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REDD in Cancun, part 2: Some advice for the REDD+ Partnership

In Cancun, the REDD+ Partnership has managed to continue its spectacular record of sheer incompetence. At the beginning of its meeting in Cancun, the REDD+ Partnership had a draft Work Programme for 2011-2012. All it had to do was approve the Work Programme. Yet the REDD+ Partnership, or more specifically the Papua New Guinea co-chair Federica Bietta, has managed to screw up this apparently simple task.

The REDD+ Partnership met over the weekend before the official Cancun meeting started. At least one person received their invitation a week earlier, leaving no chance of changing their flight in order to attend.

After this meeting, on 1 December 2010, a revised draft Work Programme was issued. David Diaz of the Ecosystem Marketplace commented that

Although there are several additions and reformulations of text from the previous draft, the primary effect of the revisions was a substantial amount of cutting. Among the more noticeable redactions are many of the provisions on safeguards for monitoring, reporting, and verifying environmental, social, and governance issues associated with REDD+ activities.

The deadline for comments on this draft was 8pm on Sunday, 5 December 2010. David Diaz of Ecosystem Marketplace documented the major changes between the 26 November 2010 draft and that of 1 December 2010. There is no record of the comments received on the REDD+ Partnership website. There is no way of knowing whether the co-chairs ignored some comments in favour of others, or whether they even bothered to read the comments.

A final draft was released on 7 December 2020. The document was circulated by the Secretariat of the REDD+ Partnership, with the following email message:

Dear Stakeholders,

Please find attached the revised Work Program of the REDD+ Partnership as prepared by the Secretariat (FMT/PT) under the guidance of the Co-chairs. Any comments should be provided to the Secretariat before Wednesday, December 8, 2010 at 20:00 Cancun time. Once approved, the Secretariat will incorporate the 2010 and 2011-2012 parts into a single Work Program.

Sincerely,

Secretariat (FMT/PT)

UPDATE 1 (8 December 2010): The secretariat sent a slightly different message to partners:

Dear Partners,

Please find attached for approval on a no-objection basis the revised Work Program of the REDD+ Partnership as prepared by the Secretariat (FMT/PT) under the guidance of the Co-chairs. Any comments should be provided to the Secretariat before Wednesday, December 8, 2010 at 20:00 Cancun time. Once approved, the Secretariat will incorporate the 2010 and 2011-2012 parts into a single Work Program.

Sincerely,

Secretariat (FMT/PT)

The final draft Work Programme can be downloaded here (pdf file 181 KB).

The point of this post is not necessarily to encourage people to comment to the REDD+ Partnership Work Programme. Of course you’re very welcome to do so, but what the hell would be the point? The process is so deeply flawed that to do so would be a waste of time. Comments are not made public. There will be no meeting of the REDD+ Partnership to discuss the comments and any amendments to be made. Steve Zwick of Ecosystem Marketplace notes that

sources close to the Partnership secretariat say the work program posted by co-chairs Federica Bietta of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Junya Nakano of Japan on December 2 is not the one that the secretariat had written. …

“The secretariat did a revision of the work program by Wednesday, 2 December, and sent it to the co-chairs, and then the document disappeared for many hours and was then sent out by PNG with a number of changes to what the secretariat has provided,โ€ said a source close to the secretariat, speaking on condition of anonymity. โ€œ[The document posted Wednesday] is not the product of the secretariat; it is the secretariat’s version plus changes.โ€

Zwick adds that the chairs are perfectly within their rights to edit the Work Programme, as the REDD+ Partnership has not yet agreed to any rules of procedure. Which illustrates yet another problem with the REDD+ Partnership.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, of Tebtebba, represents the Philippines in the Partnership. She told Zwick that “If these safeguards are not included, you have to ask yourself if the Interim REDD+ Partnership should even continue to exist.” There is no reference in the draft Work Programme to free, prior and informed consent. There is no reference to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Even the word “rights” does not appear in the draft Work Programme.

REDD-Monitor has a small piece of advice for the REDD+ Partnership:


 

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  1. Discouraging people to use the channels of comment (however flawed) open to them because of a flawed system for handling them will only serve to perpetuate the very problem that needs fixing.

    The Partnership could be pressured to retrospectively release details of the comments it received and how they were or were not addressed. However, if, people agree with this website that doing so is pointless, the partnership will not receive any, then they can just say that non were received.

    I would ask people to keep commenting and campaigning for broader participation and transparent documentation of the process. There is a point to engaging with systems that are not perfect, without such engagement they have little incentive to improve.

  2. Good advice Ed, and yes we do need broader participation.

    It will be fantastic when ” WikiREDDLeaks ” is published on line to support REDD Monitor.

  3. @Ed Walter – Thanks for this comment. I hope you’ve written to the REDD+ Partnership to point out to them that they need to address their almost total lack of transparency and failed process (or lack of one).

    While you’re at it, you could point out how ridiculous a stand-alone version of REDD is – without a legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. REDD ends up being a scheme supposedly aimed at reducing deforestation (but which won’t because it’s ignoring the rights of indigenous peoples who have by far the best record at forest conservation) that rich countries use as a fig leaf for continued pollution.

    Victoria Tauli-Corpuz’s comment hits the mark: “If these safeguards are not included, you have to ask yourself if the Interim REDD+ Partnership should even continue to exist.”

    @Don – I agree – a WikiREDDleaks would be great!

  4. I am a Papua New Guinean and proud of it. And for some foreign individual who is not from my country and does not have any real connection to the Mother Earth like we “true” Papua New Guinean’s do, nor is she/he known to us, “representing” my country and ‘co-chair’. Come on people, he/she is NOT – NOT from PNG so how in hell can she/he be, we dont know this person. As a landowner I am dusgusted to read “…Yet the REDD+ Partnership, or more specifically the Papua New Guinea co-chair Federica Bietta, has managed to screw up this apparently simple task..”. We do not need people like them, nor any foreign individuals “prentending” to be Papua New Guineans when they are not. What a shame, and what a disgrace, as if we (PNGean’s) do not have our people to represent us…. Why should people like this person be allowed to tarnish my country’s name???