Stakeholder Engagement


Engaging Indigenous Peoples and Other Forest Dependent Communities

The UN-REDD Programme considers stakeholder engagement to be an indispensable priority for REDD+ for several reasons:

  1. United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) decisions have consistently called for Parties to the convention to ensure the full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders, in particular indigenous peoples and local communities, in the design and implementation of REDD+ strategies and action plans.
  2. Meaningful stakeholder engagement has been strongly requested by donors, civil society and REDD+ countries from the early days of conceptualizing REDD+.
  3. Successful implementation of REDD+ depends on buy-in across a wide range of government bodies, indigenous people and local communities, society, business and institutions to enact reforms that may be necessary
  4. The UN-REDD Programme follows a human-rights based approach (HRBA), which mandates adherence to and promotion of the core human rights principles of participation, non-discrimination, transparency and accountability. Following an HRBA also means that the Programme must ensure the recognition of and respect for rights (including of indigenous peoples) under applicable international law – a commitment which has several implications for how the Programme approaches stakeholder engagement.

Stakeholder engagement is not merely a matter of integrating the views of the different actors that are affected by REDD+ but also to craft partnerships, consensus and inclusive policies and processes that will make REDD+ transformational, achievable and long-lasting.

Approximately 70 million indigenous peoples depend on forests for their livelihoods and another 350 million rural people reside in or near them. Many of these communities have long-standing relationships with forested land and have customary rights that are legally recognized.

The active involvement of indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities in forest management produces positive results, such as lower rates of deforestation. However, indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities are often disproportionately impacted by ecosystem degradation and these groups, despite being rights holders, often lack political power and voice.

In order to uphold basic human rights and increase the success of REDD+, it is imperative to enable these groups to participate in REDD+ decision-making at local, national and international levels. The UN-REDD Programme has a specific focus on indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities, while also encouraging broader multi-stakeholder processes.

The UN-REDD Programme supports a number of different activity areas in support of this goal at both global and national levels. The UN-REDD Programme also works closely with the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) to ensure that they take a similar approach in this area.


CBR+ is a partnership between the UN-REDD Programme and the GEF Small Grants Programme to deliver grants directly to indigenous peoples and communities to empower them to fully engage in the design, implementation and monitoring of REDD+ readiness activities, and develop experiences, lessons, and recommendations at the local level that can feed into national REDD+ processes. CBR+ supports community-level projects that complement UN-REDD National Programmes, national REDD+ readiness processes and/or strategies. Currently in its pilot phase, CBR+ is being implemented in six countries: Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Panama, Paraguay, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria. Learn more about Community-based REDD+

The UN-REDD Programme Policy Board includes one full member seat for indigenous peoples and one full member seat for civil society. In response to consultations with indigenous peoples’ networks at the global and regional levels, it was agreed that the Chair of UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) should also represent indigenous peoples as a full member on the policy board. In addition to this, one regional indigenous peoples representative for each of the three UN-REDD Programme regions is selected to work together with the full member indigenous peoples’ representative. These three regional indigenous peoples’ representatives are self-selected through the regional caucuses of the UNPFII.
In response to consultations with civil society networks at the global and regional levels, it was agreed that four regional representatives from civil society should participate in the policy board, with one representative from each of the three UN-REDD Programme regions and one representing developed countries. The four civil society representatives collaboratively agree to rotate the full member seat at each meeting. Representatives are chosen through a self-selection processes conducted independently by civil society partners. The most recent self-selection process was conducted by the Bank Information Center civil society organization in 2014.
The current indigenous peoples’ and civil society representatives to the policy board are listed below. They will serve for two years/four meetings between 2014-2016.

  • IP Full Member: Chair United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Dr. Dalee Sambo Dorough -
  • IP Representative for Africa: Joseph Itongwa, REPALEAC (Reseau des peuples autochtones et locales pour la gestion durable des ecosystèmes forestiers en afrique centrale) – Democratic Republic of Congo -
  • IP Representative for Asia-Pacific: Grace Balawag, Tebtebba, (Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education) – Philippines -
  • IP Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean: Dolores (Lola) de Jesús Cabnal Coc, Área deIncidencia / Asociacion Ak´Tenamit / Red de mujeres indígenas sobre Biodiversidad de América Latina y El Caribe (RMIB-LAC) – Guatemala -
  • CSO Representative for Africa: Robert Chimambo, Zambia Climate Change Network/Chalimbana River Head-waters Trust – Zambia -
  • CSO Representative for Asia-Pacific: Tek Vannara, The NGO FORUM on Cambodia – Cambodia -
  • CSO Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean: Gustavo Sánchez Valle, Red MOCAF A. C. – Mexico -
  • CSO Representative for Developed Countries: Chris Meyer, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) – U.S.A. -

The UN-REDD Programme has developed a number of operational guidance documents to guide countries in matters of stakeholder engagement, with a focus on issues that stakeholders and governments have requested guidance on.
Guidelines on Stakeholder Engagement
In order to best serve developing countries preparing to undertake REDD+, the UN-REDD Programme and the World Bank-hosted Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) have collaborated to develop harmonized Guidelines on Stakeholder Engagement in REDD+ Readiness with a Focus on the Participation of Indigenous Peoples and Other Forest-Dependent Communities. This document includes all substantive guidance from the UN-REDD Programme’s original Operational Guidance, which was developed in consultation with indigenous peoples and civil society, as well as including guidance from the FCPF’s Guidance Note on National Consultation and Participation for REDD. The harmonized Guidelines also include guidance on consultation presented in the FCPF’s Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (SESA) as included in the Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) template.

  • Guidelines on Stakeholder Engagement in REDD+ Readiness with a Focus on the Participation of Indigenous Peoples and other Forest-Dependent Communities
    English - French - Spanish

Guidelines on Free, Prior and Informed Consent
The UN-REDD Programme Guidelines on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), together with its ‘Legal Companion,’ outline existing international law and emerging national practices that affirm that indigenous peoples have the right to effective participation in the decisions, policies and initiatives that affect them and that FPIC is a legal norm that imposes duties and obligations on countries.
The UN-REDD Programme recognizes that the right to FPIC is a key part of effective stakeholder engagement. Responding to calls from stakeholders, countries, partners and donors for further clarification on FPIC in the context of REDD+, the Programme therefore organized a series of regional and international consultations with indigenous peoples, forest-dependent communities, international human rights and safeguards experts and REDD+ practitioners so as to delve into the complexities, challenges and remaining questions around the application of FPIC for REDD+.
The FPIC guidelines are the result of more than two years of consultation, analysis, pilot-testing, consensus building and fine-tuning around core issues related to FPIC. These range from its conceptual definition to its practical application.
The FPIC guidelines outline a normative, policy and operational framework for seeking and obtaining FPIC in the context of REDD+. There will be periodic updates to this version based on the application of the Guidelines, increased information and experience related to the application of FPIC more generally, and continued input and feedback from governments, indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities, practitioners, experts and partners.
Practitioners and stakeholders around the world are invited to use these FPIC guidelines for their own purposes and to help test and improve their use on an ongoing basis. The UN-REDD Programme is also supporting a number of countries to apply FPIC to their specific national circumstances.

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Dr. Josep Garí (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Senior Policy Advisor, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (PNUD)

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