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REDD in the news: 18-24 April 2011

REDD in the news: 18-24 April 2011

A round up of the week’s news on REDD, in chronological order with short extracts (click on the title for the full article). REDD-Monitor’s news page (REDD in the news) is updated regularly.

Can REDD+ support climate compatible development?

Climate & Development Knowledge Network, no date | In this latest CDKN policy brief, Leo Peskett argues that REDD+ plays a vital part in global efforts to tackle climate change. This has generated interest among the international community and as a result, new policies have emerged in which significant international finance is being provided to developing countries in order to implement REDD+. This policy brief outlines how these processes work and looks at whether these financial flows offer new opportunities to support climate compatible development. The message is that there could be new opportunities, although these require considerable investment in institutions to manage forests and sufficient time. REDD+ could also introduce new risks, especially for forest dependent peoples, so any new policies need to be designed with this in mind to ensure that they are effective and equitable.

Regional Workshop ‘REDD-plus After Cancun: Moving from Negotiation to Implementation’

World Agroforestry Centre, no date | On May 18 to 20 the World Agroforestry Centre Vietnam, the Alternatives to Slash and Burn Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins, and the International Institute for Sustainable Development will host a regional workshop on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD-plus). ‘REDD-plus After Cancun: Moving from Negotiation to Implementation’ will help negotiators and stakeholders develop processes for REDD-plus at the national, regional and international level. Participants includes REDD negotiators and land managers from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Philippines, Vanuatu and Viet Nam.

Expert Meeting on Governance of Forests and REDD+

UN-REDD, no date | Launching guidance on frameworks to monitor and assess forest and REDD+ governance. 19-20th May 2011, at FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy. The meeting aims to encourage coordinated monitoring and assessment of REDD+ and forest governance. It will mark the joint launch of two new tools to assist practitioners: the Guidance Framework for Monitoring REDD+ Governance developed by UN-REDD and Chatham House and the Framework for Assessing and Monitoring Forest Governance emerging from the 2010 Stockholm meeting on forest governance led by the World Bank and FAO.

Estimating the Opportunity Costs and Implementation Costs of REDD+ for the National Planning Process

World Bank Institute, no date | Type: Course, Start Date: May 16, 2011, End Date: May 20, 2011, Location: Colombia. The goal of the course is to provide participants with an understanding and various tools to analyze the opportunity costs and implementation costs of Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD)+ as an important element to feed into the development of the national REDD+ strategy. Participants will receive practical knowledge and software to assess such opportunity costs of REDD+, stipulating the advantages and constraints of this approach. This is the third delivery of this course, now addressing Latin American countries.

How is REDD+ unfolding in southern Africa’s dry forests?: a snapshot from Mozambique

CIFOR, April 2011 | Mozambique has high forest cover, a high deforestation rate and severe forest degradation. It is also one of the poorest and most vulnerable countries in the world. Therefore, Mozambique requires a pro-poor REDD+ model that progressively widens its scope to include agriculture and adaptation. Mozambican experts have drafted a national REDD+ strategy, which is currently undergoing government consultation, with public dissemination to follow later in 2011. The main REDD+ initiatives in Mozambique include a Norwegian-funded South–South cooperation programme with Brazil designed to support REDD+ strategy development, and a Japanese-funded readiness initiative on monitoring, reporting and verification and reference levels. Mozambique has a tradition of stakeholder consultation and relatively inclusive processes.

18 April 2011

Tropical countries aim for global forest pact

mongabay.com, 18 April 2011 | Representatives from more than 30 countries are expected to hammer out a formal agreement for future discussions on forest and climate issues when they meet next month in the Republic of Congo, reports the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). The summit, which will be held from May 31 through June 3 in Congo’s capital of Brazzaville, will be attended by nearly 500 delegates from tropical countries, donor nations, NGOs, and multilateral entities, including multiple branches of the United Nations. Representatives from countries that hold more than 80 percent of the world’s rainforests are expected to attend. “This summit will be extremely important for the future of the world’s major rainforests,” said Henri Djombo, the Republic of Congo’s Minister of Sustainable Development, Forest Economy and the Environment, in a statement.

First annual high resolution Africa satellite coverage introduced

By Kevin Wafula, Africa Science News Service, 18 April 2011 | An unparalleled collection of high-resolution satellite imagery covering sub-Saharan Africa in a single season is now available in the DMCii image archive, providing an invaluable snapshot of more than 40 countries, including Cameroon, Congo, and Ethiopia for assessing phenomena such as deforestation, urbanisation and desertification. For the first time, annual and seasonal tropical forest maps are available, providing vital information for REDD+ monitoring of forest carbon resources. The DMCii coverage, acquired for the European GMES programme, captures a moment in time – providing an irrefutable marker for changes in the landscape against which future coverage can be compared. A second annual coverage of the Northern half of Africa including the Maghreb countries was also completed during the first three months of 2011.

Alerce Theft Convictions Upheld By Chile Appeals Court

By Steve Anderson, The Santiago Times, 18 April 2011 | The Puerto Montt appeals court last week unanimously confirmed the verdict against rightist political leader Nelson Schwerter for illegal logging and trading of ancient Alerce trees. The Alerce or Chilean Larch (Fitzroya cupressoides) are a tree species native to southern Chile and protected by both national legislation and by the Convention of International Trade of Endangered species (CITES). Once a dominant species in far southern Chile, Alerce are legendary for the impermeable, rot-resistant nature of their timber and for their longevity – up to 3,500 years old.

Ministry launches REDD website

Jakarta Post, 18 April 2011 | Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan launched on Monday Indonesia’s official Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program website, www.redd-indonesia.org. Published in Indonesian, the website contains information regarding REDD implementation in the country, pilot projects, REDD-related regulations and other environmental information. The website acts as a reference regarding REDD such as what REDD is and how it works. It is also linked to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, among other social network sites. Zulkifli launched the website at the 3rd IndoGreen Forestry Expo opening at the Jakarta Convention Center, Antara reported.

It’s Time to Outlaw Land Grabbing, Not to Make It “Responsible”!

Focus on the Global South, 18 April 2011 | On 18-20 April 2011, a gathering of some 200 farmland investors, government officials and international civil servants will meet at the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC to discuss how to operationalise “responsible” large-scale land acquisitions. Over in Rome, the Committee on World Food Security, housed at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, is about to start a process of consultation on principles to regulate such deals. Social movements and civil society organisations (CSOs), on the other hand, are mobilising to stop land grabs, and undo the ones already coming into play, as a matter of utmost urgency. Why do the World Bank, UN agencies and a number of highly concerned governments insist on trying to promote these land grab deals as “responsible agricultural investments”?

Why the International Day of Peasants’ Struggles is important

By Henry Saragih (Via Campesina), The Guardian, 18 April 2011 | Peasants and small farmers make up half of the world population and grow at least 70% of the world’s food. This group includes small-scale farmers, pastoralists, landless people, peasant fishers and indigenous people all around the world. However, despite the importance of this group, its contribution is far from being recognised. Rural people have very little visibility on the public scene and “peasants”, in most places, are looked down on and often considered “ignorant”, “backward” or “underdeveloped”. This contempt goes hand in hand with the free market policies in force for more than three decades that have banked (or placed a bet?) on the disappearance of peasants’ agriculture to be replaced by large agribusiness corporations and international trade.

California’s carbon market: Will cap-and-trade work?

Los Angeles Times, 18 April 2011 | Nine months before California is set to finalize a trading system aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, participants have the jitters. Litigation threatens to delay the start of the multibillion-dollar program, and industry executives worry that its regulations will fall short of guaranteeing a smoothly operating market. Fear is growing that it could be susceptible to the fraud that has plagued a similar European system. “It feels as though the sun has risen in the West,” Henry Derwent, head of the Geneva-based International Emissions Trading Assn., told traders, bankers, entrepreneurs and oil and utility executives in Los Angeles last week. “But however tempting it may be … to celebrate getting out ahead of the rest of the United States,” he cautioned, California’s trading system must show “real momentum…. If the program goes poorly, if the regulations don’t allow for a functioning market, there may be little market for California to lead.”

United Nations under Pressure to denounce Human Rights Abuses in Carbon Offsetting Scheme

CDM Watch press release, 18 April 2011 | The United Nation’s Clean Development Mechanism Executive Board has so far failed to respond to human rights abuses linked to a carbon offsetting project in Honduras that is currently pending registration. Environmental and Human Rights Groups are now demanding that the project be rejected from receiving funding under the offsetting scheme. They are also calling for an overhaul of the scheme to strip projects that violate human rights from the list of registered projects.

Corruption threatens to destroy Cameroon’s domestic timber industry

By Charlie Pye-Smith, CIFOR Forests Blog, 18 April 2011 | It is mid-morning at Montée Parc Market, the largest of the 25 timber markets in Yaoundé. A MINFOF official sits on a large pile of planks, eating sandwiches and casually chatting with some of the merchants. He and two other officials who are doing their rounds are a familiar sight here, as they come every day to take their payments. You can tell which merchants have paid up, as their timber has been stamped with the officials’ hammer. ‘On average, we have to pay around 200 CFA a plank,’ one of the timber merchants explains. ‘If you don’t pay up, they’ll seize your timber. Sometimes, you end up paying twice, because MINFOF’s Brigade Rouge will demand money as well.’ This story is repeated throughout the timber markets in Cameroonian cities.

Report on the Verification of Progress Related to Enabling Activities for the Guyana‐Norway REDD+ Agreement

Global Witness, 18 April 2011 | Following the publication of a report commissioned by the Government of Norway to Rainforest Alliance to provide an independent verification of progress of enabling activities for the Guyana-Norway REDD+ agreement, Global Witness, along with Forest Management Trust, Forest Peoples Programme, Rainforest Foundation Norway, Rainforest Foundation UK and Rainforest Foundation US have sent a response to the relevant stakeholders. This outlines a number of concerns we have about the report, including: The report concludes with respect to some indicators that frameworks are in place and being implemented, whilst simultaneously acknowledging a lack of information on which to base an assessment. It presents a superficial assessment of fundamental problems relating to indigenous peoples’ rights and tenure. It fails to accurately diagnose problems regarding public availability of information and incorrectly equates ‘outreach’ with ‘consultation’…

19 April 2011

Green palm oil and Indonesia Inc. 2015

Jakarta Post, 19 April 2011 | The Netherlands has recently decided that from 2015 it will be committed to only using sustainable palm oil, a step that has significantly boosted the standing of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). At this stage The Netherlands is the only European country to have made such a commitment, but later it could snowball as other US and European companies have thrown their weight behind it and are likely to also adopt such steps. Given the fact the Netherlands is one of the largest importers and exporters of palm oil in Europe, which absorbs around 30 percent of Indonesian palm oil exports, its sustainable commitment is very likely to negatively impact palm oil exports from Indonesia, unless Indonesia reviews its policy on palm oil sustainability.

Environment Caught in the Extremes

By Agus Purnomo, Jakarta Globe, 19 April 2011 | The extremist positions and unwillingness to compromise are already slowing down REDD+. For the past four months, the process has been side-tracked by overheated rhetoric about what should be included in the two-year moratorium that is part of the Indonesia-Norway agreement. A short-sighted business lobby assumes that the status quo is as good as things will ever get. The environmental lobby unrealistically believes that Indonesia can further develop without making trade-offs among difficult public policy choices. The pressure from both sides leads to delay and stagnation… The path to sustainability will be long and challenging. There is much to be done.

US human rights report shines spotlight on Penan tribe

Survival International, 19 April 2011 | A new US government human rights report has highlighted the Penan tribe’s battle to protect their rainforests in Sarawak, in Malaysian Borneo, from logging. The US State Department document cites claims by indigenous rights groups that Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s government has leased the Penan’s land ‘to logging companies and land developers in exchange for political favors and money’. Taib Mahmud has been in power for 30 years, and won state elections last week. Thousands of Penan tribespeople were unable to vote because they have not been issued with identity cards.

‘Let’s forge strong alliance towards forest management’

By Gerald Kitabu, IPP Media, 19 April 2011 | This week GERALD KITABU interviewed the Project Manager for the Forest Justice in Tanzania Initiative, Elinasi Monga, on forest resources. Excerpts: QUESTION: What does the Forest Justice in Tanzania Initiative stand for? ANSWER: This is a partnership initiative between Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) and the Community Forest Conservation Network of Tanzania, known as MJUMITA. I have been working with TFCG for two months now. Q: What exactly are you doing with regard to forest resources? A: Tanzania has some important forests, particularly the Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal forests. These forests are internationally recognised as being biodiversity hotspots and are also the source of some of the water and hydro-power that drive Tanzania’s economy. Yet, sadly these forests are being destroyed and we are losing our natural heritage and damaging the ecosystem that we depend on.

Canadians Explore REDD Potential for Indigenous Groups

Ecosystem Marketplace, 19 April 2011 | The International Institute for Sustainable Development has issued two reports as part of the First Nations Carbon Collaborative to help build the capacity of First Nations to take part in existing and emerging carbon markets. The collaborative is a community-driven initiative spearheaded by IISD, the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources and three First Nations living within Canada’s frontier forests. Undefined carbon rights and a lack of experience prevent First Nations from accessing carbon markets, even though many of them live within and around the boreal forest region that stores 30 per cent of the world’s carbon, according to 2007 research by Woods Hole Research Center. The literature review indicates there is little information about First Nations in Canada and carbon markets and that this void will need to be filled before First Nations can become active carbon market participants.

Forest Governance Measuring Tools within Collaborative Governance of Tropical Landscapes: Book Review

By Gabriel Thoumi (Forest Carbon Offsets LLC), 19 April 2011 | Conservation projects at the landscape level in the tropics often require collaborative governance because there are many factors that may be involved with conserving and enhancing the ecosystem services with a landscape-based project. Yet as eloquently described in Collaborative Governance of Tropical Landscapes, significant issues remain in designing and implementing effective collaborative governance models for tropical landscapes. By surveying project implementation, measurement and attribution analysis across five tropical countries – Cameroon, Indonesia, Laos, Madagascar, and Tanzania – the authors have distilled common themes that provide for benchmarking successful landscape level forest conservation projects in the tropics.

Europe Ends Three-Month Curbs on Carbon Registries After Hacking Thefts

By Ewa Krukowska and Mathew Carr, Bloomberg, 19 April 2011 | The European Union allowed the Lithuanian carbon registry to reopen tomorrow, bringing back to normal all emission registries in its cap-and-trade system after a string of thefts triggered three months of restrictions. The European Commission, the EU regulatory arm, closed the registries that track the ownership of emission permits on Jan. 19 after thieves stole more than 2 million permits valued at about 34 million euros ($49 million) at today’s prices. The national carbon trackers were required to demonstrate that their systems were secure from hacking attacks before getting permission to reopen. “Tightening the security of the registries system has been the top priority,” EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said in a statement in Brussels today. “All registries are now up and running with enhanced security measures in place.”

Supreme Court Skeptical About Climate Change Suit

By Nina Totenberg, NPR, 19 April 2011 | The politics of climate change hit the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday, illustrating the powerful and unpredictable role the court can play in protecting the health and safety of the nation. Just four years ago, the justices repudiated the Bush administration and ruled 5-4 that the federal government has a duty to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. But on Tuesday, the justices gave a chilly reception to state governments that are suing electric utilities over emissions that contribute to global warming. Tuesday’s case was first brought in 2004 by a coalition of states and environmental groups. They sued the nation’s five largest public utilities – companies that together produce 10 percent of U.S. carbon emissions annually. The states were seeking a court order to cap emissions. But for a variety of reasons, the lawsuit languished for five years.

Scientists urge Papua New Guinea to declare moratorium on massive forest clearing

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 19 April 2011 | Forests spanning an area larger than Costa Rica – 5.6 million hectares (13.8 million acres) – have been handed out by the Papua New Guinea government to foreign corporations, largely for logging. Granted under government agreements known as Special Agricultural and Business Leases (SABLs), the land leases circumvent the nation’s strong laws pertaining to communal land ownership. Now, the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC), the world’s largest professional society devoted to studying and conserving tropical forests, is urging the Papua New Guinea government to declare a moratorium on SABLs. “SABLs, which were originally intended to promote local agricultural development, have been used on a large scale in [Papua New Guinea] to circumvent forestry reforms by granting protracted (often 99-year) land leases, mostly to foreign or multinational corporations,” the ATBC states in a resolution.

Demand for gold pushing deforestation in Peruvian Amazon

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 19 April 2011 | Deforestation is on the rise in Peru’s Madre de Dios region from illegal, small-scale, and dangerous gold mining. In some areas forest loss has increased up to six times. But the loss of forest is only the beginning; the unregulated mining is likely leaching mercury into the air, soil, and water, contaminating the region and imperiling its people. Using satellite imagery from NASA, researchers were able to follow rising deforestation due to artisanal gold mining in Peru. According the study, published in PLoS ONE, Two large mining sites saw the loss of 7,000 hectares of forest (15,200 acres) – an area larger than Bermuda – between 2003 and 2009. “We present recent evidence of the global demand for a single commodity and the ecosystem destruction resulting from commodity extraction, recorded by satellites for one of the most biodiverse areas of the world,” the researchers write.

Guyana has most funding on per capita basis from Norway MOU – President

By Johann Earle, Guyana Chronicle, 19 April 2011 | President Bharrat Jagdeo says Guyana has received the most money of any country, on a per capita basis, as a payment for services provided by forests with the Norway MOU coming to fruition in the form of ‘money in the bank’. “The most in the world of any other country…Brazil is the other country and they got a few hundred million for a large number of people. We got US$70 million for less than one million people,” the President said. He was speaking at the launching of a Ministry of Agriculture and Guyana Forestry Commission hosted seminar on forests and their role. The event, held at the Guyana International Conference Centre, had presentations from the Guyana Forestry Commission, WWF Guianas, Iwokrama, Conservation International Guyana and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. Those in attendance included many loggers and persons working in the forestry sector. Many persons of indigenous descent were present at the event.

Jagdeo plugs Guyana as model of ‘economics of trees’

Stabroek News, 19 April 2011 | Guyana led the way in developing the “economics of trees” and citizens must be proud of the collective achievements, President Bharrat Jagdeo has said but he warned of the consequences if forests are considered in isolation from climate policies. “If we look at forests in isolation from climate policy then we’ll be making a serious mistake,” Jagdeo said in the feature address at a symposium to mark the International Year of Forests at the International Convention Centre at Liliendaal yesterday… He explained that these countries would allocate money for forests but they are unwilling to commit to a global agreement that seeks to cut carbon emissions, leading to a rise in greenhouse gases which scientists say will have catastrophic consequences. “You cannot say that I want to preserve forests and then you are pursuing policies that will lead to their eventual, total destruction,” he argued. [R-M: subscription needed.]

54 hinterland communities granted permission to log

Kaieteur News, 19 April 2011 | Government yesterday insisted that the forest deal with Norway for US$250M is a good one. It added that the criticisms of the role of McKinsey and Company are totally unfounded. Chairman of the Guyana Forestry Commission, John Caesar, stressed that the officials preparing the report which was critical in preparing the country’s Low Carbon Development Strategy, included Nobel Laureates. The comments were made yesterday during a seminar to observe the UN naming 2011 as “International Year of Forests”. The event at the Guyana International Convention Centre (GICC) at Liliendaal, was attended by President Bharrat Jagdeo, Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, other government officials and several representatives of hinterland communities involved in forestry activities for a living… According to Minister Persaud, some 54 hinterland groups were granted 81 State Forest Exploratory Permit (SFEP) to exploit some 328,000 hectares of forestlands…

20 April 2011

UN-REDD Newsletter Reports on Policy Board Meeting

Climate Change Policy & Practice, 20 April 2011 | The UN-REDD Programme has released the March/April edition of its newsletter, which features an article on the March 2011 Policy Board meeting held in Da Lat, Viet Nam, where partner country representatives, civil society organizations and donors spoke to the UN-REDD Programme about their evolving commitment to REDD+ and the value of their partnership with the Programme.

Recession cuts EU CO2 emissions by record 7.2 percent

By Alistair Doyle, Reuters, 20 April 2011 | Recession drove European Union greenhouse gas emissions down by a record 7.2 percent in 2009, putting the bloc ahead of schedule in making promised cuts, EU data showed on Wednesday. “The strength of the 2009 recession affected all economic sectors in the EU,” the Denmark-based European Environment Agency said in a report. “Consumption of fossil fuels fell compared to the previous year, mainly for coal.”

Carbon Trade Exchange Moving to Sydney From London Gain From Climate Plans

By Natalie Obiko Pearson, Bloomberg, 20 April 2011 | Carbon Trade Exchange, an online platform for businesses to trade emission-reduction credits, is moving its headquarters from London to Sydney as the Australian government seeks to introduce a price on carbon. Efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions are likely to turn Sydney into a regional hub for carbon trading, the exchange said in an e-mailed statement today. The plan will lead to at least 106 jobs in the city over five years, it said.

Swiss water firm taps Kenya’s carbon market

By Steve Mbogo, Business Daily Africa, 20 April 2011 | A Swiss water treatment firm is seeking a piece of Kenya’s carbon market through distribution of water purifiers to reduce the use of firewood and kerosene for water treatment in western Kenya. Vestergaard Frandsen said in a statement it will from next week distribute 900,000 free water filters in the area at a cost of Sh2 billion in a project to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It hopes to recover the cost by earning two million credits annually. The credits, which will be sold at the international carbon markets or recently launched Africa Carbon Exchange (ACX) in Nairobi, are estimated to earn the firm $13 million (Sh1 billion), making it the biggest carbon deal in the Kenyan market in what could boost the country’s credentials as a clean economy. “This is a positive development for Kenya because it means the ACX will have more liquidity in terms of number of credits available for buyers,” said Tsuma Charo, the CEO of ACX.

‘Win-win’ is too simplistic a description for REDD+ – and possibly wrong

By Terrence Sutherland, CIFOR Forest Blog, 20 April 2011 | Far from providing the ever-elusive ‘win-win’ for biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration and sustainable forest management, REDD+ implementation could be fraught with risks, particularly regarding long-term investment. In addition, informed accounting of who gains and who loses (i.e. recognising and negotiating the trade-offs) will ultimately determine the success of REDD+ schemes. Phelps and his colleagues highlight the long-recognised constraints on effective conservation, especially long-term funding, in the context of the opportunities REDD+ represents. Many conservation agencies are now linking on-the-ground implementation with global carbon mitigation efforts in the hope that they can thus secure sustained investment in biodiversity conservation efforts: the Holy Grail of environmental protection. But is such faith warranted?

Forests and food security: What we know and need to know

By Frances Seymour, CIFOR Forests Blog, 20 April 2011 | A few weeks ago, I met a senior diplomat from one of the countries where CIFOR conducts research. He did not have a background in environment or natural resources, so I expected to spend some time explaining the importance of forests to his country’s prosperity. To the contrary, the diplomat opened the conversation by connecting the political changes underway in North Africa and the Middle East with high food prices, at least partly caused, he said, by the natural disasters induced by climate change in Russia and elsewhere. When he acknowledged the importance of forest-based emissions as a driver of climate change, the linkage between forests and food security was complete.

21 April 2011

Time to Act Now on Forest Conservation and Management

Solomon Islands News, 21 April 2011 | The call for a concerted effort to conserve and sustainably manage our forest and tree resources is nothing new. It has, however, become more urgent, given the inability of many of the countries in the Pacific to move closer to this goal. These comments were made by Mr Inoke Ratukalou, Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Land Resources Division (SPC LRD), during the launch of the International Year of Forests organised by Fiji’s Ministry of Fisheries and Forests. ‘We need to take action now and stop making excuses – time is no longer on our side. ‘The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations are opening up opportunities for new investments in forestry, such as the REDD (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) mechanism.’ he said.

‘Landmark’ Global Warming Bill Outsources Solutions, Putting the Burden on Poor Communities in California and Mexico

By Jeff Conant, AlterNet, 21 April 2011 | California leads the United States in energy efficiency, and is often hailed as a global beacon of environmental protection; at the same time, it is the 12th largest emitter of carbon dioxide worldwide, making the state a significant driver of climate change. Any efforts to reduce these emissions would clearly benefit not only California, but the world. So when the implementation of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, AB32, came to a grinding halt due to San Francisco Superior Court’s March 18 ruling that it violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), it came as a shock to industry and environmentalists alike.

Progress with formal REDD-plus planning in Cameroon

IUCN, 21 April 2011 | Recent developments in Cameroon show that the country is now steadily advancing with the building of a national REDD+ strategy. Progress with the creation of an all-important national framework for REDD+ implementation has to be taken step by step in order to allow stakeholder engagement and attention to the broader interests they represent. IUCN is contributing to the REDD+ readiness process in Cameroon through the implementation of its pro-poor project that tries to ensure that interests and needs of forest-reliant communities are addressed in the national REDD+ strategy. It is key that the national framework not only provides for technical capacity building and technical aspects of carbon monitoring but that it also gives attention to the interests of indigenous peoples and other forest communities, their livelihoods and their rights.

Nearly Half of Amazon Is Protected But Vulnerable, Report Says

Yale Environment 360, 21 April 2011 | While nearly 44 percent of the Brazilian Amazon has protected status, poor management and limited oversight make many areas susceptible to human encroachment and development, including logging and mining, according to a new report. As of late 2010, almost 2.2 million square kilometers of the Amazon was protected, with about half of that area falling within the borders of national parks and the other half protected as indigenous territories. But even within those areas, more than 12,000 square kilometers of forest were cleared from 1998 to 2009, particularly in areas designated as “sustainable use” reserves, according to the study by Imazon and the Instituto Socioambiental (ISA).

Could orangutan conservation be helped by the heavens?

By James Maiden, CIFOR Forests Blog, 21 April 2011 | ike many indigenous peoples around the world, some of the Dayak tribes of Indonesia still believe in a form of spiritual animism; that their ancestors embody the plants, animals and objects around them. Dayak folklore says that people descended from the iconic orangutan, which is now under threat in the region. A community based approach to orangutan conservation, utilising the traditions of indigenous forest dwellers may be the strategy this cause is desperate for. In the late nineties the Danau Sentarum National Park in West Kalimantan was home to over 2,000 orangutans, making up 15 to 20 percent of the entire orangutan population of Borneo. “We could easily find orangutans in the past,” says Ramli, a local Iban Dayak tribe member in a short film produced by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Dr. Luncheon gives blunt assessment… Synergy ‘hopelessly behind time’ to complete Amaila Falls road

By Johann Earle, Guyana Chronicle, 21 April 2011 | Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon said Synergy Holdings Inc might have to consider outsourcing some of the road works at the Amaila Road Project just so that the road could be completed as the project is behind schedule. Speaking yesterday at his regular post-Cabinet news conference at the Presidential Complex in Georgetown, Dr. Luncheon, who is also Head of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS), said Government engineer Mr. Walter Willis mirrored Cabinet’s sentiments of dissatisfaction in the progress so far and explored options for the completion of this roadway. “No effort is being spared by the Administration to get Synergy to complete according to design,” Dr. Luncheon said.

Constitutional change or learn to love thy ‘dictator’

By Anand Daljeet, letter to the editor, Kaieteur News, 21 April 2011 | The Guyana REDD and Investment Fund (GRIF) dealings provide insurmountable evidence for Guyanese to demand that the changing of the constitution be a top priority in the upcoming national election. Our vote should be based only on the Presidential/Prime Ministerial candidate’s proposal and their respective political party’s plan to change the constitution and for the return of independent functioning parts of the Government of Guyana. This means an independent Judiciary, Police Force and Military, a Parliament and Governance by a Prime Minister with consent of Parliament, Freedom of Information Act, and removal of immunity clauses for the President and Higher Education (UG).

22 April 2011

Indonesia’s Moratorium: An Opportunity for Forests and Industry

By Beth Gingold, Moray McLeish, Kemen Austin, and Rauf Prasodjo, World Resources Institute, 22 April 2011 | A highly anticipated two-year moratorium on new forest conversion permits could bring fundamental improvements to forest and land management in Indonesia. In mid-2011, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is expected to sign a Presidential Decree for the implementation of a two-year moratorium on issuing new permits for conversion of natural forest and peatland. This planned moratorium was announced in May 2010 as part of a $1 billion Indonesia-Norway partnership agreement on reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (known as REDD+). An effective moratorium will allow time for the government – with participation from industry and civil society – to develop improved processes for land use planning and permitting, create information systems and build institutions that can achieve Indonesia’s ambitious low carbon and agricultural development goals.

Former REDD+ negotiator for Indonesia sentenced to 3 years for corruption

mongabay.com, 22 April 2011 | Wandojo Siswanto, one of the negotiators for Indonesia’s delegation at 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen and a key architect of its Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) partnership with Norway, has been sentenced to three years in prison for accepting bribes. Following an investigation by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), Wandojo was found guilty of receiving a bribe of about $10,000 from Anggoro Widjojo, a director of PT Masaro Radiokom, to win favorable treatment in the Ministry of Forestry’s budget for the telecommunications company. Wandojo had been named in at least two other corruption probes, including a 2008 case where he admitted to taking a Rp 50 million ($4,600) kickback from lawmaker Al-Amien Nasution. Wandojo was removed as a Special Advisor to the Minister of Forestry in September.

Erratic Indonesian Legislature Stirs Anger, Mockery

By Olivia Rondonuwu, Reuters, 22 April 2011 | For anyone interested in the state of democracy in Indonesia, a look at recent headlines is instructive: a lawmaker caught watching porn in the legislature, 15 politicians indicted for graft and parties more interested in overseas jaunts than passing laws.

USAID Administrator Shah Commemorates Earth Day

USAID press release, 22 April 2011 | Internationally, efforts to address the drivers of deforestation are being strengthened. At the Copenhagen climate summit in December of 2009, President Obama committed to help developing countries slow down and eventually reverse emissions from deforestation. USAID is working at the forefront of this effort through support for conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancement of forest carbon stocks; combatting illegal logging and forest degrading activities; and making significant contributions to the international REDD+ effort. To make forest management viable in developing countries, USAID partners with the communities most dependent on natural resources. USAID is engaging community groups, local governments, and private enterprises to manage protected areas and share revenue through activities like sustainable fishing and forestry, ecotourism, and harvesting of non-timber forest products.

The Climate Standoff Simplified

By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 22 April 2011 | The two negotiating tracks – KP and LCA – were created at the end of 2007 in Bali, Indonesia, as part of the “Bali Action Plan”, which was designed to encourage negotiators to continue negotiating longer-term climate policies while side-stepping the gulf between developing and developed countries associated with the KP… The two tracks were supposed to converge at the end of 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark, but have instead remained parallel to each other since their creation. Land-use issues are split between the two tracks. The KP track deals with methods of accounting for emissions from land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF) in rich countries. The LCA track deals with mechanisms for saving endangered rainforests in poor countries – including mechanisms that harness carbon payments to encourage REDD. Because the LCA track was frozen in Bangkok, so were the much-anticipated talks on REDD-Plus.

23 April 2011

Counting up the carbon captured

By Paddy Manning, Sydney Morning Herald, 23 April 2011 | Redd Forests, a little company 20 per cent-owned by the Kathmandu founder Jan Cameron, is proving that threatened native forest in Tasmania can have more value standing than if it was logged, by generating carbon credits from it. Next week the first 55,549 verified carbon units approved in this country, each representing a tonne of greenhouse gas emissions saved, will pop up on a register maintained by the Verified Carbon Standard in Washington. The units would be worth about $600,000 at current market prices … because 15 per cent are withheld as a buffer by VCS to cover risks including fire, pest and the chance that some owners will log the forest at the end of the 25-year project. The units are owned by Peter Downie, a sixth-generation cattle and sheep farmer … who for the past 40 years has also logged his private native forest for sawlogs and woodchip – much of it sold to the forestry giant Gunns.

Rockefellers’ 1Sky Unveils the New 350.org: More $ – More Delusion

By Cory Morningstar, Huntington News, 23 April 2011 | On 6 April 2011 it was announced that the RINGO (Rockefeller initiated NGO) 1Sky and their sister organization 350.org have ‘officially merged’ into one mass climate movement – the ‘NEW’ 350.org… 350.org’s symbolic 10:10:10 campaign was funded by Global Greengrants Fund (GGF), a pro-REDD entity which works with, and receives funding from, the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation. GGF states: “Our advisers and partners are currently focusing on REDD and REDD+ efforts around climate mitigation. REDD stands for ‘Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and (forest) Degradation’. It is one of the areas of discussion at COP15 where some believe the most positive movement was made.” Yet, Indigenous groups across the world continue their struggle in opposition of REDD which aims to commodify the worlds remaining forests.

Time for reform of Cameroon’s domestic timber sector

By Charlie Pye-Smith, CIFOR Forests Blog, 23 April 2011 | The trade in illegally harvested timber provides a living for more than 45,000 people, a major source of income for corrupt officials and not a cent for the state… CIFOR’s research has shown that the domestic timber sector is controlled by an extensive network of corruption in which many MINFOF officials play an active role. In 2010, Cameroon signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the European Union guaranteeing, among other things, that all timber will be legally harvested by 2012. Without significant legal reform of the domestic timber sector, and of MINFOF, that is not going to happen.

IDB evaluator retracts concerns about Amaila hydropower developer

Stabroek News, 23 April 2011 | Erik Helland-Hansen, the Head of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)’s expert panel commissioned to evaluate the Amaila Falls Hydropower project in Guyana, has reportedly withdrawn a statement where he expressed concerns that the project’s developer Sithe Global LLC had not as yet taken adequate environmental considerations into their plans. In late March, Helland-Hansen was quoted in the Norwegian journal, Development Today, that the bank had questioned the entire dam concept. “The explanations so far have not been sufficient,” he was quoted as saying. At that time, he had reportedly said that he could not talk much on the project because of his position.

Synergy only paid for completed Amaila road work -Willis

Stabroek News, 23 April 2011 | President of Synergy Holdings Inc. Fip Motilall has only been paid for the work he has completed so far on the Amaila Falls access road project, senior government engineer Walter Willis has said. Contacted by Stabroek News, Willis said that the arrangement was that the contractor would be paid promptly as he completes sections of the project. According to him, every time the contractor submits a certificate, the amount outlined in that document is then measured by the supervising team. [R-M: subscription needed.]

Cocaine container busted in Jamaica was loaded, sealed day before departure-sources

Stabroek News, 23 April 2011 | The container, in which $700M in cocaine was found among logs when it arrived in Jamaica, was loaded and sealed the day before it left these shores… Local forestry expert Dr Janette Bulkan has told this newspaper that AFPA might have breached forestry regulations by allowing someone else to use their permit. She said that she understands that the practice of shipping logs using the permit of a concession holder is a “normal” one in Guyana. However, she argued that the practice is illegal, while adding that “Malaysian and Chinese loggers and log traders have been doing this for years with the connivance of the GFC. I challenged such illegalities through letters published by SN [Stabroek News] in 2006 and thereafter, and the GFC has failed to produce a single example of an approved transfer. Nor has the GFC published any documentation to that effect,” Dr Bulkan said.

24 April 2011

Guyana’s climate advocacy propels it to co-chair REDD partnership

By Johann Earle, Guyana Chronicle, 24 April 2011 | Guyana has gained such credibility on the international stage where climate change discussions are concerned, that from July this year, the country will co-chair the International REDD+ Partnership, a voluntary alliance of rainforest countries and donors, aimed at scaling up REDD+ actions and finance. This is according to President Bharrat Jagdeo, who delivered the feature address at the opening of a seminar to mark UN International Year of Forests, held on Monday at the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC). He noted that Germany was the other co-chair from the developed countries, as the structure allows for a co-chair each from developing and developed nations. Speaking to the Guyana Chronicle on Monday, Guyana’s lead negotiator to the UNFCCC, Andrew Bishop said Guyana announced its candidacy some months ago, but was formally elected at recent meetings in Bangkok, Thailand, in the margin of UN climate change talks there.

Amerindians to get Low Carbon-generated cash in July

Demerara Waves, 24 April 2011 | Village grants to Amerindian communities from Norway’s payment to Guyana for forest carbon services will be handed out to Amerindian chiefs in July, according to President Bharrat Jagdeo. The money will be used to fund projects crafted and approved by Amerindians for their communities. During a visit to Lethem, the Rupununi township near the border with Brazil, Jagdeo told Toshaos at the St. Ignatius Secondary School that the grants will cover 2010 and 2011. Most communities in the Rupununi, he said, would receive about GUY$2 million and smaller ones would get about GUY$1 million. Ahead of his next engagement with the Toshaos, President Jagdeo urged that they reach a general consensus on their priority projects in time for receipt of the funds. “I want you all to go back to your communities and have a discussion about which project you want to fund,” the President was quoted as saying by the state-run Government Information Agency (GINA).

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