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REDD in the news: 5-11 April 2010

REDD in the news: 5-11 April 2010

This week’s round up of the 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.

Carbon Offsets & Climate Finance in India: The Corporate-driven Climate “Solutions” of the World Bank, Asian Development Bank & United Nations

Focus on the Global South, April 2010 | India is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, yet it has played a central role in a counterproductive global climate agenda pushed by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and large corporations. India now hosts more registered greenhouse gas emission reduction projects – via the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) – than any nation except China. In theory, these CDM “offset” projects – a form of “carbon trading” – supposedly reduce global emissions when developed nations avoid emission reductions at home by funding less expensive emissions reductions in developing nations. In reality, offset projects produce large quantities of greenhouse gases, pollute the local environment, and displace local livelihoods.

REDD After Copenhagen: The way forward

IISD, April 2010 | This paper analyizes the outcomes of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP-15) held in December 2009 in the area of reducing emissions from deforesation and forest degradation (REDD) in developing countries. The paper assesses key issues for the way forward in the REDD negotiations and discusses priorities for implementation at the national level. The paper was prepared for two workshops delivered in Kenya and Vietnam in March 2010 by IISD and the Alternatives to Slash and Burn Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins at the World Agroforestry Centre (ASB-ICRAF). The workshops aimed to increase understanding of the international climate change negotiations, as well as provide information on experiences in the forestry sector to lay the technical and policy foundations for better REDD programs.

Learning by Doing: practical approaches to REDD-plus

ASB eNewsletter, April 2010 | Despite the virtual failure of the Copenhagen UN climate conference to come to a global agreement, the discussion on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD-plus) has continued with force. The current focus appears to be on helping developing countries get ready for REDD-plus technically, politically and institutionally. So how can we most effectively build REDD-plus capacity? ASB strongly believes in learning by doing. Demonstration projects can be the most powerful tool to develop the technical know-how and attract the political buy-in needed to implement a national-level REDD-plus programme.

From Angst to Action: Moving Forward After Copenhagen

World Resources Institute, April 2010 | Since COP-15, Norway and France have taken the lead in coordinating interim finance mechanisms for developing countries that are preparing and taking a variety of actions to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and management (REDD+). The Accord commits countries to “the immediate establishment of a mechanism including REDD-plus,” and negotiators separately reached a workable, first draft on many of the key components of such a mechanism. This urgently needs to be finalized and adopted in Cancun in order to guide the interim finance processes. Other venues may also take action on REDD this year. Watch for whether advancing U.S. climate legislation incorporates REDD, and whether the European Union decides to include REDD in the next phase of its emissions trading scheme.

5 April 2010

The OCC is missing a great opportunity in not reviving the National Development Strategy

By Janette Bulkan, Letter to the Editor, Stabroek News, 5 April 2010 | I refer to the letter signed by Peter Persaud in Stabroek News (‘The LCDS is not cast in stone and there will be ongoing consultations with Amerindian communities,’ April 2), and respond here to the six points – 1. The hinterland consultations on the President’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) were guided by nine best-practice principles for consultation prepared by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED, based in Edinburgh, UK). Unfortunately the President’s Office of Climate Change and its ministerial field teams failed to follow those principles, as the IIED report notes in its many comments on the limitations of the process.

Chinese PM to visit Indonesia in April

Saigon Giai Phong, 5 April 2010 | Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao will visit Indonesia this month for talks focusing on infrastructure investment, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Hatta Rajasa said Monday. “The Chinese trade minister has confirmed that the prime minister will visit Indonesia from April 23 to 24,” Rajasa told reporters. China has agreed to lend two billion dollars for infrastructure investment in Indonesia, deemed vital to achieving the country’s growth target of seven percent a year by 2014. Growth last year was 4.5 percent. Beijing will give Jakarta 1.8 billion dollars worth of preferential export buyer’s credits as well as a concessional loan of 263 million dollars, Trade Minister Mari Pangestu said Saturday after meeting Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming. Indonesia plans to spend 140 billion dollars in the next five years to improve its poor infrastructure such as toll roads, bridges, ports and power stations.

6 April 2010

Fourth Rights and Resources Initiative Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change

IISD, 6 April 2010 | The fourth Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) Dialogue on Forests Governance and Climate Change opened on Tuesday, 6 April 2010 in London, UK, attended by representatives of more than 20 countries. Two sessions took place in the morning, addressing: (1) perspectives on the reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, plus conservation (REDD+) process, architecture, standards and role of non‐governmental actors; and (2) issues, options and recommended principles and criteria for proposed interim and global REDD+ architectures.

REDD+ policy board approves $4.49m for Zambia programmes

By Mutale Kapekele, The Post Online, 6 April 2010 | THE United Nations Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) policy board has approved the budget allocation of US $4.49 million for the Zambia national programme… Following a meeting on March 19, 2010 in Nairobi, the policy board approved Zambia’s allocation for the programme that would support the country to build the institutional and stakeholder capacity and for developing an enabling policy environment for REDD+… “Inter-sectoral coordination amongst key sectors like agriculture, energy and environment will be enhanced and effective strategies to combat deforestation developed,” the UNDP stated. “Zambia will also require a robust system for monitoring the forest cover and measuring, reporting and verifying the emission levels.” The UNDP stated that with the final national review and approval of the UN-REDD programme document, the programme activities are expected to commence in a few months.

Fast, Easy, Cheap But Inappropriate

KpSHK, 6 April 2010 | Via Koran Tempo (29 / 3), Meine van Noordwijk of ICRAF called mitigation of climate change through Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) is a false concept. One reason, the concept of REDD is too much put its focus on the funding (money), while the aspect of justice (social and environmental) is abandoned. Meine opinion is a severe blow to the bearers of REDD’s myth (fast, easy and cheap way) for climate change mitigation efforts in Indonesia, which touted the post-UNFCCC COP 13 in Bali. Moreover, if it were combined with investments of carbon trading in which REDD will tend to become offsets schemes, developed countries does not have to reduce its emissions by buying carbon sequestration services in developing countries that have forests and peat.

REDD Forest carbon incentive rules need time, definition

By Nina Chestney, Reuters, 6 April 2010 | Talks to define a mechanism for global forest protection should not be rushed if it is to work efficiently and fairly, a panel of experts said on Tuesday. Talks began in Paris last month to define an interim and global architecture for a financial incentive scheme to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation called REDD-plus. “We know any system which looks good on paper on day one is no good if it doesn’t stimulate long-term results,” said Lars Lovold, director of the Rainforest Foundation Norway… “We need to revise the timeframe to allow for proper consultation. Putting a document on a website is not enough,” said Francesco Martone, policy adviser at the Forest Peoples Programme. Defining financial rewards for governments that make progress in cutting emissions and sustaining forests was also key, said Dan Nepstad, senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center.

Chaos and the Accord: Climate Change, Tropical Forests and REDD+ after Copenhagen

John O. Niles, mongabay.com, 6 April 2010 | The Copenhagen Accord also creates two new mechanisms. Mechanisms in climate change policy are how developed and developing countries shake hands, pay for, and measure emission reductions. Under the Kyoto Protocol, it was the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) that oversaw the carbon market between developed and developing nations. The CDM was only a ten-paragraph Article (Article 12) yet its implementation channeled hundreds of billions of dollars in green investments. The two new mechanisms in the Copenhagen Accord have the potential to become vital engines for climate change mitigation. But, right now, these two mechanisms have been authorized by an accord that has no clear authority. Of the two mechanisms, the REDD+ mechanism is conceptually more advanced.

CSO Representative Reviews UN-REDD and World Bank’s Forest Carbon Facility

Climate-L.org, 6 April 2010 | Global Witness, a non-governmental organization (NGO) representing civil society on the UN-REDD Policy Board, has submitted an assessment of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Readiness-Preparation Proposals (R-PPs) and Joint Program Documents (JPDs) of the UN-REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries) Programme. A key finding of the assessment is the need for further guidance on non-carbon monitoring from the FCPF, the UN-REDD Programme, and the international community.

Indonesia battles deforestation with U.N. support

By Claire M. Umali, EcoSeed, 6 April 2010 | ndonesia’s Ministry of Forestry has joined forces with United Nations to launch a program that will combat deforestation and forest degradation, consequently reducing emissions brought about by such devastating actions… U.N.-REDD will launch its activities in Sulawesi Islands, adding to Indonesia’s existing REDD initiatives in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Java… Meanwhile, Norway also expressed its commitment to work with the U.N. as its sees REDD as a launch pad for further engagement in similar initiatives in Indonesia. The Norwegian government will provide approximately $5.6 million from 2009 to 2011. “We are also ready to discuss further cooperation between Indonesia and Norway on this important issue,” said Eivind S. Homme, the Norwegian ambassador for Indonesia. “Indonesia is a part of global solution in mitigating the effect of climate change,” he added.

7 April 2010

US$200,000 World Bank grant approved

Stabroek News, 7 April 2010 | A US$200,000 grant from the World Bank to support information sharing activities on forest preservation strategies has been available for more than a month but government has not moved to sign the document. Approval for the release of the money was given by the bank in mid-February, Giorgio Valentini, the World Bank Country Representative for Guyana, said. The Guyana government was notified that the document was available for signature since March 2, he said. It is not clear why the administration has made no move to access the money.

Nations Pledge Billions for Forests

By Karin Rives, America.gov, 7 April 2010 | Armed with $4.5 billion in new funding pledges, world leaders are beginning to tackle a major contributor to climate change: deforestation. In mid-March, representatives from more than 60 nations met in Paris for the International Conference on the Major Forest Basins to begin to develop a global plan to implement REDD — the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation program. It was the first follow-up to the Copenhagen climate summit in late 2009, and the 10 countries leading the effort say they will have a REDD plan completed for the United Nations climate meeting in Mexico in December.

Protecting Forests is ‘All About the Economy,’ Experts Say

By Fidelis E Stariastanti, Jakarta Globe, 7 April 2010 | “It has to be about the economy, because otherwise people will not be able to appreciate the value of the trees,” said Agus Sari, chief executive officer of PT Pelangi Energi Abadi Citra Enviro. The company is a consulting arm of Yayasan Pelangi Indonesia, a research institute in natural resources and the environment. Agus said the idea of REDD was to protect forests, but if people did not know about the incentives for not cutting down trees, they would continue to do so to earn money. He said people would only comply with the REDD campaign if they knew there was money in it for them. Eka Ginting, the director of PT Rimba Raya Conservation, said environmental issues could not be separated from economic issues. “Who says that when we’re talking about the environment, we don’t talk about the economy? It’s all about the economy,” he said.

Exactly Whose Language Is REDD Talking?

By Fidelis E Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 7 April 2010 | Yuriun, coordinator of the Indigenous Community Network of Aceh, said he had heard about a thing called REDD, but was unsure what it was all about. “This REDD shows up and is heard everywhere but nobody can really explain to us how it works, who’s doing it, what kind of incentives we can get out of it,” he said. “I only know that it’s a program to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation. But those are the words of smart people, the words of academics – us villagers don’t really understand the meaning of it.”… Yuriun is wary of the initiative, saying it could just be another way to expel indigenous people from their lands. “It’ll be our enemy if more traditional lands are occupied, casting us out from the source of our livelihoods,” he said… WCS-IP’s Alexander said REDD should not be written off by indigenous groups. He said these groups should instead use the initiative to fight for acknowledgement of their rights.

Forests at a Climate Crossroads

By Stephen Leahy, IPS, 7 April 2010 | According to Anne Larson, who works in Nicaragua as an associate at the Indonesia-based Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), “REDD presents lots of risks.” “Most countries are simply not ready. They do not have policies to protect the rights of local and indigenous peoples, to determine land tenure or even work out who owns the ‘carbon rights’ to a forest,” Larson told participants at an international conference on smallholder and community forestry in Montpellier, France, in late March… In late March another billion dollars was promised and a 10-nation steering group established to drive the implementation of a REDD+ global programme. It could be approved at the next annual United Nations climate conference, to take place in Cancun, Mexico. That may be too soon in Larson’s estimation.

UNPFII to Consider Indigenous Peoples’ Local Adaptation and Mitigation Measures

Climate-L.org, 7 April 2010 | The ninth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), which will convene in New York, US, from 19-30 April 2010, will focus on “Indigenous peoples: development with culture and identity: articles 3 and 32 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” … The report on the “Results of the Copenhagen meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC; implications for indigenous peoples’ local adaptation and mitigation measures” (E/C.19/2010/18) addresses equity and justice issues, the agreements reached on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD-plus) and the ways forward, and the Copenhagen Accord.

Sebai developments to benefit Amerindians

By Priya Nauth, Guyana Chronicle, 7 April 2010 | “The LCDS is a visionary strategy that our President, Bharrat Jagdeo came up with and, today, he is respected throughout the world as one of the leading thinkers and one of the movers and shakers, in terms of the environment and global warming,” [Minister of Housing and Water, Mr. Irfaan] Ali said. He went on: “The LCDS is now an international strategy. It is now all over and we have some people in Guyana, they are not concerned about development. All they are concerned about is criticise, criticise and criticise… So, even on this strategy that the world has accepted as visionary, as a masterpiece, they are negative about it here… We have to ensure, as a people, that the LCDS is implemented, because it is very important and necessary for the well-being of the planet and for the future of Guyana.” Ali said the LCDS is not about stopping people from utilising the forest. “It is about us becoming responsible for how we use the forests.”

Forestry to have big role in U.S. carbon plan

By Timothy Gardner, Reuters, 7 April 2010 | Domestic deals to convert bare lands into forests and keep tree stands healthy could supply 60 percent of available offsets in any U.S. cap-and-trade plan on greenhouse gas emissions, a Barclays Capital analyst said. The overall supply of domestic offsets could hit 250 million short tons annually by 2020, Trevor Sikorski, a London-based director of carbon markets at Barclays said in a research note. U.S. forestry and agriculture projects could supply 150 million short tons of those offsets by 2020, the note said. “Given the political importance of forestry and agriculture in the United States … (such) offsets will be included in any federal cap-and-trade system,” Sikorski said. Trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow

8 April 2010

Myanmar cooperates with int’l organizations for mitigation of deforestation

iStockAnalyst, 8 April 2010 | The Myanmar Forestry Department and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) held a workshop in Nay Pyi Taw Thursday on reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), the official newspaper New Light of Myanmar reported Friday. Papers on forest resources, forest management system and enabling conditions for REDD in Myanmar, role of forestry sector in climate mitigation through REDD and procedure and potential implication on how to link with UN-REDD program were discussed by officials from both sides respectively.

Indigenous people speak up on climate change

By Kevin James Moore, MediaGlobal, 8 April 2010 | “[Indigenous people] have very long histories of adapting to the changes in the climate and they continue to adapt up to the present,” Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) told MediaGlobal. “Therefore it is important that they are able to share how they are affected by climate change and also how they are adapting.” A seminar held from 25-26 March in Manila, the Philippines was attended by the parliaments of 12 countries of the Asia-Pacific region to discuss the impact of climate change on indigenous people. The seminar was meant to raise the awareness of parliamentarians in Asia and the Pacific on indigenous people’s concerns and activities relating to climate change, explained Corpuz.

9 April 2010

ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on Joint Response to Climate Change

Voice of Vietnam, 9 April 2010 | WE, the Heads of State/Government of Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Republic of Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Union of Myanmar, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Member States of ASEAN, on the occasion of the 16th ASEAN Summit; … DO HEREBY DECLARE TO: Towards a global solution to the challenge of climate change at COP 16/CMP 6 … 9. Reaffirm that agreement on and effective implementation of Reduced Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)-plus mechanisms is critical for contributions by ASEAN Members States to mitigate emissions, and offers major opportunities for enhancing biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, as well as supporting the livelihood of local communities in a sustainable manner.

Venezuela, Bolivia Urge UN to Set Aside Copenhagen Climate Pact

By Ben Sills, Bloomberg, 9 April 2010 | Venezuela and Bolivia urged negotiators at United Nations climate talks to set aside the Copenhagen agreement on global warming, threatening to keep open a rift that led to a breakdown in the discussions last year. The accord represents “the economic interests of the few which are standing in the way of a broad, democratic agreement,” Venezuelan delegate Claudia Salerno told negotiators at a meeting today in Bonn, Germany. “No one should congratulate themselves for this.” … “Getting that deal we have, every country gave up something but we all gained things in getting a deal that could be implemented,” Pershing said. “We should not drop that or lose that.”

Organizational Issues in Spotlight as Climate Talks Resume in Bonn

By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 9 April 2010 | Delegates to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have gathered in Bonn, Germany, for the first meeting since Copenhagen. This three-day meeting, however, is more about process than product. Ecosystem Marketplace drops in for a quick look at the negotiations.

10 April 2010

Where to now on Deforestation

By David Ritter, Global Policy Journal, 10 April 2010 | The Fourth Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change held at Stationers Hall in London this week, provided a timely opportunity to test the temperature on international negotiations on deforestation in the aftermath of the Copenhagen climate conference… Although it also evinced plenty of optimism, the RRI dialogue meeting in London this week made clear some of the tensions associated with the Paris-Oslo initiative.

From ‘Avatar’ to Amazon – James Cameron’s Crusade

By Alexei Barrionuevo, New York Times, 10 April 2010 | The focus is the huge Belo Monte dam planned by the Brazilian government. It would be the third largest in the world, and environmentalists say it would flood hundreds of square miles of the Amazon and dry up a 60-mile stretch of the Xingu River, devastating the indigenous communities that live along it. For years the project was on the shelf, but the government now plans to hold an April 20 auction to award contracts for its construction. Stopping the dam has become a fresh personal crusade for the director, who came here as indigenous leaders from 13 tribes held a special council to discuss their last-ditch options. It was Mr. Cameron’s first visit to the Amazon, he said, even though he based the fictional planet in “Avatar” on Amazon rain forests. Still, he found the real-life similarities to the themes in his movie undeniable. The dam is a “quintessential example of the type of thing we are showing in ‘Avatar’.

Illegal logging ‘must end’ before REDD takes effect

Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 10 April 2010 | The government should work out how to stamp out long-standing illegal logging within two years if the country wants to secure funding from carbon trading in the forestry sector, say environment activists. They warned that failure to tackle illegal logging would also jeopardize the government’s pledge to implement the UN system of measurable, reportable and verifiable (MRV) scheme on emissions cuts. “It will be difficult for Indonesia to claim the emission cuts if illegal logging persists after REDD takes effect after 2012,” Jatna Supriatna, director of International Conservation told reporters on the sidelines of an international conference on Muslim action against climate change on Friday… Executive director of the Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi) Berry Furqon agreed that tackling illegal logging should aim to protect the forest and not be used for political gain.

11 April 2010

Carbon credit documentary should not have been shown, BBC admits

By Mark Olden and Michael Gillard, The Observer, 11 April 2010 | A BBC documentary about socialite Robin Birley and his carbon credits business venture in Africa should never have been broadcast, an internal inquiry by the corporation has found. Millions of viewers were misled because the sympathetic documentary shown on BBC World News failed to declare that it was financed by a secretive trust that was linked to Birley. The BBC acted in response to an Observer investigation into Birley’s “philanthropy capitalism” venture in Mozambique. Taxpayers’ money was used to subsidise poor farmers there to protect forests and plant trees that absorb carbon dioxide. Envirotrade, Birley’s company, then sells “carbon credits” to celebrities and businesses wanting to offset their emissions. Customers who used Birley’s venture to offset emissions included the agency that handles Brad Pitt and George Cloone

LCDS transitional arrangements

By Dr Clive Thomas, Stabroek News, 11 April 2010 | This week I wrap up that part of my assessment of the LCDS that focuses on the several misstatements and computational errors found in the draft text and related official documents, especially as they pertain to such basic data as the area under forest and estimated rates of deforestation for Guyana. I am aware that these disclosures have been disconcerting to several readers who cannot comprehend how such weaknesses could persist in a text claiming global attention, while being simultaneously advertised as officially sponsored by the Government of Guyana. To those other readers who sarcastically ask me: what else would you expect from third-rate politically preferred know-it-alls? I hasten to remind them that if careful thought is given they would acknowledge that Guyanese are capable of producing a far better product. That is why, personally I am more disappointed than critical.

Anti-LCDS politics

Guyana Chronicle, 11 April 2010 | It would not have been an easy decision for representatives of the National Toshaos Council (NTC) and the Minister of Amerindian Affairs (Pauline Sukhai) to stage a picket protest on Friday outside the venue of a workshop organised by the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA). The workshop was an activity in relation to the government’s internationally recognised Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and, according to the APA, it was designed as a “knowledge-building” initiative for its members and others. The association, therefore, criticised the picket demonstration as a violation of the right to freedom of assembly. However, the peaceful picket demonstration was considered necessary, according to the NTC’s chairperson, Yvonne Pearson, in view of continuing misinformation and misrepresentations by the APA to undermine the LCDS in the face of significant consultations that have taken place since last year, and continues at various levels.

Scourge of the rainforests

By Jonathan Leake, The Times, 11 April 2010 | The renewable-energy industry faces new controversy after a Northamptonshire firm became the latest to win planning permission to burn tropical palm oil to make electricity. Chelveston Renewable Energy has been told it can build a bio-oil power station on a disused RAF bomber base near Wellingborough. Such projects have infuriated environmentalists who say the burgeoning market for such oils is accelerating the destruction of tropical rainforests as they are cleared for biofuel plantations.

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