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REDD in the news: 20-26 August 2018

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

20 August 2018

(Re)connecting the Dots: To See Progress, We Must Place People and Forests at the Center of the Sustainable Development Paradigm
By David Ganz (RECOFTC), IISD, 20 August 2018
“The branches of trees and forests reach out across the SDGs” was the resounding call at the 24th session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO 24) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), which was expressed poignantly by Eva Muller in her presentation on the launch of FAO’s flagship report, ‘State of the World’s Forests 2018.’

Finance facilities for sustainable land use
UN Environment, 20 August 2018
By combining the capabilities of banks, governments and agri-businesses through blended finance instruments UN Environment has set out to trigger a transformational shift in unlocking and scaling up private finance to save forests, restore landscapes, create jobs and transition to climate smart agriculture.

In Conversation with… UNFCCC
INBAR News, 20 August 2018
Martin Frick, Senior Director for Policy and Programme Coordination at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), moderated a panel discussion on ‘Bamboo and rattan for climate change and green growth’ at the Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress (BARC). Here, he talks to INBAR about the importance of bamboo as a climate change solution.

Lessons Learned from Centuries of Indigenous Forest Management
By Richard Schiffman, YaleEnvironment360, 20 August 2018
Over centuries, even millennia, indigenous communities have developed interdependent systems of agriculture and forestry that are uniquely suited to the ecological requirements of the land they inhabit. Yet even today, says Charles M. Peters, the Curator of Botany at the New York Botanical Gardens, that skill and knowledge often remain unacknowledged, with some government officials and conservationists arguing that indigenous communities should sometimes be excluded from protected lands that are part of their historical territory.

Ethiopia’s new forestry law: A win for landscapes and livelihoods?
By Monica Evans, CIFOR Forests News, 20 August 2018
The Ethiopian government has a big dream: restoring 22 million hectares of degraded lands and forests by 2030. By doing so, the country aims not only to increase tree cover and restore degraded forests, but also to significantly enhance the forestry sector’s contribution to agricultural production systems, water and energy; to improve food and nutritional security; and to create more opportunities for employment and household income. It is a bold and laudable pledge, made as part of the 2011 Bonn Challenge and the 2014 New York Climate Summit’s goal of restoring 350 million of hectares worldwide by 2030. But what’s the best way to make it a reality?

GAR Response to Forest Peoples Programme’s Press Statement dated 16 August
Golden Agri-Resources, 20 August 2018
Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) is extremely disappointed with the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) latest press statement released on 16 August 2018 entitled “Indonesia’s largest palm oil company, Golden Agri Resources on the ropes”. In it, FPP stated that it had filed a new complaint against GAR. However, FPP chose not to share the details of their grievance with GAR before releasing their “complaint.” To date, GAR has received no official notification or communication from FPP regarding the new “complaint”.

The Philippines: UN experts urge further action to remove names on Government’s “terror list”
United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner press release, 20 August 2018
UN human rights experts have welcomed a ruling in the Philippines declaring that the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, is a non-party to the government’s recent petition which seeks to declare the New People’s Army and the Communist Party of the Philippines as “terrorist organisations”.
“While we welcome this decision, we are still deeply concerned about the continued naming of many others, including human rights defenders, in the petition, as this tags them as terrorists,” said the UN experts.

21 August 2018

On the road back from ‘safari science’ to embedded collaboration
By Monica Evans, CIFOR Forests News, 21 August 2018
Sitting in a session at the 15th Conference of the Parties for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate change (UNFCCC) in 2009, forest researcher and conservationist Agni Klintuni Boedhihartono sketched out two triangles on the notebook in front of her.
In the broad base of the first triangle, she filled in some of the characters, colors and complexities of a tropical landscape, including trees, animals, agriculture, and people going about a range of activities. At the apex of the triangle, there was a small negotiating table with a handful of people gathered around it. The picture represented how tropical conservation policies were made until the 1980s: by a small group of experts with long-term experience and connection with the lands and peoples affected by their decisions.

Arctic’s strongest sea ice breaks up for first time on record
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 21 August 2018
The oldest and thickest sea ice in the Arctic has started to break up, opening waters north of Greenland that are normally frozen, even in summer.
This phenomenon – which has never been recorded before – has occurred twice this year due to warm winds and a climate-change driven heatwave in the northern hemisphere.
One meteorologist described the loss of ice as “scary”. Others said it could force scientists to revise their theories about which part of the Arctic will withstand warming the longest.

Ethiopia: Collective Efforts in Actualizing Redd + Program
By Mengisteab Teshome, The Ethiopian Herald, 21 August 2018
According to a new study led by Princeton University, enhanced growth of the Earth’s plants during the 20th century has caused a significant slowdown of the Earth’s transition to being “red-hot.” This study, the first to specify the extent to which plants have prevented climate change since pre-industrial times, found that land ecosystems have kept the planet cooler by absorbing billions of tons of carbon, especially in the past 60 years.

[India] The rising tide
By Arundhati Roy, On Manorama, 21 August 2018
This year in Kerala, the monsoon that we long for, and the rivers that we pretend to love, are talking back to us. Certainly, for me, the rain was the ink in my pen, and the river, the Meenachil, drove my story. They made me the writer that I am. Now their fury is unimaginable, and the scale of the disaster and people’ suffering is still unfolding.

Does Indonesia’s storied anti-graft agency have a blind spot for corrupt land deals?
Gecko Project, 21 August 2018
In 2005, an Indonesian election commissioner named Mulyana Kusumah visited a hotel room in Jakarta to hand over 150 million rupiah, then worth more than $15,000, in cash to an official from the state audit board. Mulyana hoped to smooth over a discrepancy auditors had found in the tender process for ballot boxes. But the auditor was wearing a wire, while investigators from the nation’s antigraft agency, the KPK, lay in wait. After arresting Mulyana, a KPK team swept the election commission’s offices and found a treasure trove of documents and computer files that would allow them to piece together billions of rupiah in kickbacks, resulting in a spate of high-level convictions.

[Indonesia] Report finds APP and APRIL violating zero-deforestation policies with wood purchases from Djarum Group concessions in East Kalimantan
By Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongabay, 21 August 2018
Paper giants Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) and Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited (APRIL) are under fire for allegedly purchasing wood cut down from natural forest in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo Island, which if true constitutes a violation of their landmark no-deforestation policies.
A new report by a coalition of NGOs has found that both companies purchased wood from timber producer PT Fajar Surya Swadaya, which has cleared nearly 200 square kilometers (77 square miles) of natural forest in its 615 square kilometers (237 square miles) of concession in East Kalimantan province since 2013.

[USA] Western Climate Initiative: Stability reigns after Ontario exit as all current and future allowances sell
By Katelyn Roedner Sutter, EDF, 21 August 2018
“Stability” is the word of the day for California and Quebec’s joint August auction. All current and future allowances sold, indicating that despite last month’s abrupt de-linking with Ontario, the market can weather political turbulence and remain strong.

[USA] Scientists call on California governor to OK carbon credits from forest conservation
Mongabay, 21 August 2018
A group of prominent scientists is calling on California governor Jerry Brown to incorporate tropical forest conservation into the state’s cap-and-trade regulation ahead of next month’s Global Climate Action Summit, which is being held in San Francisco.
The letter, signed by 20 scientists from a range of institutions, highlights the climate change mitigation potential of tropical forests, which lock up vast amounts of carbon in their vegetation and soils.

[USA] 5 Ways NYC is Tackling Climate Change
Climate Reality, 21 August 2018
It’s not only because we’re big fans, but Jay Z and Alicia Keys were right. New York City truly is a place “where dreams are made and there’s nothing you can’t do.” It’s a land of opportunities — and not only for aspiring Broadway performers and young writers.
The city is also a big center for climate action.

22 August 2018

How to solve climate change and slash income tax at the same time
By Anthony Costello, Medium, 22 August 2018
We’ve reached a tipping point in climate awareness. The brutal summer of 2018 — of heatwaves, wildfires, droughts and crop failures — brought home to voters what scientists have been predicting for thirty years. People are scared. If this is what happens at less than one degree of warming what will happen to our children who face a future of three or four degrees or more? Our politicians are largely silent, pre-occupied with populism, Brexit, Trump, internal party fights and austerity. Our media love a disaster and an emergency but will mostly fight radical political measures that threaten the status quo.

Measuring Impact: Building on Lessons Learned to Improve Biodiversity Conservation
By Rebecca Lorenzen, New Security Beat, 22 August 2018
“Functioning natural systems are critical to human survival itself,” said Carrie Thompson, Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment at USAID, at a recent Wilson Center event on USAID’s efforts to increase the effectiveness of its biodiversity conservation programs. Measuring Impact was designed to help support USAID’s 2014 Biodiversity Policy, which is “grounded in a recognition that human well-being and progress are dependent on the health of biodiverse systems and [that] durable development gains are not possible unless these systems are valued and safeguarded,” said Cynthia Gill, Director of USAID’s Office of Forestry and Biodiversity.

The Foreign Aid System Is Broken. Randomized Control Trials Won’t Fix It.
By Sarika Bansal, Bright, 22 August 2018
Fifteen leading economists, including three Nobel Prize winners, are fed up with randomized control trials (RCTs) determining the future of poverty alleviation. So last month, they banded together to speak out against what they call the “aid effectiveness” craze.
They are pushing back a growing trend to use the same kind of trials that are used in medicine, ones that assess “treatment” groups against control groups to ensure that aid programs are actually working. Ensuring efficacy seems like a good idea, but the economists worry it has a darker side.

Planting a mix of tree species ‘could double’ forest carbon storage
By Daisy Dunne, CarbonBrief, 22 August 2018
Forests containing several tree species could store twice as much carbon as the average monoculture plantation, research finds.
A study looking at the carbon storage of forests in southern China finds that each additional tree species introduced to a plantation could add 6% to its total carbon stocks.

Land Rights Are the Invisible Investment Risk Too Many Ignore
By Laura Notess and Peter G. Veit, Brink, 22 August 2018
Land conflicts can be fatal for burgeoning agribusiness or other enterprises located in rural regions, but many companies have limited knowledge of how to anticipate and evaluate land-related risk. This is particularly true for land held under collective arrangements by Indigenous peoples or other communities, which is seldom formally documented.

[Indonesia] Pontianak steps up fight against forest fires
The Jakarta Post, 22 August 2018
Pontianak Mayor Sutarmidji has issued a new regulation aimed at reducing forest fires in the city, which has been covered with haze in recent days.
The regulation, which took effect on Monday, includes sanctions for both the fire perpetrators and the landowners.
It stipulates that the utilization of land intentionally or unintentionally burned should be halted for between three and five years.

23 August 2018

A world on fire
NASA, 23 August 2018
The world is on fire. Or so it appears in this image from NASA’s Worldview software. The red points overlaid on the image designate those areas that by using thermal bands detect actively burning fires. Africa seems to have the most concentrated fires. This could be due to the fact that these are most likely agricultural fires. The location, widespread nature, and number of fires suggest that these fires were deliberately set to manage land. Farmers often use fire to return nutrients to the soil and to clear the ground of unwanted plants. While fire helps enhance crops and grasses for pasture, the fires also produce smoke that degrades air quality.

Recognizing indigenous peoples’ land rights is critical to natural climate solutions
By Luis Barquin-Valle (Conservation International), DGM Global, 23 August 2018
Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are the heart of the Paris Agreement and the main vehicle for countries to define national goals, policies and means of implementation to contribute to global climate efforts. Each country must communicate their planned climate actions in the form of an NDC, which will be updated every five years with increasing ambition. As part of the NDC process, countries will be required to regularly submit and report on their progress towards achieving the desired goals.

UN Environment chief backs proposed U.N. Decade for Ecosystem Restoration
By Julie Mollins, CIFOR Landscape News, 23 August 2018
A decade devoted to promoting the rehabilitation of degraded, damaged and destroyed ecosystems would help speed up the race against climate change and biodiversity loss, said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment.
Solheim made the remarks on Thursday in response to a statement from the government of El Salvador detailing a proposed U.N. Decade for Ecosystem Restoration 2020-2030.

Towards sustainable management of the “Amazon of Africa”: the Mayombe Transboundary Forest Initiative gets a fresh start
UN Environment, 23 August 2018
Angola, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Gabon have renewed their commitment to revitalize the Mayombe Forest Transboundary Initiative. The Mayombe forest forms the southern-western margin of the Congo Basin’s tropical rainforest. It is shared between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Angola, Congo and Gabon.
The Mayombe forest has the largest distribution of a large variety of unique flora and fauna, including species of global importance such as the central chimpanzee, the western lowland gorilla, the forest elephant and many other species part of the Guineo-Congolian regional centre of endemism.

Colombian activists face ‘extermination’ by criminal gangs
By Joe Parkin Daniels, The Guardian, 23 August 2018
Enrique Fernández cannot remember the last night he slept peacefully.
He is tall and heavyset, and does not look like someone who scares easily, but as he sits in his humble rented home in western Colombia, his eyes dart nervously from left to right, scanning for any threat.

[Ghana] Farmers to benefit from tree tenure regime
GhanaWeb, 23 August 2018
The Ghana REDD+ secretariat, from recent research, asserts that current agricultural activities account for about 50 percent of deforestation in the country.
Available statistics show that Ghana loses nearly three percent of its forest cover each year and almost all other trees outside of its forest reserves.
Experts in this area have indicated that government, over the years, decide to protect only forest reserve and not forest cover, which means leaving areas outside forest reserves for other land use options such as agriculture, which contributes the afore estimated 50 percent to deforestation.

Guatemala’s Forest Concessions: A Global Conservation Model
Rainforest Alliance, 23 August 2018
Guatemala’s majestic 5 million-acre Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR), the largest remaining contiguous natural forest in Mesoamerica, is not your typical protected reserve: It’s a network of many different management units, including eleven 25-year forestry concessions, nine of which are community-run. Following the 1996 Peace Accords that ended decades of civil war, the Guatemalan government granted these nine communities the right to make a living from the forest, as long as they did so sustainably.

[Indonesia] Impacts of forest fires kill four in W. Kalimantan
Jakarta Post, 23 August 2018
The police have said four people had died in the past month because of forest fires in West Kalimantan.
West Kalimantan Police chief Insp. Gen. Didi Haryono said on Wednesday that four people from different regencies had died from different causes as a result of forest fires.

[Indonesia] “If we want to save orangutans from extinction we need to save their home”
By Emma Thompson, Greenpeace, 23 August 2018
I heard a great commotion in the trees above me and there he was, swinging through the branches, his huge plate-shaped face staring down at me.
It was a terrifying experience, which is just how it should be. These creatures are wild animals and our lives were never supposed to become so closely entwined with theirs. As I stood, rooted to the spot, he came lower to get a better look. His expression was so human-like I felt he could have begun talking at any moment. If he had, I’m quite sure he would have said, “Well done. No really, the mess you’ve created is quite incredible… and you guys are supposed to be the intelligent ones.”

24 August 2018

Seeing REDD: a database of forest carbon emissions reduction projects
By Sue Palminteri, Mongabay, 24 August 2018
A searchable database of initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) is now available through the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
Launched in 2015 by the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), the International Database on REDD+ projects and programs Linking Economic, Carbon and Communities data (ID-RECCO) contains 467 initiatives in 57 countries aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). Some also promote sustainable forest management and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+). Of these, 359 are considered currently active, 67 were completed before 2018, and 41 have not yet started or have been discontinued.

Climate Change and Health: Wildfires
Climate Reality, 24 August 2018
Wildfires are devastating communities around the world. From the billion-dollar destruction they cause to the incalculable costs of lost plant, animal, and even human life, these devastating natural disasters are scarring our landscapes and leaving those who make it out with their lives with long-lasting health concerns.
And conditions are only expected to become even more favorable for more frequent and intense wildfires in our warming world.

Climate change sets the world on fire
By Charli Shielf and Ruby Russell, DW, 24 August 2018
In 2017, parts of Europe, Canada and the US were ravaged by wildfires on an unprecedented scale. In 2018, new records are being set around the world as hot, dry temperatures and fires become the new normal.
Almost 20 fires have ravaged California over the past two months. Some are still blazing. The region is experiencing earlier, longer and more ferocious wildfire seasons due to increasingly hot, dry temperatures.

Norway wealth fund should keep oil stocks, says report
By Richard Milne, Financial Times, 24 August 2018
Norway’s $1tn oil fund should stay invested in oil and gas shares, said a government-commissioned report that looked into whether the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund should divest.
The centre-right government in Oslo is not obliged to follow the report but is set to give its own answer in the coming months after the oil fund itself recommended selling out to avoid Norway being over-exposed to oil.

25 August 2018

[Indonesia] Jungle Book Characters Face Homelessness in This Bleak Spot About Deforestation
By David Griner, Adweek, 25 August 2018
The characters from Disney’s 1967 adaptation of The Jungle Book have, for generations, served as icons of the wildlife found beyond the reach of civilization. But that reach has gotten longer with each passing year, and now an advocacy group is using the movie’s characters to show how habitats are rapidly diminishing.
In “Concrete Jungle,” a 75-second spot from the Sumatran Orangutan Society, we see Baloo, Shere Khan and other Jungle Book characters living on the streets of cities around the world, having become refugees from their destroyed homelands.

26 August 2018

[Germany] Merkel says EU should meet existing emissions aims, not set new ones
Reuters, 26 August 2018
A proliferation of extreme weather events around the world provides ample evidence that climate change is a reality, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday, but she rejected calls for more ambitious climate protection goals.
Extreme temperatures across the northern hemisphere this summer have fueled concerns that climate change is gathering pace, leading dozens of countries to call for greenhouse gas emissions to be cut at a faster rate than planned.

[USA] John McCain’s Climate Change Legacy
By Marianne Lavelle, Inside Climate News, 26 August 2018
Among the many battles Sen. John McCain waged in his storied career, it is easy to overlook his fight for U.S. action on climate change.
He wrote legislation that failed. He built a bipartisan coalition that crumbled. And when Congress came closest to passing a bill that embraced his central idea—a market-based cap-and-trade system—McCain turned his back.

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