Analysts and experts are stating that a new Indian law — the Compensatory Afforestation, Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) law — aimed at boosting reforestation across the country ignores the importance of indigenous people in conserving land and tramples on their rights.
“Evidence from around the world shows that farmers and local communities are far more efficient and effective at protecting landscapes as compared to centralized bureaucracies”, said Neera Singh, an environmental justice expert and assistant professor at the University of Toronto, in the Indian Express newspaper…
Under the [previous law: the landmark 2006 Forest Rights Act (FRA)], forest dwellers cannot be removed from their land without consent of village councils, which are made up of local residents.
Under the CAMPA bill however, authority to earmark land for development and assign compensation for it, lies solely with forest and state officials.
India’s new law facilitates displacement “without any accountability to the people whose forests, lands and lives will be damaged or destroyed”, said the Campaign for Survival and Dignity, a coalition of charities supporting tribal rights.
This new policy raises deep concern for us at WEA, as many of the adivasi women we partner with are forest guardians and gardeners, relying on the forest as they have for generations as a source of food, fuel and livelihoods. Meanwhile, these women are also preserving traditional knowledge and holding critical expertise on forest management and, therefore, climate change mitigation.
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