I wrote this post in June 2018, for iz3w (Informationszentrum 3. welt), an organisation based in Freiburg, Germany. A German translation of an edited version is published in the May/June 2019 issue titled, “Klimawandel” (Climate change). The following is the unedited version.
“The REDD+ readiness phase leading up to implementation has been slow and has fallen short of expectations.”
“The technology is well known and has been available for thousands of years. Everybody knows how not to cut down a tree.” That spectacularly naive comment came from Norway’s then-prime minister Jens Stoltenberg in December 2007 at the launch of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI).
Last week saw a meeting in Weilburg, Germany to discuss “Social Inclusion in REDD+ Processes”. The meeting, organised by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation and the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, also discussed the “Status and Achievements of 10 years’ REDD+ Preparation and Implementation”.
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.