With apologies for the delay (I was in Liberia last week – more on that soon), here’s the round up of the news on REDD from two weeks ago, in chronological order with short extracts (click on the title for the full article). For those who can’t wait until Monday for their REDD news, REDD-Monitor’s news page is usually updated daily: REDD in the news.
UN-REDD March/April 2010 | In this edition, member countries weigh-in on their REDD+ progress and the value of the UN-REDD Programme; guest columnists provide analysis of the FAO’s latest Global Forest Resources Assessment report (FRA 2010) and UN-REDD Inception Workshops; and Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) is explored in Viet Nam. Catch the latest advancements, news and information emerging on the issue of REDD+ as we explore more integrated approaches and partnerships on REDD+. We hope that you enjoy this issue and welcome your comments and suggestions. Kind regards, The UN-REDD Programme.
By Roland Sundström, Master’s thesis, University of Helsinki, 2010 | By means of ethnographic fieldwork and document analysis, this study seeks to place those rationalities and techniques in relation to the ways in which people access, use and benefit from forests in Angai Village Land Forest Reserve (AVLFR) in Liwale District, south-eastern Tanzania. While exploratory in nature, this inquiry demonstrates that the reconceptualisation of forests as carbon stocks; and the techniques of forest carbon quantification, performance-based compensation, and long-term integrated land-use planning are likely to have important instrument effects, irrespective of whether REDD achieves its overarching aim of mitigating anthropogenic climate change.
Edited by Oliver Springate-Baginski and Eva Wollenberg, CIFOR, 2010 | Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) initiatives are more likely to be effective in reducing emissions if they build on, rather than conflict with, the interests of local communities and indigenous groups (referred to henceforth as ‘forest communities’). To show how REDD could most benefit forest communities, lessons from incentive-based forest programmes and recent experiences in six countries were reviewed at an international workshop held at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich, United Kingdom, in the Spring of 2009. Workshop participants included researchers from the Center for International Forest Research (CIFOR) and UEA, and REDD experts from six focus countries: Brazil, Indonesia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Mexico and Nepal.
FAO, April 2010 | The aim of this paper is to inform the European Forestry Commission of the outcome of the fifteenth Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held in Copenhagen from 8-19 December 2009. It focuses on the issues of importance to the forest sector. [R-M: pdf file, 69.4 KB, available here: http://bit.ly/90kze6]
19 April 2010
Guyana Chronicle, 19 April 2010 | The University of Guyana, in collaboration with the British High Commission, hosted a panel discussion at the Regency Suites Hotel Wednesday, with specific emphasis on Climate Change -challenges and opportunities for Guyana. The panellists were Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud; Executive Director, Conservation International Guyana, Dr. David Singh; Chief Executive Officer (ag), Guyana Energy Agency, Mahender Sharma; People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) member Winston Murray; and Major General (retired), Joseph Singh.
Stabroek News, 19 April 2010 | Worried about unresolved land titling and a lack of meaningful participation in decision-making, the Amerin-dian Peoples Association (APA) has urged donors to ensure that indigenous peoples’ guaranteed rights are fully upheld in all forest conservation activities they finance here. As a result, the APA and some community leaders are calling for an urgent review and amendment of the current Amerindian Act to strengthen land rights as well as the creation of safeguards to ensure that opt-in/opt-out procedures under the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) comply with principles of free, prior, and informed consent. Additionally, they recommended the establishment of an independent Amerindian advisory group to complement the LCDS multi-stakeholder committee and a working group to address the application of international standards in the process.
Insitute for Policy Studies, 19 April 2010 | The question remains: What laws, financial support and other measures are needed to incentivize sustainable land use practices? In the early stages of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the notion that land-based sinks should be part of any carbon trading regime was rejected. Now, there is a huge push, coming largely from industrial agriculture and forestry, to reintroduce carbon offsets for credits from land-based sinks in the international carbon trading regime. In 2009, the U.S. House and Senate provided the first major opening for these offset credits for land-based sinks with climate legislation that has yet to pass both Houses. Should this legislation pass, it would open up a Pandora’s box of possible land-based carbon offsets globally, creating a land grab for carbon offsets globally.
carbonpositive.net, 19 April 2010 | The development of a global REDD scheme to halt deforestation risks reversing positive reforms in developing countries that are already helping to tackle the problem, a new study finds. The study published in the issue of the journal Science by Edward Webb and Jacob Phelps at the National University of Singapore and Arun Agrawal from the University of Michigan, warns that the rush to REDD could see forest governance re-centralised in the hands of national governments. They say, however, decentralisation to local authorities and forest peoples in some developing countries in recent years has helped boost carbon storage and incomes. The study finds that creating a financial carbon market around forest preservation will likely attract more government intervention to control the large sums of money at stake. Webb and Phelps also say a properly constituted REDD scheme is complex and risks poor outcomes if it’s rushed.
care2.com, 19 April 2010 | The United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries or UN-REDD was created to offer developing countries financial incentives for cutting down carbon emissions by preserving forests and biodiversity. Addressing global climate change is vital, but unfortunately policies developed by the global North are not always harmonious with the livelihoods of the indigenous peoples that live on the lands. The watchgroup REDD-Monitor points out specific language in REDD’s call to action that can be problematic.
20 April 2010
By Priya Nauth, Guyana Chronicle, 20 April 2010 | The Guyana Government remains committed to supporting the protection of the Amazon and believes that the recipe to address the challenges facing it is through a partnership, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett affirmed yesterday. She was speaking at the opening of a regional two-day workshop, themed ‘Conservation experiences of local and indigenous communities in protected areas of the Amazon region’, at Grand Coastal Inn, Le Ressouvenir, East Coast Demerara. The forum is being facilitated by the Latin American Technical Network for Natural Parks, other protected areas, wild flora and fauna (REDPARQUES), the Government of Guyana and the National Parks Unit of Colombia, with the involvement of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation (ACTO).
By Glenn Hurowitz (Avoided Deforestation Partners), Grist, 20 April 2010 | In the ongoing negotiations over the Kerry-Graham-Lieberman bill, different polluters are clamoring for cash to compensate them for not fouling the atmosphere quite so much. One of their targets: the legislation’s set-aside funds for reducing tropical deforestation, which is responsible for at least 15 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions (more than all the cars, trucks, ships, and planes in the world). Outside of all the myriad benefits of protecting tropical rainforests for the planet, raiding this “Climate Forest Fund” seriously threatens the affordability, effectiveness, and political viability of energy and climate legislation. Here’s why: one of the primary purposes of this fund is to help rainforest nations supply the international offsets needed to keep the bill affordable and end deforestation.
By Jairam Ramesh, Economic Times, 20 April 2010 | At the Major Economies Forum meeting in Washington, India made it clear that that the first order of business would be to reduce “the huge trust deficit that prevails in the climate change negotiating community”… Given the trust deficit, India stressed that “some visible triggers” need to be “activated very soon”, this would “ensure that Cancun does not repeat Copenhagen”. Among the triggers is the actual disbursement of the $10 b promised by the developed countries for vulnerable economies, small island states and LDCs, an agreement on REDD/REDD plus, which isnt limited to forest-basin countries and finalising the architecture of technology cooperation. Suggesting immediate action, Mr Ramesh said, “all these elements should be a part of a multilateral package in two tracks that should be delivered in Cancun.”
Reuters, 20 April 2010 | The Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate included presentations by the United States and other developed countries on what they would do to make good on financing outlined in the Copenhagen Accord resulting from last year’s U.N. climate meeting in Denmark… At Monday’s meeting, the United States issued a document to participants that said its climate-related appropriations for 2010 total $1.3 billion and that the Obama administration has requested $1.9 billion for fiscal year 2011. The funds include support for the U.S. administration’s pledge to provide $1 billion for the U.N. program Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation. Stern said there was progress on six issues at the meeting including mitigation, transparency, financing, technology, forests and adaptation.
Antara News, 20 April 2010 | In connection with preparing the DA-REDD, the director general of forestry production supervision, Hadi Daryanti, said Indonesia received an aid from the Australian government that had allocated Aus$40 million for the mitigation funding, and would increase its commitment by Aus$30 million until 2012. Other countries supporting gas emission reduction efforts in the country and sustainable forest management are Germany through GTZ totaling 3.5 million euros for three years and through KfW 20 million euros for seven years, Norway through the UN-REDD scheme totaling US$5.64 million for 20 months and TNC totaling 50 to 100 million US dollars, ITTO-Japan US$900 million for 2009-2013, and South Korea US$5 million for 2009-2012. Last March, Indonesian Ambassador to Germany Eddy Pratomo lauded Germany for its support to help save and protect the tropical rain forests in Sumatra.
By Gabriel Thoumi, mongabay.com, 20 April 2010 | Even though the global carbon market grew to $136 billion with 8.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide traded in 2009, less than 0.1 percent of that was based on removing existing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere using photosynthesis. While it is very important to engage in developing a low-carbon economy, it is equally important to remove existing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, especially since this is, in fact, a key to mitigating climate change… Organizations and individuals in this sector simply need to choose their skill set within a trans-disciplinary framework, not a multi-disciplinary framework. Masquerading occurs when NGOs act as bankers and bankers act as foresters. Examples of this include: NGOs masquerading as financiers on Wall Street; Financiers masquerading as biologists and foresters; Standards masquerading as insurers. [Gabriel Thoumi is a consultant with Forest Carbon Offsets, LLC.]
Climate-L.org, 20 April 2010 | The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), a member of the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR), with funding from the Norwegian Government, has published a study on forest law enforcement and governance, and forest practices in Guyana. The study was carried out within the framework of an agreement between Guyana and Norway to develop a mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD), and assesses the effectiveness and legitimacy of forest governance for achieving REDD. [R-M: The report is available here: http://bit.ly/94Zk5g]
By John Talberth, GreenBiz.com, 20 April 2010 | Four months after the Copenhagen Accord, the interest and discussions about reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries — colloquially known as REDD plus — continues. Clearly, helping developing countries implement comprehensive initiatives to protect their forests is a sensible investment; however, new satellite mapping technologies, such as those highlighted on SeeSouthernForests.org, the World Resources Institute’s new web-based mapping portal, show that deforestation and forest degradation occurs in the United States as well.
By Adianto P. Simamora, 20 April 2010 | A lack of public data on illegal logging cases could prove to be the undoing of the government’s plans to root out illegal logging syndicates in the country, activists said. Activists from the Natural Resources Law Institute (IHSA), which recently published its annual report on illegal logging cases in Indonesia, said organized crime syndicates that masterminded illegal logging were difficult to trace. “In our experience, the most difficult task is to get data on illegal logging cases. Officials seem reluctant to release it to the public,” said Fadli Moh. Noch, an IHSA researcher dealing with illegal logging in East Kalimantan, on Monday. “Until now, it remains unclear which institution manages the data on illegal logging cases.”
21 April 2010
By Priya Nauth, Guyana Chronicle, 21 April 2010 | THE sum of US$5M has already been earmarked to further support the Amerindian people, from the US$30M that Guyana expects, this year, under the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and Norway agreement. This was disclosed by Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Monday, at the opening of a regional two-day workshop, themed ‘Conservation experiences of local and indigenous communities in protected areas of the Amazon region’, at Grand Coastal Inn, Le Ressouvenir, East Coast Demerara.
By Alan Boyle, Cosmic Log, 21 April 2010 | There are many challenges in adequately enforcing protection: illegal logging, forest fires, conversion to agriculture/palm oil, wildlife trade and mining are among the most difficult challenges faced… Overcoming these challenges will require new ways of doing and thinking about business in the Heart of Borneo, both in existing sectors such as palm oil as well emerging sectors such as carbon trading. Rather than conventional stereotyping of traditional environmental foes, we see an alternative future where industry provides both economic development and conservation outcomes. Likewise, international market-based mechanisms such as reduced emissions from deforestation (REDD) and payments for ecosystem services (PES) need to be realized and implemented. That is, forests need to be worth more standing than clear-cut.
22 April 2010
AFP, 22 April 2010 | The Vatican said Thursday it might sue a Hungarian company that failed to plant trees as agreed to offset the Vatican’s carbon emissions. “It’s true that the forest has not been planted,” Father Ciro Benedettini, deputy head of the Vatican press office told AFP. “We have asked several times to respect this commitment and we are currently studying the possibility of resorting to justice,” Benedettini said. The head of US-Hungarian Planktos-Klimafa told news agency ASCA the company “is in a very difficult financial situation.” In July 2007 Planktos-Klimafa agreed to plant 7,000 hectares of trees in a national park in Hungary in order to make the Vatican state carbon-neutral. Benedettini said the Vatican might sue Planktos-Klimafa to protect its name and reputation. The Vatican has also installed solar panels on top of an audience hall in order to offset its carbon emissions.
By Timothy Gardner and Roberta Rampton, Reuters, 22 April 2010 | A tough new proposal to regulate U.S. markets calls for top regulators and government officials to conduct a study on transparency in emerging U.S. carbon markets as part of the financial reform package. The heads of the Treasury Department, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and other U.S. agencies would be required to study oversight of existing and prospective carbon markets, according to the proposal, part of a bill passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee this week. The goal of the study is “to ensure an efficient, secure, and transparent carbon market, including oversight of spot markets and derivative markets,” the bill said.
23 April 2010
By Priya Nauth, Guyana Chronicle, 23 April 2010 | HEAD of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS), Dr. Roger Luncheon, noting that the Amerindian People’s Association (APA) has written to international agencies regarding the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), said most of them are represented in Guyana and had an opportunity to come to their own conclusions. He said, at his weekly post-Cabinet media briefing Wednesday, in Office of the President, Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, Georgetown: “I don’t know. They, probably, got a lot of money because my understanding is that most of these agencies are represented here. And, apart from their being represented here in Guyana, I think they, themselves, quite competently, would over time, the same time, hopefully, that the APA put into coming to whatever conclusions they have had about the LCDS.”
By Andres Schipani, Guardian, 23 April 2010 | The conference – which was attended by 30,000 people, according to the organisers, including NGOs, scientists, as well as union and government delegations – resolved to push for proposals that keep fossil fuels in the ground, protect indigenous rights, and reject plans to pay countries not to cut down forests through schemes like Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (Redd). “This alternative has to succeed because the alternative to Cochabamba is Copenhagen and Copenhagen came out with a so-called solution to climate change that in no way meets the severity of the climate crisis,” said Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein.
By Claudia Lopez Pardo, solveclimate.com, 23 April 2010 | Delegates emphasized the need for a common vocabulary to address the structural causes of climate change and a common vision to address solutions, including international agreements on the respect for human rights of climate migrants, technology transfers and recovery for older technologies. They also demanded fair payment of climate debt and effective scientific solutions to the problems caused by climate change, with developed countries assuming the costs and responsibility and quickly cutting their greenhouse gas emissions. UN-supported programs like REDD (Reducing Emissions Through Deforestation and Degradation) were roundly criticized for allowing polluters to pay their way out of taking responsibility for their actions.
Living on Earth, 23 April 2010 | Living on Earth’s Mitra Taj visited one project in Indonesian Borneo… Zoe Harkin, a forest carbon specialist for the conservation group Fauna and Flora International, or FFI, offers this explanation: HARKIN IN MEETING: If you protect the forest in Indonesia, it makes it less hot in Australia. So we want to help protect forests here so it’s not so hot in Australia… TAJ: Out here, slash and burn agriculture is one of life’s essentials -in order to eat, you grow rice, in order to grow rice, you clear the forest. But for Fauna and Flora International to successfully market carbon credits from its REDD project, it has to make sure the forest it promises to protect stays protected, and that might mean changing age-old agricultural practices.
24 April 2010
By Tina Gerhardt, AlterNet, 24 April 2010 | The forest working group starkly rejected the UN program REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). REDD is a shell game, using market mechanisms to offset carbon emissions, which allows for speculation and for companies to get around actual carbon reductions. “REDD is branded as a friendly forest conservation program, yet it is backed by big polluters and climate profiteers. We cannot solve this crisis without addressing the root cause: a fossil fuel economy that disregards the rights of Mother Earth,” said Alberto Saldamando, legal counsel for the International Indian Treaty Council. Tom Goldtooth, director of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), added that “REDD is a predatory program that pretends to save forests and the climate, while backhandedly selling out forests out from under our indigenous people.”
25 April 2010
By Tina Gerhardt, Grist, 25 April 2010 | The working groups had varying degrees of success. Some reached agreements that supporters can organize around and push for at future U.N. climate meetings. The forest working group rejected the U.N. REDD program (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), arguing that by using market mechanisms to offset carbon emissions, it allows companies to speculate and get around actual carbon reductions… But there was also dissent at the conference. Various organizations and an unofficial 18th working group focused on the discrepancy between Morales’ rhetoric on behalf of Mother Earth and his policy of resource extraction, emphasizing the environmental degradation brought about by mining and oil and gas drilling. Revenues from natural gas help to keep Bolivia, the poorest country in South America, afloat. Eduardo Gudynas has referred to this policy as the “new extractivism” of Latin America.
Kaieteur News, 25 April 2010 | Iwokrama International Centre for Rain Forest Conservation (Iwokrama) and Conservation International Guyana (CI-Guyana) jointly launched a publication, Climate Change & the Role of Forests — A Community Manual this week. The manual is a key part of a set of tools designed to enhance community understanding of the issues related to climate change and the role that forests can play in addressing these issues.
carbonpositive.net, 25 April 2010 | A group of climate policy researchers has proposed an international registry be set up to coordinate the disparate efforts toward a global REDD+ mechanism. The Technical Working Group on the Institutional Architecture for Climate Finance says such a body is needed to harmonise the wide range of funding initiatives dedicated to REDD+ readiness efforts, implementation and credits… n a paper released this month, A Registry Approach For REDD+, the policy group does not mix its words in arguing that “the sheer confusion and inefficiencies currently underlying that disjointed landscape of publicly-funded mechanisms for REDD+ demand immediate rationalization and reorganization”.
Stabroek News, 25 April 2010 | The first Annual Progress Report on REDD+ enablers under the Guyana-Norway forest protection agreement was recently released and the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment has since invited tenders for the verification of these enabling activities. The report was posted on the Low Carbon Development Strategy website and documented activities which took place in 2009, with an update up to February 2010. Commencing April 6, it was open for public comments for 14 days ending last Tuesday. To date, Guyana has met all its targets under the agreement and has reached all the benchmarks that should have been met by December 31, 2009, the report states.