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REDD in the news: 26 April – 2 May 2010

Here’s the round up of the news on REDD from last week, 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.

Global REDD+ registry proposed, 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”

Guyana met all REDD+ targets in ’09

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.

Forest and Forest Land Allocation in Vietnam: Some Open Questions

By Claude René Heimo, CTA-Pro Poor Forestry Project, SNV-Vietnam, April 2010 | Notwithstanding issues affecting the efficiency and effectiveness of forest and forest land allocation policies, Vietnam is at a cross-road at the time market-based mechanisms for forest conservation, such as REDD, are attracting an increasing and vibrant interest in international Climate Change negotiations giving the challenge of negotiating a post-2012 Kyoto Agreement. But whether REDD would benefit – or marginalize – forest communities ultimately depends on local tenure rights and arrangements about the allocation of benefits within countries. [R-M: pdf file, 116.3 KB, available here:]

UN-REDD Indonesia

Multi-Donor Trust Fund Office, April 2010 | In September 2008, the global UN REDD Programme was launched aiming to assist tropical forest countries with establishing a fair, equitable and transparent REDD regime. Indonesia has been selected as one of the nine pilot countries for the initial ‘Quick Start’ phase. The quick start will be funded by the Government of Norway as part of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative which was announced during the UNFCCC conference at Bali in 2007. The proposed joint program aims to facilitate the Indonesian government to timely develop a REDD architecture that will allow a fair, equitable and transparent REDD implementation significantly contributing to a sustainable reduction of forestry related greenhouse gas emission

26 April 2010

Can forests thrive in the world of carbon trading?

By Lara Farrar, CNN, 26 April 2010 | Projects will often sell credits in advance based upon the projected amount of carbon the trees will absorb over time but “the risk is very big,” said Jutta Kill of FERN, a Brussels-based environmental group. “You have a lot of obligations for a very uncertain return of revenues,” said Kill. “Some involve signing a very long-term contract, guaranteeing your trees will be standing for the next 100 years.” If something happens to the trees, the communities and organizations that have planted them will sometimes be responsible for replanting them or will have to buy offset credits from other projects to supplant what was lost, said Kill. This possibility adds more cost concerns.

Raising forest cover to curb calamities planned

The New Nation, 26 April 2010 | he government has undertaken a massive plan for tree plantation along 17,000 km roads and highways and 7,000 km coastal embankments to raise the forest cover in the country to combat natural disaster and water surge. Besides, new reserve forest would be generated on about six lakh acres of coastal lands owned by the land ministry, said State Minister for Environment and Forest Dr Hasan Mahmud adding, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has already given nod on a proposal of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) in this regard… He said the ministry is making efforts to assess the carbon sequestration capacity of Sundarbans to bring the world heritage under REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) programme of the UNFCCC to get multilateral support to protect the forest.

Ethiopian project sets world climate change example

Ethiopian Journal, 26 April 2010 | A new initiative to bring environmental and financial benefits to local communities in the impoverished highlands of Ethiopia was announced in Ethiopia yesterday. The Humbo Assisted Natural Regeneration Project is Africa’s first large-scale forestry project to be registered under the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol. It will bring both economic and social benefits to poor communities in Ethiopia as well as environmental benefits as the project will cut an estimated 880,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over the next 30 years. World Vision Australia CEO Tim Costello pointed to the Humbo Assisted Natural Regeneration Project, developed by the international development agency World Vision in partnership with the World Bank, as a highly successful example of reforestation that alleviates poverty while also addressing climate change.

REDD Fast-Track process threatens to reverse positive forest reforms and exclude local communities

Patch Bodenham blog, 26 April 2010 | The global mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) threatens to reverse positive forestry reforms in developing countries that were already tackling the problem, a new study finds. The report – published in the journal Science by Edward Webb and Jacob Phelps – examines how the scheme could soon become too valuable and complex, increasing the likelihood of local communities being excluded. On a national level, the rush to enter a competitive carbon market would undermine a pre-existing “decentralisation trend” in poorer countries, where cash-strapped governments have been giving local communities and administrations more rights and powers to manage their forests.

Impact of Economic Crisis on Indigenous Peoples, Incarceration of Indigenous Youth, Corporations, Among Issues Addressed in Reports to Permanent Forum

Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, 26 April 2010 | He then gave the floor to PAIMANEH HASTEH, Forum member from Iran, who said indigenous peoples had participated in the Fifteenth Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC. Importantly, reference to community engagement was included in the draft Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) agreement. Some climate change impacts were, as yet, unknown and law was evolving. Indigenous peoples’ right to participate in law formation was outlined in various articles of the Declaration, including 3, 4, 5, 18 and 20. Indigenous peoples’ rights to participate in decisions that affected them were particularly stated in article 18. Moreover, the United Nations REDD Commission report stated that consultation with indigenous peoples, among other stakeholders, was necessary to maintain the legitimacy of any national or subnational REDD scheme.

27 April 2010

Forests Not for Absorbing Carbon, Say Activists

By Frank Chávez, IPS, 27 April 2010 | The UN-led global initiative to use forest conservation as a way to offset greenhouse gas emissions heated things up at the people’s summit against climate change in Bolivia. In the end, the participants reached a consensus – and rejected the plan… Costa Rican Isaac Rojas, coordinator of Friends of the Earth International’s forest and biodiversity programme, told Tierramérica, “there is a capitalist ideology behind REDD… Across Latin America they are introducing projects like this and they become hooks for taking advantage of the poverty of the communities. The Noel Kempff project has been criticised because it does not fulfil the emissions mitigation planned. In Colombia, human rights have been violated, and the only consensus of the Forest Workshop has been that the mitigation mechanisms should not be market-based,” he added.

Indonesia’s Carbon Emission Cuts Will be Funded Domestically, SBY Says

By Camelia Pasandaran & Fidelis E Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 27 April 2010 | Indonesia is not dependent on outside aid to realize its carbon emission reduction target of 26 percent, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Tuesday, amid warnings the initiative could mire the country in more debt. “The budget to reduce our emissions will come from Indonesia,” Yudhoyono said at a press conference with visiting Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen at the presidential palace. “We have allocated funds for it from the state budget. However, if there is any international aid in the form of capacity building, technical training, grants or others, we will accept it.” Indonesia has committed to the ambitious target by 2020, mostly from the forestry sector and through the development of renewable energy. Sulistyowati, assistant deputy for climate change impact control, has previously said that at least Rp 83 trillion ($8.88 billion) would be needed to finance efforts to reach the target.

28 April 2010

A Hero’s Welcome

Guyana Chronicle, 28 April 2010 | Arriving on an Air Force Brasilia flight from neighbouring Brazil yesterday, President Bharrat Jagdeo, recipient of the United Nations Environmental Programme Champion of the Earth award, returned to a ‘red carpet,’ ceremonial welcome at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA). Receiving the President with warm embraces and words of congratulations at the arrival lounge of the CJIA were Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and Cabinet colleagues. The Guyana Police Force band played patriotic songs, while the sound of tassa and African drums reverberated as the President and team proceeded into the VIP section of the arrival lounge.

As Indonesia’s Forests Continue to Fall, Forestry Minister Says Blame Lies Elsewhere

By Arti Ekawati & Nivell Rayda, Jakarta Globe, 28 April 2010 | Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan on Wednesday tried to distance his ministry from the rash of illegal logging cases and the so-called logging mafia, saying they also involved rogue provincial officials and legislators. “Don’t blame it on the Ministry of Forestry because the ministry only processes requests from district governments,” Zulkifli said at a meeting of the Judicial Mafia Eradication Task Force. “There is a whole process that needs to be gone through. After the district makes a request, an Environmental Impact Analysis is conducted and the House of Representatives issues a permit. The best we can do [to combat illegal logging] is to revoke logging permits.”

29 April 2010

Deutsche Bank under suspicion in emissions-trading fraud

DPA, 29 April 2010 | Employees of Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest bank, have come under suspicion of involvement in a scheme to avoid taxation on emissions trading, state prosecutors said Thursday. In nationwide raids on Wednesday, which included the headquarters of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, the country’s financial capital, and offices of energy giant RWE, some 230 premises were searched. The investigation concerns some 50 companies and over 150 suspects, who are thought to have bought carbon credits from abroad and resold them through interconnected companies in Germany without declaring or paying the appropriate sales tax, prosecutors said. A spokesman for Deutsche Bank confirmed on Thursday that seven of its employees were among those under suspicion. Three arrests have so far been made.

REDD: Seeing the forest for the trees

By Khadija Sharife, Pambazuka, 29 April 2010 | There’s a difference between carbon emissions in developed and developing countries – that of ‘extravagant’ carbon versus ‘survival carbon’, for the provision of basic services such as electricity. But it is a distinction that market-based responses like carbon trading, driven more by financial interests than a desire for sustainable development, fail to consider. Khadija Sharife takes a closer look at UN carbon trading scheme REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation)… The real agenda and primary incentive of the carbon market, however, was articulated by Jack Cogen, president of Natsource (recently labelled as the world’s largest buyer of private carbon credits and managing over US$1 billion in ‘natural’ assets), who revealed, ‘The carbon market doesn’t care about sustainable development… All it cares about,’ he continued, ‘is the carbon price.’

From Cochabamba to Cancun

By Robert S. Eshelman, Huffington Post, 29 April 2010 | Groups fighting deforestation, which accounts for roughly 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, issued a strong statement against U.N.- and World Bank-funded carbon offset programs. Jihan Gearon of the Indigenous Environmental Network says: “For indigenous people globally, forest offset programs, such as REDD, are a key issue. REDD is meant to save forests but is actually threatening indigenous communities with displacement. We’re really happy about the language of the final conference declaration, which gives us a lot of leverage in future negotiations on the international level, and it was encouraging to hear President Morales describe the declaration as a mandate from the people that he would take to climate negotiations in Cancun.”

UNDP/EPA Hosts Nationwide Stakeholders Dialogue on Climate Change

By Yurfee B. Shaikalee, Liberian Observer, 29 April 2010 | The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) hosted a two-day climate change workshop in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, from April 22 to 23 with representatives from the five southeastern counties, Sinoe, Maryland, Rivercess River Gee and Grand Gedeh, participating… The workshop was attended by Mr. Ben Karmoh Climate Change Focal Point UNFCCC/ EPA, Mr. Asaf Kumeh from the REDD Secretarial/EPA, Mr. Boye Johnson from UNDP, Mr. Peter D. Hne from UNMIL National Civil Affairs, and Mr. Yurfee B. Shaikalee from Action Action Against Climate Change (AACC). Also attending the workshop were local government officials from various ministries such as Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs (MoPEA), Ministry of Education (MoE) and journalists representing the five counties from five community radio stations.

Forestry corruption spirals since ‘05

By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 29 April 2010 | The money laundering watchdog said Wednesday suspicious transactions linked to the forestry sector soared in 2005, the year the government began its campaign against illegal logging. The Indonesian Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK) said it found the highest number of dubious transactions involving law enforcers – including local forestry officials – took place between 2006 and 2007. “The highest number of suspicious transactions took place between 2006 and 2007. Since then they have declined, with less than 10 cases in 2009,” PPATK chairman Yunus Husein said. He did not give details of the number of suspicious transactions before and after 2005.

Environment Minister and indigenous people discuss forest preservation

Norway mission to the UN, 29 April 2010 | Minister of the Environment and International Development, Mr. Erik Solheim, was praised after a frank and fruitful dialogue with representatives from indigenous groups during the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Many indigenous people are suspicious of the global forest initiative – REDD – and so the opportunity to meet the Norwegian minister was welcomed. It is rare for government ministers to take part in the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Mr. Solheim’s openness was appreciated, but the critique of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) was still clear and the level of concern high. The demand for real consultations and greater influence in national and international processes that affect them were at the core of many of the comments from indigenous peoples.

30 April 2010

Germany, UK arrests 25 in suspected CO2 tax probe

By Vera Eckert and Nina Chestney, Reuters, 30 April 2010 | Germany and Britain have arrested 25 people and are investigating others in connection with suspected tax evasion in carbon permit trading, their respective tax authorities said on Friday.

Sandor Exits CO2 Trade, Sells Climate Exchange to ICE

By Mathew Carr and Simon Lomax, Bloomberg, 30 April 2010 | Richard Sandor agreed to sell Climate Exchange Plc to Intercontinental Exchange Inc., exiting the biggest carbon market before he could establish a global mechanism for curbing greenhouse gas. Sandor, 68, helped invent interest-rate futures in Chicago before founding London-based Climate Exchange in 2003 and predicting last year that allowances to emit carbon dioxide “will become the largest commodity in the world.” “I still believe that’s the case,” the Climate Exchange chairman, who will sell his 17-percent stake in a deal valuing the firm at 7.50 pounds a share, or 395 million pounds ($606 million), said today. “We are on a track to a carbon- constrained world and a trend toward renewable energy.”

1 May 2010

REDD, CBFM and our forest sustainability

By Siwi Nugraheni, Jakarta Post, 1 May 2010 | In several parts of Indonesia, forests are managed by local communities. Scholars advocating this Community-based Forest Management (CBFM) arrangement maintain that the regime is better than government or private ownership in terms of promoting forest sustainability and alleviating local people from poverty… Regulations related to REDD are still under construction. However, communities managing local forests under CBFM are in the spotlight for having the chance to benefit from the scheme. The problem lies in differentiating the “true” CBFMs from the “placebo” CBFMs. Any group claiming to practice CBFM should be scrutinized for their eligibility to receive compensation under the REDD scheme.

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