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Tuvalu block proposal to protect rights of tribals

Tuvalu, a small island nation in Pacific, has blocked the proposal supported by India to protect rights of indigenous people living in forests around the world. Chetan Chauhan reports.

world Updated: Dec 08, 2011 19:47 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times

Tuvalu, a small island nation in Pacific, has blocked the proposal supported by India to protect rights of indigenous people living in forests around the world.

The protection through a global protocol under the mechanism called Reduced Deforestation and Degradation of Forests (REED) plus aims to protect tribal communities depend on forest produce from proposed market interventions.

Forests can capture carbon from air and act as carbon sinks, thus resulting in lesser release of global warming causing gas into the atmosphere. Countries in the Cancun Agreement have agreed for a mechanism where polluting organisations in rich nations can offset their emissions by providing money to protect forests.

Bolivia had expressed concern that such interventions can result in restriction of rights of people. To allay such fears, negotiators at the porty city of Durban had agreed to include protection of indigenous people either through national provision or through international instrument.

But, Tuvalu, a country of 10,000 people with less than a percent forest cover, at the last moment sought inclusion of action against human rights violations in the proposal.

"It is just a last minute bid to block a decision," said a senior climate negotiator. "Every country has a laws against human right violations...Having such a provision under REDD will not make any difference."

Because of Tuvalu's proposal, the talks on market intervention has not moved. Greenpeace on Thursday accused the negotiators of failing the expectations at Durban.

Green Climate Fund: A empty shell
The Green Climate Fund to be delivered at Durban would be an empty shell. None of the rich nations, who have committed to provide US $ 100 bn for the fund by 2020, have not been able to pledge any money so far.

The rich nations want the Durban conference to announce a board having equal representation from the developing and the developed world, to run the green fund.

The lurking financial crises in the Euro Zone has forced the European Union to abandon its plan to provide a start-up fund.

India wants the board to be accountable to the United Nations (UN) conference of parties whereas the United States (US) wants it to be an independent body. The decision on this is expected soon.

Tech mechanism to be operational
The Technology Mechanism, expected to set up technology development centres in developing countries such as India, is likely to be made operational in Durban. Its framework was decided in the Cancun climate conference in 2010.

The Technology Mechanism includes two bodies: the Technology Executive Committee-a group of tech-savvy experts charged with strategic planning and the Climate Technology Centre-charged with implementing technology on the ground. The roles of the two bodies had remained undefined in Cancun.

"Most of the work is done. We expect an outcome here," said an Indian government official, who participated in the deliberatons on the technology mechanism.

The technology development centers will help public and private sector collaboration for research on cleaner technologies. "Only if cleaner technologies are available easily, the countries can shift towards low carbon economy," said Kirit Parikh, who heads India's expert group on low carbon growth model.

First Published: Dec 08, 2011 19:43 IST