biodiversity, as if you can just de-materialise our Mother and piece her back together and hope she functions better. Turning nature into capital is anything but ‘living in harmony with nature’. The ‘nature-based solutions’ debated here and at the climate COP put nature on a ledger and then sell her to polluters at the expense of biodiversity, land, and the rights of Indigenous Peoples, small-scale food producers, and local communities.

We sit in these rooms bearing grim witness to the greed of a handful of big exporting countries and their corporations who seek to destroy 30 years of multilateral agreements. It is easy to see why the most powerful and least accountable prefer to set targets towards a so-called ‘nature-positive world’ than talk about Mother Earth. You don’t need to lock up land away from her careful custodians as proposed in the 30×30 target, you need to protect her from corporate and state greed.[…]

[1] More info in the newsletter no. 32.