The United Nations global warming deal could make another five million people homeless in the world’s poorest countries, for the express purpose of setting forest land aside to slow global warming through conservation.
Millions who live in and depend on forests for their livelihoods could be evicted from their wooded homes, according to new study which will be released later this month.
The new study by the Rights and Resources Initiative shows implementation of the U.N.’s agenda in Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) could displace up to 4.1 million living in the heavily inhabited ecologically “protected” areas and another 0.9 million who depend on the region for their economic well-being. The intended goal of this mass displacement is to set aside local forest land to fight global warming.
“Governments have targets to expand their protected areas, and now with new climate funding being available the risk is they will use this to expand in a way that doesn’t respect local rights. It could result in the displacement of millions of people,” Andy White, from the Rights and Resources Initiative, told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
Previous analysis shows that as many as 17 million people have already been displaced from newly “ecologically protected” areas in the DRC alone by the local government and “international conservation organisations.” That’s almost a quarter of the DRC’s population. The new study suggests that the impacts on displaced people would be extremely difficult to mitigate.
“Our new masters … like the animals more than humans and do not mind that people suffer as long as the animals are happy,” a local Mbuti tribal leader in the DRC said.
The new analysis used data from Oak Ridge National Laboratory to calculate how many people would be forced to migrate after their livelihoods were destroyed by ecological protection. Since the DRC is the world’s second poorest country, any economic disruption can be devastating to the people involved. The average person in DRC earned an annual income of just $380 in 2014.
Both the local governments of Liberia and the DRC and the United Nations have repeatedly displaced residents in the name of fighting global warming. The DRC, funded by Germany and environmental non-profit groups, plans to set aside 12 to 15 percent of its forested land as ecologically protected areas. Liberia will turn 30 percent of its forests into ecologically protected areas in exchange for $150 million in developmental aid from Norway.