By Chris Lang
On 23 September 2014, at the New York Climate Summit, the governments of Germany and Norway signed a Joint Declaration of Intent with the government of Peru. It was titled, “Cooperation on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and promote sustainable development in Peru”.
The aim of the Partnership was listed in the Joint Declaration of Intent as follows:
to contribute to the achievement of the target of zero net emissions from land use change and forestry in Peru by 2021 and the national target of reducing deforestation by 50% by 2017 and additional reductions thereafter;
Needless to say those targets were not met. Mongabay recently produced a graphic based on data from Global Forest Watch to show how deforestation has increased over the past 19 years:
Peru’s new REDD deal involves no new money
On 31 May 2021, an Addendum was added to the Joint Declaration of Intent announcing that the UK was joining the Partnership. The Addendum to the Declaration was signed by the government of Peru, Germany, Norway, and the UK, and witnessed by the Director of USAID.
Germany put out a press statement, with the headline, “Peru strengthens powerful partnership in its fight to preserve the Amazon rainforest.” Germany’s Environment Ministry states that Peru, Germany, Norway, UK and the US are “stepping up efforts to reduce deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon by 2025”.
Actually, that’s not true. Even Norway isn’t putting any new money on the table. Let’s look at each country’s empty promises in turn.
Germany: REDD+ is a “strategic foundation”
Germany is promising US$255 million to Peru. But that amount is since 2014. “A large part of the commitment has already been delivered,” the Addendum states. “As a long-time partner of Peru, Germany will continue its support of the JDI and stands ready to further develop the already significant cooperation with Peru.”
Svenja Schulze, German Minister for the Environment, comments in the press statement that,
Germany sees the Joint Declaration of Intent on climate change and REDD+ as a strategic foundation on which we can build cooperation on forest conservation and climate action. We are united by a shared belief which goes beyond borders and institutions: Thriving economies and healthy ecosystems are interdependent.
Norway: Recycled results based payments
Norway is promising US$215 million. Of this amount, US$35 million was pledged under the 2014 Partnership for phase 1 (preparation) and phase 2 (transformation). The third phase consists of contributions for verified emissions reductions. The 2014 Joint Declaration of Intent stated that for phase 3, “Norway commits to ensure that Peru would be paid at least USD 250 mill in the period up to and including 2020, if Peru delivers the corresponding level of emission reductions.”
So, because there was no reduced deforestation between 2014 and 2020 and therefore no results based payments, Norway is recycling the money it pledged in 2014.
Under the Addendum to the Partnership, Norway agrees to pay up to US$45 million per year between 2022 to 2025. These payments are “subject to the delivery of verified reductions in Peru’s emissions from deforestation and forest degradation certified by the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions”. Norway is offering a price of US$10 per tonne CO2e emission reductions.
USAID: An existing project
The United States announced US$47.5 million in funding “directed towards sustainable forest practices currently under implementation”. A statement by Jene C. Thomas, Director of USAID reveals that this money had already been allocated:
The recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between USAID and the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Economy and Finance, and the President’s Council of Ministers, calls for increased cooperation around forest governance and reforms at national and regional levels, and is an important tool that will fortify Joint Declaration of Intent goals and further harmonize Government of Peru’s whole of government efforts.
UK: Public private partnership
The Addendum to the Partnership commits the UK to the following pile of nothing:
UK Programmes in Peru aim to halt deforestation and reduce forest degradation through public private partnership that support the implementation of the JDI deliverables through 2023. UK supports the opening of cross sectorial and subnational dialogues on Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) at COP 26.
While there’s no money involved for protecting Peru’s forests, or supporting the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in Peru, Zac Goldsmith, the UK’s Minister for Environment, spun the announcement of Peru’s new REDD deal to emphasise the UK government’s fondness for nature – but not for actually doing anything meaningful to address the climate crisis:
I am delighted the UK is taking steps to strengthen our partnership with Peru to work together on halting deforestation and protecting biodiversity. Through our leadership of the G7 and COP26, we are putting nature at the heart of the global response to the twin challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change. This is why we have committed to spend at least £3 billion of our International Climate Finance to support efforts to protect and restore nature, reduce global deforestation, and support communities that rely on forests for their livelihoods.
Peru: Building roads through the rainforest
In a statement, Peru’s Minister for the Environment, Gabriel Quijandría Acosta, said that,
Climate change is a global threat, and addressing it requires international collaboration. With the support of our partners, Peru reiterates its commitment to protecting our invaluable forests and promoting sustainable development in the Amazon region.
Representatives of regional governments, ministries of State and representatives of indigenous peoples of Peru agreed that this addendum represents an excellent opportunity to promote the productive conservation of forests and implement the country’s climate commitment with a sense of urgency and ambition.
The press statement about Peru’s new REDD deal mentions a series of actions Peru has taken, such as establishing the Yavarí Tapiche Indigenous Reserve, the Sierra del Divisor National Park, and granting forest titles covering 1.2 million hectares of land to Indigenous Peoples.
Obviously, the press statement makes no mention of the target in the 2014 Declaration of Intent: “Increase by at least 5 million hectares the regularization of indigenous lands”.
Equally obviously, the press statements fails to mention the fact that not long before Peru’s new REDD deal was announced, Peru decided that building a massively destructive international highway between Pucallpa and Cuzeiro do Sul in Brazil was in the national interest.
The road would cut through the Sierra del Divisor National Park.
This post is part of a series of posts on REDD-Monitor looking at REDD and environmental injustice in the Andes Amazon.