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.
RECOFTC, July 2011 | The Forest Governance Learning Group brought together 12 experts from India, Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines, Vietnam, and the UN-REDD Programme to discuss how community forestry strengths and shortcomings can influence the further development of REDD+. This booklet summarizes their responses to nine timely questions and provides recommendations for future steps. The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), REDD-Net, the Climate Development and Knowledge Network (CDKN), the Norad Grassroots Capacity Building Project for REDD+, and RECOFTC supported the workshop and booklet.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Danida DevForum, no date | The Technical Advisory Service together with the Forest and Landscape Department (FLD) at Copenhagen University and the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO) will be organizing a one day seminar on reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+). This event marks the International Year of Forests in 2011 and will be held at Eigtveds Pakhus in Copenhagen. A series of speakers will introduce key topics including monitoring, verification and reporting on carbon stocks, livelihoods and benefit sharing and the conservation of biological diversity. > Registration (deadline 31st August) and further information.
South African Development Community REDD Network, July 2011 | Welcome to our newsletter for the SADC REDD+ information network! In this newsletter, you will find information about current developments on climate change and REDD+ with a special focus on the SADC region. To interact with other REDD+ experts, you can also become a member of the SADC REDD+ online discussion form here: SADC REDD Information Network group.
Congo Basin Forest Partnership, no date | In response to the UN call for joint efforts to reinforce sustainable management, viable conservation and development of all types of forests in the framework of the International Year of Forests, Laval University, in partnership with McGill University, organizes from 2 to 7 October 2011, a programme on community forestry in the context of REDD+ implantation approach. REDD, and now REDD+, is of interest to conservation and development NGOs, and also to private investors. What about forest communities, those that depend on the forest with its resources for their livelihood and their development? This sharing workshop includes a two-day visit of model forests, and a three-day conference with discussion sessions.
By Billy McCarthy, blue moon fund, no date | blue moon fund has been an early supporter of the development of REDD standards, engaging governments and NGOs to deliver REDD benefits to local communities and enact corresponding policies that support meaningful conservation. Beyond the development of REDD standards and practices, blue moon fund has supported a number of feasibility studies across our program geographies. REDD project locations include Cambodia, Laos, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, and Panama. Our focus has been on biodiversity rich areas within nations that have promising political and market support for carbon finance. blue moon fund has targeted REDD as a component of the larger Payment for Ecological Services umbrella of carbon and conservation finance. REDD has particular potential to benefit communities near project sites, as it is terrestrially based, and many indigenous communities have traditionally managed forest resources.
1 August 2011
Forest Peoples Programme, 1 August 2011 | Daniel Jimenez, the Matses headman of the community of Estiron in Loreto has been denounced by Australian in response to Mr Jimenez’ rejection of the proposed carbon deal. Instead of accepting the deal Mr Jimenez had requested that the National Ombudsman investigate Mr and his ‘strange offers of huge profits’ to indigenous communities for the purchase and sale of carbon.
Forest Peoples Programme, 1 August 2011 | AIDESEP has revealed that the recently established Peruvian NGO “Alliance for the Capture of carbon as a solution to climate change” has proposed 10 year ‘agreements’ with various Shipibo indigenous communities. The agreements focus on the potential for ‘environmental services, REDD and carbon deals’ and are offering ‘$100 per hectare and thousands of dollars each year’ to these communities. In an alarming turn the communities are being asked to sign these agreements and hand over their land title papers to the NGO.
By Daniel Cooney (CIFOR), Huffington Post, 1 August 2011 | Billions of dollars have been pledged already to the mechanism, known by the acronym REDD: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation. But making the plan work on the ground is tough. The countries that play host to these forests often have weak governments that struggle to provide even basic services to their people, let alone protect their forests. Still, hundreds of REDD pilot projects are springing up – some re-vamped pre-existing forest conservation projects, others re-packaged social-development programs. Governments are drafting REDD policies and legislation. This has led to a need for fast lessons about what works – and what does not.
By Gabriela Ramirez Galindo, CIFOR Forests blog, 1 August 2011 | This month, countries in the Amazon and the Central America regions announced international cooperation initiatives to tackle deforestation and climate change. In the Amazon region, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Surinam and Venezuela agreed to monitor and compare deforestation rates, reported EFE. The eight Amazon countries said that unlike the methods used to measure deforestation, the main drivers of deforestation- pressure over land use, cattle ranching, agriculture and illegal mining expansion – are common to all countries.
International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) press release, 1 August 2011 | Makoto Sato, General Manager of Marubeni’s Global Environmental Projects Department, and Emmanuel Ze Meka, ITTO Executive Director, signed an Agreement on 29 July 2011 at ITTO Headquarters in Yokohama, to conduct a REDD+ feasibility study in the State of Acre, Brazil. The initiative is funded by the Ministry of Environment of Japan and counts with the support of various partners, including the Acre Institute for Climate Change and Regulation of Environmental Services (IMC), the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (FUNBIO), and others. The feasibility study will analyze the potential of obtaining forest carbon credits in selected areas of the Acre State covering approximately 870,000 ha of tropical forests.
By Hendra Gunawan (APP), Jakarta Globe, 1 August 2011 | Sustainable forestry management, particularly within the pulp and paper industry, can make a positive difference.
By Amantha Perera, AlertNet, 1 August 2011 | The second instalment of a $1 billion aid package promised by Norway to help Indonesia slow deforestation and reduce emissions will only be released once Jakarta sets up two independent bodies to govern forest protection efforts, Norwegian officials have said. Both countries agreed to an annual third-party review of progress on their forest preservation deal signed in May 2010, according to Leif John Fosse, senior adviser for the Norwegian government’s International Climate and Forest Initiative. The Norwegian funds are due to be released over a period of seven to eight years, subject to implementation of the agreement. The first instalment of $30m was paid in August 2010.
By Mohamed Issa, AlertNet, 1 August 2011 | The Norwegian government, which is financing the REDD project, says Tanzania will be eligible to benefit from carbon trade with other countries “providing that reduced rates of deforestation or forest degradation can be demonstrated”. To make that happen, the Zanzibar government is intensively conducting negotiations with villagers and is drawing up Community Forest Management Agreements (COFMAs) which stipulate sustainable usage levels in target forests and impose fines for deforestation or degradation.
2 August 2011
By Matt Brown, Foreign Correspondent, ABC, 2 August 2011 | Riau province in Sumatra is home to the world’s biggest paper plant. It’s owned and run by Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd, better known by the more disarming acronym APRIL. The company has embarked on a massive land clearing project, removing natural stands of timber and replanting fast-growing acacia trees and when it’s done it says the plantation timber alone will feed the plant. APRIL describes this program as sustainable and certainly preferable to the ad hoc land clearing and burning which blights so much of the Indonesia archipelago.
Business Ghana, 2 August 2011 | The 11th Rights and Resources Initiative Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change: Status and role of public and private finance to reduce forest loss and degradation, will take place at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London on 12 October 2011. Organised in conjunction with Forest Peoples Programme, the Dialogue aims to examine what needs to be done to ensure that REDD+ finance is sustainable, accountable, fair and effective.
3 August 2011
UPI.com, 3 August 2011 | Climate change could be modified by lowering emissions of other greenhouse gases in addition to carbon dioxide, U.S. researchers say. A study by scientists at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration found that cutting emissions of other gases, including methane and nitrous oxide, could slow anticipated changes in climate. “We know that recent climate change is primarily driven by carbon dioxide emitted during fossil-fuel combustion, and we know that this problem is going to be with us a long time because carbon dioxide is so persistent in the atmosphere,” NOAA scientist Stephen Montzka said. “But lowering emissions of greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide could lead to some rapid changes for the better.”
By Karin Holzknecht, CIFOR Forests Blog, 3 August 2011 | Though a hunter’s preference for large game can put pressure on fragile forest ecosystems, new research has found that well-managed production forests can act as wildlife reservoirs- with controlled hunting in these areas enabling the promotion of biodiversity and improved community livelihoods. “Hunting is an ancient human practice, and it won’t change any time soon. Therefore, the way to preserve the conservation and economic value of forest ecosystems is to manage hunting so it is sustainable,” said Robert Nasi, scientist with the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and co-author of the paper in Tropical Forest Update.
By Jeff Conant, Climate Connections, 3 August 2011 | In March, 2011, Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP) traveled to the village of Amador Hernández, inside the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve in the Lacandon Jungle of Chiapas, Mexico, to document the ways in which indigenous communities without legal land title are especially at risk from REDD policies. Our findings have been documented in the current issue of Race, Poverty and the Environment, in Z Magazine and through ongoing reporting on Climate Connections, as well as in the video, Amador Hernández: Starved of Medical Services for Redd+. Since our visit, the villagers of Amador Hernández have grown increasingly active in raising the alarm about the impacts of REDD. In response to the California Air Resources Board’s recent deadline for public comments on California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, AB32, they submitted the following declaration.
Biodiversity Policy & Practice, 3 August 2011 | The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have released the Forest Products Annual Market Review 2010-2011, according to which consumption of forest products in the UNECE region rose by 5.6% overall in 2010, following two years of falling production and consumption.
By Justin Kendrick, Bella Caledonia, 3 August 2011 | REDD is simply a means for those in the Global North to delay action by buying the right to continue emitting as long as they hold permits gained through being able to claim they are retaining ‘sinks’ for our carbon by protecting forests in the Global South from being destroyed. The methodologies employed to ‘prove’ that nothing is happening in the forests (and therefore that their carbon are being protected and these carbon ‘sinks’ maintained) are completely porous, but worse than this the only real way for a conservation or corporate organisation to demonstrate they are doing something on the ground is to impose paramilitary force and to exclude local people from using resources they have sustainably used for millennia, often destroying commons regimes in the process and opening up forests to destruction by outsiders as those who have lived with and protected them are forced to move away.
carbonpositive, 3 August 2011 | Norway has forwarded only $30 million so far of a $1 billion forest aid payment to Indonesia pledged in return for a two-year moratorium on deforestation, Reuters AlertNet reports. The Norwegian government says that full payment will only be made over a period of eight years, tied to milestones in forest protection. A second payment is being withheld until Jakarta establishes two independent bodies, one to administer the UN’s REDD+ program in the country, and another to monitor forest emissions. Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry says the agencies should be set up by the end of the year. Also key to the aid-for-forest-protection deal is the production of a detailed map demarcating the various categories of forest area nationwide and their usage. So far, both countries agree a first version of the map does not contain the necessary detail to fulfil the terms of the agreement.
VietNamNet Bridge, 3 August 2011 | After the initial success from the first carbon forest project (forest to absorb carbon), Vietnam Carbon Exchange (VCE) and its partner Voluntary Credits Limited (VCL) from Australia have roused the Vietnamese potential carbon forest market. he representatives of the companies said that the field research phase of the REDD project (reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation) at the Bach Ma National Forest has been completed, while the experts of the companies have entered the period of designing the project. These are the two most important steps of the project. It is expected that the REDD project in Bach Ma will benefit 63,000 local residents and help protect thousands of animal and plantation varieties at the national forest. The project has been scheduled to last 30 years and it is expected to absorb 15,500 tons of living mass every year.
Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 3 August 2011 | The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has entrusted a Canadian company with managing a vast section of its forest, including containing deforestration, the environment ministry has announced. Ecosystem Restoration Associates (ERA) will handle a project covering nearly 300,000 hectares (740,000 acres) of woodlands in the Mai-Ndombe forest, in western Bandundu province, the statement said… “For us, it’s about containing deforestation, restoring the forests and making this country a green country in the interest of the international community,” Congo’s Environment Minister Jose Endundo told AFP. It was also about ensuring the country’s credibility in the fight against climate change, he said. John Kendall, ERA’s Africa representative, told AFP Mai-Ndombe had been a strategic choice to demonstrate what Africa could do in the fight against climate change.
4 August 2011
China Daily, 4 August 2011 | China is likely to soon begin a campaign to limit the absolute amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted by certain industries in certain regions, a senior climate official told a forum on Wednesday. Sun Zhen, an official from the National Development and Reform Commission, said the campaign will be a step beyond the country’s current goal of curbing its carbon intensity, or the amount of carbon it releases for each unit of its GDP. He also said the policy will lay the foundation for carbon-trading programs.
By Catriona Moss, CIFOR Forests Blog, 4 August 2011 | Brazil’s efforts to step up REDD+ activities with the development of a national REDD+ strategy could be undermined by the proposed changes to the Forest Bill, which could delay policy reforms and new legislation needed to curb deforestation in the Amazon, says a revised CIFOR study to be released this month. “After a six month vacuum since Copenhagen, Brazil has finally started discussions on the institutional and benefit sharing mechanism of REDD, however, if the new Forest Code goes ahead, it will present major obstacles in pushing some of these reforms through“, said Maria Fernanda Gebara, CIFOR scientist and co author of the new study.
Climate Connect, 4 August 2011 | The Democratic Republic of Congo has signed an agreement with Canada-based Ecosystem Restoration Associates (ERA) for the management of forest areas spanning 300,000 hectares. The deal covers the Mai-Ndombe forests, located in the western Bandundu province. The agreement is part of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation & Degradation (REDD) program… According to ERA, the Improved Forest Management (IFM) project is expected to deliver at least 300,000 tonnes of carbon offsets per year over an expected 25 year project cycle. Carbon offsets generated from REDD activities are expected to phase in over first several years of the project, climbing to as many as 1 million tonnes per year. All carbon offsets will be validated to the Climate Community and Biodiversity (CCB) standard, as well as the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS).
Ghana News Agency, 4 August 2011 | Henry Ford Kamel, Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, on Thursday announced that government was critically reviewing operations in the land sector and would soon put a bill before Parliament to streamline operations in the sector. He said the Land Administration Project (LAP) which started sometime ago had become lopsided and not beneficial to landowners. Mr Kamel was speaking at a symposium organised by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR) in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as part of activities to celebrate International Year of Forest in Accra. It was attended by representatives from Forestry Commission, civil society organisations, traditional authorities and legal practitioners on the theme: “Securing land/tree tenure rights and benefits towards Reduce Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries (REDD) implementation in Ghana”.
By Carter Roberts (WWF), Fast Company, 4 August 2011 | I’m a guest in a biogas home – one of 7,500 the WWF has helped build to date… The revolving fund was capitalized with donations from WWF supporters the world over and, importantly, with the sale of Gold Standard credits from the voluntary carbon market. The 7,500 stoves save 617 acres of forest annually; that means 33,000 tons of fuel wood isn’t being torched. Each stove eliminates four metric tons of CO2 equivalents annually, and those carbon savings are traded by a Swiss-based organization, My Climate. At a price of $18.50 per ton of CO2 equivalent, we can reach a break-even point on the biogas project in the seventh year. Since the average life of a biogas plant is 20 years, revenue after the seventh year will help us construct more biogas plants in Nepal, making this initiative sustainable. The whole complicated economic and ecological chain is a model for ensuring that local people benefit from emerging programs like REDD.
By Andy White, letter to the editor, Jakarta Post, 4 August 2011 | The central role that granting land rights to local communities and IPs has on REDD must be recognized before REDD+ can truly become the “pathway to prosperity”. Experience on the ground, as in Brazil, supports and confirms the effectiveness of conservation by IPs and other forest communities and the key role their tenure reforms have played in bringing justice to the forests, and providing a relatively inexpensive way to prevent significant emissions. While the global demand for forest products continues to increase, the pressure for conversion of natural forests remains great, and REDD cannot work if protection in one place leads to increased exploitation in another.
5 August 2011
Ecosystem Marketplace, 5 August 2011 | The corks are popping and we’re happy to wish New Zealand’s ETS a happy first birthday. The country’s Prime Minister John Keys sees the ETS in “good shape.” Meanwhile, the Treasurer from neighboring Australia is hoping Aussies will be reassured by NZ ETS successes that “the sky doesn’t fall in” when a cap-and-trade program gets rolled out. New Zealand’s program has seen a fair share of forest projects moving credits to local and international buyers, but developers remain weary with prolonged depression in CER and AAU prices leading many domestic emitters to choose cheaper international credits for compliance use instead of more costly domestic ones.
By Nick Oates, Climatico, 5 August 2011 | Despite this objection, there is still a large drive to engage the private sector in REDD+ financing as soon as possible. Much of the discussion for attracting private finance has focused on creating investable conditions for private actors. High transaction costs, political and regulatory risk, and the absence of any clarity on the monetary value of credits within a compliance carbon market post-2012 must be mitigated, it is said, before private money will flow to REDD+. However, much less attention has been given to the safeguards that must be put in place to ensure that private sector engagement does not compromise the environmental integrity of a project, credit, or damage the reputational issues of the financial mechanism.
By Tony Levene, The Guardian, 5 August 2011 | Carbon credit trading schemes are set to take over from landbanking as a major scam hitting unwary investors. This week the Financial Services Authority issued its first consumer alert on the schemes following an unprecedented 10-fold surge in complaints and queries in July. The watchdog warns that the schemes are unregulated, so anyone can sell them, and UK authorities have no way of controlling their quality or validity. Investors risk ending up with an overpriced credit which is virtually unsellable – just like the almost worthless agricultural acreage that landbankers push with the promise of planning permission in the near future.
By Adele Trap, Belize News, 5 August 2011 | The 42% rise in illegal logging activities reported inside the Chiquibul Forest in western Belize may finally get Government’s attention now that a dollar figure of $15 million has been put to the amount of illegal exports of mahogany and cedar leaving the country for next-door Guatemala… He indicated that Chiquibul has the opportunity for flagship status among Belizean forests to have a UN REDD carbon credits system initiated in that part of Belize. Under this arrangement, Belize can get funds for existing carbon stores in its tropical forests. For keeping its forests verdant, Belize can access an estimated US$10.5 million under the UN REDD program (which would cover a 20-year projection), while maintaining its national resource wealth.
Ghana Government, 5 August 2011 | The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR), in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), yesterday held a symposium on Land/Tree Tenure and Benefit Sharing to commemorate the celebration of the International Year of Forests (IYF) in Accra. The symposium was on the theme: “Securing Land/Tree Rights and Benefits for Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) Implementation in Ghana”… In an interview, the Director of the IUCN, Mr. Stewart Maginnis, said that REDD was initiated in early 2008 to discuss issues and find solutions to how to use land effectively to reduce the emission of chlorofloros (CFCs). Mr. Stewart said IUCN’s key objective was to use forests to reduce CFCs on the formation of climate change to conserve the forest.
ERA press release, 5 August 2011 | ERA Carbon Offsets Ltd. through its 100% owned subsidiary ERA Ecosystem Restoration Associates Inc., (ERA) is pleased to announce the signing of the Forest Conservation Concession Contract for the 299,640 hectare Mai Ndombe property with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)… Dr. Robert Falls, Chairman of ERA commented: “This is a very significant day for the Democratic Republic of Congo, the people and forests of Mai Ndombe, and all of us at ERA. It is clear that the DRC and Africa will play a meaningful role in climate change mitigation, and we are honoured and excited to help make this happen. I would very much like to recognize the Honourable Minister Jose Endundo for his ongoing support and leadership, our dedicated and talented team at ERA Congo, and the many individuals within the DRC who have played important roles in this process.”
6 August 2011
By Emma Hope, The Mercury, 6 August 2011 | A Malaysian parliamentarian has visited Tasmania’s native forests with a warning over timber company Ta Ann’s business operations in his home country. Baru Bian from the Justice Party in Sarawak, Malaysia, was in Hobart yesterday speaking about Ta Ann and a subsidiary company, Gran Perfect. Ta Ann owns 30 per cent of shares in Gran Perfect, which is facing court action in Malaysia over illegal logging. Mr Bian said he was shocked the company was operating in Tasmania’s native forests.
7 August 2011
By Michael Simire, Daily Independent, 7 August 2011 | Nigeria has initiated pilot programmes on two related Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) strategies that seek to ensure that REDD activities do not have adverse impact on non-carbon interests. These entail the Social and Environmental Safeguards (SESs) as well as the Participatory Governance Assessments (PGAs), which are being operated in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) offices in Abuja.
Jakarta Post, 7 August 2011 | Up to 71 percent of mangrove forests in Indonesia have been damaged, Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta said Saturday in Brebes, Central Java. He mentioned the figure during the ceremony to designate Brebes’ northern beaches as a “green belt”, marked with a symbolic planting of 80,000 mangrove seeds in Randusanga Kulon village in Central Java. Gusti further cited his ministry’s data saying that Indonesia had about 9.36 millions hectares of mangrove forests; 48 percent of which are “moderately damaged” and 23 percent “badly damaged”, kompas.com reported.
By Janette Bulkan, letter to the editor Stabroek News, 7 August 2011 | The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) has reported to the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) that “many of Guyana’s lesser used species of lumber continue to catch the attention of the overseas markets in Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and North America” (ITTO Tropical Timber Market Report 16-14, 16-31 July 2011, page 11, and Stabroek News ‘Forestry Commission moving to upgrade wood-processing capacity – report,’ August 5 2011). The GFC has not reported systematically since February 2008 what timbers are exported in what volumes to which countries each month, so how do we know that exports are of lesser used species rather than the increasingly rare commercially-prime species which have been under-managed and over-cut (purpleheart timber over-cut by about 30 times its capacity to regenerate naturally) under this GFC administration?
UPDATE – 10 August 2011 This morning, REDD-Monitor received an email from its web hosting provider, bluehost.com, stating that they had received a “report of Terms of Service Violations”. Bluehost demanded that all images and references to the name of a certain “carbon cowboy”, who was recently reported to be operating in Peru, be removed from the website.
This seems to be a serious infringement on the right to freedom of expression. REDD-Monitor is currently discussing this issue with Bluehost.