Cross Currents

December 2, 2008

December 2nd – A young man representing the indigenous peoples of Bolivia just stole the show. Let me explain this exceptional moment.

After the initial presentations critiquing REDD, in the comments part of the breakout session, a woman from the Nature Conservancy took the microphone to offer that her agency was in fact doing appropriate projects with indigenous peoples, and mentioned some specific areas.

But the fellow I mentioned above then took the microphone and took her to task.  He IS an indigenous person, not an abstraction, who came here to represent the voice and interests of his people and other neighboring peoples.  He spoke through translation of such well-intentioned NGO projects force upon his people without prior informed consent, against their perception of their own interests, for which they received no benefit.  He drew applause.

So there is no clear consensus that the mechanisms under negotiation, such as REDD and CDM, are even beneficial in the first place, as all sorts of ‘cheats’, ‘leakage’, and regressive financial flows are claimed possible and even inescapable under these mechanisms.

The currents and cross currents at this conference are amazing.  That something positive, comprehensive, and effective may come out of the conference is an amazing concept.

For the Earth – §