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REDD in the news: 28 November – 4 December 2011

REDD in the news: 28 November - 4 December 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.

REDD+ finance delivery: lessons from early experience

By Anna Creed and Smita Nakhooda, Overseas Development Institute, November 2011 | Delivering REDD+ finance has taken more preparatory work, capacity and tailoring than initially envisaged. Multilateral institutions financing REDD+ have made significant progress, and experience to date will inform and facilitate future implementation. Alongside this, Annex II countries are providing increasing volumes of finance through bilateral channels. There remains very little transparency around these bilateral arrangements. It is essential to ensure that the lessons learned through experience with multilateral institutions and participating stakeholders inform bilateral financing. The large number of multilateral and bilateral engagements in forest countries creates major coordination challenges. There is an urgent need for more capacity and expertise on the implementation and management of REDD+ within contributor countries, recipient countries, and intermediaries.

REDD+ and FLEGT linkages

FLEGT, no date | REDD+ and the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) process are two forest related initiatives that can be mutually supportive. For example, FLEGT can support REDD+ by promoting improved forest governance and law enforcement, addressing some of the causes of deforestation and forest degradation, and by establishing effective multi-stakeholder processes. In turn, REDD+ can strengthen FLEGT through increased momentum to support forest sector reform, access to finance and increased political attention.

REDD+: Ready to engage private investors?

IIED, November 2011 | The prospect of gaining carbon credits by acquiring land to implement REDD+ has caught the eye of the private sector. In many countries, including Papua New Guinea and Republic of Congo, there are reports of a carbon rush. In Mozambique, private investors have expressed an interest in acquiring more than 22 per cent of the country’s land for REDD+. But Mozambique, like many developing countries, is still in the early stages of preparing a REDD+ strategy. This briefing warns that encouraging private sector involvement before the country has the right policies and institutions in place to safeguard local environments and people risks undermining the potential of REDD+ for sustainable development.

Beyond rhetoric: South-South collaboration for REDD+

IIED, November 2011 | Global debates about reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and promoting conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+) emphasise the need for strategies to build on existing knowledge. This briefing describes an example of South-South collaboration in which IIED has helped facilitate a Mozambique-Brazil partnership to share expertise and create a unique REDD+ working group. The initiative provides key lessons for other countries contemplating South-South collaboration on REDD+, including the need for charismatic champions, continuity in government representation and integration across sectors.

Options for promoting high-biodiversity REDD+

IIED, November 2011 | International climate and biodiversity conventions agree that to be effective in the long term, strategies to reduce emissions from deforestation, forest degradation, conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks, and sustainable forest management (REDD+), must not undermine biodiversity. But how do countries achieve ‘high-biodiversity REDD+’ in practice? This briefing presents a range of national and international policy options that can be pursued to promote high-biodiversity REDD+ and reinforce the Cancun safeguards.

28 November 2011

Kyoto is back as climate politics enter lost decade

By Gerard Wynn, Reuters, 28 November 2011 | The Kyoto Protocol on global warming is flawed and ineffective but must now be extended as the only deal left to shore up international climate action as the economic downturn threatens a decade in limbo… The European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland are likely to agree to extend Kyoto beyond 2012 at a two-week conference which opened in Durban on Monday, in lieu of a wider deal involving the world’s two biggest emitters China and the United States. That’s the best outcome on the table in South Africa. It represents a gaping political failure: countries agreed in 2007 to sign a broad, global deal in Copenhagen in 2009 to come into force four years later. Two years on, they are now poised to commit to sign in 2015 an agreement to come into force in 2020, instead.

Durban Talks Focus on Life After Kyoto

By Daniel Kandy, Ecosystem Marketplace, 28 November 2011 | The 17th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has begun, and expectations have never been lower, while the stakes have never been higher. The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is set to expire at the end of 2012, and these are the talks that were supposed to tell us what comes after. We’ll be bringing you daily coverage of negotiations and side events beginning tomorrow and running through September 9. Today, we’ll look back at the events that brought us here. Last year’s talks, COP 16, took place in Cancún, Mexico, and ended with a last-minute agreement on the need to move forward with mechanisms aimed at slowing climate change by saving endangered rainforests and reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). That agreement set in motion a series of meetings that brought us to where we are today.

Agriculture Orgs Up Pressure Ahead of Durban Climate Talks

The Source, Wall Street Journal, 28 November 2011 | A raft of the world’s most influential agricultural bodies, including the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, Farming First as well as the World Bank have joined forces to urge international negotiators at Durban’s climate summit, which begins today, to acknowledge the significant role of the sector in addressing climate change. In an open letter, the organizations plead with international climate negotiators to approve a Work Program for the agriculture sector under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice— an official advisory group within the broader UN negotiations taking place in Durban – that brings experts together to determine how the sector can make the necessary long-term investments to handle challenges that lie ahead.

Can carbon for the price of a pizza save the planet? | Reuters

By Jeff Coelho and Nina Chestney, Reuters, 28 November 2011 | Climate negotiators meeting in South Africa this week face fresh worries over saving the planet from global warming now that a ton of carbon trades at the price of a pizza. A European steel plant producing a ton of steel pays as little as $12 for the resulting carbon emissions, spelling trouble for Europe’s carbon emissions trading scheme, the world’s largest. At those prices, there is little incentive for industry to lower its carbon output, meaning one of Europe’s major tools in fighting climate change is broken.

REDD+ challenges as enormous as its opportunities in the Congo Basin

CIFOR Forests Blog, 28 November 2011 | A new study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) highlights the need for international negotiators to understand developing country perspectives on opportunities and challenges if REDD+ leads to a sudden injection of new funds to the Congo Basin region. The Congo Basin is home to the world’s second-largest rainforest, creating significant opportunities for REDD+, a global mechanism that could see rich countries channel billions of dollars annually to developing ones in exchange for them safeguarding their forests. The researchers interviewed 83 representatives from government ministries, civil society, international NGOs, national and international organisations and the private sector in Cameroon, Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo.

[Ecuador] Ransom: Rainforest held hostage by oil interests unless the world pays to preserve biosphere

By Naomi Mapstone, Financial Times, 28 November 2011 | Time is running out for Yasuní, a world biosphere reserve that sits on top of a fifth of Ecuador’s oil reserves. The government has offered to leave the nearly 1bn barrels of oil under the national park’s Ishpingo, Tambococha and Tiputini (ITT) areas untapped if wealthy nations contribute $3.6bn over a decade. But this “big idea from a small country” has fallen victim to the eurozone crisis, global financial turmoil and scepticism about financial guarantees, says Kevin Koenig, a Quito-based programme co-ordinator for Amazon Watch, a conservation organisation. “The northern countries are not interested in making a simple donation to something like this without carbon offsets, without getting something back. Economically they’re not in the greatest shape right now to be donating,” he says.

How Green can be the Green India Mission?

Aid Netherlands, 28 November 2011 | The international community under UNFCC has considered ‘Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)’ as critical to contain the Global Warming. Amongst the so called developmental activities having huge impact on our forest cover and the bio-diversity is the power sector. Large size conventional power projects such as coal based, OR dam based OR nuclear based power plants need large tracts of forest area to set up coal/nuclear mines, power plants, reservoirs, transmission lines, staff colonies etc. Pollutants, emissions and wastes from the power plants also have huge deleterious impacts on quality and size of the total forest area in the country.

[Indonesia] Scene: Govt ‘lacks commitment’ in illegal logging

Jakarta Post, 28 November 2011 | A member of the House of Representatives Commission IV Ma’amur Hasanuddin has blamed the failure to pass the illegal logging bill on the government’s lack of commitment to resolve problems surrounding Indonesia’s forests. “It is hard to believe that the government would suspend deliberation of the bill due to its disagreement with the Forest Destruction Eradication Agency [BP2H] over responsibility for implementation,” he said as quoted by Antara. According to Ma’amur, the government had refused to grant BP2H the authority to implement the illegal logging bill arguing that such authority belonged to the police and the attorney general. Ma’amur said that the presence of an agency that specifically monitors the implementation of the bill would help legal enforcers perform their duties in curbing illegal logging.

[Indonesia] A silent protest in Pulau Padang : space for transparency

Transparency International, 28 November 2011 | Stitching their mouths shut is one of the more drastic of a series of actions that are being taken by people from Pulau Padang in Indonesia after requests from them for an explanation for the award of a new paper concession to PT RAPP (Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper-APRIL Group) went unanswered. As can be seen from the map below, this concession – indicated by red lines – was awarded on an area of protected forest – indicated by the dark green colour. Controversy has raged since 2009 when this concession was first awarded with communities expressing grave concern that a significant portion of land that they traditionally owned was included in the 41,205 hectare concession. PT RAPP has been criticized before for its failure to engage with and consult communities.

Tanzania: Mitigation Measures Are Needed to Address Climate Change

By Pius Rugonzibwa,, 28 November 2011 | Tanzania has vowed to introduce more mitigation measures that strategies aiming at coping with climate change impacts thanks to the efforts on the ground to ensure the draft on National Climate Change strategy and action plan is ready before end of this year. The recent annual meeting on Opportunities for Sustainable Natural Resource Use with National and Local Benefits gathered experts in areas of Environmental issues and natural resources that took place in Arusha and came out with various challenges that Tanzania needs to overcome to effectively tackle the vice. Speaking during the occasion hosted by the Environment for Development (EfD) Tanzania in collaboration with the Department of Economics of the University of Dar es Salaam (USDM), the Director of Environment in the Vice-President’s Office, Dr Julius Kingu, said the country is slowly gaining momentum in confronting climate change effects.

29 November 2011

Open Letter of Concern to the International Donor Community about the Diversion of Existing Forest Conservation and Development Funding to REDD+

Climate Connections, 29 November 2011 | We the undersigned NGOs and Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations (IPOs) want to express our profound concern about the way funds for forest conservation and restoration, and poverty eradication, are being misdirected toward REDD+ projects and policy processes (ostensibly to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and to enhance forest carbon stocks).

[Kenya] Mau Ecosystem Rehabilitation Gains Momentum with Donor Support and UN Backing

IEWY news, 29 November 2011 | A new three-year intervention to rehabilitate the Northern Mau Forest at the cost of Euro €2.3 million is set to deliver multiple benefits for Kenya and the region. These range from the restoration of vital water catchments and the establishment of payments for environmental services; to improving the livelihoods of local communities and monitoring carbon storage in the Mau Forest. The project, funded by the European Union and implemented by the Kenyan Government and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), aims to support the rehabilitation of the Mau forest ecosystem and to create a sustainable basis for its long-term conservation and management. The strategic importance of the Mau Forest lies in the ecosystem services it provides to Kenya and the region, including river flow regulation, flood mitigation, water storage, reduced soil erosion, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, carbon reservoir and microclimate regulation.

[Indonesia] W. Java wants clarification on carbon trade

By Yuli Tri Suwarni, Jakarta Post, 29 November 2011 | West Java Vice Governor Yusuf Macan Effendi is asking the central government to provide a clear definition on carbon trading mechanisms for the forestry sector, which may motivate provincial administrations to protect the diminishing conservation forests. Yusuf said the provincial administrations in Java had so far failed to engage in carbon trading as other provinces had outside Java because the matter in Java was regulated in a ministerial regulation and directly managed by the central government. “I learned about the new regulation when trying to arrange for carbon trading offered by a European institute last year,” Yusuf told reporters in Bandung recently. The institute, Yusuf said, offered a carbon trading disbursement scheme on an 800,000-hectare forested area in West Java. It turned out that the trading was being arranged at the Forestry Ministry.

Carbon Plantations in Mozambique (1): Livelihoods, Development, and Local Legitimacy

By Kenneth Lia Solberg, REDD+ EARTH, 29 November 2011 | The Norwegian forestry company Green Resources (GR) is one of several commercial actors that have started planting forests in Africa, aiming to reduce global CO2 emissions and join the international emissions trade market. During my fieldwork in Niassa province in Mozambique, I investigated how one of their plantations, Sanga, socioeconomically affects adjacent local communities… On the positive side, most villagers express that they are happy that the company has brought employment, and thus money to many families in the community. Green Resources is almost the only employer in some of the villages, and by far the biggest employer in Malulu. There was, however, a general dissatisfaction among most of the villagers concerning how the company interacts with locals, and partly on how the plantation is run.

Opposition to REDD+

By John Burton, World Land Trust, 29 November 2011 | Recently one of our partner organisations applied to a foundation for funding and it was turned down. Not uncommon, but what was unusual was that the foundation actually gave detailed reasons for refusing, and one of these was that REDD+ projects were being implemented by the NGO concerned… While I have every sympathy with the Anti-REDD stance, by the time the world catches up, millions more acres will have been lost. My view is that taking a totally anti-REDD stance is fiddling while Rome burns. The WLT actually only supports REDD+ (the plus is for biodiversity), for largely tactical reasons. Until those campaigning against REDD+ can come up with a viable alternative, I think it is by far the best option on the table for raising significant funds for biodiversity conservation. Many of the best biodiversity conservation NGOs are going to have to accept funding from this source, simply because there are few other sources.

UN-REDD Publishes Brief on REDD+ and a Green Economy

Climate Change Policy & Practice, 29 November 2011 | The UN-REDD Programme has launched a policy brief titled “REDD+ and a Green Economy: Opportunities for a mutually supportive relationship,” which explores the concepts of REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, as well as conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks) as a source of investment for green development. This Policy Brief explains that REDD+ investments maintain natural capital, keeping it from being converted to financial or physical capital. It furthers the idea that REDD+ is a natural capital-led investment strategy, and argues that it provides an opportunity for change to green development. The Brief outlines recommendations for creating a roadmap for REDD+ in the context of green development.

Conservation can only work by putting a value on forests

By Ben Caldecott (Climate Change Capital), The Ecologist, 29 November 2011 | REDD+ type projects to protect rainforests face many obstacles but we should not give up on market-based solutions, says Ben Caldecott from the investment bank Climate Change Capital. We can’t possibly tackle climate change or many of the other environmental challenges we face without halting deforestation. At the heart of making this a reality is ensuring that forests are worth more alive than dead. While it’s impossible to place a simple monetary value on things of such significance, to permanently shift preferences toward forest conservation, this is exactly what we must do.

Wildlife Works Launches CODE REDD Campaign to Save the World’s Threatened Forests

Wildlife Works press release, 29 November 2011 | Wildlife Works announced today the launch of CODE REDD, an emergency action campaign to save the world’s wild forests using private sector financing within the Voluntary Carbon Market. As corporations recognize their responsibility to do all they can to reduce their carbon footprint by lowering emissions and offsetting the rest, the CODE REDD campaign aims to make it easy and compelling for corporations to pledge to buy REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) carbon offsets. The Campaign will also ensure that those offsets are generated by specific high quality forest protection projects that have proven they can protect threatened forests while at the same time providing unprecedented sustainable development opportunities to local forest communities.

REDD+ Methodological Mayhem: Communities & Technicalities

By Erica Pohnan, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Blog, 29 November 2011 | I have long been a fan of the Kyoto: Think Global, Act Local (KTGAL) project. This fantastic research project trained local community members in eight developing countries to collect basic forestry data needed to perform accurate carbon accounting for REDD+. The project has taught us one key lesson: Local communities CAN collect accurate data at relatively low cost, with minimal training. This means that community monitoring holds powerful potential to solve some of the insurmountable challenges facing REDD+.

Durban blog: Fraud and the forests

By Jane Burston (Carbon Retirement), BusinessGreen, 29 November 2011 | REDD, the mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, has been one of the areas in which considerable progress has been made over the past two years. In 2010 alone, Norway committed US$21.7m of bilateral funds to Indonesia for forest protection, and at COP16 in Cancun, parties officially agreed to establish the REDD+ mechanism. Today at COP17, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Global Witness gave delegates an insight into how these funds and agreements were translating into progress on the ground. Both agencies claim that corruption is affecting forest protection and monitoring activities on a grand scale.

Forest Campaigners Denounce Forest Carbon Offsets

Global Forest Coalition press release, 29 November 2011 | At the inauguration of United Nations COP17, Global Forest Coalition has published a series of “Grimm REDD Fairy Tales” [1] to assist delegates in distinguishing truth from fiction regarding the controversial program of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation and enhancing forest carbon stocks (REDD+). Challenging the ability of REDD+ and other market mechanisms to address the underlying causes of the climate crisis, Global Forest Coalition charges that REDD+ could well be a collection of modern fairy tales – fabricated stories intended to lure the unwitting into a complex web of deception. “It is very clear that the REDD Emperor has no clothes,” said Simone Lovera, Director of Global Forest Coalition. “That’s why we advise developing countries and local communities not bite the poisoned REDD apple.”

Forest-Dependent Communities Lobby for End of REDD+

By Kristin Palitza, IPS news, 29 November 2011 | Organisations working with indigenous peoples living in forests say the United Nations programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD+) is just another way for big corporates to reap huge profits. REDD+ has been touted as a global scheme to conserve forests, enhance carbon stocks and support sustainable forest management. “It is a system where you pour a lot of money into forests that will attract powerful international investors who will make big profits,” warned Simone Lovera, managing director of the Global Forest Coalition, a worldwide network of more than 50 non-governmental organisations and Indigenous Peoples’ Organisations based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. She spoke during the U.N. 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17), which is taking place in Durban, South Africa, from Nov. 28 to Dec. 9.

Expectations for Durban: High level progress on REDD+ likely to be held hostage by broader stalemate

By Kristy Graham (ODI), REDD-Net, 29 November 2011 | As the negotiations of COP17 kick off in Durban, there are as many expectations flying around as there are participants. Compared to previous COPs however, most expectations are pretty low. Overall progress in negotiating a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, or a separate, binding emissions reduction agreement including the emerging economies (China, India, Brazil, Russia and South Africa), is likely to be slow. Which in UNFCCC terms means that 2015 is likely to be the first window of opportunity for a deal to be agreed, so don’t hold your breath on that one… But it’s definitely not all doom and gloom. There is cause for optimism – REDD+ is happening on the ground, there are a range of innovative approaches involving local communities, the private sector, development partners and national and sub-national governments, using a range of landscape scale approaches and innovative financial transfer mechanisms.

[India] The carbon con: the true cost of offsetting

Ecologist Film Unit, 29 November 2011 | Exclusive film looks at allegations that a coal power project in central India, approved under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism, is destroying forests and livelihoods. It is meant to be supporting ‘sustainable development’ but the UN’s flagship carbon trading scheme is failing, according to an investigation by the Ecologist Film Unit. One the eve of the Durban climate change talks, investigators travelled to Madhya Pradesh in central India to document the impact of a new coal power plant, and associated coal mines, approved by the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism. Our investigation uncovered allegations the project is displacing poor communities and leading to the destruction of forest.

[Mexico] REDD in the Lacandon Jungle: The Political Use of a Program Against Climate Change

Upside Down World, 29 November 2011 | Analyzing the application of REDD to the Lacandon Jungle in the Mexican state of Chiapas, all of the problems that the program brings with it begin to stick out. California and the state of Acre (Brazil) have for some time now had their eyes on the Chiapan jungle, Latin America’s second lung. In November 2010, the two governments signed an agreement with governor Juan Sabines Guerrero laying the foundations for REDD’s introduction in Chiapas. Already in 2009 the state government initiated its Program for Action Against Climate Change in Chiapas (PACCCH), thanks to the support of the British Embassy, Conservation International, NGO conservationists (that have the important role of being intermediaries to communities) and academics. Out of all of these, it is the researchers from ECOSUR (El Colegio de la Fontera Sur) who are working on a document to implement REDD+ in Mexico.

Land conflicts, carbon piracy and violations of indigenous peoples’ rights: New report by Amazonian indigenous peoples exposes the reality of REDD+ in Peru and proposes solutions

Forest Peoples Programme press release, 29 November 2011 | A new report published today by Peruvian indigenous organisations, AIDESEP, FENAMAD and CARE, and international human rights organisation the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), reveals the impact that REDD projects and programmes are already having on the lives of indigenous peoples. The reality of REDD+ in Peru: Between theory and practice – Indigenous Amazonian Peoples’ analyses and alternatives finds that REDD pilot projects run by some NGOs and companies are already undermining the rights of indigenous peoples, and are leading to carbon piracy and conflicts over land and resources. Persistent advocacy efforts by indigenous peoples’ organisations to secure respect for the fundamental rights of indigenous peoples have resulted in some government commitments to modify national REDD programmes financed by the World Bank. Nevertheless, solid guarantees for respect of these rights are yet to materialise.

30 November 2011

Private sector needs quick decision on REDD finance

Environmental Finance, 30 November 2011 | Time is running out for key decisions on the financing of projects that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), said Abyd Karmali, global head of carbon emissions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. This week’s UN climate change meeting in Durban must decide if private capital and market mechanisms have a role in financing REDD projects, he told the Global Business of Biodiversity conference in London on Monday. “Private capital will be deterred if we don’t see significant progress soon,” he warned.

Mexico pushes for transparency in carbon emissions reporting

By Michelle Kovacevic, CIFOR Forests Blog, 30 November 2011 | Mexico will publicly release an independent review of their carbon accounting data in under two months, leading by example as the first developing country to deliver transparent data on their emissions, said Dr Fernando Tudela, the country’s Vice Minister for Planning and Environmental Policy. The success of effective international systems to address climate change – such as the forest preserving scheme REDD – will depend on a country’s capacity to deliver strong, credible, and transparent systems for tracking greenhouse gas emissions. Preliminary data from the reviews are already revealing areas for improvement, said Dr Tudela at a side event of the UN climate summit in Durban yesterday.

Amazonian indigenous peoples against REDD

Latin American Press, 30 November 2011 | Peruvian indigenous organizations along with the Forest Peoples Program, an international non-profit that defends the rights of native forest-dwelling peoples, said in a recent report that carbon emission reduction programs tied to the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, or REDD, a United Nations-led program, are hurting indigenous rights.

External briefing on Safeguarding REDD+

Global Witness, 30 November 2011 | This briefing, carries out by consultant group LTS International, examines existing systems for ensuring that finance for the UN’s Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and Degradation scheme, under which rich countries pay developing ones to preserve rather than harvest their forests, is used effectively and transparently, and outlines what still needs to be done to ensure this.

Durban for Dummies: Beyond the Kyoto Protocol

By Steve Zwick, Forbes, 30 November 2011 | Zipping through the coverage of climate talks in Durban, it’s clear that newbie reporters are struggling to understand what’s happening here, and veterans are assuming too much knowledge on the part of a generally apathetic public… The informal talks I’ve had with delegates have been a bit less negative than I expected — no one expects a breakthrough, but there seems to be a willingness to work on those things we do agree on, and to build on the foundation that the Copenhagen Accord provides. This marks a dramatic departure from years past, when the focus was on a unanimous global agreement or bust. Understand this, and you’ll understand most of the articles you’re reading.

Getting up to Speed in Durban: Must-Reads

Ecosystem Marketplace, 30 November 2011 | Climate talks are underway in Durban, South Africa, and there’s no shortage of reading material to keep you up to speed. We’ll be digging through material as it emerges and posting those here that are deep enough to be of use to experts and yet accessible enough to be of use to first-timers. Keep checking this page, as we’ll be updating it throughout the event.

Negotiators should address illegal logging when crafting REDD+ rules, says watchdog

By Leony Aurora, CIFOR Forests Blog, 30 November 2011 | An environmental watchdog warned that negotiators need to take extra care when crafting rules for measuring carbon emissions related to REDD+ because otherwise developing countries could be financially rewarded for simply enforcing their existing forest protection laws. Current practices that include “systematic illegal logging” cannot be considered as business-as-usual, Andrea Johnson, Director of Forests Campaigns at the Environment Investigation Agency, said at the sidelines of the UN climate summit in Durban yesterday. She urged negotiators to put more focus on law enforcement and corruption issues, which are admittedly “difficult” to discuss as they raise “structural issues about impunities for powerful interests”.

Global net forest loss smaller than thought: FAO

Reuters, 30 November 2011 | The global net loss of forest over 1990-2005 was smaller by a third than earlier estimated but deforestation still threatens environment and food security, the United Nation’s food agency said on Wednesday unveiling new satellite-based data… The new data also showed the net loss of forests accelerated at the end of the survey period, rising to 6.4 million ha per year between 2000 and 2005 from 4.1 million ha per year between 1990 and 2000.

Nature’s role in stemming climate change

The Mercury, 30 November 2011 | The IUCN, a coalition of the world’s leading environmental organisations and a large number of scientists, says one of the most advanced options for fighting climate change is a forest-based protection programme to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, known as REDD+. “We must accelerate the implementation of an environmentally sound and socially equitable REDD+ mechanism at a national level. “The industrialised world needs to remove bottlenecks currently holding up the flow of promised resources, and tropical countries need to seize this moment to strengthen and, above all, avoid weakening existing legislation and policies that will enable fast-start action on REDD+,” it says.

Losing 10 football stadiums of forest every minute, 30 November 2011 | As countries debate a climate changing deal to save the planet, a new satellite-based survey released by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) shows we lost forest cover the size of 10 football stadiums per minute in the 15 years between 1990 and 2005. The good news is that the net forest loss is less than “we had estimated through data collated from countries”, said Eduardo Rojas-Briales, FAO Assistant Director-General of Forestry. “In a sense, this is our first independent data”. The agency had to depend on information put together by countries, but lack of capacity to conduct surveys in some meant they relied on old data.

Key question is whether US and China are willing to accept reduction targets

By Frank McDonald, Irish Times, 30 November 2011 | It has been estimated that at least $17 billion will be needed every year to fund a landmark agreement on reducing deforestation in developing countries (known as “REDD+”), but so far only $5 billion has been pledged to cover the short-term until 2012, in support of countries taking initial steps to implement the programme. “It’s time for rich countries to do what they promised last year,” said said Fiona Napier, associate director of the Global Witness campaign. As for where the money for the Green Climate Fund might come from, development aid advocacy organisations such as Oxfam favour a levy on carbon emissions from aviation and shipping or a tax on international financial transactions; even at a low rate of 0.05 per cent, such a “Robin Hood” tax could generate as much as €400 billion a year.

United Nations CO2 Scheme To Take Backseat In Climate-Aid Drive

By Jeff Coelho, Reuters, 30 November 2011 | The U.N.’s carbon offset scheme will play only a small role in the developed world’s pledge to raise $100 billion in annual climate aid for developing nations by 2020, and analysts say that is driving the need for new sources of funding. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), created as part of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, allows rich nations to invest in emissions-cutting projects in the developing world in return for carbon credits. Yet new investment in it has fallen by 80 percent since 2008 to $1.5 billion in 2010, with even less expected this year. “I fear that will be smaller again (in 2011),” said Ben Caldecott, head of European policy at Climate Change Capital, a London-based investment management and advisory group. That is less than 1 percent of a funding target announced at global climate talks in Mexico in 2010, prompting calls for new schemes to raise cash and help limit the planet’s warming.

REDD at a crossroads in Bolivia, 30 November 2011 | Bolivia has a central role in the debate over how to shape the reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) mechanism, argues a new report published by the Democracy Center. The report, titled Off the Market: Bolivian forests and struggles over climate change, highlights two factors in Bolivia’s importance in discussions over how to compensate tropical countries for forest conservation efforts. The first is geographic: Bolivia has both large tracts of Amazon rainforest and a high deforestation rate, which is largely the product of unregulated expansion of industrial agriculture. The second is political: Bolivia has emerged as an outspoken critic of market-based approaches to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and is “an important ally” to climate justice movements opposing carbon markets.

GMES for Congo Forest Monitoring REDD Presentation

GIM International, 30 November 2011 | The GSE FM REDD Programme will host in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Congo a REDD+ Side Event at the COP17 in Durban (South Africa), December 2011. Key issues that will be presented include, the national REDD+ vision and activities that have been undertaken at national level for the institutionalization of a REDD+ framework as well as the development of technical methods to support the process.

Congo’s forests depend on Durban

By François Biloko, The Guardian, 30 November 2011 | This week the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) votes on its future, with many in the country nervous about the outcome. Meanwhile in Durban, delegates are meeting to try to resolve our collective future, by finding a way to tackle global climate change. As a Congolese citizen fighting to protect the forests that millions of us call home, there is a great deal at stake in the coming weeks. For those of us who rely on forests for everything, the key to a better future is clear – we must protect our homes from the march of the logging companies, before it is too late. To us, this is not a fuzzy, distant debate about the future of big-name treaties. Forests are crucial to climate protection because they store huge amounts of carbon dioxide and emit it when they’re destroyed. But this is also a human rights and development issue about how we as citizens can use our resources to build a better future.

[Indonesia] Hearing Indigenous Voices on Forests

By Andrew D. Kaspar, Jakarta Globe, 30 November 2011 | United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon may have said it best when he visited Central Kalimantan on Nov. 17 to launch Indonesia’s UN Office for REDD Coordination: “Making REDD a success here and elsewhere will require the commitment and cooperation of all stakeholders. We must ensure that all have a voice.” … “Everybody’s talking about REDD now. Everybody’s talking about forests,” said Mina Setra, the head of international policy with the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN). “And when they talk about forests, they cannot skip indigenous peoples in the discussions.” … “This is a window for us to jump in, and talk about how to ensure the rights of indigenous peoples in this area,” Mina said. “This is a very important moment for us to really take as an opportunity.”

[Indonesia] Crackdown fears peak in West Papua 50 years after first independence call

Survival International, 30 November 2011 | Pro-independence Papuans are planning widespread rallies this Thursday to mark 50 years since they first raised their symbolic ‘Morning Star’ flag. A climate of fear surrounds the anniversary as Indonesia continues to brutally suppress any opposition, and hands derisory sentences to security forces implicated in the violence. It is now a treasonable offense to carry the flag, which has become an emblem of West Papua’s struggle for independence since it was first flown on 1 December 1961. As recently as October, West Papuans were left critically aware of the risks still involved in proclaiming independence. Up to ten people were killed when Indonesia’s security forces broke up an independence rally. The main officers involved have reportedly received reprimands. Thursday’s peaceful protests aim to show there is still a strong appetite to end almost half a century of occupation and flagrant human rights abuses.

UN Climate Forest Conservation Spawns ‘Carbon Piracy’ in Peru

ENS, 30 November 2011 | A new UN-backed effort to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests by paying communities to leave the trees standing is undermining the rights of indigenous peoples in Peru, leading to “carbon piracy” and land conflicts, finds a new report issued today by Peruvian indigenous organizations and an international human rights group. The report, “The reality of REDD+ in Peru: Between Theory and Practice – Indigenous Amazonian Peoples’ Analyses and Alternatives,” was released at the ongoing UN climate conference in Durban, where some 20,000 delegates and observers are gathered to craft solutions to the climate crisis.

Peruvian Amazon could become global centre of ‘carbon piracy’: report

By John Vidal, The Guardian, 30 November 2011 | The Peruvian Amazon is the new global centre of “carbon piracy”, as banks, conservationists and entrepreneurs rush to snap up the legal rights to trade carbon, according to a report published today at the UN climate talks in Durban. More than 35 major projects covering around 7m hectares of Peruvian rainforest have been set up to profit from the global voluntary carbon offset market and a proposed UN forestry scheme, say the report’s authors, Peruvian group Asociación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana (AIDESEP)… “NGOs, carbon consultants and investors are roaming the jungle in search of communities with carbon offsetting potential. In one case this even involved an effort to convince communities to sign away their rights to carbon in a contract with no defined end point,” said Alberto Pizango Chota, the head of AIDESEP.

1 December 2011

Forested countries need reassurance that “massive investment” in REDD+ will pay off

By Catriona Moss, CIFOR Forests Blog, 1 December 2011 | Developed countries must commit to long-term climate financing and encourage multiple funding pathways to reassure forested countries that their “massive investment” in REDD+ will pay off. “REDD is a massive investment for developing countries, and they need the assurance that REDD is the right path to take, otherwise they will have little incentive to develop programmes at the national level,” said Kristy Graham, researcher at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Coordinator of REDD.Net, at the sidelines of the UN climate Summit in Durban. “But we also need the financial certainty to secure other types of funding, for example, from the private sector, that could reduce the bottle neck and help countries move from the REDD readiness stage to the next stage of implementation,” she added.

New CB report: “EIB’s role in carbon trading distracts attention from real EU climate action”

Counter Balance, 1 December 2011 | A new Counter Balance report, “Banking on carbon markets – Why the European Investment Bank has got it wrong in the fight against climate change” [1] reveals that the EIB pledged EUR 589 million for six different carbon funds in which it is active. This is highly controversial as carbon trading does not contribute to emission cuts. The report gives a unique overview of the EIB’s different climate funds and the damaging role that the Bank plays in climate finance.

Mapping for Rights: supporting indigenous peoples in the Congo Basin

Rainforest Foundation UK, 1 December 2011 | As the latest climate summit in Durban again tries to resolve the challenges of implementing ‘reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation’ (REDD), the Rainforest Foundation UK unveils a powerful new tool which could help prevent the destruction of rainforests, one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The new website provides, for the first time, accurate interactive maps showing the location of communities living in the forest, and how and where they are using forest resources. It also includes the boundaries of strictly protected areas and agents of forest destruction, such as logging companies. The groundbreaking website, which is backed by a unique database of digital maps, builds on the results of many years work to map the existence of forest dwellers in the forests of the Congo Basin.

International community needs to make space for developing countries to take ownership of REDD+

By Karin Holzknecht, CIFOR Forests Blog, 1 December 2011 | To enable REDD+ policy progress, the international community has to give space to developing countries to be their own “agents of change” and be further empowered to take ownership over the REDD+ development process, said a CIFOR scientist at the UN climate talks in Durban. “Our findings clearly show that a country’s progress on REDD+ is slowest where there is limited national ownership. To make progress in defining REDD+ policies [countries must] have a strong agency for change, across governance levels, and be able to fit REDD+ to their own circumstances,” said CIFOR scientist Maria Brockhaus, CIFOR scientist and leader of research on national REDD+ strategies and policies for CIFOR’s global comparative study.

Indigenous Leaders Alert the UNFCCC and the World to the Imminent Threat that REDD Poses to their Territories and Livelihoods

Global Forest Coalition, 1 December 2011 | As the UNFCCC COP 17 opens in Durban, South Africa, a gathering of indigenous leaders from around the world discussing biocultural protocols and REDD warns the UNFCCC and the international community of the grave danger that REDD and market based solutions to climate change mitigation pose to their cultures, territories and livelihoods. “For my people, the forest is sacred, it is life in all its essence, we can protect Pachamama only if this is respected. REDD and other market mechanisms have turned our relationship with forests into a business. As we are targeted, this is not only a new form of climate racism but also represents a false solution which undermines the climate regime” said Marlon Santi, a leader of the Sarayaku Quichua community of Ecuador.

REDD for stop at climate conference

Channel 4 News, 1 December 2011 | Winnie Overbeek from the World Rainforest Movement told Reuters: “REDD+ is about making more profit, continuing pollution and disrespecting the rights of forest people all over the world. It’s about land grabbing,” he warned. “It’s time to stop thinking about REDD+ and start protecting local populations and their land rights.” And those concerns are shared by groups such as Friends of the Earth. In a 2010 report, the charity said its analysis of countries where REDD had been hastily rolled out showed that REDD’s green credentials were being undermined by the involvement of “carbon traders, big international conservation non-governmental organisations (NGOs), plantation companies and even oil and gas companies seeking an attractive and topical green veneer for their activities.”

Pristine forest is finite resource

By John Paul Rathbone, Financial Times, 1 December 2011 | The Amazon is long familiar with such economic booms. A century ago, rubber wealth turned Manaus into such a hotbed of conspicuous consumption that its inhabitants built an opera house to rival La Scala in Milan. Money almost literally grew on trees, until Henry Wickham smuggled 70,000 seeds out of Brazil and Britain established rival plantations in Asia. A hundred years later, however, this boom promises to be bigger, more extensive and more prolonged… Brazil, meanwhile, is planning a series of trans-Amazonian canals, railways and roads that will span the Andes and link its food and mineral-producing regions directly to Asian markets. The Interoceanic highway to Peru, built by Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction company, and largely financed by BNDES, Brazil’s development bank, was completed this year.

REDD+ needs to invest in alternative livelihoods before making carbon payments

By Leony Aurora, CIFOR Forests Blog, 1 December 2011 | REDD+ projects need to be ready to make upfront investment to help local communities to develop alternative sources of income before implementing other aspects of the scheme such as conditional payments for protecting forests, a scientist says. REDD+ developers are shifting their strategies towards support for alternative livelihoods partly because they have concluded that it is most effective for easing pressure on forests, said Erin Sills, senior associate at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “Unless you offer a viable sustainable alternative livelihood to the actors, then any other intervention is really going to just displace or postpone deforestation,” she said at the sidelines of the UN climate summit in Durban yesterday (see her presentation here).

Bali Declaration acclaimed at Agribusiness and Human Rights in Southeast Asia Workshop

Forest Peoples Programme press release, 1 December 2011 | The international meeting of South East Asian Regional Human Rights Commissions on ‘Human Rights and Business: Plural Legal Approaches to Conflict Resolution, Institutional Strengthening and Legal Reform’ hosted by the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission (KOMNASHAM), in conjunction with Sawit Watch and Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) was held in Bali, Indonesia, from 28th November to 1st December 2011. It was attended by 58 participants from the national human rights commissions of the Southeast Asian region, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Human Rights Commission, notable academics, representatives of indigenous peoples, as well as members of supportive national and international NGOs.

Community mapping of African rainforests could show way forward for preservation, REDD

By Jeremy Hance,, 1 December 2011 | A new initiative to place community mapping of central African rainforests online could prove key to local rights in the region, says the UK-based NGO Rainforest Foundation. Working with forest communities in five African countries, Rainforest Foundation has helped create digital maps of local forests, including use areas, parks, and threats such as logging and mining. The website,, includes interactive maps, photos, and video. “It is now widely understood that helping indigenous peoples and other local communities to protect their land is one of the best and cheapest ways to conserve tropical rainforests. But the problem is that there are often no records even of where these communities are, or of which areas of forest they use or wish to protect,” explains Simon Counsell, director of the Rainforest Foundation.

Brazilian gunmen brandish tribal hit list in wake of leader’s murder

Survival International, 1 December 2011 | Gunmen in Brazil are brazenly intimidating indigenous communities with a hit list of prominent leaders, following the high profile murder of Nísio Gomes last month. Reportedly employed by powerful landowners in Mato Grosso do Sul state, the gunmen are creating a climate of fear to prevent Guarani Indians from returning to their ancestral land. The tactics employed in recent incidents have been almost identical. Gunmen encircle vehicles transporting Guarani, force them to stop, and then verbally abuse and interrogate passengers about the names on the hit list. One Guarani leader told Survival, ’They’ve pinpointed us and they’re set to kill us. We’re at great risk. Here in Brazil, we have no justice. We have nowhere left to run.’ On Sunday, around 100 Guarani returning from a meeting in the district of Iguatemi were targeted. Guarani witnesses told Survival one of the four men involved was a local mayor.

[Indonesia] RI delegation to Durban meeting asked to remember national interest

Antara News, 1 December 2011 | President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has reminded the Indonesian delegation to the upcoming climate change meeting in Durban, South Africa, not to forget the national interest while fighting for global causes. “Don`t forget, we must also fight for our national interest,” the head of state said here on Thursday when receiving Executive Chairman of the National Climate Change Council (DNPI) Rachmat Witoelar and Environmental Affairs Minister Balthasar Kambuaya, who will lead the Indonesian delegation to Durban. Indonesia is part of the global solution, but the national interest must remain a priority, according to Yudhoyono. He also reminded members of the Indonesian delegation to take a common position at the meeting. “There should be a common position, there must be no differences in views among Indonesian delegates,” he said.

[Indonesia] Law ‘should settle’ definition of forest areas

By Tifa Asrianti, Jakarta Post, 1 December 2011 | Before moving forward with a bill on illegal logging, the government and the House of Representatives should focus on a revision of the Forestry Law, a legal expert has said. Agus Surono, legal expert from Al Azhar University, said that the bill was not the right solution for forestry-related problems, especially in terms of it establishing a special agency under the ministry. “Rather than deliberating the bill, they should conduct a thorough revision of the Forestry Law, especially on criminal-related articles, because they will affect the law enforcement of illegal logging,” Agus said. He said that one of the Forestry Law’s articles in need of revision was the definition of forest areas. The government often misunderstood the definition of forest areas, which had triggered uncertainty in how forest areas were defined, added Agus.

Indonesia to Start Green Palm Oil Certification in January

Bloomberg, 1 December 2011 | Indonesia, the largest palm oil grower, said it will start in January assessment of producers seeking sustainability certification and plans to certify most of the nation’s output under its own standards by 2014. “There are 20 companies ready for the assessment,” said Rosediana Suharto, chairwoman of the Indonesia Palm Oil Commission. “The Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil certification will be very important for all Indonesian producers as buyers have demanded all production to be sustainable by 2015.” The Indonesian Palm Oil Association, a Jakarta-based industry group, officially withdrew its membership from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil on Sept. 29. The roundtable comprises of growers, processors, traders, consumer-goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, and environmental and non-governmental organizations involved in setting global standards for the tropical oil.

Norway accused of hypocrisy over Indonesian deforestation funding

By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 1 December 2011 | Norway has been accused of climate hypocrisy in Indonesia, where it has won plaudits for financing forest protection even as its state pension fund allegedly secures even greater revenues from logging, plantations, mining and other environmentally destructive practices. Conservation groups say Norway’s sovereign wealth fund – thought to be the largest in the world – should set a better example of ethical investment in a country that is experiencing some of the world’s worst deforestation problems.

[South Korea] Minister Lee hopes to deliver forestation know-how to world

Korea Herald, 1 December 2011 | Korea Forest Service Minister Lee Don-koo has been working toward a greener global environment since he took office in February. The agreement to set up the Asia Forest Cooperation Organization with ASEAN member states is the latest in his efforts to combat desertification and push for green growth. He also successfully proposed the Changwon Initiative – which seeks to provide practical measures to tackle desertification – at the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification conference in Korea in October.

Carbon pirates threaten indigenous Peruvian peoples, report says

By Melanie J. Martin, Earth Times, 1 December 2011 | In Peru, over a third of forested lands are used and occupied by indigenous communities. However, their legal rights to their traditional land are frequently undermined, and the REDD+ program threatens to heighten such human rights abuses, say authors of a new report. The Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Amazon (AIDESEP), the Federation of the Native Peoples of the River Madre de Dios and Its Tributaries (FENAMAD), and the Asháninka Centre of the river Ene (CARE), all indigenous Peruvian organizations, have just released the new report, titled “The Reality of REDD+ in Peru: Between Theory and Practice-Indigenous Amazonian Peoples’ Analyses and Alternatives.”

2 December 2011

Newly released draft REDD+ text is robust and emphasises transparency but fails to address verification, says CIFOR scientist

By Michelle Kovacevic, CIFOR Forests Blog, 2 December 2011 | The UNFCCC’s scientific sub-committee SBSTA has released a draft text on REDD+ that will go forward to a plenary session of the COP on Saturday for discussion and approval. Louis Verchot, CIFOR’s leading climate change scientist, said the text is robust and calls for transparent processes within safeguard and carbon emissions reporting but does not address how these systems will be verified. “It looks like there is a fairly comprehensive approach to reporting on safeguards and carbon emissions but it does not address what will be required for verification of these systems,” Verchot said. “Until these sort of things are worked out, without knowing who will be accountable and how are they going to be held accountable, there may be reticence to put money on the table for REDD+.”

UN to Review Carbon Offset Program Threatened by Kyoto’s End

By Alex Morales, Bloomberg, 2 December 2011 | The United Nations began work to preserve a key pillar of the carbon market as Brazil and China said the program had no future unless rich countries accept new goals for cutting greenhouse gases. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change said it would conduct a yearlong evaluation on how to improve the Clean Development Mechanism, according to a statement yesterday. The CDM program lets companies and nations earn credits to offset fossil-fuel emissions in exchange for sponsoring renewable- energy projects. The future of the CDM is in question because emissions limits in the 1997 treaty expire next year. Brazil and China, which are pushing developed countries to make new commitments to reduce pollution under the treaty, say demand for the credits will shrivel without an agreement.

BCPs, REDD+ and CBD Safeguards at COP17

Natural Justice, 2 December 2011 | On 1 December at the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Durban, South Africa, Natural Justice co-hosted a panel entitled “Biocultural Protocols: Lessons for REDD+ Safeguards from the CBD Experiences”. The event was hosted in collaboration with the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC), the Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Assessment (IPCCA), and the Global Forest Coalition (GFC). The purpose of the panel was to raise awareness of a number of decisions, tools and guidelines that have been developed under the auspices of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) during its 20-year history and to highlight their usefulness and cross-leverage rights to mitigate risks associated with Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD+).

COP-17: Bolivia’s forest proposal gets little attention

By Jocelyn Newmarch, BusinessDay, 2 December 2011 | Bolivia has tabled a new proposal on forest conservation, but has so far been disappointed by the lack of attention from other negotiators, it said yesterday at the United Nations (UN) climate- change talks in Durban. Any comprehensive solution to climate change will have to take account of forests, which trap and store carbon dioxide. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, forests trap 1-trillion tons of carbon – twice the amount in the atmosphere. Bolivia’s chief negotiator, Rene Orellana, said his country was worried about proposals to use private sector markets to fund forest conservation, as this did not take account of the multiple functions forests provide.

UN-REDD COP17 Side Event focuses on REDD+ lessons learned, future challenges and opportunities

UN-REDD Programme blog, 2 December 2011 | The UN-REDD Programme was pleased to host the Chief Executive Board (CEB) side event on REDD+ at COP17 on 30 November, entitled, “Making Progress with REDD+: Applying Lessons Learned to Enhance Success”. The side event, which was attended by more than 120 participants from 40 countries and various governmental and non-governmental organizations, focused on lessons learned from REDD+ readiness activities among UN-REDD partner countries in Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Durban climate talks: meaningful progress can be made on finance

By Ben Caldecott, The Guardian, 2 December 2011 | For example: the GCF could offer an ERUM [Emission Reduction Underwriting Mechanisms] for 100Mt of reduced emissions from forestry (REDD+) in Indonesia. Different public and private partnerships would bid to win the ERUM as part of a tendering process. The lowest and best bid was at, say, $5 per tonne of CO2e abated. This is for a number of small REDD+ projects throughout Indonesia. As this programme delivers verifiable emissions reductions it will receive a contractual payment from the GCF of $5 per tonne. This suddenly creates a visible, predictable and long-term revenue stream that can be invested against.

Compromise is Hard: The Problems and Promise of REDD+

By Susanna Murley, Huffington Post, 2 December 2011 | In Durban this week delegates from around the world are examining the options to mitigate carbon emissions. In what look like the best chance for progress: REDD+ (for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, plus co-benefits — like conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks). REDD+ has been seen as a potentially powerful solution to solve both poverty and deforestation — in one fell swoop.

What Will Save Our Forests?

By Jeff Conant, Earth Island Journal, 2 December 2011 | In a seminar held this week at the University of Kwazulu Natal – just one of many civil society events coinciding with the UN climate summit in Durban, South Africa – representatives of Indigenous Peoples, peasant movements, and women’s movements from many countries shared their perspectives on the most appropriate, equitable, and effective methods of forest conservation and climate change mitigation. They also spoke about the kinds of support they need for these initiatives – the do’s and don’ts of “helping” people protect their forests. Across the board, they agreed that what is needed is recognition of Indigenous territorial rights, autonomy, traditional knowledge and governance systems; land reform, food sovereignty and sustainable alternative livelihood options; and a definitive end to destructive activities like logging, mining, large tree plantations and land grabbing.

‘Forests are not for carbon stocks’

By Yusuf Omar, The Mercury, 2 December 2011 | Bolivia came out swinging at its first press conference of the climate change conference yesterday, criticising the Green Climate Fund – which is meant to help developing countries adapt to climate change – and opposing the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation scheme (Redd). “Bolivia is showing strongly against the mechanism of Redd. The role of the forest is not for carbon stocks,” said the head of the Bolivian delegation, Rene Orellana.

A Recipe for Carbon Farming

By Stephen Leahy, IPS, 2 December 2011 | Civil society has warned of the danger of turning Africa’s food-producing lands into “carbon farms” so that rich countries can avoid making cuts in their carbon emissions. On Friday, they called on host country South Africa to refrain from forcing so-called “climate smart” agriculture into the United Nations climate treaty negotiations known as the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17)… “Putting agriculture into a future climate treaty is supposedly a consolation prize to Africa for failure by rich countries to agree to legally binding targets,” said Teresa Anderson of the Gaia Foundation, an international non-governmental organisation based in London.

REDD+ developers hesitant to talk carbon to local communities, experts say

By Leony Aurora, CIFOR Forests Blog, 2 December 2011 | Many REDD+ developers are hesitant to inform local communities about the global forest carbon scheme to avoid raising expectations that could not be fulfilled if long term financing fails to materialize, experts said. The tendency from developers to hold off carbon information is understandable considering the “stuttering” of a decision on whether there will be REDD+ financing in the future, said Jim Stephenson, Program Officer at the Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC) at an event held as part of the UN climate summit in Durban. Still, “if you don’t mention REDD+, how can you carry out full FPIC activity?” he said, referring to free, prior and informed consent from local communities.

3 December 2011

Rich states ‘not acting fast enough’

By Sayed Talat Kamal,, 3 December 2011 | Developing countries have raised concerns that they are taking climate change as a more serious global crisis than the rich countries. The US, in particular, is seen to be dragging its foot on key issues. Delegates at the UN Climate Summit at Durban from Europe and the head of the African bloc have separately denounced the US position. “Developed countries as a whole are not taking climate change seriously as a global issue,” said Mali delegate Seyni Nafo. Pointing to the US leadership on democracy, human rights and market access, Nafo said, “We want to have the same leadership to tackle climate change.” … On another front, Rene Orellana, head of the Bolivian delegation, in his nation’s first statement, has categorically dismissed the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (Redd) initiative.

Civils snub Zuma’s African agri-solution

By Thobile Hans, SABC, 3 December 2011 | South African President Jacob Zuma’s declaration on “climate smart and carbon markets” as a climate change solution for African agriculture has raised suspicions among roughly 100 civil society organisations at the COP17 conference in Durban. The host nation has been accused of playing against the rest of Africa, “it pretends to be for Africa but it’s not, instead it is toeing the line of worst polluters,” says Teresa Anderson of the Gaia Foundation at Friday’s press conference. A letter signed by African and international civil societies sent to African negotiators at the conference, called for them to reject efforts to place agricultural soils within carbon markets. The agricultural work programme “would lead to agricultural soils and agro-ecological practices being turned into commodities to be sold on carbon markets, or used as sinks to enable industrialised countries to continue to avoid reducing emissions,” the letter says.

Sierra Leone protects climate by saving its largest forest for the world

Birdlife International, 3 December 2011 | As the world’s richest countries once again play brinksmanship at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Durban, Sierra Leone has embraced the vital role tropical forests play in preventing climate change by conserving its most important forest, locking up an estimated 13.6 million tonnes of carbon and protecting one of West Africa’s most threatened and wildlife-rich habitats. On Saturday 3 December, 2011, the President of Sierra Leone – the world’s seventh poorest country – will launch the Gola Rainforest National Park (GRNP), making great progress with protecting natural resources for the benefit of the country and the world.

New Guide for Measuring Social and Biodiversity Impacts of REDD

By Michael Richards, Ecosystem Marketplace, 3 December 2011 | Negotiators from around the world are working to develop a global mechanism for slowing climate change by saving endangered rainforests and capturing carbon in trees, but an old issue has once again brought talks to a halt. That issue is “safeguards”, or how to ensure that forests aren’t saved at the expense of the people living in them. It’s a sticky issue, and one that the Community, Carbon, and Biodiversity (CCB) Standards have been wrestling with in the voluntary carbon markets for years. More than 40 projects have already been validated under the standard, and CCB projects accounted for roughly 60% of all forest carbon projects tracked in Ecosystem Marketplace’s report State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2011: From Canopy to Currency – making them by far the leading standard for “non-carbon” values.

New CIFOR map gives first global overview of REDD+

By Catriona Moss, CIFOR Forests Blog, 3 December 2011 | The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) is putting REDD+ on the map with the launch of an interactive tool designed to give a global overview of how forest-rich countries are developing policies and projects aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation. The map (find it here) is one of the first to bring together CIFOR research and existing REDD+ data to give a comprehensive overview of the implementation of 340 REDD+ programmes in 52 countries around the world. Launched during ‘How is REDD unfolding on the ground? An exploration of the social, political, and biophysical issues’, a CIFOR side event hosted on the sidelines of the UN climate talks in Durban, the map hopes to inform government ministries, policy makers and those specialising in the design and implementation of REDD+ programmes, of the progress made, and lessons learnt in the development of REDD+ readiness activities and project sites.

Indigenous People Cry Foul Over Redd+

MENAFN, 3 December 2011 | A network of people and organisations from across the world have lashed out agains the introduction of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) programme in developing countries because they believe it is an insensitive way of solving carbon emission problems. Dubbed the No REDD Platform which is a loose network of researchers, activists, organisations and movements, they consider the REDD+ and the carbon market a hypocrisy which will not impact global warming.

UN Climate Envoys Weigh Measures on $100 Billion Aid, Adaptation, Forests

By Kim Chipman and Alex Morales, Bloomberg, 3 December 2011 | Envoys at United Nations climate talks are working on measures including aid to developing nations, funds to help adapt to more extreme weather patterns and forest protection, according to a text released today. The programs are detailed in documents spanning 143 pages, distributed by the UN outlining possible outcomes from a meeting in Durban, South Africa. The text is almost five times as long as the agreements from last year’s meeting in Cancun, and will be streamlined next week when ministers and envoys from more than 190 nations and heads of state from 10 of those gather to debate the plan. “It gives them a very good sense what the package is going to look like next week,” Christiana Figueres, the UN diplomat organizing the talks, said at a briefing yesterday. “We see very good progress on a package of measures to do with adaptation. Durban will move forward with adaptation.”

Protecting Brazil’s forests: Fiddling while the Amazon burns

The Economist, 3 December 2011 | The Senate is poised to vote on a new version of the Forest Code, already approved by the lower house. The president, Dilma Rousseff, wants a final version on her desk before Christmas. Everyone agrees that change is needed. The share of private land that must be set aside has risen since 1965 and farmers who were once in compliance but omitted to update their paperwork can end up lumped in with lawbreakers. Kátia Abreu, a senator who is the president of the main farm lobby, says farmers find such uncertainty “deeply worrying”. Environmentalists dislike it too, since it encourages loggers and land-grabbers by fuelling disrespect for the law.

[India] Tribals to hold rally in Delhi for implementation of Forest Rights Act

By Ashish Tripathi, Times Of India, 3 December 2011 | Over 2500 tribals and forest dwellers from all over the UP will reach Delhi on December 15 to take part in rally organised to protest tardy implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006 and harassment by forest officials and mafia. Tribals and forest workers from other parts of the country will also take part in the rally, which is being projected as one of the biggest mobilisations of forest dwellers across the country. The day that marks the fifth anniversary of the passing of the Forest Rights Act in the Indian Parliament.

4 December 2011

REDD+ draft texts postpone financing decision to 2012, water down safeguards

By Leony Aurora, CIFOR Forests Blog, 4 December 2011 | Latest draft texts on REDD+ that will go forward to a plenary session for approval have postponed a decision on financing to next year and watered down safeguards requirements, leaving REDD+ projects in limbo and indigenous groups unprotected. The UNFCCC’s ad hoc working group on the Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) asked the secretariat to prepare a technical paper to review what kind of financing sources will be suitable for specific REDD+ activities, said Louis Verchot, leading climate change scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “REDD projects have to go another whole year without any clear indication as to how this whole system is going to be financed,” he said at the sidelines of the UN climate summit in Durban.

UN forest protection scheme heading in wrong direction

WWF, Care and Greenpeace press release, 4 December 2011 | As the climate change conference in Durban, South Africa, completes its first week, CARE International, Greenpeace and WWF alert that negotiations around Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) are not progressing well. “The outcome on REDD safeguards is a step backwards from what was agreed in Cancun last year, which itself was far short of what could have been agreed in Copenhagen. The provisions for safeguards in forest conservation are being shredded”, says Raja Jarrah, CARE’s Senior Advisor on REDD. “This is bad news for millions of indigenous people and local communities whose livelihoods depend on forests.”

Breakthrough on REDD and LULUCF in Durban?

Ecosystem Marketplace, 4 December 2011 | Odd as it may seem, negotiators appear to have made stunning progress on both REDD and LULUCF. We’re still checking a few things, and will post a full article early Monday morning.

Durban deforestation agreement promotes transparency, scientific verification

By Jeff Tollefson, Nature News Blog, 4 December 2011 | Climate negotiators in South Africa struck a preliminary deal on forestry over the weekend, advancing a technical document that lays out what could be the first real rules of the road for initiatives that seek to reduce greenhouse gases by curbing deforestation in tropical countries… “It’s the best thing that has been done since Bali,” says John O. Niles, director of the Tropical Forest Group in San Diego, referring to the 2007 climate talks in Indonesia that formally put deforestation on the agenda. “Before countries would submit reference levels, but now the text says countries will submit proposed reference levels,” he adds. “That one word makes a huge difference.”

Yvo de Boer, Ex-U.N. Climate Chief, Says Talks Are Rudderless

By Arthur Max, Huffington Post, 4 December 2011 | Yvo de Boer said he left his job as the U.N.’s top climate official in frustration 18 months ago, believing the process of negotiating a meaningful climate agreement was failing. His opinion hasn’t changed. “I still have the same view of the process that led me to leave the process,” he told The Associated Press Sunday. “I’m still deeply concerned about where it’s going, or rather where it’s not going, about the lack of progress.” For three years until 2010, the Dutch civil servant was the leading voice on global warming on the world stage. He appeared constantly in public to advocate green policies, traveled endlessly for private meetings with top leaders and labored with negotiators seeking ways to finesse snags in drafting agreements. In the end he felt he “wasn’t really able to contribute as I should be to the process,” he said.

[Tanzania] Dar’s $85m deal at crossroads as deforestation worsens

By Erick Kabendera, IPPmedia, 4 December 2011 | Tanzania fears that failure to agree on ways to fund a scheme to protect forests at the ongoing UN climate change meeting may risk national efforts to fight deforestation. To implement the five-year pilot project, Tanzania needs about Sh153 billion ($85 million), according to details unveiled in Durban, early this week. African experts and policy makers made this observation as global debate on the scheme, seeking to reward countries and communities for keeping the forests standing rather than cutting them down, noted that it was increasingly unclear on whether the meeting would come out with financial commitments to support the implementation of such projects across the developing world. Tanzania, which is implementing a five-year pilot project, Reduced Emission from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) aimed at conserving forests to tackle climate change. It has about 39.9 percent square kilometres of forests.

Durban climate talks: ‘Forests are not for carbon stocks’ — climate justice activists condemn REDD

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, 4 December 2011 | “Bolivia came out swinging at its first press conference of the climate change conference” on December 1, reported the Durban Mercury’s Yusuf Omar on December 2. Head of the Bolivian delegation Rene Orellana criticised the Green Climate Fund “– which is meant to help developing countries adapt to climate change – and opposing the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation scheme (REDD). “The role of the forest is not for carbon stocks”, he said… “While most countries have been hesitant to overtly state their positions at such an early stage in the negotiations, the Bolivian delegation took a strong stance against the mainstream consensus of the talks thus far”, Omar reported. “As people who live in the forest, we are not carbon stocks. We disagree with REDD because we oppose the commoditisation of the forest… It’s a complex and dangerous situation to see forests as carbon stocks.”

REDD needs to move quickly as forest degradation decimates Africa’s wildlife, says leading conservationist

By Michelle Kovacevic, CIFOR Forests Blog, 4 December 2011 | The degradation of Africa’s forests is decimating its wildlife, said Helen Gichohi, President of the African Wildlife Foundation, and she called for REDD+ funding to move more quickly to save the continent’s forest. “Deforestation rates in Africa are already four times the world average and are accelerating,” Gichohi said in a keynote speech at Forest Day 5 in Durban. “The disappearing forests, the overgrazed rangelands, and conversion to crop agriculture of grasslands and wetlands that had served as drought refugia … all have diminished the resilience of the system.” The need for practical solutions to safeguard Africa’s forests has reached a tipping point, with recent droughts decimating both wildlife and livestock across one of Kenya’s premier wildlife and tourism ecosystems, said Gichohi.

Ambitious 10-Year global research program aims to protect forest-carbon stocks, reduce risks for millions of farmers and forest communities

CIFOR, 4 December 2011 | With declining conditions in forests looming as a threat to climate health and the wellbeing of a billion impoverished people, the world’s largest consortium of agricultural researchers announced today an ambitious 10-year global research programme devoted to forests and agro-forestry. The new 10-year CGIAR research program on Forests, Trees, and Agroforestry aims to re-invigorate efforts to reduce deforestation and forest degradation and expand the use of trees on farms. The initiative is focused on the critical importance of forests as natural “carbon sinks” that can help slow the pace of climate change and the need to conserve forest biodiversity. CGIAR experts believe that improved management of forests and trees can play a wider role in reducing risks for smallholder farmers and improving the well-being of forest-dependent communities, particularly women and other disadvantaged groups.

Britain spends £10m to stop deforestation in Brazil

By Louise Gray, Telegraph, 4 December 2011 | The money was announced by Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary, at the latest UN climate summit in Durban South Africa. She said the money will stop illegal logging in the Cerrado, scrub forest in central Brazil that is rapidly being cleared to make way for food crops for the rich world. It is part of a £2.9 billion climate change fund put aside by the UK Government to help poor countries adapt to global warming and cut carbon emissions up to 2015. Environmentalists welcomed the cash but said if the UK really wants to save the forests then consumers have to stop eating cheap factory-farmed meat. Much of the Cerrado is being destroyed to grow genetically modified soya, which is fed to pigs, chickens and cattle in the UK. Traditionally the Amazon has been the frontline for battled over deforestation. But in recent years big farmers have moved into the Cerrado.

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