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REDD in the news: 12-18 August 2013

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 is updated regularly. For past REDD in the news posts, click here.

Event: Governor’s Climate and Forests Task Force 2013 Annual Meeting

Climate Change Policy & Practice, August 2013 | The GCF Annual Meeting is an opportunity for information exchange and for member countries (Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Spain and the US) and partners to provide updates on their REDD+ activities and achievements. The meeting will also convene a high level policy dialogue on REDD+ issues. Dates: 1-4 October 2013. Venue: Puerto Maldonado. Location: Peru.

12 August 2013

Why the World Bank Is Taking On Climate Change

By Coral Davenport, National Journal, 12 August 2013 | Rachel Kyte [the bank’s vice president of sustainable development]: We’ve come to the realization that we cannot achieve our mission, which is to end poverty, unless we slow the rate of climate change. Climate science now shows that we’re on course for a 4-degree [Celsius] temperature rise by 2100, that we’re going to be 2 degrees warmer by the 2030s. And that’s going to have devastating effects on food production, how livable cities are…. It’s going to be extraordinarily difficult for the poor, who are the least resilient, to be part of the growth and opportunity story over the next few decades if climate change is unabated.

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 12 August 2013 | With REDD+ projects and activities becoming increasingly visible over the last two decades – and counting – REDD+ has seen billions of dollars committed to its cause around the globe. Needless to say, tracking the deployment and flow of this finance is challenging. Several initiatives focus on tracking REDD+ finance at different scales, often using slightly different definitions and data sources that can produce a variety of numbers when counting REDD+. To promote harmonization and to build up a more comprehensive picture of the state of REDD+ finance, Forest Trends’ REDDX (hosted on the Forest Carbon Portal) and the Overseas Development Institute’s (ODI) Climate Funds Update have just launched an infographic here and the first three articles in a collaborative series that explains existing REDD+ finance tracking projects – including Forest Trends’ own new REDDX expenditures tracking initiative…

13 August 2013

UN-REDD Releases Symposium Report on REDD+ in the Green Economy

Forests Policy & Practice (IISD), 13 August 2013 | The UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD), in collaboration with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), the UN Office for REDD+ Coordination in Indonesia (UNORCID), the Government of Indonesia and other partners, has released the report of the Global Symposium on REDD+ in a Green Economy. Overall, the report notes that REDD+ could catalyze progress towards a green economy, while activities to move towards a green economy may stimulate additional investments in REDD+. According to the publication, the extent of the synergy between REDD+ and a green economy will depend on country commitments and the level of ambition in transitioning towards them.

[Malawi] Forestry Depart Adopts Forest Co-Management to Curb Encroachment

By Martin Chiwanda, Malawi News Agency, 13 August 2013 | Heavy encroachment in Matandwe Forest Reserve in Nsanje has forced the forestry department to engage local communities in co-managing the reserve. Communities from six Group Village Headmen surrounding the reserve have signed an agreement with the forestry department called ‘Forest Reserve Management Plan’ as an empowering tool for the management of the reserve. "The agreement encourages ownership amongst the communities over the forest reserve. The department is empowering the communities surrounding Matandwe to take care of the resources and use them responsibly," said Cecilia Chauluka, Regional Forestry Officer for the South.

Indigenous Participation in REDD+ increases in Peru

Rights and Resources, 13 August 2013 | In 2010, during the meeting on "The Preparation Proposal of Redd + in Peru," RRI collaborator AIDESEP expressed its views on the process, and how it excludes the right of Indigenous People in Peru. Since that meeting, AIDESEP has been contributing agreements highlighting the significant progress made by indigenous organizations in the inclusion of their rights in the process FIP and REDD + in the country. A total of 40 agreements were made from observations from the Plan of Investments of the FIP-Peru (PI-Forest Investment Program), signed on August 2, between the Committee of Directors of the FIP (CD-FIP), formed by the Ministries of Environment, Economy, Agriculture and Culture, and the Amazonian regional Governments, together with national and regional and local leaders of Indigenous organizations AIDESEP and CONAP.

14 August 2013

Tracking timber: could new technology help clean up the supply chain?

By Will Henley, The Guardian, 14 August 2013 | The prized tropical hardwood merbau was once found in abundance from east Africa to Tahiti… thanks to decades of merciless logging, today only New Guinea holds enough to be harvested in commercial quantities. Verifying that merbau, which fetches about $2,500 a cubic metre on the open market, is genuinely sourced from sustainably forested areas, either in Papua New Guinea or West Papua in Indonesia, gives the conscientious buyer an almighty headache. But it is also proving a boon for wily technology companies. In 2007, Simmonds Lumber, a wholesaler based in Sydney, became the first company in the world to trial a new technology involving DNA sampling and testing. Developed by DoubleHelix, based in Singapore, and certification body Certisource, the technology involves checking wood fibres against the genetic code of trees known to exist in sustainably managed areas.

REDD+ Inspiring Practice: Developing an emissions reduction programme idea note in the Democratic Republic of Congo

WWF, 14 August 2013 | WWF’s REDD+ Inspiring Practices are designed to share REDD+ lessons learned, so that they may be replicated by others for their own REDD+ related work. This Inspiring Practice follows the development of an emissions reduction programme idea note (ER-PIN) for a large-scale jurisdictional REDD+ programme across the future Mai-Ndombe Province of the DRC. The process involved diverse stakeholders, including members of the central government, provincial government officials, private sector representatives and members of national and international civil society organizations.

15 August 2013

Carbon trading via brokers plummets as banks retreat

Sydney Morning Herald, 15 August 2013 | Carbon trading via brokers including ICAP and GFI Group plunged to its lowest since at least January 2011 as banks scaled back buying and selling amid tighter regulation and a record glut of permits. The volume of EU allowances handled by six members of the London Energy Brokers’ Association dropped 61 per cent in July to 84.1 million metric tons from a year earlier, according to an Aug. 8 report by the lobby group. Trading in Certified Emission Reductions, the United Nations-regulated offsets, plunged 81 per cent. Activity on ICE Futures Europe in London, the biggest exchange for carbon contracts, slid 19 per cent in the month. “A significant factor is that a few key players have exited,” Ilesh Patel, a partner in London at Baringa Partners LLP, said Aug. 9 by phone. “Banks need more money to trade carbon, power and other commodities because of new financial regulations that require them to set more risk capital aside.”

REDD+ Finance: What Do We Know About The Private Sector Contribution?

By Iain Henderson and Jacinto Coello, Ecosystem Marketplace, 15 August 2013 | There is broad consensus that private finance and investment are needed for REDD+ to meet its climate change mitigation potential in the medium to long-term. Those who are familiar with REDD+ will have heard countless variations of an equation that currently does not balance. Annual REDD+ additional investment needs are estimated to be in the order of tens of billions of dollars, yet the current sums available – which are largely public funds- are a fraction of this number. The hope and expectation is that private sector capital will conveniently fill the gap, et voila! The burden placed upon private capital to balance the books has also been creeping higher over the past few years. REDD+ is not only more complex and expensive than first thought five years ago but public sector finances have also been decimated by successive financial crises in every corner of the globe.

Plans to evict Botswana Bushmen revealed by leaked report

Survival International, 15 August 2013 | Survival International has obtained detailed plans for the forced relocation of Bushmen by a local council in western Botswana, despite a recent High Court order prohibiting their forced eviction and central government assurances that no evictions would take place. In June, the Bushmen at Ranyane community successfully challenged in court government attempts to remove them from their land and destroy their homes. But the new report – titled ‘Ranyane relocation phase II’ – exposes Ghanzi district council’s plans to start relocating the remaining Bushmen at Ranyane on August 12, 2013, at a cost of almost US $900,000, and to evict ‘those who resist relocation’. Despite the court ruling, the council planned to starve the Bushmen off their land by: stopping the provision of services such as basic rations, pensions and health services; cutting off their water supply; and destroying sanitation and health facilities.

Costa Rica Carbon Credits Approved; Scam Warning

By Dan Stevens, Costa Rican Times, 15 August 2013 | A local carbon market will exist soon in Costa Rica, according to the Costa Rican Minister of Environment and Energy, Rene Castro, whose aim to reduce emissions. Ms. Castro informs us that they have already made a road map for the market they seek to create… Upon hearing this news the only thing I could think of was that this is quickly going to turn into a scam here in Costa Rica. Multiple call centers are going to open up to “sell” Costa Rica Carbon credits. When these businesses try to apply these scam carbon credits the business will have disappeared and reformed under another name. This will also probably turn into a place where government officials working in this sector will be able to accept kickbacks from companies for carbon credits.

[Ecuador] BluForest Inc. Signs an LOI Entering Into Discussions of the Pre-Purchase of Carbon Credits Which May Result in a Potential 12 Million Dollar Annual Revenue

BluForest press release, 15 August 2013 | BluForest Inc., an emerging leader in the field of Carbon Trading and Renewable Energy, announced today that the company signed a Letter of Intent on August 12, 2013. BluForest entered into discussions with Global Fuel Limited, based in London, England, for the pre-purchase two Tons of Carbon Credit per Hectare per Year owned by BluForest Inc., commencing September 2013. This pre-purchase of Carbon Credits shows the promise of adding significant growth over time, highlighted by substantial increases to revenue and operating income. Charlie Miller, CEO of BluForest, said, "Although the terms of the contract have yet to be defined, Global Fuel has showed an interest in working with BluForest in promoting carbon free oil and this pre-purchase of carbon credits opens a huge market within the shipping industry to help offset their carbon output."

[Indonesia] Over the REDD rainbow

By Peter Howson, Jakarta Post, 15 August 2013 | The REDD+ mechanism is diversely manifested, but usually involves the private-sector and big non-government organizations, like WWF or the Nature Conservancy, steering the process with market-based approaches to conservation. The idea is simple, but the road to securing HKm and REDD+ permits is a Super Mario land of payoffs and pot holes. And despite over 16-long months of game playing, Rainbow’s permits are still yet to materialize. The Lamandau River project proposes to be the largest HKm/REDD+ activity in Indonesia to date. But, what makes this project really unique is that KoBar forest dependent communities are developing it themselves. The principle driver is not thirst for land appropriation, profit or resource rights, but rather a wish to live a life with dignity.

16 August 2013

Ecuador approves Yasuni national park oil drilling in Amazon rainforest

By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 16 August 2013 | Ecuador has abandoned a pioneering conservation plan in the Amazon that attempted to raise funds from the international community instead of drilling for oil in a pristine corner of the Yasuni national park. The collapse of the Yasuni ITT initiative is a devastating blow for activists who are trying to save one of the world’s most biodiverse regions from development and pollution. It also kills climate campaigners’ hopes that the Ecuador plan could provide a model for other nations to resist the lure of oil money and leave fossil fuels under the ground. President Rafael Correa blamed the failure on the lack of foreign support, after a trust fund set up to manage the initiative received only $13m (£8.3m) in deposits, a tiny fraction of the $3.6bn goal.

Yasuni: Ecuador abandons plan to stave off Amazon drilling

Associated Press, 16 August 2013 | Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has abandoned a unique and ambitious plan to persuade rich countries to pay his country not to drill for oil in a pristine Amazon rainforest preserve. Environmentalists had hailed the initiative when Correa first proposed it in 2007, saying he was setting a precedent in the fight against global warming by reducing the high cost to poor countries of preserving the environment. "The world has failed us," Correa said in a nationally televised speech. He blamed "the great hypocrisy" of nations who emit most of the world’s greenhouse gases. "It was not charity that we sought from the international community, but co-responsibility in the face of climate change." Correa had sought US$3.6bn in contributions to maintain a moratorium on drilling in the remote Yasuni national park, which was declared a biosphere reserve by the United Nations in 1989 and is home to two indigenous tribes living in voluntary isolation.

[Thailand] Corruption, bloodshed and death – the curse of rosewood

By Roger Arnold, EIA International, 16 August 2013 | This summer I’ve had the opportunity to visit some of Thailand’s most spectacular protected areas with forest rangers from Thailand’s Department of National Parks (DNP). The rangers were eager to highlight the Government’s increased funding for enforcement, bolstering their mission. However, it quickly became clear rosewood crime is a huge problem threatening their lives and the future of Thailand’s national parks. Thailand’s protected areas contain the largest remaining stocks of Siam rosewood, coveted in China as a sign of wealth and prosperity. Exporting Thai rosewood is illegal, but smugglers are stealing billions of dollars worth each year.

17 August 2013

18 August 2013

[Guyana] Lack of funds snags REDD+ consultations for Amerindian communities

Stabroek News, 18 August 2013 | Head of the National Toshaos Council (NTC) Derrick John says that consultations with Amerindian communities on REDD+ initiatives is at a standstill because of lack of funding. “I think that the process need to be speed up,” John told Stabroek News last week. John said that the NTC is pushing for more consultations because more is needed. He said that the NTC has applied to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for funding for consultations and has also been working “tirelessly” with the government to get more funding. Some activists and Amerindian communities have criticised the limited consultations on REDD+ and the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) initiatives. An audit by Rainfore st Alliance (RA) of Guyana’s performance in meeting REDD+ Enabling Indicators under the Guyana-Norway climate and forests partnership released last December concluded that three of the 10 indicators were met, three were not met and four were partially met. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Guyana] Gov’t reports strong performance under Norway forests partnership

Stabroek News, 18 August 2013 | A team from the forest consulting company Indufor will be in Guyana this week to engage with stakeholders as part of the independent verification for Guyana’s fourth year’s performance under the forests partnership with Norway. Government says that overall Guyana’s performance against the requirements of the Joint Concept Note (JCN), which sets out indicators to be met, has been strong and the country has fully implemented the majority of actions which the JCN targeted for completion during this reporting period. However, government has complained again of delays in accessing funding through the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) mechanism and said that this demonstrates the need for further investigation into the functioning of the GRIF and options for its improvement. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

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