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REDD in the news: 15-21 March 2010

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REDD in the news: 15-21 March 2010

A round up of the last seven days’ news on REDD, in chronological order with short extracts (click on the title for the full article). For those who can’t wait until Monday for their REDD news, REDD-Monitor’s news page is updated daily: REDD in the news.

Publication Details – The REDD Opportunities Scoping Exercise (ROSE)

Forest Trends, March 2010 | The REDD Opportunities Scoping Exercise (ROSE): A Tool for Prioritizing Sub-National REDD Opportunities and Constraints Experiences in Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda [R-M: The report is available here: http://bit.ly/cQHwfG]

Introductory course on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD): a training manual

Forest Industries EU, March 2010 | The technical material was developed in mid-2008 and is ‘global’ in nature. Starting at the ‘global’ level was a deliberate action by the developers of this program as the current global dialogue and debate will create the ground rules for national and project-led developments in REDD… The combined efforts of The Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA), Conservation International, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), The Rainforest Alliance, The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) led to the development of this training program.

16 March 2010

Indigenous Lands, Protected Areas, and Slowing Climate Change

Ricketts et al, PLoS Biology, 16 March 2010 | For REDD to succeed, forest nations must develop policies and institutions to reduce and eventually eliminate forest clearing and degradation. One of the most straightforward components of such a program is also one of the oldest and most reliable tricks in the conservation book: protected areas. Indigenous lands and other protected areas (hereafter ILPAs—created to safeguard land rights, indigenous livelihoods, biodiversity, and other values—contain more than 312 billion tons of carbon (GtC). Crucially, and paradoxically, this “protected carbon” is not entirely protected. While ILPAs typically reduce rates of deforestation compared to surrounding areas, deforestation (with resulting greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions) often continues within them, especially inside those that lack sufficient funding, management capacity, or political backing. [R-M: The paper can be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/ae1g4L]

17 March 2010

More questions than clear answers at rushed LCDS consultations

Stabroek News, 17 March 2010 | There were concerns about the scope of government consultations on forest preservation plans, according to the Guyanese Organisation of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP), which said some meetings were “hurried” and that there were more questions than clear answers about policies. In a statement yesterday, GOIP corroborated recent concerns about the process voiced by some indigenous leaders, while objecting to “threats” and “scare tactics” reportedly used against those who hold an alternative position on the Guyana/Norway plan. GOIP also disassociated itself from a statement issued by activist Ashton Simon, who listed it among other indigenous rights NGOs that were “baffled” by the statement made by the leaders.

WWF, CI reaffirm support for LCDS thrust

Guyana Chronicle, 17 March 2010 | THE World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Guianas and Conservation International (CI) Guyana are urging this country to continue its thrust towards early development of a local carbon economy. The two non-governmental organisations in a joint statement yesterday said they recognize the importance and value of early movement towards a low carbon economy for sustained economic growth, while strengthening local livelihoods and ensuring both local and global climate security. “We are convinced that such an economy can be built without resorting to large scale forest loss seen in other parts of the world”, they said. The joint statement did not refer to a statement from a workshop organised by the Amerindian People’s Association (APA) last week which claimed that some indigenous leaders criticised the consultations on the LCDS and advocated a hold on the LCDS and related activities.

There were detailed consultations on the LCDS and there is still work to be done

By Jocelyn Dow, letter to the Editor, Stabroek News, 17 March 2010 | Obviously I do not share the view that the LCDS process was a farce or that it failed to take account of FPIC. The limitations of this initial consultation period were anticipated, many were addressed and improved over time and there is still work to be done. The LCDS is not a harbour, it is a voyage as are all current initiatives at national scale to maintain low carbon emissions and to be compensated for same at national and or global levels. Our forests are cleaning the greenhouse gases even as we speak. Should we not ensure that we receive payment as negotiated for this global good while we work to sort out our issues?

18 March 2010

Carbon forestry

By Nitin Desai, Business Standard, 18 March 2010 | A measure of caution is required in shifting the focus of forestry just to carbon sequestration. It could be as distorting as the earlier focus on production forestry. Consider the experience of India with “scientific forestry” set up after the British brought in three German foresters to establish the forest department and the forest institute in Dehra Dun. Sustainable working plans were prepared for the forests which were brought under government control and removals were calibrated to match annual increments in forest stock. But this did not prevent large-scale forest loss with surviving dense forests found only in inaccessible areas. An even bigger distortion was the alienation of forest communities that were treated as interlopers. Moreover, since sustainability was defined in terms of maintenance of growing stock, there was also a monomaniacal obsession with replanting quicker-growing species with little regard to other ecological consequences.

“Recycled” carbon credit scandal sparks price slump

By James Murray, BusinessGreen, 18 March 2010 | Europe’s carbon market descended into chaos yesterday as fears over ” recycled” carbon credits sparked a collapse in the price of Certified Emission Reductions (CER) from €12 (£10.70) to less than €1 a tonne, forcing two exchanges to suspend trading of the UN-backed credits. The crisis was triggered after the emergence that a number of CERs that were controversially “recycled” by the Hungarian government and sold on to a trading firm last week were discovered on the BlueNext exchange in France. Both Bluenext and the Nord Pool exchanges suspended trading of CERs amid fears more carbon credits may end up being illegally reused within the EU.

Toshaos council needs $$ to continue LCDS, REDD+ consultations – Pearson

Stabroek News, 18 March 2010 | A lack of money hinders the National Toshaos’ Council (NTC) from holding further consultations in Amerindian communities about government’s forest preservation strategies, the organisation’s head, Yvonne Pearson says. Following concerns ex-pressed recently by some indigenous leaders and groups on the scope of government’s consultations on the Low Carbon Develop-ment Strate-gy (LCDS) and REDD+ initiatives, Pearson at a press conference yesterday, said the NTC realises there is a need for more information sharing and awareness sessions.

Reactions to the APA statement are misguided – says GHRA

Kaieteur News, 18 March 2010 | The furore surrounding the statement issued by a conference of Amerindian leaders on land rights is, in the opinion of the Guyana Human Rights Association, misplaced and unhelpful. The sensitivity manifest by the supporters of the LCDS and REDD+, is uncalled for, the GHRA said in a statement . Nothing in either statements issued by the conference or later by the APA suggests lack of support, or even criticism of the LCDS/REDD+ strategies, indeed, the releases are not primarily concerned with REDD+. The central concern of both statements is that developments of any kind, whether in extractive industries, other projects or in the LCDS/REDD+ not take place until “fair and transparent policies and actions to resolve our outstanding land claims must be put in place as a priority.”

APA draws more fire on LCDS claims

Guyana Chronicle, 18 March 2010 | THE Amerindian People’s Association (APA) is under more criticism for its recent claims that the public consultations on the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) were cosmetic and the strategy should be put on hold until some issues are clarified. Ms. Jocelyn Dow, one of two independent monitors for the London-based International Institute for Environmental Development (IIED) for the widespread national consultations last year, said she does not share the view that the LCDS process was a farce or that it failed to take account of FPIC (Free Prior and Informed Consent) as claimed by the APA.

U.S.-Indonesian ties

Reuters, 18 March 2010 | The United States has some environment-related projects in Indonesia and may see that rise after Obama’s visit. Washington signed an agreement last year to cut Indonesia’s debt payments by about $30 million in exchange for saving forests in Sumatra. The climate change part of the comprehensive agreement is likely to focus on forests and sustainable peatland management, but there may be an announcement on clean energy as well. Sources close to the negotiations expect the United States to announce new funding of around $20-40 million, which may be classified as fast-start climate funding that rich countries promised to make available to developing countries in Copenhagen last year. That could be money directed to forest preservation projects operating under a U.N.-backed framework called reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). Funding for a Southeast Asian “regional centre of excellence” on climate change could also be announced.

Moving Beyond Copenhagen – A Small Island State’s Perspective

By Ian Fry, International Environmental Officer, Environment Department, Government of Tuvalu, Climate-L.org, 18 March 2010 | While reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) may appear to be one of the success stories of 2009, we are already starting to witness the emergence of “creative” accounting techniques to inflate potential market windfalls from avoiding deforestation. “Creative” accounting may line the pockets of some ambitious entrepreneurs but it will not stop deforestation. We need strong elements that resolve emissions displacement, governance, human rights issues, demand-side measures and permanence.

19 March 2010

Is oil palm plantation forest?

By Yansen, Jakarta Post, 19 March 2010 | The United Nations guideline only defines trees (as carbon absorbers) based on high, without any detail of the species. Therefore, he argued that the proposal will allow Indonesia to receive more benefits from REDD based on the expansion of green areas. However, this reason in fact sounds funny. The basic paradigm of REDD is avoiding deforestation. The incentives of this scheme are based on the ability of a country to avoid deforestation from its natural forest. Donors are not stupid and do not facilitate funding for areas that are not naturally forested. It seems to be that the Indonesian government would like to receive double benefits from oil palm: the investment on plantation development as well as REDD compensation from its status as trees. Are they joking?

Press Release: Indigenous people, forests & climate

Forest Peoples Programme, press release, 19 March 2010 | Indigenous peoples were excluded when forest countries and donor governments met in Paris on March 11, 2010 to discuss a major forests and climate initiative. The parties met under an invitation from the French and Norwegian governments to start developing governance structures for the 3.5 billion USD Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) readiness funds announced in Copenhagen at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP15 last December. The UNFCCC negotiations are still far from delivering final commitments in full respect of indigenous peoples’rights.

Copenhagen was a step backwards and undid good work done since Kyoto

By Pablo Solon-Romero, The Guardian, 19 March 2010 | In the aftermath of the Copenhagen climate conference, those who defended the widely condemned outcome tended to talk about it as a “step in the right direction”. This was always a tendentious argument, given that tackling climate change can not be addressed by half measures. We can’t make compromises with nature. Bolivia, however, believed that Copenhagen marked a backwards step, undoing the work built on since the climate talks in Kyoto. That is why, against strong pressure from industrialised countries, we and other developing nations refused to sign the Copenhagen accord and why we are hosting an international meeting on climate change next month. In the words of the Tuvalu negotiator, we were not prepared to “betray our people for 30 pieces of silver”.

Australia to help improve road network in W. Kalimantan

Jakarta Post, 19 March 2010 | Travel time will be cut and road safety improved for people using part of a major West Kalimantan highway being significantly upgraded with Australian support. The Australian Embassy said in a statement made available to Antara state news agency on Friday that Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Bill Farmer, Indonesian Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto and West Kalimantan Governor Cornelis H.M. launched Thursday an improvement project on the Pontianak-Tayan road network. The 31.5-kilometer stretch is an important link in the Trans Kalimantan Highway and Farmer said the upgrading project would significantly improve travel for motorists. “Better roads mean better access to markets, education, hospitals and other services,” Farmer said.

Indonesia to review forest carbon laws: official

By Suananda Creagh, Reuters, 19 March 2010 | Indonesia has launched a review of laws governing a U.N.-backed carbon trading scheme aimed preserving rainforests, a forestry ministry official said on Friday. Indonesia in 2008 became the world’s first country to design a legal framework for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD), a scheme that would allow rich countries to pay developing nations not to chop down their trees.

Clark Labs and Conservation International Partner to Develop REDD-Specific Tools within IDRISI Taiga’s Land Change Modeler Application

Clark Labs press release, 19 March 2010 | The technical issues of REDD–carbon accounting, additionality, baseline or “business as usual,” leakage and permanence—are complex and require sophisticated tools. Currently, IDRISI Taiga and its Land Change Modeler is the only integrated modeling solution to address many aspects of REDD projects. The Land Change Modeler application was developed by Clark Labs in cooperation with Conservation International in a prior contract to address land cover change and its impacts on biodiversity… “Conservation International is a major player in the development of REDD projects throughout the world,” stated Stefano Crema, Research Associate at Clark Labs. “Our relationships with organizations such as CI are extremely valuable, as they inform and optimize our development of robust analytical and modeling tools to solve complicated and multi-faceted problems.”

20 March 2010

WWF hopes to find $60 billion growing on trees

By Christopher Booker, Telegraph, 20 March 2010 | If the world’s largest, richest environmental campaigning group, the WWF – formerly the World Wildlife Fund – announced that it was playing a leading role in a scheme to preserve an area of the Amazon rainforest twice the size of Switzerland, many people might applaud, thinking this was just the kind of cause the WWF was set up to promote. Amazonia has long been near the top of the list of the world’s environmental cconcerns, not just because it includes easily the largest and most bio-diverse area of rainforest on the planet, but because its billions of trees contain the world’s largest land-based store of CO2 – so any serious threat to the forest can be portrayed as a major contributor to global warming.

Customary laws protect forest better than govt does: Study

By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 20 March 2010 | Research shows customary laws that were implemented by a number of local communities were far more effective than government policies to preserve forest in efforts to deal with climate change. For local communities, obliging traditional laws means respecting their ancestors. Preliminary research says communities of Baduy in Banten province, Kampung Kuta people in Ciamis, West Java province and Dayak people in Kalimantan are among local communities that issue unwritten laws to preserve environment and protect the forest. “Though such agreement is not written, local communities comply more with traditional laws than governmental law,” Ali Akbar, University of Indonesia Faculty of Humanities researcher told a workshop on climate change Friday. He said that communities implementing taboo regulations do not know about the government regulations about the forest.

21 March 2010

Amazongate II – Seeing REDD

By Christopher Booker, EU Referendum blog, 21 March 2010 | The WWF and other green campaign groups talking up the destruction of the Amazon rainforests are among those who stand to make billions of dollars from the scare. This “green gold-rush” involves taking control of huge tracts of rainforest supposedly to stop them being chopped down, and selling carbon credits gained from carbon dioxide emissions they claim will be “saved”. Backed by a $30 million grant from the World Bank, the WWF has already partnered in a pilot scheme to manage 20 million acres in Brazil. If their plans get the go-ahead in Mexico at the end of the year, the forests will be worth over $60 billion in “carbon credits”, paid for by consumers in “rich” countries through their electricity bills and in increased prices for goods and services.

Norway forest $$ still months away

By Gaulbert Sutherland, Stabroek News, 21 March 2010 | US$30 million in forest protection money from Norway is still months away and Oslo will not treat any avoided deforestation or degradation of Guyana’s forest as contributions to its greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, Norwegian officials said. This latter position is not likely to change, they said. Head of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative, Ambassador Hans Brattskar, and lead negotiator for the Norwegian Climate Delegation, Audun Rosland, also told Stabroek News that it will be several months before Guyana receives any money under the Guyana/Norway forest preservation agreement as independent reviews of actions required by Guyana will have to be done.

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