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.
In an open letter, scientists have warned about the impacts that logging the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo would have on the planet’s climate. The scientists are concerned that a proposal to expand logging in DRC’s forests would damage the world’s largest tropical peatland – the Cuvette Centrale peatlands in the central Congo Basin.
Last year, four academics published a paper in Conservation Biology, with the title, “Questioning REDD+ and the future of market-based conservation”. The paper starts with this memorable line, “Increasingly, one hears furtive whispers in the halls of conservation: ‘REDD+ is dead; it’s time to cut our losses and move on.’”
Earlier today, during a visit to Oslo, Brazil’s president, Michel Temer, met Norway’s prime minister, Erna Solberg. After the meeting, Solberg said, “If preliminary figures about deforestation in 2016 are confirmed, it will lead to a reduced payout in 2017.” She added that Norway’s rainforest payments to Brazil are “based on results”.
Rainforest Foundation UK has today written to Norway’s Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, asking her to prevent Norwegian funding for an industrial logging project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The proposed project would hand over 20 million hectares of forest to timber companies.
In 2011, REDD-Monitor asked “Can REDD save the Amazon?”. Six years later, after Norway has poured more than US$1 billion into REDD in Brazil, it is clear that REDD is not a solution to Amazon deforestation. Deforestation fell from 2004 to 2012, but the reasons were nothing to do with REDD. Now deforestation is going back up.