Last month saw the Oslo Tropical Forest Forum 2018, 10 years after REDD was included in the Bali Road Map, at the UN climate negotiations in December 2007. “The goal of the forum is to celebrate results and identify remaining challenges,” according to the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation’s website about the event.
Hanne Svarstad and Tor A. Benjaminsen have been carrying out research into REDD in Tanzania for several years. Svarstad is a political ecologist, sociologist and professor in Development Studies at Oslo Metropolitan University. Benjaminsen is a human geographer and professor of Development Studies at the Department of International Environment and Development Studies (Noragric), Norwegian University of Life Sciences.
Over the past ten years, Norway has handed out almost US$3 billion (NOK 23.5 billion) on stopping tropical deforestation. On 15 May 2018, the Office of the Auditor General completed its investigation into Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative. The report is critical.
Norway has spent NOK 1 billion on saving the rainforest in the Democratic Republic of Congo. But deforestation in DRC is increasing rapidly. On 12 May 2018, Dagsrevyen, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation’s daily news programme reported on Norway’s failure to address deforestation in DRC.
In December 2007, Norway’s then-prime minister Jens Stoltenberg launched Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI). Stoltenberg announced that Norway would be handing out more than US$500 million a year “to prevent deforestation in developing countries”. Stoltenberg was convinced that stopping deforestation would be quick and cheap.
“The operations of Green Resources — a Norwegian industrial forestry plantation and a carbon offsets company — have resulted in loss of lands, livelihoods and increased hunger for the local communities at Kachung and Bukaleba — its two sites in Uganda.”
In March 2009, Norway launched its REDD programme in Tanzania. This was a “nested approach”, that was to include developing a national REDD strategy, national forest monitoring, and local pilot projects. About one-third of Norway’s US$90 million went to eight NGOs. One of these NGOs was the Jane Goodall Institute.
Last week, José Ilanga the Director General in charge of forests at the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development in the Democratic Republic of Congo, announced that plans were underway to lift the country’s 16-year-old moratorium on new logging concessions. Today, more than 50 environmental and human rights organisations have written to key donor governments and agencies, including Norway, UK, France, USA, and the World Bank, calling on them to suspend funding immediately to the DRC government for forestry and forest conservation.
On 1 February 2018, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s forests were dealt a double blow. First, DRC’s Minister of Environment, Amy Ambatobe, reinstated three illegal logging concessions covering an area of 6,500 square kilometres. Second, DRC’s president, Joseph Kabila, signed off on three oil exploration concessions covering a huge area of Mai Ndombe province, including part of the Salonga National Park.
The Indonesian government talks a good talk on climate change, particularly relating to reducing deforestation. But does it walk the walk? Unfortunately, the reality falls far short of the rhetoric.
The Kondoa Irangi REDD+ Project covers an area of 56,291 hectares in Kondoa district in north-central Tanzania. The project was carried out from 2010 to 2014 by the African Wildlife Foundation, with support from the Tanzanian Government and the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
“Norway remains a proud partner to Brazil on reducing deforestation, and considers this partnership a great success.”
“Around half of Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions are caused by changes in land use and deforestation. In order to reduce global emissions, the UN climate finance model REDD+ was developed. The Brazilian Amazon Fund is considered a successful example of how this model can be implemented.”
Norway’s parliament recently approved a plan to become carbon neutral by 2030. But it’s obvious really that Norway’s claims to be addressing climate change are meaningless if at the same time the country continues drilling for oil and gas. A new report from Oil Change International documents Norway’s cognitive dissonance on climate change.