in Paraguay

World Bank admits “We will make mistakes” on REDD

World Bank admits We will make mistakes on REDDAt a side event in Poznan yesterday (4 December 2008), the World Bank, the Norwegian government and various UN agencies presented their plans for REDD. In response to a comment about the World Bank’s record in the forests and the new Forest Carbon Partnership Facility the Bank’s Benoit Bosquet said, “I expect that we will make mistakes.”

Not a very promising sign for forest dwelling people or the forests in the tropics.

In his presentation, Benoit gave a brief history of the FCPF. It was announced at the Bali climate conference in 2007 and has been operational since June 2008. All the Readiness Plan Idea Notes (R-PINs) are on-line. Six observers are in place, including the UN-REDD programme and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). A Participants Committee has been elected.

The Readiness Fund has about US$100 million and will increase the capital target to US$150 million. This is a bit more than UN-REDD, but Benoit noted that in comparison with Brazil’s Amazon fund, which aims to raise US$21 billion by 2021, it’s very small. Meanwhile, the Carbon Fund has about US$70 million either committed or pledged.

There is an agreement with the UN-REDD programme to cooperate on “REDD readiness” globally and at national levels. There is an agreement to allocate US$3.6 million per country, to implement readiness plans. 44 countries have expressed interest in FCFP. 30 R-PINs have been produced and 20 have been selected. This is to be increased to 30.

The observers on the Participants Committee include forest-dependent peoples, the private sector, International Organisations, NGOs, UNFCCC and the UN-REDD programme. The World Bank chairs the meeting but as a facilitator.

There ought to be only one REDD programme per country, Benoit said. So we sit down with the country to coordinate this — whether it is World Bank, UN-REDD, NGOs or private sector projects, they should all be under one REDD programme. Donors should also be part of coordination.

The first scoping missions to Indonesia and Panama have been carried out and scoping missions are upcoming in Vietnam and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

During the questions, Patrick Alley of Global Witness pointed out that the World Bank doesn’t have a great record on forestry. He added that a large group of NGOs pleaded with Benoit not to launch FCPF at Bali and that the R-PINs have been written without consultation. “How can we expect the Bank to act in good faith?” he asked.

He asked which definition of forests will be used under REDD?

Simone Lovera of the Global Forest Coalition echoed Alley’s concern about definitions. As it stands, the definition might lead to massive support to plantations under REDD. She congratulated the UN for their intention to have better collaboration within the UN system and asked whether there was any chance of binding standards to avoid REDD affecting biodiversity.

Indigenous Peoples have the right to participate, she said. “In Paraguay there has been zero consultation with Indigneous Peoples in either the FCPF process or the UN-REDD process. How do you deal with this concern?” she asked. “Indigenous Peoples now want all REDD initiatives to be stopped because they have not been consulted on anything. How will you deal with this?”

Peter Holmgren of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation replied to the forest definitions question. “The issue”, he said, “is how do we handle different types of forest, in particular planted forests.” According to Holmgren, very few forests will exist only for the purpose of storing carbon. FAO has set up guidelines on planted forests which incorporate many of your concerns. Holmgren failed to mention that these guidelines are voluntary and no mechanism exists to implement the standards.

“It is wize to recognise the second D, forest degradation”, he said. “This may create carbon credits that do not conflict with other forest management optiions.” In other words, the forests can be logged and still claim funding under REDD.

Benoit Bosquet said that it is not quite correct that the Bank ignored the call not to laucnh the FCPF in Bali. “We announced it in Bali, held consultations and then announced it open in June,” he said.

His response to the questions about consultation in the R-PINs was very revealing. “There was no formal requirement for participation in the RPINs,” Bosquet said. “They are ideas. The plans will require full country level discussions.” Clearly, the word “prior”, as in free, prior and informed consent means something different to Benoit than it does to the rest of the world.

Benoit told us that the World Bank is providing US$200,000 a year to “build the capacity of Indigenous Peoples for REDD. We’re talking to a number of regional Indigenous Peoples’ organisations about how we could spend this money.”

“In Paraguay,” he continued, “I don’t pretend to know exactly what happened.” He said that there was a meeting in Parliament that included a number of stakeholders. “Clearly this is not equivalent to a consultation.” He told us that the Bank has now replied to the letter it received about the lack of consultation in Paraguay.

“If we had required RPINs to be consultative, I’m not sure how many we would have got,” said Bosquet. Now what was that about making mistakes again?

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