The World Bank and the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo are coming to the end of negotiations about the country’s Emission Reductions Payment Agreement. While no official announcement has yet been made, REDD-Monitor understands that the Agreement was signed last week.
Back in May 2008, in an article titled, “What Would It Cost to Save Nature?”, German magazine Der Spiegel announced the dawning of “A new age of conservation”.
For the first time, a value is being assigned to forests, plants and coral reefs, a value that makes them worthy of protection. It is nothing short of a paradigm shift in the environmental movement.
The province of Mai Ndombe in the Democratic Republic of Congo has about 10 million hectares of forest. Of the population of 1.8 million living in Mai Ndombe, about 73,000 are indigenous people.
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.
To mark the tenth anniversary of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, more than a dozen NGOs signed a letter to the Bank calling for the suspension of the FCPF. “This approach to forest protection simply has not worked,” they wrote.
This week saw the tenth anniversary of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility. To mark the anniversary, more than a dozen NGOs wrote to the Bank calling for the suspension of the FCPF. After ten years and over US$1 billion committed, the NGOs write, “FCPF cannot point to a single gram of carbon that it has saved nor any emissions reductions payments that have yet been made”.
The Sengwer are indigenous people who live in the Embobut forest in the Cherangani Hills in Kenya. They have lived there for time immemorial. But since British colonial rule, the Sengwer have been evicted from their homes. From 2007 to 2013, the World Bank funded the Kenya Forest Service but did nothing to support the rights of the Sengwer, in breach of World Bank safeguards.
WWF’s largest REDD project in Africa is in Mai Ndombe province, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to WWF, the results so far are “very encouraging”. On its website, WWF states that, “The participatory approach through local development committees has proven to be a success with effective achievements.”
Last week, Rainforest Foundation UK and US wrote to staff at the World Bank, asking the World Bank not to approve the Mai Ndombe integrated REDD programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo, because of the risks involved for local communities. Yesterday Laurent Valiergue, Senior Forestry Sepcialist at the World Bank, replied. His response is available in full below.
Tomorrow (28 August 2017), a meeting is planned at the World Bank. On the agenda is whether to give internal approval for the Mai Ndombe integrated REDD programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ahead of the meeting, Rainforest Foundation UK and US have written to the Bank asking that the programme not be approved.
In August 2012, the Independent Evaluation Group of the World Bank published a review of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). The review revealed some serious problems with the FCPF and the Independent Evaluation Group recommended that the World Bank should re-think its approach to REDD.
On 1 November 2016, I wrote about the International Finance Corporation’s launch of a US$152 million bond. According to the IFC’s press release, the bond will “protect forests and deepen carbon-credit markets”. The reality is that the IFC is bailing out Wildlife Works’ Kasigau Corridor REDD project in Kenya, a project that had failed to raise enough money from sales of carbon credits. The carbon credits provide some green REDD froth on IFC’s business as usual.
The World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility is supposed to help countries in the Global South reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. It was launched at COP 13 in Bali in 2007. The Fund capital stands at US$850 million, of which US$1.12 billion is for the Readiness Fund, and US$750 million is for the Carbon Fund. But after nine years, the FCPF cannot point to a single country in which it has actually reduced deforestation.