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SINDICATO DOS TRABALHADORES RURAIS DE XAPURI

How REDD and Environmental Services Threaten the Lives of Forest People in Acre

April 2012: Indigenous people protest against the violation of their rights in Rio Branco, the capital of Acre.

What are the real problems of forest peoples in Acre? Land and territory: Land ownership in Acre remains highly concentrated: 583 large landholdings have15 million acres or more, while 23,500 small landholdings have less than 2.5 million acres. There are 21 indigenous territories that have yet be demarcated – but all processes of demarcation of indigenous lands are paralyzed because these territories are coveted by large landowners and Health: Indigenous peoples, peasant communities and poor people in general in the urban peripheries in Acresuffer from serious health problems. Many of the diseases, in the case of indigenous peoples, are caused by contact with white society and the degradation and contamination of the health care is precarious. 1

SINDICATO DOS TRABALHADORES RURAIS DE XAPURI

Education: In order to build their own future and to cope with the rapid pace of change, indigenous peoples in Acre need education thatrespects their cultures, languages, and practices. However, government resources for education do not reach the communities, and schools in the villages are in a virtual state of abandonment. Out of 120 indigenous schools in the state, ten are in good condition – and these few are held up by the government to convince the public that the indigenous school situation has been resolved. Why aren’t REDD andenvironmental services a solution to these problems? Demarcation of indigenous lands, health care and education are constitutional rights of indigenous peoples and local communities in Brazil. The problem is not lack of money to meet these demands, but lack of political will and preferential treatment of large land-owners. What concerns forest peoples about REDD and environmental services? Thedecision-making process is topdown and authoritarian Environmental services policies such as REDD are being implemented by the state government in a unilateral, accelerated, and forced manner. The headlong creation of state law No. 2.308/10 which implements the State System of Incentives for Environmental Services (SISA) is strongly criticized by sectors of the Acrean population, and is currentlybeing investigated by federal prosecutors at the request of CIMI, the Indigenous Missionary Council.

Indigenous people having class in their village during the rainy season.

and questionable In accordance with ILO Convention 169, the government must consult the peoples through appropriate procedures. However, the “consultations” promoted by the government in Acre, are restricted to NGOs,organizations, and ment “strengthens” these leaders and then accepts their consent as if it were representative of all communities. But the fact is, uncertainties and contradictions about REDD and environmental services are causing divisions among forest peoples in Acre. Most are excluded from the consultation process, and a growing number of people are articulating resistance against REDD. Territorialsovereignty is under threat In order for forest peoples to maintain their ways of life and protect natural resources, they must have sovereignty over their territory. This means not only physical land demarcation or ownership titles, but includes the right of these peoples to manage their resources without interference. Contracts for the provision of environmental services interfere withterritorial and environmental management and may also facilitate acts of biopiracy, allowing unauthorized access to genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.

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SINDICATO DOS TRABALHADORES RURAIS DE XAPURI

Ecosystem services promote a reductionist and mercantile view of the forest The forest is much more than a “carbon sink” or “environmental service provider.” REDD projects and...
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