in El Salvador

New report on REDD-plus schemes in El Salvador

El SalvadorCivil Society Organisations and Indigenous Peoples’ Organisations have written several letters about the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility process in El Salvador. Recently, researchers Yvette Aguilar, Maritza Erazo and Francisco Soto wrote a summary of the issues raised by REDD schemes in El Salvador.

The letters and responses are available on the FCPF website. The report, “REDD-plus schemes in El Salvador: Low profile, friendly fancy dresses and commodification of ecosystems and territories”, can be read and downloaded below. The report is available in Spanish on World Rainforest Movement’s website. The summary from the report follows, in English and Spanish:

REDD-plus schemes in El Salvador: Low profile, friendly fancy dresses and commodification of ecosystems and territories

Yvette Aguilar[1], Maritza Erazo[2], Francisco Soto[3]
San Salvador, July 17th 2012
The Durban Platform and the Cancun Agreement adopted REDD-plus as an option for climate change mitigation, which was designed to offset emissions from developed countries by reducing emissions from the forestry sector in developing countries, even though the mechanism has serious inherent problems that make it ineffective for climate change mitigation, such as leakage, lack of additionality, temporality and complexities related to measurability.
El Salvador has been involved in the issue of REDD-plus through its incorporation into the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) of the World Bank (WB), which was created to purchase and trade carbon credits directly in the carbon markets or through brokerage funds, such as the Forest Carbon Fund (FCF) to offset emissions from developed countries. Such an approach fosters the commodification of nature through the trading of carbon stored in ecosystems and territories from which indigenous, rural and peasant communities depend for survival.
The adoption of REDD-plus in El Salvador would occur in a fashion disconnected from the strategic policy framework on climate change, and without the best technical, scientific and methodological knowledge or the social legitimacy required to ensure its political viability and effective implementation.
The lack of such a framework and an appropriate environmental policy for addressing climate change effectively in the country, has led to the implementation of improvised and scattered actions, dissociated from the legal mandates and commitments under the international climate change treaties, as evidenced by the preparation without consultation by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) of the proposal (R-PP) submitted to the FCPF for an eventual REDD-plus strategy, without a previous ex ante analysis of the potential social, economic, political and environmental implications and impacts at local, national and global levels.
The proposal has fundamental misconceptions and scientific and technical failings which are insurmountable even under the lax FCPF´s criteria, and which could be summarized in four substantive issues:

  • the “Mitigation based on Adaptation” approach which does not consider climate change and lacks a scientific and methodologically sound basis to properly address adaptation;

  • the weaknesses and gaps in the national strategic policy framework on climate change;

  • the direct link to international trade mechanisms for offsetting emissions from developed countries; and

  • the failure to establish an information system to monitor and report on the approach and compliance with the seven REDD-plus safeguards.

These concerns explain why the REDD-plus proposal for the country would generate increased vulnerability, impacts and maladaptation to climate change, posing serious threats to environmental governance. The disrespect of the safeguards adopted in the multilateral process and the weakening of global efforts to mitigate climate change effectively, which would result from the eventual implementation of the proposed National Strategy for REDD-plus in the country, as has been drawn up by the MARN, legitimize its rejection and the demand to adopt the national strategic framework for comprehensive and effective approach to climate change.

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Los esquemas de REDD-plus en El Salvador: Perfil bajo, disfraces benevolentes y mercantilización de ecosistemas y territorios

Yvette Aguilar[1], Maritza Erazo[2], Francisco Soto[3]
San Salvador, 17 de julio de 2012
La Plataforma de Durban y el Acuerdo de Cancún adoptaron a REDD-plus como una opción de mitigación del cambio climático concebida para compensar las emisiones de los países desarrollados mediante la reducción de las emisiones del sector forestal de los países en desarrollo, a pesar que dicho mecanismo adolece de serios problemas inherentes que lo vuelven inefectivo para la mitigación del cambio climático, como son las fugas, falta de adicionalidad, compleja mensurabilidad y temporalidad.
El Salvador ha incursionado en el tema de REDD-plus mediante la incorporación del país al mecanismo del Fondo Cooperativo para el Carbono Forestal (FCPF) del Banco Mundial (BM), el cual se encamina a la compra-venta de bonos de carbono directamente en los mercados de carbono o a través de fondos de intermediación, como el Fondo de Carbono Forestal, para la compensación de las emisiones de los países desarrollados. Dicho enfoque busca la mercantilización de la naturaleza mediante la comercialización del carbono almacenado en los ecosistemas y territorios de los cuales dependen las comunidades indígenas, rurales y campesinas para su sobrevivencia.
La adopción de REDD-plus en El Salvador se estaría realizando desvinculada del marco estratégico de políticas de cambio climático, y sin el sustento en el mejor conocimiento técnico-científico y metodológico ni legitimación social para garantizar su viabilidad política e implementación efectiva.
La carencia de dicho marco y de un entorno de política de medio ambiente apropiado para el abordaje del cambio climático en el país, ha conducido hacia la ejecución de acciones improvisadas, dispersas, y desvinculadas de los mandatos legales y compromisos derivados de los tratados internacionales en materia de cambio climático; tal como lo evidencia la preparación inconsulta por parte del Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN) de la propuesta (R-PP) al FCPF para una eventual estrategia de REDD-plus, sin un análisis previo sobre las eventuales implicaciones e impactos sociales, económicos, políticos y ambientales, tanto en el ámbito local como nacional y mundial.
La propuesta posee serios errores conceptuales y falencias técnico-científicas que son insuperables aún bajo los laxos criterios del FCPF y que se resumen en cuatro problemas sustantivos:

  • el enfoque de “Mitigación basada en Adaptación”, que no considera al cambio climático y carece del fundamento científico-metodológico para enfrentar apropiadamente la adaptación;

  • las debilidades y vacíos del marco estratégico nacional de cambio climático del país;

  • la vinculación directa con mecanismos de comercio internacional para la compensación de las emisiones de los países desarrollados, y

  • las falencias en el establecimiento de un sistema de información para el seguimiento y notificación sobre el abordaje y observancia de las siete salvaguardas de REDD-plus.

Lo anterior explica el por qué la propuesta de REDD-plus del país generaría mayor vulnerabilidad, impactos y desadaptación ante el cambio climático y representaría una grave amenaza para la gobernanza ambiental del país. El irrespeto de las salvaguardas adoptadas en el proceso multilateral y el debilitamiento de los esfuerzos mundiales para la mitigación efectiva del cambio climático, que se derivarían de la eventual implementación de la
propuesta de Estrategia Nacional de REDD-plus en el país, tal como ha sido formulada por el MARN; legitiman su rechazo y la exigencia de adoptar el marco estratégico nacional para el abordaje integral y efectivo del cambio climático.

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Download here:

REDD-plus schemes in El Salvador
REDD-plus schemes in El Salvador (119.2 kB).


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  1. “lacks a scientific and methodologically sound basis”…”weaknesses and gaps in the national strategic policy framework”…”direct link to offsetting emissions from developed countries”…”failure to establish an information system to monitor and report on REDD-plus safeguards”…

    Sounds like a fairly typical R-PP, in other words.

    And what does the World Bank, in its infinite wisdom and sense of good ‘value for money’ have to say about these allegations? Let me guess: “Nothing to do with us, honest, it’s the government’s responsibility…err…It’s the Participants’ Committee that approves these things…We’re ‘learning by doing’…err…We’re just providing the money…”

    In case the Salvadorean NGOs are not aware of it, details of the World Bank Inspection Panel can be found here:

  2. The authors of this paper have been helping and supporting NGOs to know more and more about climate change and its response measures. All their work is independent and for free. Now they have produced this product that will allow us to undestand what the government is handing about REDD. My main concern is the delay in the propposal of an adaptation framework to face climate change impacts in our country, including those on forests and other ecosystems; and the creation of these “fancy dresses” with REDD and the so-called R-PP project, hiding all the potential impacts of redd on the local communities of peasants and indigenous peoples in which we work and share daily.