Lumads hit ‘deception’ in carbon trading, demand ‘climate justice’

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/12 July) – Lumads or indigenous peoples belonging to 12 tribes in Mindanao’s southern provinces have declared their opposition to what they call the deceptive nature of treaty-based schemes to reduce carbon emissions, saying these are being promoted by countries that are being accused as the main culprits of climate change.

In a manifesto sent to media, the Lumads cited in particular the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus (REDD+).

The CDM is one of the “flexibility mechanisms” defined in the 1991 Kyoto Protocol designed to allow industrialized countries to meet their carbon emission reduction commitments with reduced impact on their economies. While REDD+ is a set of steps designed to use market/financial incentives in order to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases from deforestation and forest degradation.

REDD+ involves transactions wherein one country would reduce its carbon emissions in order to allow another country to maintain or even increase its own emissions. In return the country that agrees [to reduce its emissions] will get financial incentives.

MAP IT OUT. Lumad participants identify the natural resources of  their respective provinces during a gathering on climate change in  Island Garden City of Samal.Toto Lozano / AKP ImagesThe manifesto also demanded “climate justice” from the industrialized countries and called on them to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. They said these countries must immediately provide funds and new technology to help developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change.

It was signed by leaders of the B’laan, T’boli, T’duray, Bagobo, Dibabawon, Sama, Kalagan, Manguangan, Mansaka, Mandaya, Ata-Manobo and Tagabawa tribes during a gathering in Samal Island that ended on Saturday.

The Lumad leaders came from the Davao provinces, Sarangani, South Cotabato, North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.

Meanwhile, an IP advocacy group here said that the Lumads will bear most heavily the worsening impacts of climate change hence their voices should be heard.

Erwin Quinones, campaigns paralegal of the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan (LRC-KsK) Davao, told MindaNews that climate change threatens the food security and livelihood of the IPs since they depend so much on the natural resources around them.

The Lumads who attended the meeting in Samal said that they are already experiencing unusual weather conditions and their crops have been attacked by some unknown pests.

“These experiences are no longer normal for the IPs. Like some of the pests, they were not pestering the crops in the pasts, these are new pests,” Quinones noted.

The manifesto added that the IPs are also worried over the entry of plantations, logging, mining and power plants into their ancestral domains. They believe that these projects would only worsen the impacts of climate change.

“These projects also worsen the violation of our human rights, polarize our communities and threaten our assertion of the right to own and develop our ancestral domains,” the manifesto read.

Quinones said the government must also consider alternative sources of energy as well as alternative sources of livelihood and not just depend on destructive ones like large-scale mining.

“Our government must also consider food security of the people since it will be threatened by this development aggression,” he added. (Keith Bacongco/MindaNews)