Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS), the Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia, put out a press release on 10 August 2010 about a carbon trading deal with indigenous peoples in Sarawak. On 6 August 2010, Reuters reported that an Australian carbon trading company called Shift2Neutral had “signed a deal with nine Malaysian tribal leaders to certify carbon offsets from a project aimed at preserving more than 100,000 hectares of tropical forest”.
The Reuters article does not mention exactly where the proposed REDD+ project would be. Neither does a press release from Shift2Neutral, dated 4 August 2010. As JOAS notes, Reuters refers to 24 villages that are involved in the proposed project, while Shift2Neutral refers to an agreement signed with “a group of nine tribal leaders living in Sarawak Malaysia”.
Shift2Neutral also recently announced that it has signed “an agreement to certify 159,000 hectares of tribal land for carbon credits” through a REDD project, “with a group of 10 villages living in Maluku, Indonesia”. On 15 July 2010, the company announced that “Shift2Neutral finalises the certification of 1,000,000 hectares of …first growth forest and issues credits for certification for the tribes of Mindanao Philippines.”
Below are the press release from JOAS, the Reuters article and Shift2Neutral’s press release about the proposed project in Malaysia. I’ll let you decide whether Shift2Neutral is another bunch of “carbon cowboys”, or whether it is “a leader in the neutralisation of carbon emissions in the world,” as it prefers to describe itself.
August 10 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On August 6, Reuters released a news article titled “Australia firm signs forest CO2 deal with Malaysia tribes”. On behalf of Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia / Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia (JOAS), we would like to state that our network is not involved in this and, to the best of our knowledge, we do not know which of the 24 villages (according to the news report)or 9 community leaders (according to the Australian company’s own press release) are involved in that project.
We feel it is important to make clear that it is not our network that is involved in this deal as we strongly and consistently endorse a process of free, prior informed consent (FPIC) before signing any deal that involves our forests and territories. This should involve a mandatory process where the communities are fully informed and independent workshops should be conducted to allow the communities to freely make a decision on their communal forest.
JOAS does not support the implementation of REDD in any form unless the parties involved in this deal have adequate consultation and FPIC. In this case, we hope that the company has at least ensured that the communities have access to their own lawyers who can independently advise them on the legal matters involved.
Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS) has conducted information sessions on REDD+ among its members. From these sessions there are two clear points:
- That REDD+ will involve and affect the lands and resources of indigenous peoples
- That there is a need for more capacity building among indigenous peoples in Malaysia to understand REDD+
Therefore JOAS is committed towards building capacity to understand REDD and the impact,whether positive or negative, to our rights and resources.
Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia / Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia (JOAS)
By David Fogarty, Climate Change Correspondent, Asia
SINGAPORE | Fri Aug 6, 2010 6:36am BST
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – An Australian carbon services company has signed a deal with nine Malaysian tribal leaders to certify carbon offsets from a project aimed at preserving more than 100,000 hectares of tropical forest.
The deal allows the tribes in Sarawak state on the island of Borneo to earn a share of the proceeds from the sale of carbon offsets to help them manage and protect the forest over a period of 20 years, payments potentially worth millions of dollars.
Forests soak up large amounts of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas blamed for global warming, and preserving the remaining tropical forests in developing countries is seen as a key part of the fight against climate change.
The project aims to improve the livelihoods of at least 10,000 people in 24 villages and is part of a U.N.-backed scheme called reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation.
The United Nations hopes REDD will lead to a multi-billion dollar trade in forest carbon credits and the Malaysian project is one of several pioneering investments aimed at building up the REDD sector.
REDD seeks to reward developing nations and indigenous forest owners with carbon credit payments to save their forests. There are about a dozen REDD projects in neighboring Indonesia. The firm, Shift2Neutral, said it will work with the tribes and a local NGO to help manage the forest, survey the area and access the carbon stored in the trees and soil. The project would be certified under an enhanced form of REDD that also aims to reward any enhancement to a forest’s carbon stock.
A long-term management plan would also be created and a committee of comprising tribal leaders, investors and local and company officials would guide how the money is spent with the aim of improving livelihoods and curbing incentives for logging.
“It’s a 50-50 deal. We ensure they get their funding and they use that funding as per an economic development committee that is established,” said Brett Goldsworthy, chairman of Shift2Neutral, adding the aim was to make sure the money wasn’t squandered.
The tribes are the customary owners of the land and the legal owners of the carbon but many still have subsistence livelihoods.
“You’ve got tribal people who have barely got any money and they are desperate for money for things like medical aid,” Goldsworthy said on Friday.
“What we will do with our funding is to start instigating other programs along the lines of medical, food aid, schooling, clothing to make sure there is a sustainable future,” he said.
Besides boosting incomes, better monitoring of the forest was also crucial.
“The main threat they face is illegal loggers,” he said.
“It is key to get more forestry people involved for the protection of the forest and having checks and measures on their boundary borders to ensure that people aren’t getting through.”
Goldsworthy said he hoped the carbon survey and management plan for the area would be finished by next year, followed by the issuance of the first batch of carbon offsets called VERs, or voluntary emissions reductions, to be sold to investors.
It was too early to provide an accurate estimate of the number of VERs per hectare from the Sarawak site, he said.
“As the land is first-growth vegetation one could expect 50 per hectare but again we have not provided anything at this point.”
Avoided deforestation VERs fetch anything from $10 to $30 each depending on the project, country and risk.
He said the company is developing similar projects in the Philippines, Indonesia and South Africa with VER buyers being governments, large corporates and wealthy individuals. (Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
Shift2Neutral signs agreement to certify carbon credits under the avoided deforestation program known as REDD+ with a group of tribal leaders in Sarawak Malaysia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRLog (Press Release) – Aug 04, 2010 – Shift2Neutral signs agreement to certify REDD+ with tribes of Sarawak Malaysia
July 2010 Shift2Neutral signed an agreement to certify carbon credits under the avoided deforestation program known as REDD+ with a group of nine tribal leaders living in Sarawak Malaysia
The agreement with Indigenous Customary Land Owners of Sarawak Malaysia will see Shift2Neutral work directly with the tribal leaders to ensure the protection of their native flora and fauna.
Shift2Neutral executives made the following statement
“Shift2Neutral believes that linking people’s economic self-interest and the health of ecosystems is one way to generate interest in the conservation challenges facing our world today.
Business pioneers new ideas, forging new partnerships and implementing new solutions. Now the private sector can put these strengths to work in ways that will permanently halt unsustainable deforestation and allow the global society to protect the ecosystems on which we all depend.
Shift2Neutral firmly believes this can be achieved with benefits to the local stakeholders. We must recognize the rights of indigenous peoples and the local communities involved.”
A spokesperson went on to advise “the total land area involved for the first phase is more than 100,000 hectares or endangered forest. Via avoided deforestation programs like this we can ensure the protection of the carbon that is already stored in vegetation.”
The spokesperson went on to advise “The cutting of forests releases billions of tons of greenhouse gases (from carbon stored in trees, plants and soils) into the atmosphere. Roughly 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are caused by deforestation. By comparison, the entire global transportation sector is responsible for roughly 14% of annual greenhouse gas emissions. The immediate protection of tropical rainforests is critical if we hope to turn the tide on global warming, and the added benefits of conserving these sensitive ecosystems are immeasurable. ”
Sarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Known as Bumi Kenyalang (“Land of the Hornbills”), it is situated on the north-west of the island. It is the largest state in Malaysia; the second largest, Sabah, lies to the northeast.
Having land area of 124,450 km² spreading between latitude 0° 50′ and 5°N and longitude 109° 36′ and 115° 40′ E, it makes up 37.5% of the land of Malaysia. Sarawak also contains large tracts of tropical rain forest home to an abundance of plant and animal species.
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