Response to Call for Input: Meaningful engagement of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in the Article 6.4 mechanism
The Paris Agreement requires all actions taken towards mitigation or avoidance of climate change to respect, promote and consider the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs). Accordingly, at its 6th meeting in July 2023, the Article 6.4 Supervisory Body took up the responsibility to launch a public consultation on how the Article 6.4 mechanism could consider matters relating to IPLCs. This Call for Input particularly addresses the challenges faced by IPLCs currently in engaging with the 6.4 Mechanism, and seeks our input on how best to ensure long-term engagement with IPLCs, and facilitate their active participation in the 6.4 Mechanism through appropriate modes of communication.
*1 November 2023. In response to this call for input.
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1. What are the current or anticipated challenges Indigenous Peoples and local communities face in engaging with the Article 6.4 mechanism?
(a) The aim of Article 6.4 mechanism is “to contribute to the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and support sustainable development and environmental integrity”. The success of this aim strongly relies on three main aspects: the environmental integrity of emissions reductions and removals, the avoidance of detrimental effects through safeguards, and the co-benefits that drive positive social, economic, and environmental impact. Drawing attention to these aspects within the Article 6.4 mechanism will automatically require active engagement with IPLCs, who often are important stakeholders in climate mitigation initiatives and play a key role in contributing to sustainable development.
(b) The two main challenges to IPLC engagement with the Article 6.4 mechanism at present are:
- A lack of understanding of carbon markets, carbon pricing, and the Paris Agreement context. This is arguably the biggest blocker for IPLCs to engage and participate in Article 6.4.
- A lack of clarity around which activities and methodologies will be eligible under the 6.4 mechanism and which will be approved by host countries. It is important to consider that not all methodologies and activities impact and involve IPLCs in the same way. For example, nature-based solutions (such as REDD+) comprise activity types that involve IPLCs who typically own, live on, or manage the forests and land where the mitigation activities are implemented. The status of nature-based solutions such as REDD+ under the Article 6.4 Mechanism is still unclear, and this lack of clarity might hinder IPLC's early engagement.
2. What mode of communication could facilitate better dialogue between the Supervisory Body and Indigenous communities?
(a) Partnering with organizations and initiatives that already work with IPLCs, are on the ground, and are trusted by the communities, could be a good starting point.
(b) Social media, increasingly used by IPLCs, could play a key role. Of course, it would need to be combined with more traditional forms of engagement.
3. How would you envision meaningful long-term engagement and active participation from Indigenous Peoples and local communities on the work of the Supervisory Body and the mechanism?
(a) Under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), stakeholder consultations were conducted at the project level. Several reports argue* that the project-level engagement with stakeholders under the CDM was inefficient as a) the public was largely unaware of these consultations when they opened up; b) lack of clarity on the time frame for the submissions; and c) a lack of capacity and resources to engage with several project consultations especially since all correspondence had to be in the English language.
(b) Based on lessons learned from the CDM, the ideal form of engagement with IPLCs would be at two levels: 1) At a general advisory level to develop the Article 6.4 mechanism and 2) At the project level to consent to, or reject projects that impact their community.
(c) At a general level, successful engagement can be achieved through well-established consistent communication channels rather than ad hoc involvement. The UNFCCC and the Article 6.4 Supervisory Body have already taken steps in the right direction by undertaking Stakeholder Interactions in the early stages while the 6.4 Mechanism is still under development. This early engagement could ensure that IPLC voices and perspectives influence the very foundations of the Article 6.4 mechanism, which sends a strong message about their centrality to climate mitigation efforts.
(d) In operational terms, this can be done by opening up regular communication channels for IPLC organizations and civil society groups to raise grievances and receive updates, and by setting up permanent IPLC advisory bodies to provide input on environmental and social safeguards for projects under the 6.4 mechanism. These advisory bodies must be representative of different regions and ethnicities while allowing engagement in multiple languages and formats to increase accessibility. The same form of engagement can be carried forward beyond the early stages, for continued engagement with IPLCs during the implementation and improvement of the Article 6.4 mechanism.
(e) At the project level, engagement with IPLCs must continue particularly for nature-based solutions. Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) from IPLCs is central to any carbon project that involves IPLC land, their livelihoods, or their resources. The Article 6.4 Supervisory Body should initiate public consultations on the quality and integrity of projects under the 6.4 mechanism and ensure the highest standard of social due diligence and IPLC consultation requirements are agreed upon for any project to be validated under the 6.4 mechanism.
(f) For any form of engagement that involves costs (e.g. traveling costs), financial support measures should also be contemplated.
*See for eg. Empowering communities? Local stakeholders’ participation in the Clean Development Mechanism in Latin America, World Development Vol. 114 (2019); and Civil Society Opportunities for engagement in the CDM Project Cycle, CDM Watch (2012)
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