A round up of the news on REDD from last week, in chronological order with short extracts (click on the title for the full article). I’m currently travelling, hence the delay with this post. REDD-Monitor’s news page (REDD in the news) will be updated sporadically for the next couple of weeks. Normal service will be resumed shortly.
Forest Peoples Programme, July 2010 | The Interim REDD+ Partnership was launched in Oslo on 27 May before United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) talks resumed in Bonn between 31 May and 11 June. Fifty delegates from REDD and donor countries’ governments adopted a declaration including the principles and modalities of work of the new Interim REDD+ Partnership initiative. Respect for indigenous peoples’ rights and support for the implementation of safeguards still under discussion at the UNFCCC are not among the Partnership’s principles, and the process so far has been evidently lacking in terms of transparency and participation.
Thomson Reuters, July 2010 | [Thomson Reuters and Point Carbon debate, 12 July 2010, Canary Wharf, London] Is Cap and Trade Working as a Weapon Against Climate Change? Cap and trade is now in its sixth year as the European Union’s flagship policy to fight climate change, and has successfully driven carbon emission cuts and created a multi-billion-Euro market. But the market has had its critics, and similar schemes have faltered in the United States, Japan and Australia.
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, no date | Since 2004 the Mpingo Conservation Project in Tanzania has been developing an approach to Participatory Forest Management (PFM) which focuses specifically on sustainable management of high-value hardwood timbers, working in the communal village lands of Kilwa District in the Lindi Region. Supported by the Norwegian Development Agency (NORAD), the project will now incorporate REDD payments as a catalyst to expand PFM and forest certification over a wider area, bringing substantial benefits to poor and natural resource-dependent rural communities and conserving greatly increased areas of forest. Esteve Corbera with colleagues Oliver Springate-Baginski and Adrian Martin at the School of International Development (UEA) will experiment with an approach to integrating PFM with a REDD payments system and test methods for the socio-economic assessment of such integration.
By Debra Lodoen, CIFOR, no date | The idea behind REDD+ is simple: Reward the people who manage forest resources in developing countries so they reduce emissions and increase removals of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. But ensuring that the rights of forest peoples are formally integrated in climate change programmes like REDD+ is much more complex – and elusive. Here is a case in point: a draft text presented for approval at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. ‘The text contains an explicit reference to the importance of safeguarding and promoting the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, and to securing their participation in the REDD+ process,” said CIFOR scientist William Sunderlin, , co-author of an editorial on REDD+ and forest peoples’ rights in the current issue of Global Environmental Change. ‘But the draft did not become official in Copenhagen because a binding agreement was not reached,’ said Sunderlin.
By Reid Miner, FAO Forestry Paper 159, June 2010 | This publication examines the numerous and complex connections between the global forest products industry (taken here to include roundwood production, pulp and paper, and wood processing) and the global carbon cycle, with the objective of characterizing the carbon footprint of the sector… Globally, the impact of the industry on carbon in forests cannot be described quantitatively because of the lack of data in many parts of the world and the complexity of the industry’s raw material supply chain. Data from some countries, however, suggest that sustainable forest management practices can be effective in keeping forest carbon stocks stable over time. Some of the carbon removed from the forest remains stored in forest products, providing significant benefits. Indirect greenhouse gas benefits resulting from the activities or products of the forest products industry, while difficult to measure, can be large and could be increased.
World Rainforest Movement, Bulletin 155, June 2010 | Mark Schapiro … found that for residents like Dalvina Almeida, it takes a two-day roundtrip journey by boat just to receive their 28 monthly dollars. The report quotes Dalvina’s husband saying ‘We used to plant a lot. When this became a reserve they told us that we could no longer plant in the forest. Everyone signed up for Bolsa Floresta. But Bolsa Floresta can’t sustain my family.” The allowance of US$ 28 per month represents US$ 0.93 per day. For an average rural family of at least 5 people the per capita income drops to US$ 0.18 per day. It would be good to inform the Juma Project managers and funders that this meagre payment is well below the poverty line, estimated by the World Bank as people earning less than 1.25 US dollars per day. Such a pittance becomes scandalous when compared to the US$ 25,000 per month payment that is said the Juma Project foundation director receives.
FCPF, June 2010 | 1 Analytical work 1. Analyze drivers of deforestation from a development perspective, land use and demands, demographic development Comprehensive policy inputs to tackle DD available. Consultant 2010 2. Identify priority investments needed to reduce deforestation and forest degradation Options for priority investments to reduce DD available Consultant 2010 [R-M: pdf file]
28 June 2010
Rights and Resources Initiative, 28 June 2010 | The recent news from Papua New Guinea, where the legislature just amended their Environment Act to strip the rights of local landowners to challenge developers and the government over deals involving their lands and resources comes as no surprise to many. Nor does the newly passed investment promotion legislation in Laos where the government now has the right to sell publicly claimed land to foreigners, despite the fact that the majority of rural land is also the historic home of people whose land rights are still not legally recognized. This rollback of local rights is disheartening, but it is not surprising given the increasing commodity prices and demand for productive land. Most major policy documents since the Stern report, including the safeguards in the UNFCCC draft text on REDD+, have noted that local rights, tenure and governance reforms must be addressed for REDD to work.
By Steve Baczko (Ecosecurities), Environmental Leader, 28 June 2010 | A research report conducted by EcoSecurities and partners, including Conservation International and Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA), set out to analyze the perceptions and opinions of offset buyers towards forestry as an option for corporate offsetting in this dynamic period of policy development. The report is based on the survey responses of over 150 corporate organizations representing a wide range of sectors and geographies. The survey showed that the majority of respondents have a very positive perception towards forestry as a viable offset category. Many of the participants also indicated a growing acceptance toward forestry projects compared to previous years. Despite the inconclusive results from COP15, which disappointed many constituents, the appetite for forestry as a voluntary offset option does not seem to have been negatively impacted.
By Fiona Harvey, Financial Times, 28 June 2010 | A breakthrough came at last in May, when Norway led an agreement among several countries that will result in the transfer of $4bn for forest preservation. The first beneficiary of the agreement, called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (Redd), will be Indonesia, which is to receive $1bn from Norway. However, Brazil was also represented and will be included in future talks. “Brazil actively participated in the process of developing the initiative, and considers it essential to ensuring sustainable forest management in the coming years,” says Izabella Teixeira, Brazil’s environment minister. “Redd is important because it demonstrates that global partnership is possible.”
29 June 2010
By Syed Mohammad Ali, Daily Times, 29 June 2010 | A majority of past efforts to reduce deforestation have failed as the designed projects were not able to address the above drivers of deforestation and, instead, viewed the forest sector in isolation from other sectors. While it is now becoming clearer that, in the long run, environmental sustainability is a prerequisite for development and growth, and that no country can do well if its natural resources are depleted, putting REDD into operation will not be easy. There are still ongoing debates about the definition of a forest. There is evident criticism that the definition proposed by REDD does not distinguish between native forests and mono-cultural tree plantations, and may lead to the conversion of native forests to plantations.
By Dr. Indra Prasad Sapkota, Himalayan Times, 29 June 2010 | Now, the big question that often comes in the policy arena is whether the State can really save the trees and increase the forest cover. In order to sequester certain amount of carbon in the roots and/or boles of trees, the State needs to increase the adult individuals of trees by number, but not only the greenery by saving saplings and seedlings as what we are heading to achieve these days. No matter where the trees are standing now—in community forests, or in government managed forests, or in collaborative forests, or in private forests— the condition is that they need to be standing alive.
By Peter Weir, Phil Taylor, Grant Dodson and Paul Nicholls, Celsias, 29 June 2010 | The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) presents unique opportunities for many rural landowners in New Zealand. Carbon forestry will allow rural landowners to use the ETS to their advantage and gain a new income stream. Marginal farmland throughout the country can be converted into forestry and as long as any conversions are undertaken in an informed manner, then landowners potentially have a lot to gain. Forests can offset farm emissions and improve overall farm profitability. About five years after planting, carbon forestry can provide an annual stream of carbon credits, in the form of NZ Units (NZUs), which can be sold on the open market or kept in the bank or used to meet potential onsite emission obligations associated with farming at some point in the future.
By Ntungwe Ngalame Elias, Reuters AlertNet, 29 June 2010 | The Cameroon government has initiated a process to integrate local communities in the management of country’s forests and wildlife. The Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife recently signed agreements with five traditional rulers for planting about 50,000 trees following a three day workshop that discussed issues of fighting climate change by adopting sustainable forest management practices. Cameroon’s efforts to elicit greater community participation in forest management is in accordance with the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA), a part of the EU-initiated Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade process signed between Cameroon and the European Union to ensure transparency in the forest governance and management, said Grace Mbah, Cameroon’s southwest regional delegate of forestry and wildlife.
By Chris Cosslett, redd-plus.com, 29 June 2010 | A fairly quiet week on the REDD front. Summertime? One of the more significant REDD-related events of the past week was the 2010 Katoomba Meeting XVII, which was held in Hanoi on 23-24 June. The meeting as a whole covered a broad range of topics, including “State of Emerging Environmental Markets,” “Forest Carbon and REDD Architecture,” “Vietnam Experience”, etc. But REDD+ was clearly a major focus of discussion, with approximately 20 video presentations available addressing the topic… Meanwhile, the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC), the world’s largest professional society for tropical forest study and conservation, has issued a resolution related to the UN definition of forests… On the country implementation and readiness side of things, AFP reports that Nepal has recently issued a two-month ban on tree cutting after reports of massive deforestation in its lawless, southern Terai region.
Indigenous Portal, 29 June 2010 | I am pleased to inform you that a global expert workshop on ‘Biodiversity Benefits of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries’ will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 20 to 24 September 2010. This workshop is being convened by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) with the generous financial support of the government of Germany and in collaboration with the UN REDD Programme (United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries). The workshop will be held in English.
By Dina Indrasafitri, Jakarta Post, 29 June 2010 | Local forest concession-holders on Monday signed up for a program to help them gain [FSC] certification for responsible logging practices, which would enable them to sell to countries applying tough import restrictions. “We see potential for expanding certified forest management in Indonesia,” The Borneo Initiative (TBI) Foundation executive Jesse Kuijper said during the signing ceremony. TBI is a Netherlands-based organization that currently provides assistance to eight forest concession-holders in Inodnesia. The companies signing the agreement in Jakarta included PT Dwima Jaya Utama, which manages 127,300 hectares of forest in Kalimantan, and PT Wapoga Mutiara Timber Unit II, which manages 196,900 hectares in Papua. The eight companies manage a combined total of 815,670 hectares in Kalimantan, Maluku and Papua. Another five companies, which manage a total of almost 600,000 hectares, signed a similar agreement in January.
30 June 2010
Stabroek News, 30 June 2010 | President Bharrat Jagdeo on Monday implored donors not to “obsess” with capacity building before releasing funds as this would hinder development efforts. He made the appeal, as he again signalled his displeasure that donors are slow to release money for forest protection efforts. “You have a duty to ensure that endless discussions don’t slow this down”, he told representatives of countries participating in the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) at a reception for them at the Princess Hotel on Monday evening.
By Stacy Feldman, solveclimate.com, 30 June 2010 | Brazilian agribusiness interests are igniting a firestorm in their national Congress that may end up eroding a vital rainforest protection law. And for tinder, they’re using a months-old report written by a U.S.-based coalition of forest protection advocates. These local agribusiness advocates say the report shows U.S. lawmakers see stopping deforestation in the Amazon as a way to open markets worth billions of dollars for American agriculture at the expense of Brazil. The report by Washington, D.C.-based Avoided Deforestation Partners (ADP) said that ending tree loss through U.S. and global climate incentives would net $190 to $270 billion by 2030 for American beef, soy timber and oil seed producers. It would do so by cutting unfair competition from tropical nations like Brazil.
Ecosystem Marketplace, 30 June 2010 | Forest Trends President Michael Jenkins closed out last week’s Global Katoomba Meeting here with a call for governments to scale up activities that aim to reduce pollution by incorporating the value of nature’s services into the economy. “It’s all about scale,” he said. “We have to move from pilots to programs, and from programs to markets.” At the same meeting, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Nguy?n Thiên Nhân announced that his country was moving on to step two of Jenkins’s sequence with an ambitious nationwide system of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) under a new entity called the Forest Protection and Development Fund.
By Lisa Friedman, New York Times, 30 June 2010 | Meanwhile, members of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, otherwise known as ALBA, have become a force to be reckoned with ever since they prevented the United Nations from adopting the political agreement known as the Copenhagen Accord last year. The group of leftist nations has styled itself as the champion of Mother Earth (even as oil-rich countries in its ranks like Venezuela routinely team up with Saudi Arabia to thwart ambitious measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions). ALBA is widely expected to block any climate deal that falls shy of the most ambitious.
By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 30 June 2010 | Indonesia’s failure to slow illegal logging stems from weaknesses in the 1999 Law on Forestry, which focuses on investigation of illicit timber sources and not on the people who order and benefit from forestry crimes, officials said. The country’s anti-logging campaign should focus on the finances of illegal loggers and investigate suspicious financial transactions in the forestry sector. “‘Follow the money’ should be the new paradigm in investigating forestry-linked crimes,” said Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) representative Gunadi said during a seminar in Jakarta on Tuesday. The seminar was organized by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
1 July 2010
By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 1 July 2010 | Indigenous communities have warned the government they will reject the implementation of a planned carbon credit scheme unless the government guarantees their rights to livelihood in the forests. The Alliance of Archipelagic Indigenous People (AMAN), which claimed to have 1,163 community members, said the international scheme — which is designed to reduce deforestation — could trigger new conflicts if land tenure disputes remained unsettled. “Our stance is clear — no rights, no REDD. It is what we have told AMAN’s members across the country,” AMAN secretary-general Abdon Nababan told a discussion on climate change Wednesday, referring to the international policy… Special Envoy to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on climate change, Rachmat Witoelar, said … “we must be careful with the issue since many of the groups could claim they are indigenous people; I myself have no clear understanding who indigenous people really are.”
Stabroek News, 1 July 2010 | President of the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA), Tony James says he is encouraged that countries and institutions involved in forest protection efforts seem to be listening to the concerns of indigenous peoples here. James, other APA members, representatives from Peruvian non-governmental organisations and a member of the Coordinating Body for Indigenous Organisations of the Amazon Basin, spoke about their concerns on forest protection programmes during a press conference at the Guyana Human Rights Association office yesterday. The Sixth Meeting of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Participants Committee (PC6) opened here on Monday and ended yesterday… In a presentation to PC6, James emphasized that the World Bank must apply rigorous measures to ensure that its policy on Indigenous Peoples and other safeguards are applied in readiness design as well as in implementation.
By Alice Kenny, Ecosystem Marketplace, 1 July 2010 | Markets are supposed to be about cold, hard logic; but any salesman can tell you they are more often about scent, texture, heart, and soul. A traveling exhibition of dead trees from the Ghanaian rainforest, on their way this month to Oxford, England, is helping people understand the majesty of these threatened giants – and, in the process, drumming up support for schemes that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by saving trees.
Climate-L.org, 1 July 2010 | Ravi Prabhu, Senior Programme Officer for the UN-REDD Programme, and Jan McAlpine, Director of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), delivered presentations at the Commonwealth Forestry Conference, taking place in Edinburgh, UK, from 28 June–2 July 2010. The theme of the Conference, which takes place every four to five years, is “Restoring the Commonwealth’s forests: Tackling climate change.” Prabhu’s presentation was part of a special session at the Conference titled “Delivering REDD+: From Copenhagen to Cancun,” a daylong session addressing all aspects of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+)… McAlpine presented a 360 degree perspective on forests. She encouraged participants to promote the International Year of Forests (IYOF) 2011, unveiled the IYOF logo and highlighted preparations for related activities worldwide.
2 July 2010
By Arti Ekawati, Jakarta Globe, 2 July 2010 | The Indonesian Forest Concessionaires Association said on Friday that the possible inclusion of production forest areas in the planned two-year logging moratorium could threaten local industries by drastically reducing timber supply. Last month President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed an agreement not to log in natural forests and to preserve peatlands for two years in exchange for a $1 billion grant from the Norwegian government. However, according to a recently released draft regulation to implement the agreement, the moratorium may also apply to natural woods within production forest areas. About 63 million hectares of Indonesia’s total 134 million hectares of forests are deemed production forests. These supply much of the timber used in the country.
Office of Climate Change letter to the editor, Stabroek News, 2 July 2010 | It is with much consternation and chagrin that the Office of Climate Change (OCC) once again is compelled to respond to inexactitudes and misinformation carried in the Stabroek News. The newspaper’s latest adventurism in the realm of speculation and unprofessional journalism is noted in its Wednesday, June 30, edition in a page 11 article captioned ‘Jagdeo ups money plea.’
The Biodiversity Crew @ NUS, 2 July 2010 | [Seminar on 13 July 2010, by Jaboury Ghazoul, Professor of Ecosystem Management, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.] “Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) is the latest attempt to reconcile global carbon management, conservation and land use objectives into a universal win-win scenario… While very much in support of such measures, I also contend that the successful implementation of REDD is likely to be fraught with difficulties associated with future demand for competing land uses, as well as less direct effects on national and regional economies. I explore these possibilities and by doing so highlight possible current and future challenges that REDD schemes may have to overcome.”
By Goh De No, Brunei Times, 2 July 2010 | Three organisations are hoping to develop a consortium of companies that want to be involved in energy efficiency to apply for carbon credits from the Kyoto process with aims of selling them to Europe. Dorjee Sun, chief executive officer of Carbon Conservation Pte Ltd (CC), told The Brunei Times on the sidelines of Asia Inc Forum’s National Environment Conference that the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB), HSBC and Singaporean-based carbon conservation company CC, are trying to establish the consortium and bundle applications from companies to get carbon credits which will in turn be sold. “If that can happen, it shows Brunei that something can actually be done and our goal is to get this rolling in the next few months. So if readers want to voluntarily join, we can make a change together and show results,” said Dorjee.
3 July 2010
Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources, 3 July 2010 | This training manual has been written for indigenous trainers who intend to facilitate a training on REDD for indigenous leaders. It has been devised for a proposed five-days training programme with five modules. The manual includes suggestions for the objectives of each module, activities and methods, materials and a schedule. It is to be used together with the information booklet “What is REDD?”. The training has two aims: to help indigenous leaders gain a deeper understanding of how REDD works and what the issues related to REDD are which are most relevant for indigenous peoples; and to help indigenous leaders improve their skills in supporting their communities when dealing with REDD.
4 July 2010
Stabroek News, 4 July 2010 | The government is accustomed to trying to bully its opponents, vilifying them in sometimes quite unparliamentary terms. The tactics in most instances are intended to inhibit expression, if not actually muzzle anyone tempted to voice contrary opinions. By and large in the past that absolutist approach has been reserved for local critics alone, but now, it seems, it is being extended to the outside world as well. It is clear that the ruling party is already in full election mode – general elections, that is, since not a whisper is being heard about local government polls – which is a time when obloquy directed at detractors always reigns supreme. However, to drag the diplomatic community into the electoral season frame is something of a novel departure, even for the PPP.
By John Vidal, The Observer, 4 July 2010 | A revolutionary scheme backed by the World Bank to pay poor countries billions of dollars a year to stop felling trees is the best way to stop logging and save the planet from climate change, according to wealthy countries and conservationists, yet documents seen by the Observer show the plan is actually leading to corruption and possibly more logging. Human rights and environment groups yesterday called for a radical rethink of the United Nations scheme, known as Redd (Reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation), after it emerged that many countries were trying to cheat the system.
By Dr Clive Thomas, Stabroek News, 4 July 2010 | The case for the carbon market fulfilling the purpose of resolving the global climate problem is clearly not helped in view of the flaws in this market that I have been discussing over the past three weeks. In similar vein to my observations, readers should note that the Guardian newspaper (UK) recently investigated the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation scheme (REDD) along with the forest carbon segment of the global carbon market, which is essential to the success of the LCDS. It concluded that the arrangement: “Is a recipe for corruption and will be hijacked by organized crime without safeguards” (October 5, 2009). Of particular note, the same Guardian’s investigative report went on to state: “Experts on all sides of the debate, from international police to politicians to conservationists have warned this week that the REDD scheme may be impossible to monitor and may already be leading to fraud.”
By Richard North, EU Referendum, 4 July 2010 | In The Observer today, there is a confused and incomplete story about how the REDD scheme is being undermined by corruption. Some countries, we are told, intend to abuse system “by pocketing billions in subsidies while continuing to fell trees.” How far this is different, in terms of corruption, from pocketing subsidies for “protecting” trees that are not under threat from logging, is not specified, but that is the other side of the scam. And it is this scam in which, as we recently pointed out, the WWF is closely implicated… What is not said is that partners with the World Bank, right from the beginning, have been the WWF and the Woods Hole Research Center, with Daniel Nepstad a lead player, at the very heart of the advocacy for the system.