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The Integrity Council’s work with Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs)

Written by ICVCM


This Q&A is with Daniel Ortega-Pacheco, Co-Chair of the Integrity Council’s Expert Panel and Director of the Center for Public Policy Development at ESPOL Polytechnic University in Ecuador. The Integrity Council fully recognizes that there is no path to 1.5degrees and nature positive outcomes without effective participation of Indigenous Peoples and local communities to ensure that their stewardship protecting their land is recognized, safeguarded and rewarded.

Why should IPLCs be included in reaching global climate goals?

Some 40% of remaining ecologically intact landscapes are under the tenure or management of IPLCs. These areas store more than 200 gigatonnes of carbon and coincide with areas that protect as much as 80% of the world’s biodiversity [reference]. The contribution of IPLCs to meeting climate change goals is essential.

How does the VCM help us reach these goals?

Our starting position on the voluntary carbon market (VCM) must be that it exists to accelerate a just and equitable transition to 1.5 degrees. But it will only succeed it is rooted in high integrity. The really important point here is that the VCM is a complementary tool to reduce and remove emissions above and beyond what would otherwise be possible.

The VCM is one of the key tools in our global toolbox for reaching a safe climate.  The Integrity Council’s mandate and mission is to ensure this is done with the highest environmental and social integrity.

How are IPLCs involved in the work of the Integrity Council?

IPLCs play a key role in participating in and guiding our work throughout this journey.

IPLC inputs and ownership of the process are key to help ensure that the VCM delivers what it needs to in order to recognize, safeguard and support IPLC management and protection of land and natural resources. IPLCs are helping to define what high integrity looks like for carbon credits, and to ensure the finance that is generated through the sale of carbon credits rewards the communities that are doing the work on the ground.

What is the role for ILPCs in building integrity?

Emission reduction projects and programs must support local livelihoods and provide benefits to indigenous peoples and local communities.

A central part of our work are our Core Carbon Principles (CCPs) and Assessment Framework. These will establish a definitive threshold standard for high-quality carbon credits, provide guidance on how to apply the CCPs, and define which carbon-crediting programs and methodology types are eligible.

We are currently developing these frameworks and we want to ensure the voices and concerns of IPLCs are reflected from the design stage and are embedded into all key decision-making points.We recognize this is not a silver bullet, and we have to be realistic that this will be an ongoing process of development and learning, but we believe it is critical that this engagement takes place throughout.

How are IPLCs represented on the Integrity Council?

We are also working to ensure we have IPLC representation and participation at the heart of our governance framework to help shape our strategies and outputs including:

  1. On our Governing Board:
    1. Francisco Souza, managing director of the FSC Indigenous Foundation and member of the Apurinã Indigenous Peoples of the Brazilian Amazon
    2. We are recruiting two more IPLC Board members
  2. In our Expert Panel and Subject Matter Experts, responsible for developing the CCPs and Assessment Framework
  3. On our Distinguished Advisory Group
  4. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, President of the Association for Indigenous women and peoples of Chad
  5. Tuntiak Katan, General Coordinator of the Alliance of Territorial Communities of the Amazon Basin

How can IPLCs get involved?

In the design stage we are currently in, there are two important ways IPLCs can engage with us:

  1. Through dialogue, to listen to and learn from their experiences and knowledge
    1. Through the public consultation, to respond formally to the draft proposals

At this early stage, it is critical that we address some of the key challenges IPLCs face, including:

  • Establishing the appropriate environmental and social protections and safeguards
    • Increasing transparency and accountability, particularly how funds are being used and shared, and on project end-results
    • Building on learnings from existing land management, benefits sharing, and other mechanisms
    • Exploring innovations in access and benefit sharing
    • Building a long-term engagement model that works to ensure the future development of the VCM benefits IPLCs