As a group of experts meet in Rome to draft a plan that could double the global area under protected area status to 30 percent by 2030, the Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) and Survival International have raised fears that this could lead to a surge in human rights violations and land conflict if not backed up by much stronger guarantees of the rights of indigenous people and other local inhabitants.
In a letter to the working group for the post-2020 Biodiversity Framework that will set the stage for implementation of the Convention on Biodiversity for the coming decades, we warn against any scaling up of the ‘fortress conservation’ model prevalent across much of the tropics, following published research that has laid bare the human cost of strictly protected areas.
We also warn that the drive, known as 30x30, could actually hasten the climate crisis. So-called nature based solutions can play an important role in ecosystem restoration and climate change adaption in the long term but their climate mitigation potential has been grossly overstated, and is already being jumped on by the oil and gas industry as a way of supposedly offsetting their emissions and delaying much needed climate action in the industrialised world.
Joe Eisen, RFUK Executive Director, said: “While bold commitments are certainty needed to tackle climate and biodiversity emergencies, these cannot come at the expense of the world’s poorest and least responsible for these crises. It is now time to take stock of the mounting evidence that areas under the control of traditional environmental guardians deliver much better, cheaper and more sustainable results, and to back this up with action”.