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REDD in the news: 27 December 2010 – 2 January 2011

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REDD in the news: 27 December 2010 - 2 January 2011

A round up of the week’s news on REDD, in chronological order with short extracts (click on the title for the full article). REDD-Monitor’s news page (REDD in the news) is updated regularly.

Chop or change

New Zealand Listener, 1-7 January 2010 | Throughout human history, forests have been worth more to societies felled than standing. Humankind has chopped or burnt half of the Earth’s original forest cover – to make way for agricultural crops, to make travel easier, to obtain timber for construction, to burn as fuel… But, encouragingly, there is already some experience around the world in putting REDD principles into effect, including a commitment by a group of developed countries to pledge US$4.5 billion (NZ$6 billion) for forest conservation and sustainable forest-management schemes.

India’s cynical role at Cancun climate talks

Transnational Institute, December 2010 | India has given up putting any pressure on industrialised countries to tackle climate change at Cancun, in order to defend their right to an economy based on high growth, environmental destruction, and luxury consumption for a small elite… The Cancun agreement will also greatly expand carbon markets – through the deforestation agreement REDD and the inclusion of the dubious technology of Carbon Capture and Storage under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) – which is very sad thing. CDM allows companies in developing countries to earn carbon credits and sell them to the North, which can then evade reducing its own emissions. Carbon markets are merely opportunities to cheat and use short cuts rather than make cuts domestically.

Federal Government signs agreement on forest-protection projects

Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (Germany), no date | In the margins of the UN Climate Change Conference (29.11. – 10.12.2010 in Cancun, Mexico), the Federal Government signed an agreement with the World Bank on the funding of forest-protection projects. Germany contributes 44 million Euros under the so-called Forest Carbon Partnership. This sum makes up part of the total of 1.26 billion Euros over three years that were promised at the UN Conference in Copenhagen a year ago. A Fast-Start programme for climate protection and adaptation to the effects of climate change was adopted at the Copenhagen conference.

27 December 2010

A victory for climate and the world’s forests

By Agus Purnomo (Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s special assistant on climate change), Jakarta Post, 27 December 2010 | That Indonesia’s rate of deforestation is declining, as reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, demonstrates the seriousness of the Indonesian government in reducing its emissions on voluntary basis rather than, as Oxley contends, that reducing deforestation is unnecessary.

REDD-plus a new mantra, despite divisions

By Meena Menon, The Hindu, 27 December 2010 | Sharp divisions have emerged over the forestry agreement at Cancun which faces opposition from various indigenous people’s networks around the world and forest rights campaigners in India. Ironically, projects on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation plus (REDD-plus) face opposition in Mexico itself. Some groups of indigenous people in Oaxaca are set to file a case against the Mexican government for forcibly extending the REDD project for another 30 years, said Silvia Ribeiro, Latin America director of ETC (Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration). People who had accepted the Environmental Services Programme (ESP) in Mexico, part of the REDD projects, were slowly finding out that while ownership of land was preserved with them, they lost control over it.

State subsidies 9,000,000 acres of forest in the Liangshan

Sichuan Liangshan Channel News, 27 December 2010 | To effectively improve the level of forest management, optimization of forest structure, promote tree growth, and actively explore patterns of forest management techniques and management mechanism, the state started financial subsidies of nine million yuan. The 2009 pilot project of forest subsidies has been fully completed and passed the provincial inspection and acceptance, the quality of its operations, project management and the use of funds to meet the requirements.

Indonesia’s Corruption Legacy Clouds a Forest Protection Plan

By Rhett Butler, Yale Environment 360, 27 December 2010 | Papua, in fact, is Indonesia’s last frontier and therefore represents two divergent options for the country’s development path: continued deforestation, or a shift toward a fundamentally different and unproven model based on greater transparency and careful stewardship of forest resources. Embarking on the latter path would be a shock to anyone observing trends in Indonesia over the past 20 years. Intense logging, furious expansion of oil palm and pulp and paper plantations, and forest fires have recently led Indonesia to move past Brazil to become the world’s largest deforester.

Cancun 2010 post-mortem: from dead-lock to a frail lifeline

Biodiversity, Environment & Development, 27 December 2010 | So, what are the deals? Delegates in Cancun among others predominantly reached agreement on forestry, transfer of cleaner technology and green funds to developing countries to facilitate their mitigation and adaptation process from the impacts of climate change. Adaptation, finance and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) were the strongest areas where the International community has moved to the right direction but the details have not yet been put forward how it will be managed on regional, national and local level.

Satellite data reveals fires in region plagued by illegal logging in Madagascar

wildmadagascar.org, 27 December 2010 | New satellite data reveals active burning in Sava, a region in Madagascar that has been ravaged by illegal logging for rosewood and other valuable rainforest timber. According to data provided by the Fire Alert System, a joint monitoring program run by NASA, Conservation International and the University of Maryland, more than 1,100 fires have burned in Andapa, Antalaha, Sambava, and Vohimarina – districts where the bulk of Madagascar’s illegal logging is taking place – since October 1.

PERU: Sacrificing the Rainforest on the Altar of Energy

By Milagros Salazar, IPS, 27 December 2010 | The construction of five hydroelectric dams in Peru as part of an energy deal with Brazil will do considerable damage to the environment, such as the destruction of nearly 1.5 million hectares of jungle over the next 20 years, according to an independent study. More than 1,000 km of roads will have to be carved out of primary and secondary forests to build the dams and power plants and put up power lines, says the report, carried out by engineer José Serra for ProNaturaleza, a leading conservation organisation in Peru.

Devastation, Madagascar

By Macdonald Stainsby, Media Co-op, 27 December 2010 | France’s Total and US based Madagascar Oil tangle with military governments to push tar sands projects forward. Total’s proposed tar sands operation in Madagascar is potentially the dirtiest mining operation its kind in the world, in a region where the local people have few options but to live next to it. If, as some charge, Total helped bring down a democratically elected government in order to install a regime that would favour their tar sands project, it’s likely that international campaigns against Total and their social and environmental record could well expand.

28 December 2010

World Bank, UN Program to Offer Panama 8.9 mln USD

Xinhua, 28 December 2010 | Panama will receive 8.9 million U.S. dollars from the World Bank and a UN emission-cut program to mitigate the impact of climate change in the country, the National Environmental Authority (ANAM) said Monday. The funds from the World Bank and the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) would allow Panama to implement the REDD strategy, a program initiated by the United Nations to combat greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries, ANAM said. The money will be used to recover and increase the country’s forest coverage and strengthen ecosystem services and environmental management, it said. Specialists have repeatedly warned about Central America’s vulnerability to natural disasters as a result of global warming.

Leveraging Forests for Climate Change Promises

By Jennifer Allan, GreenPolicyProf, 28 December 2010 | While the world failed to address deforestation in a global treaty before, we now have one in the guise of a climate agreement. Until funding and monitoring are addressed, the merits of the agreement cannot be fully assessed. The ability of the REDD to translate into meaningful reductions by developing countries may spell out the likelihood of a more substantive climate agreement. If REDD fails to lead to reductions in developing countries, old excuses for inaction remain. If REDD succeeds, then the world is hard pressed for diplomatic reasons to refuse a meaningful agreement. Linking these issues has linked their successes and failures. Success in global climate governance may hinge on the details of REDD.

Trees planted in China to neutralize carbon emissions of UN conference

Xinhua, 28 December 2010 | A newly planted forest will neutralize carbon dioxide emissions from a UN climate change conference as China ups its efforts to combat climate change, an official said here Tuesday. Over 10 years the 333-hectare forest, spanning Xiangyuan, Xiyang and Pingshun counties in north China’s Shanxi Province, will offset the estimated 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emitted during the conference in Tianjin early October, said Sun Zhen, deputy director of the Climate Change Department of the National Development and Reform Commission.

Police raid confiscates illegal logs

Jakarta Post, 28 December 2010 | A joint team from National Police headquarters and the Forestry Ministry confiscated 500 logs believed to have been procured from the Giam Siak Kecil-Bukit Batu (GSK-BB) protected forest. The GSK-BB has been designated as biosphere catchment area. The team also confiscated four excavators in a week-long raid, but no perpetrators were apprehended. “There was no activity at the time of raid. We swept the location but found no one,” Bengkalis Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Achmad Kartiko said in Pekanbaru on Monday. The raid was launched following Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan’s claim that he spotted several illegal logging sites while heading for Bengkalis by helicopter. Kartiko said the location was difficult to reach, needing six hours travel by land and river. “It appears that illegal logging did occur. The biosphere reserve area has become prey because it’s difficult to monitor,” he said.

29 December 2010

Forests Biggest Emission Producers In Indonesia

Bernama, 29 December 2010 | He said the forestry sector and peat soil need to work hard to lower at least 14 percent of the gas emission from 26 pct each year, which had been planned by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono under the programme of Reducing Emission From Revolution and Forest Degradation (REDD)… Forests and peat soil are the biggest sources of gas emissions in Indonesia, as it supplied 56 percent of the national carbon emitters, Indonesia’s Antara news agency reported. “Judging from Indonesia’s emission profile, the biggest contributor are forests and peat land,” Head of the Land and Forestry Change of Use National Working Group the Climate Change National Council (DNPI) Doddy S. Sukadri said here Tuesday.

Land suitable for forest restoration identified

GIS in Education, 29 December 2010 | 1.5 billion hectares (5.8 million square miles) of land are suitable for forest restoration, according a new analysis by the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration, a partnership between the World Resources Institute, South Dakota State University, and IUCN. The global map shows where forests have “great potential for recovery”, including great swathes of deforested landscapes (about two-thirds of the opportunity) across Africa, Brazil, and Indonesia as well as degraded forests and woodlands. The analysis breaks opportunities into two classes: wide-scale and mosiac (or patchy) forest generation.

30 December 2010

Borneo province selected for Indonesia’s first pilot under REDD program

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 30 December 2010 | Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has selected Central Kalimantan as the pilot province for the country’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) program, according to the President’s office on climate change. Central Kalimantan was selected over eight other forested provinces, including Aceh, Jambi, Riau, and South Sumatra on the island of Sumatra; West Kalimantan and East Kalimantan on the island of Borneo; and Papua and West Papua in Indonesian New Guinea. Central Kalimantan was chosen due to its high rate of forest conversion, large expanses of peatlands and rainforests, the advanced state of carbon conservation test projects, and political interest in reducing deforestation and degradation, according to Dr. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, Chairman of Indonesia’s REDD+ Task Force, which reports directly to the president.

Indonesia chooses climate pact pilot province

By Olivia Rondonuwu and David Fogarty, Reuters, 30 December 2010 | Indonesia has chosen once of its largest and richest provinces to test efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by saving forest and peatlands, a key part of a $1 billion climate deal with Norway. Central Kalimantan province on Borneo island is the second largest producer of greenhouse gases among Indonesia’s 33 provinces because of deforestation, destruction of carbon-rich peat swamps, and land use change, the government says. “The assessment showed that Central Kalimantan is a province with large forest cover and peatland and faces a real threat of deforestation,” top technocrat Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, head of a special presidential delivery unit charged with managing the Norway deal, said in a statement on Thursday.

AFP: Indonesia picks Borneo for forest preservation plan

AFP, 30 December 2010 | Indonesia has chosen its Borneo island to conduct a pilot project aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation, as part of a deal with Norway, an official said Thursday. Norway agreed in May to contribute up to a billion dollars to help preserve Indonesia’s forests, in part through a two-year moratorium on the clearing of natural forests and peatlands from 2011. “Central Kalimantan (Borneo) is a province with large forest cover and peat land and has faced a real threat of deforestation,” the country’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) head Kuntoro Mangkusubroto said in a statement. Mangkusubroto said the provincial authorities are expected to manage the project properly, ensure its transparency, tackle any corruption and enforce the law against illegal loggers. “We recognise and fully understand this heavy task, and are prepared to take this on,” he said.

President selected Kalimantan Tengah as pilot province

Satgas REDD+, 30 December 2010 | President Yudhoyono announced the selection of Central Kalimantan as a pilot province to carry out pilot testing of the initial stage of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) in Indonesia. The selection by the President was conducted during the Cabinet meeting on 23 December 2010, where the President selected Kalimantan Tengah out of nine forested provinces, upon receiving a report by Dr. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, Head of the President’s Delivery Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight (UKP4), who also assigned by the President as the Chairman of the Task Force for the Preparation of REDD+ Institutional Establishment (REDD+ Task Force).

31 December 2010

Champion of the Earth or Guyanese Dictator of the 21st Century?

By Seelochan Beharry letter to the editor Kaieteur News, 31 December 2010 | During this long and public discourse on forestry and related issues, what was striking was the loud and deafening silence of the President Bharrat Jagdeo PPP-led Government… It led to the suspicion that the Government had probably made some private deals on the side with Barama or something unusual was going on. Barama was very confident that it had the Government’s backing. The Company’s defenders even went so far as to deliver personal attacks in the press on the civic-minded and technically-competent citizens to distract from the issues, a well known PPP-strategy. Recently, we saw that President Jagdeo was annoyed that Barama laid off Guyanese workers and announced that a necessary boiler would take one year to fix. President Jagdeo was surprised that Barama was so contemptuous of him after all the special deals and concessions he had given to Barama.

2010: the Year in Forest Carbon

By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 31 December 2010 | REDD took payments for ecosystem services mainstream this year as everyone formed an opinion on the ability to slow climate change by harnessing carbon markets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. But for all the sound and fury, there was surprising little action on the global stage. Indeed, the most promising REDD developments took place at the local and regional levels.

Patrick Bond: Climate change

By Patrick Bond, Business Day, 31 December 2010 | The recent Cancun climate- change agreements’ fatal flaw is simple: faith in fickle markets… Similar controversy surrounds the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (Redd) programme. In theory, Redd sells investors forest protection. But it’s seen as a boon to voracious commercial forestry and a danger to indigenous peoples, given that proper safeguards were not adopted in Cancun. And everyone from EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard to Greenpeace warns that Redd could wreck fragile carbon markets, not only due to socioecological forest controversies but because a fresh glut of credits would again crash the price. Financial gaming also remains rife in the EU, and last week even the ordinarily pro-trading World Wide Fund for Nature and Öko-Institut attacked steel producers Thyssen- Krupp and Salzgitter as fraudulent carbon profiteers, demanding “the EU put a halt to the use of fake offsets”.

Another opportunity lost?

By Rina Saeed Khan, thefridaytimes.com, 31 December 2010 | WWF-Pakistan officials say that the forest cover in Pakistan is even lower than the 5% claimed by the government – it is probably less than 3%, which is abysmal so REDD+ could increase Pakistan’s forests. The country needs to set a forestation target. According to Nasir Mahmood, the Inspector General of Forests who was present in Cancun during the talks, “REDD will be implemented on a country basis and emissions from forests will be calculated at national levels”. Pakistan is currently in the REDD readiness phase and several workshops were conducted through out the country in 2010 to train forest officials and involve the media and NGOs.

V-Carbon News, From The Editors

Ecosystem Marketplace, 31 December 2010 | The voluntary carbon market experienced a series of meaningful wins peppered with some striking losses in 2010. Fortunately, veterans of the tumultuous 2009 market emerged from “Nopenhagen” with more realistic expectations about the coming year – in which political indecision heralded the downturn (or emergence) of compliance markets while non-regulated buyers’ investments continued to ride the wave of economic downturn to recovery.

1 January 2011

General Procurement Notice

Ministry of forests and Soil Conservation (Nepal), 1 January 2011 | The Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation on behalf of the Government of Nepal has received a credit from the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, World Bank in the amount of US$ 3.4 million equivalent toward the cost of the Implementation of Readiness Preparation Proposal and it intends to apply this credit to payments for goods, works and consulting services to be procured under this project.

Environment Ministry implementing mega forestry projects: Afridi

OnePakistanNews, 1 January 2011 | Federal Minister for Environment Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi has said that Ministry of Environment is implementing mega forestry projects in all the Provinces of Pakistan for preservation and expansion of forest wealth in the country… REDD carbon credits would help to bring handsome foreign exchange. In order to avail optimum potential of REDD, it is needed to work collectively, as there are many political, social and scientific challenges which we have to address at the beginning. Hameed Ullah Jan further said that in order to achieve the targets of National Forest Policy, concrete measures were being adopted through Provincial Forest Departments to update the knowledge of foresters and enabling them to meet the scientific challenges including the calculation of forest carbon stocks and MRV (Measurable, Reportable, Verifiable of carbon emissions reductions) systems to monitor forest cover changes.

Forest Department seeks local wisdom

Indian Express, 1 January 2011 | Its jungles as well as protection staff under increasing attack, Forest Department of the State is all set to add local wisdom and intelligence to its protection measures this new year. It has proposed to add a new layer to its field staff to strengthen the mechanism. The Department has proposed creation of para foresters drawn from the local population to make conservation an efficient affair. The Department has sought deployment of 30 para foresters in each of 50 forest divisions of the State. All of them, however, will be from local villages and will be given a rudimentary training in patrolling as well as protection techniques. They would be required to accompany foresters and forest guards during patrolling.

2 January 2011

Environment Ministry implementing mega forestry projects: Afridi

Daily Times, 2 January 2011 | Speaking at the conference the minister said the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) was an important outcome of this COP-10, for which, the Ministry of Environment was working to finalise the ABS legislation, as soon as possible. Shah Abdul Latif University would also be involved in the consultative process. He said that fast developments in Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), in particular the Cancun agreement, provided tremendous opportunities to increase forest carbon credits, besides conserving biological diversity. The REDD carbon credits would help bring handsome foreign exchange, he said, adding,“In order to avail optimum potential of REDD, it is needed to work collectively, as there are many political, social and scientific challenges which we have to address at the beginning.”

The future of our forests

By Malaka Rodrigo, Sunday Times, 2 January 2011 | REDD implementation is expected to take place in a post-2012 climate regime, and global level discussions are currently being held to finalize the mechanism. The World Bank and the United Nations have launched a programme (REDD readiness) to support developing countries to develop capacity to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and to implement a future REDD mechanism. In theory, this can bring multiple benefits to Sri Lanka so it is worth evaluating the opportunities of REDD and getting ready before it is too late. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol which is a global agreement to reduce green house gas emissions also held similar promise, but Sri Lanka was late to act on it. Are we on top of this new forest initiative?

Gov’t proposes US$12M Amerindian land titling, demarcation project

Stabroek News, 2 January 2011 | Government has submitted a draft Project Document for the Amerindian Land Titling and Demarcation activities to be funded through the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF). Over four years – from 2011 to 2014 – it envisions US$12M being spent on the process and a budget of US$3.6M has already been outlined for 2011. A description of the project says that underlying the development of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) is the protection of Indigenous… [R-M: subscription needed.]

Forest Concessions to Be Granted in Logged Land

By Elisabeth Oktofani, Jakarta Post, 2 January 2011 | The Forestry Ministry has announced that 500,000 hectares of land concessions will be granted this year in previously logged areas as part of a wider plan to keep virgin forests intact and slow the rate of carbon dioxide emissions. Hadi Daryanto, the ministry’s director general of forestry management, said on Thursday that opening these concessions in so-called degraded forests would ensure that natural and peat forests remained untouched. “Indonesia has 35.4 million hectares of degraded forest that we can designate as agricultural and forest concessions,” he said. “By using degraded forests instead of virgin forests, we can develop more concessions and keep emissions low, as well as providing jobs in the forestry sector.”

Devising state-level climate change responses

By Michael Simire, Daily Independent, 2 January 2011 | Besides what he termed a “robust” Forestry Commission Agenda on Ecological Restoration, [Arikpo] Arikpo [of the Cross Rivers State Forestry Commission] emphasised that a programme to plant at least one million indigenous trees a year had commenced, as well as the inauguration of 14 forest protection and compliance units. He added that project proposal for REDD readiness was in progress, and a mission by UN-REDD partners (UNDP, UNEP and FAO) was recently conducted in the state.

Odey, Imoke underscore REDD values to Nigeria

By Michael Simire, Daily Independent, 2 January 2011 | The Federal Government has underlined the importance of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) programme as a responsive measure to mitigate climate change effects. Environment Minister, John Odey, said recently in Cancun, Mexico at a side event on Governors’ Climate and Forests (GCF) task force cooperation among sub-national governments and NGOs on REDD+ during the United Nations Climate Change Conference that ended on Saturday.

Gov’t proposes US$12M Amerindian land titling, demarcation project

Stabroek News, 2 January 2011 | Government has submitted a draft Project Document for the Amerindian Land Titling and Demarcation activities to be funded through the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF). Over four years – from 2011 to 2014 – it envisions US$12M being spent on the process and a budget of US$3.6M has already been outlined for 2011. A description of the project says that underlying the development of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) is the protection of Indigenous…

Converting palm oil companies from forest destroyers into forest protectors

By Jeremy Hance and Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 2 January 2011 | An interview with Craig Hanson and Moray McLeish of the World Resources Institute… Could secondary forests, which may have biodiversity or climate potential, be considered degraded land? Many secondary forests (or degraded forests) certainly do have biodiversity and climate (carbon storage) potential. It is critical that these forests are identified and prioritized for rehabilitation. But other secondary forests may be so badly cleared that restoration is not economically feasible or practically realistic. This is why clear and pragmatic definitions of “degraded” are so important – to help stakeholders plan what to do with what land and where to focus efforts to maximize benefits to local people, biodiversity, the economy, and the climate.

Cancunhagen 2.0: Reality Strikes Back

The Great Change, 2 January 2011 | In the debates over REDD there were rational actors (Brazil, the Africa bloc, Greenpeace, Oxfam, Green Belt Movement, NRDC, Yale, Nature Conservancy, ad nauseum) and then there were irrational actors (EcoNexus, Climate Justice, Indigenous Environmental Network, Third World Network, ALBA, ad ridiculo). In Cancún, despite getting 90% of what they wanted, the irrational actors walked out, claiming they weren’t being heard; were thrown out for unscheduled demonstrations (as with CJ and IEN); or (as for Bolivia) stayed behind and threw sand in the gears.

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