Briefing Document / July 15, 2010

Letter on civil society participation in climate change and deforestation talks

Dear Chairs of the Interim REDD+ Partnership,

The undersigned organisations would like to express their strong objection to the terms on which civil society has been asked, through an invitation received on 7 July 2010, to participate in the upcoming meeting of the Interim REDD+ Partnership to be held on 14-15 July 2010 in Brasilia, Brazil.

The extremely short advance notice given to civil society and the non-transparent process leading up to the meeting are in violation of the spirit and letter of the REDD+ Partnership Agreement and represent a serious false start for the Partnership.

The request that global civil society select twelve representative organisations “based on geographical distribution” and arrange for travel to Brasilia in one week is unrealistic and does not represent a genuine opportunity for most organisations, especially those from the South, to participate.

The alternative suggestion provided by the co-chairs – that civil society stakeholders submit their views by email – is clearly not an acceptable substitute for meaningful participation in the decision making process. This calls into question the sincerity of the co-chairs and Partners in upholding the principles of the REDD+ Partnership Agreement, particularly concerning the inclusion of representatives of civil society and indigenous peoples in the process.

The Partners agreed to “promote inclusiveness and transparency through the participation of a representative group of stakeholders” when they signed the REDD+ Partnership Agreement. We do not believe the process in the lead up to the meeting in Brasilia has been consistent with this commitment.

For this reason, and the logistical impossibility of performing the requested selection process and making travel arrangements on such short notice, we do not plan to attend or participate in the Brasilia meeting.

A genuine commitment to inclusiveness is the only way to build trust and support for the work of the Partnership. We therefore urge the Partners to forgo making any substantive decisions regarding the Partnership work program or other policies at the Brasilia meeting, and to defer such decisions until a meeting with adequate stakeholder representation can be organised.

We believe that in the absence of meaningful participation by civil society and indigenous peoples, the meeting in Brasilia lacks legitimacy, and any decisions made would represent a violation of the principle of inclusiveness that was committed to in the REDD+ Partnership Agreement.

Yours sincerely,

Alianza Nicaraguense frente al Cambio Climático, Nicaragua

Arbeitsgemeinschaft Regenwald und Artenschutz (ARA), Germany

Australian Orangutan Project, Australia

Bank Information Center, USA

CARE International

Le Centre d'Accompagnement des Autochtones Pygmées et Minoritaires Vulnérables (CAMV), DRC

Centro de Planifación y Estudios Sociales (CEPLAES), Ecuador

Centro Humboldt, Nicaragua

ClientEarth, UK

Environmental Investigation Agency, USA

Federation of Community Forestry Users (FECOFUN), Nepal

FERN, Belgium and UK

Friends of the Earth US

Friends of the Earth International

Fundación del Río, Nicaragua

Global Witness, UK

Greenpeace International

Humane Society International, Australia

Kenya Young Greens, Kenya

Maasai Community Outdoor Educators, Kenya

National Forum for Advocacy, Nepal

Nepenthes, Denmark

Ona Keto Peoples Foundation Inc, Papua New Guinea

Organisation Concertée des Ecologistes et Amis de Nature (OCEAN), DRC

Partners with Melanesians Inc, Papua New Guinea

PNG Ecoforestry Forum, Papua New Guinea

Pro Regenwald, Germany

Rainforest Action Network, USA

Rainforest Foundation Norway

Rainforest Foundation US

Rainforest Foundation UK

Reseau des Communicateurs de l'Environnment (RCEN), DRC

SONIA, Italy

Sustainable Development Institute, Liberia

Sustainability Watch Network - Central America

SustainUS, USA

Tebtebba, Philippines

The Wilderness Society, Australia

Ugewald, Germany