Every living being on Earth is affected by climate change, but geographic and economic factors make certain communities more vulnerable to its effects than others.
Every day, indigenous peoples and local communities in tropical climates face challenging decisions that affect their livelihoods and traditional lands. Long-term success will only be possible when indigenous peoples and local communities are guaranteed "free, prior and informed consent" – when they are full participants in the decision-making process and ensured that any agreements take into account their traditional knowledge and practices, livelihoods and well-being. Furthermore, indigenous and local groups should receive equitable incentives in return for climate regulation activities in areas that they effectively conserve.
Indigenous peoples and local communities know their lands and resources and have been adapting to environmental changes for a long time. Their local knowledge and traditional practices will be critical as we implement climate change solutions. Observations from local experts tracking changes in animal migration and ecosystem health – as well as alternative practices for gathering water, growing crops and other daily activities – will be critical elements in maintaining ecosystem services in the face of a changing climate. CI works to support inclusion of these elements in the national and international climate change policy dialogue and planning processes.
In order to ensure local stakeholder participation in policy dialogues, CI is helping to establish the legal and institutional frameworks that will link the results from local carbon projects to decisions made by national and international stakeholders. To raise local awareness, CI and partner organizations have coordinated a wide variety of workshops, training sessions and roundtable discussions in communities around the world, and we are continuing to work closely with these communities in order to build on results.
Local policy examples:
Amazon Forest, Brazil