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REDD in the news: 23-29 December 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.

23 December 2013

Burkina Faso Admitted into Forest Carbon Partnership Facility

BusinessGhana, 23 December 2013 | Burkina Faso, benefitting from the close support of the African Development Bank and the World Bank, has successfully become a member of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). This now qualifies Burkina Faso as a REDD country and, with the award of a US $3.8-million grant, allows the country to put in place the necessary policies and systems needed to effectively operationalize the REDD+ mechanism. This marks a significant step forward for Burkina Faso, a Sahel country where wooded areas and forests cover approximately 13 million hectares, roughly equivalent to 43 per cent of the total land area, and forest reserves account for almost 4 million hectares. However, despite these abundant forest resources, annual deforestation is estimated to be 107,000 hectares per year, while degradation is estimated at 0.5 million hectares per year.

Madagascar’s forests vanish to feed taste for rosewood in west and China

By Tamasin Ford, The Guardian, 23 December 2013 | The wood is being smuggled out of Madagascar at an alarming rate, said Randrianasolo Eliahevitra, regional director of the church-based development organisation SAF/FJKM.”People are afraid to talk [about who is behind the smuggling],” said Eliahevitra, adding that he feared for his life if he named any of those responsible. He said continuing political instability in Madagascar, a country reeling in poverty after four years of military rule and crippling economic sanctions, allowed the multimillion-dollar industry to flourish. “At this time we don’t have yet a legal government, so everyone is taking advantage of the situation and they are doing what they want,” Eliahevitra said.

Former leaders of Norway and Ghana named U.N. climate change envoys

By Michelle Nichols, Reuters, 23 December 2013 | U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday appointed former Ghana President John Kufuor and former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg as special envoys on climate change to drum up support for a planned global conference in September. Ban has invited world leaders, chief executives and civil society groups to a Climate Summit in New York on September 23 to push for robust action on climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building climate resilient communities. “As part of their work, the special envoys will assist the Secretary-General in his consultations with leaders to raise the level of ambition to address climate change and to accelerate action,” Ban’s office said in a statement.

24 December 2013

[USA] New York Green Bank to launch with $210m funding

By Jessica Shankleman,, BusinessGreen, 24 December 2013 | New York’s first bank dedicated to boosting the deployment of clean technologies is set to open in early 2014, after the state’s Governor confirmed an initial $210m (£128m) of funding. The NY Green Bank is eventually expected to be capitalised with $1bn, investing alongside the private sector in renewable energy, energy efficiency and other low carbon technology projects. On Thursday last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed an initial $210m backing for the Green Bank, $165m of which is from unallocated government funds, such as surcharges in utility bills that the state already collects for energy-efficiency programs, and $45m from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative emissions trading scheme. He said the bank was now on track to open for business and start offering its first loans and other financial products in early 2014.

25 December 2013

26 December 2013

[Indonesia] TII warns of corruption in REDD programs

By Nadya Natahadibrata, The Jakarta Post, 26 December 2013 | The newly established Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) Agency could be used as a cash cow ahead of the elections, says a Transparency International Indonesia (TII) report. The report said that the REDD+ task force, which was formed in 2010, had received funds for the establishment of the agency, including US$9.2 million from the UN-REDD and the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, as well as $30 million in REDD+ funds for Indonesia from the government of Norway, out of the $1 billion in funds committed. Australia also committed to disbursing $100 million within the Indonesia-Australia Forest Carbon Partnership (IAFCP) in 2008. Dedi Haryadi, TII deputy secretary-general, said that due to the large amount of funds the agency had and would receive, the agency was very vulnerable to being used as a cash cow by political parties.

Tanzania has to learn from Ethiopia on green projects

The Citizen, 26 December 2013 | The UN conference on COP 19 has ended in Warsaw, Poland, with some resolutions geared towards increasing Carbon Credit Fund. How much funding has the Norwegian government set aside for African countries, particularly Tanzania? Norway has committed 500 million Norwegian kroner, (aprox $80 million) to Tanzania from 2008 onwards. We have contributed a similar amount to the Congo Basin Forest Fund and we have entered into a climate change partnership with Ethiopia. A number of African countries, including Tanzania, are also receiving support through UN and World Bank programmes supported by Norway.

[USA] Lines Blur When Lobbyists Invest in Industries They Represent

By Brody Mullins, James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus, Wall Street Journal, 26 December 2013 | Carol Andress, a lobbyist at the Environmental Defense Fund, has met with top government officials advocating a clean-air approach likely to help natural-gas companies. Ms. Andress also is an investor in stocks that could gain from such policies, which the Obama administration has largely adopted. There have been more than two dozen trades in stocks in the natural-gas business in Ms. Andress’s Individual Retirement Account… [R-M: Subscription needed.]

27 December 2013

28 December 2013

Indonesia`s rain forest agency set to be in full swing

ANTARA News, 28 December 2013 | A new agency to protect Indonesias rainforests is ready to begin work to implement a first of its kind environmental program. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed Presidential Regulation No. 62/2013 on August 31, 2013, entitled Managing Body for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), concluding a process that took more than two years. “It is important and timely for the REDD+ Agency to immediately move forward at full speed for the sake of Indonesia and the entire earth,” said Heru Prasetyo, who previously acted as secretary and member of the REDD+ Institution Preparation Task Force (REDD+ Task Force) and Deputy I of the Presidential Working Unit for the Supervision and Management of Development (UKP4). Preparations to establish the REDD+ Agency involved at least 18 ministries and agencies, as well as 11 provincial and district governments.

29 December 2013

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