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Agreement for Panama’s National Programme Presented at UN-REDD Policy Board Meeting in December

After several months of debate and constructive dialogue between the Government of Panama's National Environment Authority (ANAM) and National Coordinating Body of Indigenous Peoples in Panama (COONAPIP), their agreement was presented during the eleventh meeting of the UN-REDD Programme Policy Board, which took place from 9-10 December 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Policy Board approved a no-cost extension of Panama’s UN-REDD National Programme until June 2015, based on the revised result framework and congratulated Panama on its progress towards resolving differences with COONAPIP. The session was co-presented on a panel with ANAM and COONAPIP, with the participation of UN agencies’ representatives, and the Latin American civil society representative from the Policy Board.

The National Programme had been suspended since March 2013, when the UN-REDD Programme launched an independent investigation and evaluation of the Programme in response to allegations from COONAPIP that the rights of indigenous peoples had not been respected. Over the last few months, ANAM and COONAPIP have been engaged in extensive consultations to resolve issues and develop an Environmental Agenda between indigenous peoples and ANAM, which includes a revised result framework of the UN-REDD National Programme of Panama. The General Assembly of COONAPIP, with the participation of 9 of the 12 territorial authorities of Panama, which took place on 29 November 2013 in Playa Muerto, in the Darien province of Panama, approved the Environmental Agenda jointly developed between ANAM and COONAPIP.

"We feel satisfied that the process followed with ANAM will help us to correct issues, and COONAPIP is going to engage again in the Programme," said Candido Mezua, President of COONAPIP. "It is time to trust again," he added. In his presentation, Mr. Mezua stressed that indigenous peoples are the collective owners and guardians of the forest in Panama and owners of the land, thus much more than stakeholders, as they are right-holders with collective rights granted; stated that in March COONAPIP reiterated their decision to withdraw from the National Programme although that dialogue could be opened if rights are respected; communicated that the dialogue resulted in a Framework Agreement between ANAM and COONAPIP, including the 19 points raised by COONAPIP; recognized the good will of the Government to develop a real national agenda with COONAPIP; emphasized the importance of recognizing COONAPIP as a legitimate organization that brings together several Congresses of Panama’s indigenous peoples, while respecting the autonomy of each of the 12 territorial entities and indigenous peoples’ traditional authorities. He finalized by requesting the Policy Board to keep following up Panama’s National Programme closely and develop a system to address complaints in a timely manner, and recognizing a change of attitude and good will of the Government, and the importance to learning from the process.

ANAM was grateful for the guidance received from UN-REDD Policy Board members, and highlighted the centrality of indigenous peoples' rights in the revised National Programme. "This process has taught us something: we better understand the perspectives of indigenous peoples," stated Gerardo Gonzalez, Director of Basins at ANAM. "Their participation is now guaranteed and we know they are main protectors of the forest." Mr. Gonzales recognized the great expectations generated by the Programme and communication gaps, described the national process from Lombok to date, and emphasized that the agreement between ANAM and COONAPIP, is broader than REDD+ and UN-REDD. He concluded by recognizing the need to ensure full an effective participation of indigenous peoples and requesting the Board to approve a no-cost extension based on the revised results-framework and budget.

The UN-REDD Programme Policy Board, comprised of representatives of partner countries, indigenous peoples and civil society, donor countries and UN agencies, was deeply appreciative of progress made in Panama and of the joint efforts of COONAPIP, ANAM and the UN-REDD Programme to resolve the conflict. Members noted that the experiences in Panama provided valuable lessons for other REDD+ countries and highlighted the importance of strong stakeholder engagement processes.

In 2014 the UN-REDD Programme has already began an intensive participatory process in Panama, with afro-descendant and local communities, and public and private institutions-beyond indigenous peoples, to initiate a debate and constructive dialogue in order to agree on mechanisms to conserve Panama’s forests.


In this issue


Agreement for Panama’s National Programme Presented at UN-REDD Policy Board Meeting in December

Republic of Indonesia Appoints Head for New National REDD+ Agency

DRC, Kenya and Nepal Share their Experiences in Strengthening Transparency, Accountability and Integrity for REDD+

Cambodia REDD+ Taskforce Secretariat Organizes Concert for REDD+

Argentina Holds R-PP Socialization Workshop

Mongolia Starts Consultations on Action Plan for Forest Monitoring System for REDD+

Strengthening Stakeholder Engagement in Sri Lanka

Peru Concludes Targeted Support Initiative Regarding Indigenous Peoples' Engagement and Effective Governance Mechanisms in REDD+

UN-REDD TEDxNairobi Talks Available Online

Features & Commentary

Main Findings and Lessons Learned from a Self-assessment of Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Participation in REDD+ in the DRC
By: Anne Martinussen

Reports & Analysis

Tanzania Releases Report to Support Planning of Multiple Benefits and Safeguards for REDD+

Guidance Note on Gender Sensitive REDD+

Two New Go-REDD+ Issues from UN-REDD in Asia-Pacific

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