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.
PricewaterhouseCoopers and Norad, no date | The implementation of REDD+ in DRC will face numerous challenges because of the widespread nature of corruption in the country. We have noted that DRC is considered as a “fragile state” charaterized by weak institutions that are currently under construction.
FAO, January 2012 | The aim of this note is to facilitate discussion of experiences and capacity development in the African region related to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries; and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+). The paper presents different REDD+ initiatives ongoing in Africa and discusses REDD+ experiences to date with a focus on capacity development needs. The paper also identifies a number of questions for discussion on the implementation challenges associated with national REDD+ climate change initiatives.
By Rocío Hiraldo and Thomas Tanner, UNRISD, December 2011 | Green economy has generally focused on the energy sector, but interest in the role of forests in emissions reduction and in forest carbon markets is growing. This has led to the emergence of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, enhancement of carbon stock and sustainable management of forests in developing countries initiative (known collectively as REDD+) as a means through which individuals, projects and communities in developing countries can be financially rewarded for reducing emissions from deforestation, forest degradation and enhancement of carbon stock.
26 December 2011
By Osamu Higashi, Saiful A. Abdullah, Nobukazu Nakagoshi, Hiroaki Shirakawa and Patricia San Miguel, eaaere2012.org, 26 December 2011 | REDD-plus is one of the most important policy tools for promoting sustainable forest management, especially in tropical countries where significantly large net losses of forest area have been observed in recent years. Malaysia is considered as a potential participant country in REDD-plus project particularly in reducing emission from forest degradation. Before engaging the mechanism the country needs to evaluate the capacity of its forest governance in particular because governance issues are emerging concern which could effects the efficiency and effectiveness of REDD-plus policies.
Stabroek News, 26 December 2011 | Aspects of the Guyana-Norway deal could come under review when the new Parliament convenes but how this will impact the agreement signed in 2009 remains unclear. AFC leader, Raphael Trotman told Stabroek News last week that reviewing the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) to remove conditions that are excessively adverse to small miners and loggers are among the priority issues for the party. The opposition-dominated new Parlia-ment plans to review several deals and miners have in the past called for a percentage of land to be exempted from the Guyana-Norway deal since they feel that they cannot meet the standards. A boom in gold mining has seen increased deforestation levels and officials have acknowledged that illegal mining is widespread. [R-M: Subscription needed.]
27 December 2011
AFP, 27 December 2011 | India said Tuesday it would reject any global pact legally binding it to cut greenhouse gas emissions as such a move could stifle economic growth needed to eradicate poverty. Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan’s statement came after a UN conference in Durban earlier this month agreed for the first time to seek to negotiate a legally enforceable agreement to control all nations’ emissions. “There is no question of signing a legally binding agreement at this point of our development. We need to make sure that our development does not suffer,” Natarajan told the upper house of parliament. “Our emissions are bound to grow as we have to ensure our social and economic development and fulfil the imperative of poverty eradication,” the minister added.
By Gabriela Ramirez Galindo, CIFOR Forests Blog, 27 December 2011 | Community-managed forests in Latin America could provide valuable lessons for the sustainable management of these resources, in particular under Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) schemes, says a new study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Case studies from Brazil, Mexico and Bolivia suggest that Community Forest Management (CFM) initiatives could be integrated into REDD+ mechanisms to ensure equitable and efficient governance models and benefit sharing that achieves development and conservation objectives at a low cost.
28 December 2011
By Chevon Singh, Guyana Chronicle, 28 December 2011 | Head of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS), Dr. Roger Luncheon, has announced a new date for the completion of the Amaila Falls road project. He said, Wednesday, that works on the roadway are proceeding under the agreement made by the contractor, President of Synergy Holdings Inc., Mr. Makeshwar ‘Fip’ Motilall, the consultants and the Government of Guyana to introduce sub-contracting to expedite them. Luncheon explained: “The commitment in the adoption of the sub-contracting and other interventions has been seen as allowing a conclusion of the project within the first quarter of 2012… March/April is now mooted as the date of completion.” The roadway that Synergy Holdings is building is to pave the way for the Amaila Falls Hydroelectricity project, which is described as just part of a larger effort to revolutionise Guyana’s power generation infrastructure.
justmeans.com, 28 December 2011 | These mutually exclusive conditions – high biodiversity and high deforestation – have made Indonesia a prime target for innovative conservation investment solutions. In addition to being a pilot nation of the United Nations REDD+ initiative, Indonesia signed a deal with Norway in May 2010 to reduce deforestation, a pact that includes a two-year moratorium on new logging permits, with the Scandinavian nation investingUSD 1 billion in the project. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has plans to invest USD 500 million in 2012 to support sustainable forestry in Indonesia. “Managed sustainable forestry is all about ensuring people realize that trees have a value when they are still standing as well as when they are felled and turned into timber products,” said Peter Collins, an analysis partner of Forestry Research Associates, a forestry management and investment consultancy based on Bainbridge Island, Washington, about the plan.
By Raymond Singh, Stabroek News, 28 December 2011 | Having read the LCDS several times, I am still to understand where it has called for a curtailing of mining and forestry. In fact, the LCDS talks about improving efficiency and performance in these sectors so that Guyana can continue to expand these sectors and at the same time maintain its forest cover and low deforestation rate and thereby qualify for payments under REDD+. The LCDS has not introduced any new laws or regulations for mining or forestry. The current laws and regulations have been in existence prior to the LCDS. An examination of the current situation will reveal that with the current prices of gold, mining activities have mushroomed in Guyana. Everyone wants to be a miner. Yet, with the high level of production, and huge windfalls in cash, the miners are not investing in proper environmental practices. Take a look at the Konawaruk River, the Cuyuni and Mazaruni rivers, Groete Creek, and the list can go on.
By Rhett Butler, mongabay.com, 28 December 2011 | 2011 was designated as “Year of the Forests” by the United Nations. While there was relatively little progress on intergovernmental forest protection programs during the year, a lot happened elsewhere. Below is a look at some of the biggest tropical forest-related news stories for 2011… Brazil announced forest loss during the 2010-2011 deforestation year fell to the lowest level since annual record keeping began in 1988, a continuation of a three-year trend. But enthusiasm for the news was tempered by other developments that could increase risks to the Amazon. In December the Senate voted to revise the country’s long-standing Forest Code, a move environmentalists fear could spark deforestation.
Bjorn Kj. Haugland (DNV), 28 December 2011 | The time has come for action. Authorities, industry and NGOs must now do their best to follow up the obligations imposed in Durban a few weeks ago. And they must follow up previously agreed national and international obligations. Examples of these are the green development mechanisms and initiatives such as REDD+. But this is not enough. The Executive Secretary of the UNFCC is one of many who have stated that adaptation to climate change is an important part of the solution to the climate crisis.
29 December 2011
By Matthew Carr, Bloomberg, 29 December 2011 | The European Investment Bank, which may have started selling 2013 carbon allowances in a 1.8 billion-euro ($2.4-billion) program, may strive for more timely market disclosure, said a trader at Standard Bank Plc. “In the oil market, the U.S. government generally announces up to a month in advance when they intend to lend volume from the strategic reserve and exactly what volume will be lent,” Geoff Sinclair, London-based head of carbon trading at Standard Bank, said by e-mail on Dec. 21. “Even in emergency situations they forewarn the market. That is an appropriate level of transparency that institutions in the carbon market could aspire to.”
By Jeff Coelho, Reuters, 29 December 2011 | Analysts have slashed their average price forecasts for European Union and U.N. carbon for next year and beyond as prospects of a slowing global economy and permit oversupply concerns persist, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday. Analysts cut their average forecasts for prices of EU Allowances (EUAs) in the first half of 2012 by 30 percent to 9.33 euros ($12.08) a tonne versus a poll a month earlier. Forecasts for EUA prices in the 2013-2020 trading period, known as the third phase, were reduced by nearly a third to 16.16 euros a tonne. Carbon prices have lost about half their value this year, as the euro zone’s fiscal crisis crippled demand in a market that many analysts say is oversupplied with hundreds of millions of EUAs and U.N.-backed credits.
Jakarta Post, 29 December 2011 | Environmental groups predict that land disputes over mining and plantation activities will intensify throughout the country in the coming months and they have called on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to immediately audit the operation of palm oil and mining companies. The groups, including palm oil business watchdog Sawit Watch and the Mining Advocacy Network (Jatam) said that Yudhoyono should lead the cross-departmental audit, especially of the companies’ operating permits. “The President must immediately evaluate every operational permit issued to all companies throughout Indonesia, particularly in the palm oil and mining sectors. This will tell us how many of these companies got their permits illegally through dubious administrative processes that have given rise to conflicts with local communities. The audit must also check the number of companies operating without land-use certificates,” Sawit Watch executive director Abetnego Tarigan said.
By Finnigan Wa Simbeye, Tanzania Daily News, 29 December 2011 | An American student who did her research in the delta between 2008/10, Betsy Beymer-Farris and her supervisor, Thomas Bassett who is Assistant Professor at Department of Earth and Environmental Science at Furman University in South Carolina and Professor, Department of Geography at University of Illinois in the US respectively, said in their recent report that stopping the Warufiji from cultivating in the delta is counterproductive. The two professors’ report titled: ‘The REDD Menace: Resurgent protectionism in Tanzania’s mangrove forests,’ censures WWF researchers and government authorities for trying to stop Warufiji from surviving by using resources in the delta despite their existence for centuries. “At the centre of our critique of the REDD-readiness programme is the framing of the environmental problem as by foresters, environmentalists, and donors as poor stewards of the mangrove forests,” the two authors wrote…
By Alex Abutu, Daily Trust, 29 December 2011 | A new department known as Department of Climate Change and Renewable Energy has been approved for the Federal Ministry of Environment. A source at the Head of Service of the Federation told Daily Trust that the department was approved based on the federal government determination to accord issues of climate and renewable energy the priorities both issues deserved. The creation of the department brings to eight the number of departments in the ministry as already there is the department for Drought and Desertification, Erosion, Flood and Coastal Zone Management, Pollution Control, Environmental Impact Assessment, Forestry, Administration and Finance.
By Joseph Kirschke, Worldpress.org, 29 December 2011 | In May, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono tried to counter concerns via a Norway and UNDP-backed deforestation initiative. The two-year REDD+ moratorium, coupled with assurances of continued economic growth, however, has proven unsatisfying to most stakeholders. Still, many foreign companies are moving ahead with individual promises to use only sustainable palm oil by 2015—Nestle, McDonald’s and Anglo-Dutch consumer giant Unilever among them. But the industry has far to go. Indeed, fewer than 50 percent of all companies are now certifiable by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, a coalition of growers, manufacturers and environmentalists setting global standards.
Ecosystem Marketplace, 29 December 2011 | The forest carbon world is regrouping after Durban, where progress on key issues like a REDD+ finance mechanism was less than forthcoming – but where clear signals on other technical and policy issues could nonetheless make for an interesting new year for REDD+ projects. Along with other sub-national programs with strong forest carbon components – like California’s cap-and-trade program and Australia’s Carbon Farming Initiative – this issue brings to light some project developers, investors, and standards organizations that are making moves as the new year turns over… Bharrat Jagdeo of Guyana was stepped down as the country’s president, as Donald Ramotar took the position. The new president seeks to assure Norway, which has pledged $250 million for REDD+ efforts in Guyana, that his administration will provide the transparency and safeguards that Jagdeo was unable to deliver.
By Alex Abutu, Daily Trust, 29 December 2011 | An environmental expert, Salihu Dahiru, has called for investment in biodiversity for Nigeria to maximise the potentials of the United Nations programme on Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+). Dahiru, who heads the Nigeria REDD Programme in a chat with Daily Trust said that for REDD+ to succeed in the country there must be investment in biodiversity. “Such investment must not be considered as a “burden”, but as a critical need; “The cost of such additional investments must be fairly shared between those countries that demand for forest-related emission reductions and those that supply them, he added.
Philippine Information Agency press release, 29 December 2011 | A people’s organization has completed its part in planting forest trees in the 110-hectare land under the United Nations Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD Plus Program). The people’s organization Young Innovators for Sustainable Economic Development Association -(YISEDA), accredited by the Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM), is already waiting for the monitoring and evaluation of their completed reforestation project, according to Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Management Office (PENRMO) REDD Plus Project Coordinator Ransom Fiel.
CIFOR Forests Blog, 29 December 2011 | Negotiators from Latin America at the climate summit in Durban, South Africa, came back to their countries with mixed perceptions and results. Brazil, Argentina and Colombia supported the second period of the Kyoto Protocol, although a condition was attached to their support, namely that a new climate agreement is reached by 2015 and start effectively in 2020… Also in Durban, Ecuador proposed the creation of a set of alternative funding mechanisms to fight climate change. Ecuador seeks to keep 846 million barrels of oil unexploited from Ishpingo, Tambococha and Tiputini (ITT), under a project called Yasuni-ITT, and asks for an international compensation of US$3.6 billion for the resources valued at US$14 billion at current prices.
By Faisal Maliki Baskoro & Ririn Radiawati Kusuma, Jakarta Globe, 29 December 2011 | President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Wednesday inaugurated three coal-fired power plants and broke ground on the upgrade of an oil refinery, facilities that are intended to help the country cope with rapidly rising demand for fuel and electricity. “As our country grows and the world’s population grows, the need for energy is increasing sharply,” the president said in Cilacap, Central Java, at the refinery of state-controlled oil and gas company Pertamina… The three plants, which cost about $3.37 billion in total, are expected to consume 6.5 million tons of coal annually, allowing an estimated annual savings of Rp 19.9 trillion ($2.2 billion) in fuel costs and subsidies.
30 December 2011
New Indian Express, 30 December 2011 | The state forest department, in an ambitious plan, will plant 12 crore saplings outside the forest areas by June next to increase the state’s tree cover. Speaking to Express in his chamber at the secretariat here on Thursday, minister for forests, environment, science and technology S Vijayarama Raju said the state government was taking up a massive afforestation programme as the tree cover went down from 33 percent to 23 percent due to various reasons. In a single day, on September 10 this year, 20 lakh saplings were planted at schools, open grounds, tanks and other places all over the state.
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 30 December 2011 | An alliance of European local authorities, national governments, US film stars, Japanese shops, soft drink companies and Russian foundations have stepped in to prevent oil companies exploiting 900m barrels of crude oil from one of the world’s most biologically rich tracts of land. According to the UN, the “crowdfunding” initiative had last night raised $116m (£75m), enough to temporarily halt the exploitation of the 722 square miles of “core” Amazonian rainforest known as Yasuní national park in Ecuador. The park, which is home to two tribes of uncontacted Indians, is thought to have more mammal, bird, amphibian and plant species than any other spot on earth. Development of the oilfield, which was planned to take place immediately if the money had not been raised, would have inevitably led to ecological devastation and the eventual release of over 400m tonnes of CO2.
Ecosystem Marketplace, 30 December 2011 | The first year of the United Nations Decade of Biodiversity was a busy one for Ecosystem Marketplace—including the launch of the Species Banking.com and an update to the State of Biodiversity. Here are the highlights from Ecosystem Marketplace’s coverage of a busy year—as well as a chance for you to weigh in on the top stories of the year.
31 December 2011
1 January 2012
By Mark McGowan, Stabroek News, 1 January 2012 | With the opposition feeling that there are still too many unanswered questions surrounding the Amaila Falls Hydropower project, the entire project is likely to undergo scrutiny in the National Assembly in the days ahead. The opposition parties A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and Alliance For Change (AFC) say that they will be using the appropriate parliamentary forum to bring transparency to the project. They are especially concerned, they say, about the US$15.4M access road project which was awarded to Fip Motilall of Synergy Holdings.
Sense and Sustainability, 1 January 2012 | No one knows for certain when nature first became a commodity, that is, when nature was first divided into discrete units that could be bought and sold. You could argue that it was when the fruits of harvest were first traded for other goods. Or maybe you could say that the first instance was California’s 1851 water right’s system. But regardless of when it began, the use of commodification and markets to solve environmental problems has reached an unprecedented level. From the successful acid rain reduction programs in the United States to the international negotiations aimed at creating a global cap-and-trade system to succeed Kyoto, market-based solutions have fully arrived. Despite their popularity, however, these market-based solutions do not come without challenges and flaws.
PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.