A U.N. programme aimed at protecting Panama's forests has been reopened after it was suspended earlier this year due to disagreement between indigenous forest communities and the Central American nation's government over how the scheme was being managed.
This week the policy board of the United Nations' Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) Programme said progress had been made towards resolving the conflict in Panama. It approved an extension of its national initiative, which had been due to end this month, until June 2015.
In March, the National Coordinating Body of Indigenous Peoples in Panama (COONAPIP) announced it was pulling out of the programme, accusing the government and U.N. agencies of not including indigenous groups in decision-making, nor offering enough funding to support their participation and to gain legal security for their land.
In response, the UN-REDD Programme launched an independent investigation and evaluation, which concluded that clear and appropriate procedures had not been defined for involving COONAPIP, and dialogue failure had led to mistrust.
Over the past few months, Panama's National Environment Authority (ANAM) and COONAPIP have been discussing how to resolve their differences and revise the programme’s results framework, UN-REDD said. COONAPIP then held a general assembly that officially approved the new agreement in late November.
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