With 40 percent of its land covered by forests, Guatemala is richly endowed in biodiversity, and thus well-placed to benefit from a green economy. But as it seeks to make this transition, the country must protect the rights of indigenous communities, whose livelihoods depend on natural resources.
In a report on carbon rights and indigenous peoples in Guatemala (to be released in 2014), IDLO makes a number of specific recommendations. These aim to help the authorities strengthen their legal and institutional response, and reduce the potential for land-related conflict in rural areas. In particular, we advocate increased funding for the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources – from a very low 0.3% of the national budget – to expand and deepen participation by indigenous people in the development and implementation of sustainable development projects.
IDLO also recommends that indigenous people be included in any decisions affecting their future; that their traditional knowledge be integrated into development policies; and that agricultural policies be harmonized with legislation and regulations which uphold their rights and customs.