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REDD in the news: 13-19 March 2017

REDD in the newsREDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.

13 March 2017

The climate finance architecture the world needs
By Joe Thwaites and Niranjali Manel Amerasinghe, Eco-Business, 13 March 2017
The climate finance architecture—the system of specialized, public funds that help countries implement climate mitigation and adaptation projects and programs—is crucial if the world is to overcome the climate change challenge. These funds play a valuable role in everything from deploying renewable energy to helping smallholder farmers cope with drought to restoring degraded forests, and often mobilize even larger volumes of funding from the private sector and other sources.
Yet, the climate finance architecture has become too complex. Over the past 25 years, dozens of national, regional and international climate funds have been created. Each new fund responded to needs and gaps that existed at the time, but this has led to a rather complicated system.

Thousands flee central Chile forest fire
AFP, 13 March 2017
A forest fire swept through central Chile over the weekend, forcing the evacuation of 6,000 people and destroying more than a dozen dwellings, emergency officials said Monday.
The blaze began in forested areas of Vina del Mar, a popular resort area in the Valparaiso region, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of Santiago, where hundreds of poor families live in illegally-built houses of wood and tin.
According to Ricardo Toro, the director of ONEMI, no one was killed or injured in the blaze.

A massive garbage dump collapse in Ethiopia has killed at least 48 people
By Lily Kuo, Quartz, 13 March 2017
At least 48 people have been killed by a landslide at a massive garbage dump on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. On Saturday, piles of garbage collapsed onto waste pickers searching the Koshe landfill for food and goods to sell. It also covered dozens of homes built around the site.
The incident is a reminder of some of the contradictions in Ethiopia’s success story as one of the continent’s fastest growing economies. Only a decade ago, Ethiopia was the second poorest country in the world; now it averages more than 10% economic growth a year and hopes to join the ranks of middle income countries by 2025. It’s also the site of heavily repressed protests and poverty still plagues almost a third of the population.

What’s next for customary forests in Indonesia?
CIFOR Forests News, 13 March 2017
A recent handover of customary land rights from the Indonesian government to indigenous peoples has been hailed as a milestone for many forest communities in Indonesia. At the start of 2017, more than 13,000 hectares of customary land was handed over to nine indigenous communities, recognizing their longstanding stewardship and management of forests.

[Pakistan] Making CPEC inclusive and sustainable
By Zulfiqar Qazilbash, Dawn, 13 March 2017
The CPEC project has the potential to change the country’s economy. However, viewed in the current global rejection of elite economics, some areas need to be addressed so its impact benefits a broader segment of our society.
Ecological: One estimate often heard is that of 7,000 long haul container trucks passing, every day, through ecologically sensitive areas, such as those of Gilgit Baltistan. These will spew an estimated annual 36.5m tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, equal to 25pc of Pakistan’s current overall emissions.

[UK] Grundon commits to zero carbon emissions
Lets Recycle, 13 March 2017
The waste firm is extending its three-year CarbonNeutral fleet certification programme, which means every mile travelled by Grundon vehicles is ‘officially carbon neutral’.
The certification has been awarded by Natural Capital Partners, in line with the requirements of The CarbonNeutral Protocol – the global standard for carbon neutral programmes.
Through its purchase of carbon credits, Grundon has supported an innovative community reforestation project in Uganda, which organises hundreds of small community-based tree planting initiatives on land owned by subsistence farmers.

[UK] Rainham fraudster jailed for 16 months for scamming pensioners in carbon credits crime worth £1.7 million
By Rudi Abdallah, Yellow Advertiser, 13 March 2017
A fraudster from Rainham has been jailed for 16 months for his part in an investment fraud scam worth £1.7 million.
Alan Mill, 64, of High Street, Romford, was one of five men sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Monday, March 6, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud on January 9 at the same court.
DS Richard Ward, from the Complex Fraud Unit, said the fraudsters preyed on ’vulnerable’ people without regard for their feelings.
Mill was director and shareholder of Taylor & Mills Ltd, a company investigated by the Met’s Complex Fraud Team following a case referral for action fraud in 2013.

[USA] In the battle over California climate policies, green projects are now in the hot seat
By Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times, 13 March 2017
Outdated refrigerators arrive at a Compton warehouse in a funeral procession of defunct appliances. Workers vacuum out the coolants and ship the chemicals halfway across the country, where they’re destroyed instead of allowed to escape into the atmosphere, worsening global warming.
The operation is among dozens of projects that qualify as carbon offsets, which are funded by major polluters such as oil refineries and power plants to comply with California’s requirements for slashing greenhouse gases.

[USA] The dream of California’s bullet train is taking longer and costing more
By Kurt Snibbe, The Orange County Register, 13 March 2017
In 2008, Californians approved a high-speed rail project that has become one of the largest infrastructure projects in the nation. The dream of taking a train from Southern California to San Francisco in about three hours is chugging along, but facing new barriers.
The original plan voters opted for in 2008 was titled the Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century. When voters approved the measure, the estimated cost of the project was $40 billion. The 2016 business plan reviewed by the Legislative Analysts Office estimated a cost of $64 billion.
Estimated completion of Phase one is 2029.

The Trump administration really doesn’t want this climate lawsuit to go to trial
By Natasha Geiling, Think Progress, 13 March 2017
The Trump administration, joined by fossil fuel companies, is stepping up its fight against a historic federal climate lawsuit, seeking an appeal of a November decision that allowed the case to move forward to trial. The Trump administration also argued that an earlier request — which asked the government to retain records of communication about climate change between the government and the fossil fuel industry — was overly burdensome.
“This request for appeal is an attempt to cover up the federal government’s long-running collusion with the fossil fuel industry,” Alex Loznak, a 20-year old plaintiff in the case, said in a statement. “My generation cannot wait for the truth to be revealed. These documents must be uncovered with all deliberate speed, so that our trial can force federal action on climate change.”

14 March 2017

IPI leads companies tracking sustainable actions on blockchain
By Tristan Lecomte (Pur Project), Futures, Centre, 14 March 2017
Nespresso France has become the first company to record its climate-positive actions on a new blockchain-based register. The coffee brand had its Agroforestry Insetting Program certified last year by Ecocert, and listed on the blockchain registry of the International Platform for Insetting (IPI), which supports companies to share positive social and environmental impacts with shareholders.
‘Insetting’ describes the actions taken by an organisation to fight climate change within its own value chain in a manner which generates multiple social, environmental and economic benefits, and also contributes directly to the business model. This means, for example, planting trees in agroforestry models, generating positive impacts on the wider ecosystem, such as enriching soils, managing the water cycle, and protecting biodiversity. Delivering a premium agricultural ingredient in stable quantity depends on a rich and resilient ecosystem. Trees not only protect crops, but help to diversify revenues, through timber, fruit and medicine.

[Burma] Firefighters battling multiple Mae Hong Son hotspots
The Nation, 14 March 2017
The “Fire Hawk” special unit continued to work hard in response to forest fires in Mae Hong Son on Tuesday, as a Myanmar forest fire opposite Ban Huai Ton Noon in the province’s Khun Yuam district threatened to spread across the border.
On Tuesday, there were nearly 20 fires in seven Mae Hong Son districts – Muang, Khun Yuam, Mae La Noi, Mae Sariang, Sop Moei, Pang Mapha and Pai, according to the Mae Hong Son Centre for Forest Fires and Haze Prevention and Mitigation.
Ban Huai Ton Noon village headman Udom Mansuksak said people passing through the Huai Ton Noon border crossing had reported that the forest fire on the Myanmar side would reach Thailand in one or two days.

[India] Drought, forest fires likely to affect tourism industry
By ManuAiyappa Kanathandal, Times of India, 14 March 2017
This summer may not be a time for happy holidays. After the cash crunch, drought, acute water crisis and forest fires could inflict a triple whammy on Karnataka’s tourism industry.
Fear is mounting that the peak summer tourism, spanning the next three months, will take a hit if the state doesn’t see some good rain soon. According to Met officials, Karnataka is experiencing its lowest rainfall in the last 40-50 years. “While April to June is the peak season for tourism in Karnataka, this year doesn’t look encoura ging because of drought, water scarcity and forest fires,” said tourism minister Priyank Kharge.

UK to Provide 3 Million Pounds for Indonesia’s Forest Fire Control Programs
Netral News, 14 March 2017
The British government will provide funds amounting to 3 million pounds for five provinces in Indonesia that implement land and forest fires prevention and control programs.
“Actually, we can provide more support, as long as there is a strong commitment to prevent forest fires,” British Ambassador to Indonesia, ASEAN, and East Timor, Moazzam Malik, said here on Monday. He added that the British government strongly supports the Jambi provincial government’s efforts in creating regional rules to prevent land and forest fires.
“We are also working with five provinces in Indonesia to prevent forest and land fires. Of all the provincial governments, Jambi is the bravest one to ban land clearing by burning through regulations,” he stated.

The Russian Carbon Fund, Aera Group pioneer the first worldwide carbon credit transaction using blockchain technology in DAO IPCI
EIN News, 14 March 2017
Pilot transaction was executed on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 8:00 am (UTC+1:00) between the Russian Carbon Fund on the buying side and Aera Group, the largest supplier of African carbon credits, on the selling side in the DAO IPCI blockchain ecosystem with IT support of Airlab.
The Verified Carbon Units acquired by Russian Carbon Fund are intended to offset carbon footprint in Russia and internationally, by airline passengers, in particular.
Transaction rewards 1 year of blockchain application for carbon markets development undertaken by DAO IPCI team of blockchain and environmental markets experts.
The new CO2 exchange / blockchain platform will ensure more transparency, integrity and lower transaction costs for buyers and sellers of carbon credits and other environmental mitigation outcomes.

15 March 2017

Explainer: The challenge of tackling aviation’s non-CO2 emissions
By Jocelyn Timperley, Carbon Brief, 15 March 2017
Last October, the 191 member states of the United Nation’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) agreed to a new deal to cap international aviation emissions using a carbon offset approach.
Despite relief from some quarters that this long-awaited deal – which aims to cap growth in aviation emissions at 2020 levels – had finally been achieved, there is still a long way to go before the problem of fast-rising aviation emissions is solved.
First, the offsetting nature of the ICAO scheme means countries still need to translate exactly how a deal – which doesn’t actually stop aircrafts emitting more CO2 and only begins in four years – will be able to align itself with the limits in global temperature rise set out in the Paris Agreement.

In Brazil, dams threaten rivers, the environment and people’s lives
Greenpeace, 15 March 2017
March 14th was the International Day of Action for Rivers: a time to remember and honour the communities who have been impacted by the construction of dams and the movements trying to prevent disastrous new dam projects.
For Brazil, the profound impacts dams and hydropower projects can have on communities and the environment couldn’t be clearer. Here are just three recent stories of communities impacted by dams — and how they are fighting back.

Crime and not enough punishment: Amazon thieves keep stolen public land
By Sue Branford and Maurício Torres, Mongaby, 15 March 2017
Every month, a group of wealthy women representing some of Brazil’s most exclusive and powerful land-owning families, meets in São Paulo at the Brazilian Rural Society. One of the leading lights of the 23 “ladies of agribusiness,” as they’re known, was a glamorous socialite named Ana Luiza Junqueira Vilela Viacava, who often featured in Brazil’s Vogue magazine. In 2012, she declared: “I like land and the security it gives me for the future.”
In July 2016, Ana Luiza was arrested and charged with land grabbing. An unflattering picture of her startled face, taken by the police after her detention, appeared in the national press.

Denmark sanctions entire Burmese teak industry
EIA, 15 March 2017
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) today welcomed a ruling by Danish authorities which have placed injunctions on all Danish operators placing Burmese teak on the country’s market.
The decision follows EIA’s submission of evidence that Danish timber company Keflico violated the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) and sets a clear precedent that other EUTR Competent Authorities must follow.
Denmark’s actions follow a November 2016 decision in Sweden where enforcement officials successfully prosecuted Almtra Nordic for breaching the EUTR.
“Denmark’s leadership in EUTR enforcement underpins similar rulings already made in Sweden and leaves no doubt that anyone placing Burmese teak on the EU market under current conditions is in breach of European law,” said EIA Forests Campaigner Peter Cooper.

[India] 6 years after approval, Forest Policy awaits implementation in JK
By Mudassir Kuloo, The Kashmir Monitor, 15 March 2017
Six years after its approval, the Forest Policy is still awaiting effective implementation in Jammu and Kashmir.
The J&K State Forest Policy was approved in 2011, more than 23 years after formulation of the National Forest Policy in 1988.
Its basic objective was conservation of biodiversity and natural habitat through preservation of natural forests.
As per the policy, the government was expected to retrieve the forest land from encroachers and upgrade and maintain demarcation records in digital format on GIS using remote sensing technology.

[Indonesia] Mitigation program reduces forest fires: FFA
Jakarta Post, 15 March 2017
The Fire Free Alliance (FFA), a group consisting of forestry and agriculture companies and civil society groups, said on Wednesday that it has successfully reduced fire incidents by 50 to 90 percent in the 2015-2016 period.
Established in February last year, FFA has focused on fire prevention through community engagement. The members of the group include APRIL, Asian Agri and Musim Mas.
Wilmar, a group member, said it has educated communities in 61 villages in South Sumatra and Central Kalimantan and trained 15 fire fighters in each village and equipped them with a fire truck.
“We are definitely better prepared now,” said Wilmar plantations head Gurcharan Singh during an event to review the program.

[Kenya] Fires consume 300 hectares of forests in Nyandarua, Nakuru counties
By Steve Njuguna, Business Daily, 15 March 2017
More than 300 hectares of forests in Nyandarua and Nakuru have been destroyed in raging fires that have consumed huge sections of the forest cover and vegetation.
Although the prolonged drought has been cited as a contributing factor, in Nyandarua County, conservationists believe residents might have a hand in the fires.
There are fears that residents ignited some of the fires in cultural beliefs that this could induce the rains.
According to Nyandarua County Ecosystem Conservator Mrs Jennifer Situma, about 300 hectares of forests have been destroyed by fire in the county in separate incidents.

Tenure and trade: How to make a living from the forests of Nepal
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News, 15 March 2017
Nepal is a world leader in returning forest tenure rights to local people. But restrictive regulations continue to undermine communities’ attempts to establish sustainable businesses from forest products, experts say.
Following sweeping reforms in the 1990s aimed at addressing widespread deforestation, over 20,000 community forest user groups now manage 30 percent of Nepal’s forest area. That means almost 40 percent of the country’s population is involved in forest management.

Sweden to introduce airline tax in 2018
By Simon Johnson, Reuters, 15 March 2017
Sweden will put forward plans for a tax on air travel before summer and will use the revenue to lower taxes for small companies, Financial Markets Minister Per Bolund said on Wednesday.
The government said it expected to raise around 1.7 billion crowns a year starting next year from the air travel tax, which would be used to cut payroll taxes on small businesses.
“We plan to send a proposal for a tax on airline travel … before summer,” Bolund said in a statement.

[USA] California gas prices could rise if the state’s cap-and-trade program is extended, legislative analyst says
By Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times, 15 March 2017
As California lawmakers debate the future of the state’s battle against global warming, there’s one politically sensitive issue they’ll have to consider: gas prices.
Gov. Jerry Brown wants lawmakers to extend the cap-and-trade program, which requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gas emissions. Right now, the price of permits sold in state-run auctions is less than $14.
However, if the program is extended and the state pushes forward with its tougher climate goals, the price of allowances could rise to $50 over several years, according to Ross Brown from the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.

16 March 2017

Germany to push for carbon price at G20
By Roger Harrabin, BBC News, 16 March 2017
Germany will use its G20 Presidency to nudge world leaders towards a global price on carbon, according to its director general of energy policy.
Thorsten Herdan told BBC News that the world can’t stabilise CO2 emissions without making polluters pay.
Mr Herdan, of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, said if renewables got cheaper still, the market would respond by dropping the coal price more.
Some of President Trump’s advisers have argued that any carbon price should be fixed at zero to reflect the benefits of fossil fuels.

[India] Nagarjunasagar tiger reserve scorched by worst forest fires
By Syed Akbari, Times of India, 16 March 2017
In what could impact India’s efforts to conserve tigers, the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve has emerged as the worst-hit area in terms of damage by forest fires. The highest burnt area coverage (18%) among all the protected green zones and sanctuaries in India falls under Nagarjunasagar tiger reserve.
Ironically, the second highest burnt area is also in Andhra Pradesh Gundla Brahmeswaram Wildlife Sanctuary with 8.4% of the green cover affected by forest fires every year. Brahmeswaram is also a habitat for tigers and panthers. Two other wildlife sanctuaries – Kaundinya and Sri Venkateswara – (both in AP) also figure in the top 10 protected areas that are hit by forest fires.

[Indonesia] Jakarta takes steps toward haze-free Southeast Asia
By Simon Roughneen, Nikkei Asian Review, 16 March 2017
Malaysia’s environment minister is sure that 2017 will not see a repeat of the choking, eye-watering smog that covered parts of his country, as well as Singapore and areas in Indonesia, for around two months in 2015.
“We are very likely to be haze-free this year. Even if it comes, it will not be as serious as before,” said Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, Minister for Natural Resources and Environment, on March 2.

[Indonesia] Fire Free Alliance claims to have dramatically reduced forest fires in Sumatra since 2015
Jakarta Post, 16 March 2017
The Fire Free Alliance (FFA), a collective made up primarily of forestry and agriculture companies and civil society groups, is claiming credit for a reduction in forest fires in Sumatra over the past two years.
In its FFA Members Review 2016 report released in Jakarta on Wednesday, the group claimed to have expanded its forest fire prevention outreach to 218 villages across Indonesia, covering more than 1.5 million hectares of land.
In Riau and Jambi, two provinces in Sumatra where massive forest fires have created environmental disasters in recent years, fires in nine villages under its Fire-Free Village Program had been reduced by roughly 50 percent between 2015 and 2016, the report claimed.

[Thailand] Devastating forest fire blamed on hunters, foragers
By Asaree Thaitrakulpanich, Khao Sod, 16 March 2017
A fire that scorched hundreds of rai (dozens of hectares) of forest and brush Thursday morning in the northern province of Lampang was likely caused by carelessness, a local forest official said.
A frustrated-sounding forest protection official said the fire, which began at about 7am and consumed large swaths of area on both sides of the border between Lampang and Sukhothai provinces, said it was humans – not the heat – to blame.
“Carelessness is the sole reason for the fire. It was 100 percent caused by humans, ” said an angry-sounding Suppawit Sakarin, head of the regional Forest Protection Unit. “The entire area here is very, very burnt now. You can come see it for yourself.”
Suppawit said that the fire ravaged “hundreds of rai,” rather than the 30 reported in media accounts, and that he hadn’t even seen all the damage yet.

17 March 2017

IEA finds CO2 emissions flat for third straight year even as global economy grew in 2016
International Energy Agency, 17 March 2017
Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions were flat for a third straight year in 2016 even as the global economy grew, according to the International Energy Agency, signaling a continuing decoupling of emissions and economic activity. This was the result of growing renewable power generation, switches from coal to natural gas, improvements in energy efficiency, as well as structural changes in the global economy.
Global emissions from the energy sector stood at 32.1 gigatonnes last year, the same as the previous two years, while the global economy grew 3.1%, according to estimates from the IEA. Carbon dioxide emissions declined in the United States and China, the world’s two-largest energy users and emitters, and were stable in Europe, offsetting increases in most of the rest of the world.

Improving sustainable cattle production in the Brazilian Amazon
By Pablo Pacheco, CIFOR Forests News, 17 March 2017
The successful Brazilian experience in slowing down deforestation in the Amazon has captured a lot of attention in the global arena, but serious concerns linger about its possible resurgence.
While it is important to strengthen public and private arrangements to reach zero deforestation, or at least to stabilize it at relatively low absolute levels, more attention needs to be placed on the actions necessary to facilitate the transition from a zero-deforestation model to one of territorial sustainability.

[India] Fires were in lantana-infested area at BRT reserve
The Hindu, 17 March 2017
What was the main cause for the rapid spread of fire in BRT reserve? Using remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) tools, the Forest Department, in association with a Pune-based earth observation company, mapped the forest area in Punjur range – Chikkayanagiri valley near Kurimande camp – that was damaged by the fire.
Forest department officials vouch that these methods are scientifically accurate, transparent and ensure complete coverage of the area. The accuracy of the maps can be verified on ground or by anyone as satellite imagery is freely accessible.

Homelands under threat, Indonesian tribes rally for land rights
By Beh Lih Yi, Reuters, 17 March 2017
Thousands of Indonesian indigenous people gathered on Sumatra island on Friday to call on the government to protect their land rights as fears grow some tribes could become extinct.
A sprawling archipelago with more than 17,000 islands, Indonesia is home to an estimated 50 to 70 million indigenous people, but many do not have formal title to the land their families have lived on for generations.
For decades they have been locked in bitter battles with logging, palm oil and mining companies that have been expanding into their homelands in the resource-rich Southeast Asian nation.
President Joko Widodo has pledged to improve their lives, but activists say his ambitious plans to boost infrastructure and energy production – including by building dams – mean more tribes are at risk of being displaced.

[UK] Reporting scams: who to contact when you get fraudulent phone, post and email
By Anna Jordan, Love Money, 17 March 2017
Members of the public reporting their suspicions to Action Fraud have landed a group of investment scammers in jail for tricking victims out of £1.7 million.
It’s a heartening example of how taking the time to lodge the complaint to the service has helped put these crooks away and stopped them from doing any further harm.
Here’s a rundown of what happened and what you can do to help catch fraudsters.

[USA] How Trump’s Budget Hits The Environment, Agency-By-Agency
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 17 March 2017
We, the people of the United States of America, being responsible for roughly 16 percent of all the scientifically verifiable greenhouse gasses that man has emitted into the atmosphere since the dawn of the industrial revolution, find it just and honorable that we pay roughly 20 percent of the budget for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is charged with cleaning up the mess.
We also pledge to contribute $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund, which is charged with helping the poorest and most innocent countries of the world deal with the consequences of a mess that we, the developed – and, yes, guilty – countries have created.
We find these truths self-evident… unless our names are Donald Trump, who currently serves as President of the United States, or Mick Mulvaney, who currently serves as the President’s director of budget.

18 March 2017

Tackling Indonesia’s forest Fires at the Grassroots
Clean Malaysia, 18 March 2017
They’ve had enough and set out to stop it. “They”: an alliance of farmers, citizens, environmentalists and agriculture companies. “It”: the periodic haze caused by the widespread burning of trees, shrubs and other vegetation in Indonesia.
The Fire-Free Alliance, which was set up a year ago in the wake of a massive haze in 2015, seeks to prevent blazing fires through community engagement. The civil society initiative wants to convince farmers, smallholders and large companies alike to put an end once and for all to land clearing by fire in southern Kalimantan and western Sumatra, which are home to most of Indonesia’s palm oil plantations and pulpwood businesses.

Police target ‘land mafia’
By Moses Ompusunggu, Jakarta Post, 18 March 2017
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo knows he has set himself a herculean task with his agrarian reform.
However, on Friday, his administration took a major step forward when the National Police in cooperation with the Agrarian and Spatial Planning Ministry pledged to take stern action against rampant so-called “land mafia” practices in the country.
The two institutions signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to pave the way for police to crack down on such practices and resolve land conflicts, which in the past have seen the involvement of private and state actors, including the police themselves.

Indonesia’s indigenous peoples will have to keep waiting for a promised task force on their rights
By Philip Jackson, Mongabay, 18 March 2017
Presidential Chief of Staff Teten Masduki was the object of a forceful gesture yesterday when a Papuan man approached the stage on which he was sitting during a rare indigenous peoples congress now underway in this Sumatran village.
“Here are eight arrows — in eight months, a law on our rights should be passed,” Alex Sanggenafa declared in front of Masduki. “Let us make a covenant!”
Masduki took the arrows. They were meant for his boss, Joko Widodo.
“Send them as a greeting to Mr. President,” Sanggenafa told him.
The exchange alluded to the hope Indonesia’s indigenous have placed in Jokowi, as he is popularly known, and to their growing impatience as they wait for him to follow through on his campaign pledges.
This week the relationship was further strained when Jokowi canceled his appearance at the congress, held once every five years by the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN). He had been expected to deliver a major policy pronouncement: the creation, perhaps, of a promised task force to coordinate the administration’s work on indigenous rights.

[PNG] REDD+ Strategy to be submitted to NEC this month
By Quintina Naime, Loop PNG, 18 March 2017
The Climate Change and Development Authority is aiming to have the National REDD+ Strategy ready for submission to the National Executive Council for endorsement later this month.
PNG is currently in the process of developing REDD+ for the country under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and in accordance with the 2015 Paris Agreement.
The National REDD+ Strategy was the main focus of discussions and training sessions at a workshop this week in Kavieng attended by 60 representatives from the government and private sector.

[St Lucia] Major OECS effort underway to reduce deforestation
St. Lucia Times, 18 March 2017
Saint Lucia is well on its way to implementing a National Strategy for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).
This major development was the result of two days of consultations held here last week.
Agencies and experts who attended the two day consultations represented the Forestry Department, the OECS, Department of Sustainable Development, Physical Planning, a soil carbon specialist, project manager for the Iyanola Project, Caribbean Youth Environmental Network, Invest St. Lucia, Fauna and Flora International (FFI), the Physical Planning Department and the Japan Climate Change Alliance.

19 March 2017

Amazon land battle pits indigenous villagers against might of Ecuador state
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 19 March 2017
Military drones and police helicopters circle above the Shuar indigenous village of El Tink, an Amazonian community in Ecuador where a high-profile dispute against a Chinese copper mine has become a standoff and a siege.
Aerial surveillance is the only way the authorities can monitor this cloud forest enclave because residents have blocked the sole entrance to their home: a bouncing plank-and-cable bridge suspended 15 metres above the brown torrents of the Zamora river.
Some wear masks to hide their faces. Others appear so casual, they could be out for an afternoon stroll. But together, they take it in shifts to guard the crossing 24 hours a day. Friendly vehicles are allowed through. Government forces are turned back, but the siege is exacting a humanitarian toll on the villagers.

Indonesia’s Peat Fires Still Blaze, But Not As Much As They Used To
By Anthony Kuhn, Maine Public, 19 March 2017
With fires crackling in the peat soils, smoke billowing up and hot ash raining down just a stone’s throw from his house, farmer Arif Subandi chokes up as he surveys the scene.
“Now our land is burned, our environment neglected,” he says, sobbing. “Where will my children and grandchildren go?”
The 48-year-old father of five, who lives just outside the capital of Indonesia’s West Kalimantan Province on Borneo, says he doesn’t have enough to support his family. He’s worried about local companies trying to take the land from him.
The fires can be hard to extinguish. “We’re in the bush,” Subandi explains. “These are ferns. And the fire burns the dry roots beneath us. During the dry season, the fire can burn three feet or more underground.”

[Nigeria] Cross River at crossroads
By Anietie Akpan, Calabar, The Guardian, 19 March 2017
Over half of Nigeria’s remaining 90 per cent rainforest is found in Cross River State. According to experts, it is one of the richest in biodiversity on the Africa continent.
Over the years, the state government and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), have made modest efforts towards sustaining the forest for sustainable development, and also cashing in on the United Nations’ Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) Carbon Credit Fund.
But all these notwithstanding, the forests are constantly under attack on a daily basis by hundreds of small scale-loggers, farmers and locals out in search of timber, land for cultivation and firewood. It was therefore not surprising that a 2002 study found out that the state has a rate of deforestation of over two per cent per annum, a rate considered as one of the highest deforestation rates in the world.

Thai, Myanmar fires cause haze over North
Bangkok Post, 19 March 2017
The Pollution Control Department will seek cooperation from Myanmar to solve haze caused by bushfires in northern provinces.
Department chief Jatuporn Buruspat said Saturday Thailand cannot solve the haze problem alone because parts of the affected forest areas are in Myanmar. He said he is preparing to send a letter to Myanmar’s environment ministry seeking “cooperation” to cope with the bushfires.
The haze situation turned bad in many parts of Mae Hong Son. In some areas, villagers are exposed to immediate health risks, according to the Meteorology Department.
Mr Jatuporn said officials plan to enforce a strict law in Mae Hong Son to better prevent bushfires.
At present officials are struggling to deal with forest fires in many areas.

[UK] TOWIE’S Dan Edgar banned from opening a business after diamond business scam
By Zoe Briggs, OK!, 19 March 2017
The Only Way Is Essex star Dan Edgar has been banned from promoting or running another business until 2031.
The 26 year old TOWIE star was taken to court after his involvement in Reco Commodities, an investment business that sold diamonds and jewels to customers at a majorly inflated price and then failed to deliver them.
Kate Wright’s ex-boyfriend, as reported in legal documents published on, has been forced to sign a disqualification which means he can not promote, manage, or be a director of a limited company for 13 years.
Dan’s involvement in the company has now been made public after the company ended up in the High Court in 2015 for making multiple false sales on diamonds, reportedly leaving customers up to £450,000 out of pocket.

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