We’ll be the first to admit that Texas doesn’t necessarily conjure images of the rainforest in most peoples’ imaginations (at least not these days), so it may seem strange to have a nonprofit such as Rainforest Partnership headquartered in the state capital while working to affect change thousands of miles away in tropical rainforests. However, the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land published earlier this month provided new evidence for what RP CEO Niyanta Spelman and our founding board of directors realized in 2007 when they created Rainforest Partnership: the rainforest is best protected by the communities that inhabit it, and they need support to do so most effectively.
The report was well received by the signatories of the Indigenous & Community Response to the IPCC Report, a joint statement composed by “indigenous and community networks and organizations from 42 countries spanning 76 percent of the world’s tropical forests and 1.6 billion hectares of land customarily used or managed by Indigenous Peoples and local communities.” These networks have long sought to have their efforts in forest management and conservation recognized as an essential part of the fight against climate change. As primary stakeholders in the health and vitality of the rainforests in which they live, these communities are vindicated by the international recognition that their stewardship should receive more support as a solution. To lend our voices in advocacy of their land rights and against encroachment is our responsibility.
The Indigenous & Community Response asserts that “the report makes it clear that recognizing the rights of the world’s Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and the women within these groups is a scalable climate solution, and that all actors should make us partners in climate protection efforts.” As one of those actors, Rainforest Partnership will continue to support the efforts of rainforest communities in protecting their lands from outside interests and sustainably managing the resources of the forest. Our teams, both at HQ in Austin and on the ground in Ecuador and Peru, are committed to defending the rights of these communities and expanding their conservation efforts while empowering women to take leadership roles.
Read the full Indigenous and Community Response to the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land here.