Press Release
April 2, 2011

Legarda Calls for Protection of Indigenous Peoples
from Climate Change Woes

Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committees on Climate Change and Cultural Communities, expressed concern over the consequences of climate change on the lives of indigenous peoples.

"Indigenous peoples, given their current marginalization in society, are made even more vulnerable as their livelihood, health, food security, cultural integrity and lands are threatened by extreme weather events brought about by climate change," Legarda pointed out.

"Despite the fact that indigenous peoples contribute the least with respect to carbon emissions due to their simple and sustainable lifestyles and practices, they are most affected by the consequences of climate change," she added.

Legarda affirmed the Indigenous Peoples' International Center for Policy Research and Education (Tebtebba) Report which declared that the issue of climate change is not just an environmental issue but also has economic and cultural dimensions.

"As they struggle with each flood, landslide, drought or typhoon, they are displaced from their lands or are left to battle food and water scarcity as well as widespread outbreaks of vector-borne diseases. These occurrences radically change their way of life, threatening their sources of livelihood, traditional knowledge and practices, especially their sustainable practices in the management of their land, water and forest resources," she explained.

On September 2010, Legarda filed Senate Resolution No. 158 directing the Committee on Cultural Communities to conduct an inquiry on the implications of the implementation of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program to the indigenous peoples of the Philippines.

REDD is a mechanism to create an incentive for developing countries to protect, better manage and wisely use their forest resources by reducing deforestation and forest degradation in order to contribute to the global fight against climate change. As stewards of our forests, which are home to many indigenous cultural communities, they are the primary guardians and beneficiaries of this program.

"We must make sure that the REDD program is implemented properly in the Philippines. We must know the positive and negative effects of these reforestation programs on our indigenous peoples," Legarda concluded.

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