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How Kevin Conrad dismissed NGO requests not to weaken safeguards in the REDD text in Cancun

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How Kevin Conrad dismissed NGO requests not to weaken safeguards in the REDD text in CancunIn a post just before Christmas, I mentioned that Kevin Conrad “was busy in Cancun on Papua New Guinea’s behalf watering down safeguards in the REDD text.” A comment explained exactly how Conrad weakened the safeguards. What is perhaps even more interesting is the way Conrad dealt with a request from a Papua New Guinea NGO not to weaken the safeguards.

During the UN climate change negotiations in Cancun, Kevin Conrad helped to weaken part of the safeguards in the REDD text in the following way. The original text requested that countries carrying out REDD activities should develop:

“(d) A system for monitoring and informing the Convention on how the safeguards referred to in Annex II to this decision are being addressed and respected throughout the implementation of the activities referred to in paragraph 27, while respecting sovereignty.”

Kevin Conrad’s proposed text did away with “monitoring” and “informing the Convention”:

“(d) A process for sharing information on how the safeguards referred to in Annex II to this decision are being addressed and respected throughout the implementation of the activities referred to in paragraph 27, while respecting sovereignty.”

The final AWG/LCA text states:

“(d) A system for providing information on how the safeguards referred to in annex I to this decision are being addressed and respected throughout the implementation of the activities referred to in paragraph 70, while respecting sovereignty;

It may seem petty to point out the difference between a system for monitoring safeguards and a system for providing information on safeguards. But, as the commentator on REDD-Monitor notes, Conrad’s proposed text helped weaken the safeguard in two important ways:

1. There would be no obligation for ‘monitoring’ of how safeguards were being implemented, therefore it would be easy to get away with not implementing them, and merely ‘sharing information’ about them (whatever that means);

2. By removing the requirement for ‘informing the Convention’, it removes the requirement for reporting to any particular body, and therefore probably effectively removes the requirement for any reporting whatsoever.

Almost every line in the AWG/LCA has been fought over in a similarly unpleasant way for several years. But perhaps more interesting is Conrad’s reaction to Ecoforestry Forum, a PNG NGO that was in Cancun to monitor the negotiations. Ecoforestry Forum sent an email to Conrad requesting that he return to the initial text, which would have required a system for monitoring and reporting on safeguards.

Conrad replied to Ecoforestry Forum explaining that “PNG fully supports strong language on a strong and transparent system to ensure safeguards are maintained.” So far, so good, although there is little evidence to back up this statement. Conrad continued:

“However, this is a consensus based negotiation process. There is an ongoing process to find wording that will be acceptable to all parties. Sadly, it is more complex than simply supporting an option in draft text.”

EFF copied the email to several other NGOs working on REDD and concerned about safeguards in REDD, in an attempt to keep the negotiation process transparent. Conrad reacted angrily:

“Again, I request that you cease your pattern of circulating misinformation based on rumor-mongering. In the future, please check directly with our delegation before issuing such irresponsible emails. This unprofessional behavior is indeed tiresome.”

So much for “stakeholder consultation”.

Below is Conrad’s email in full:

From: Kevin Conrad
To: Kenn Mondiai
Cc:
Date: 10 December 2010 02:11
Subject: Re: Potential safeguards language in text : Think About PNG situation and keep original text

Kenn,

Thank you for your views. PNG fully supports strong language on a strong and transparent system to ensure safeguards are maintained

However, this is a consensus based negotiation process. There is an ongoing process to find wording that will be acceptable to all parties. Sadly, it is more complex than simply supporting an option in draft text.

Again, I request that you cease your pattern of circulating misinformation based on rumor-mongering. In the future, please check directly with our delegation before issuing such irresponsible emails. This unprofessional behavior is indeed tiresome.

Thank you.
Kevin

 

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36 Comments

  1. The reluctance of Kevin Conrad and his PNG/CfRN cronies to accept any ‘monitoring’ of safeguards in REDD is hardly surprising, and should be seen in the context that his close associate, Sir Michael Somare, Prime Minister of PNG, has recently had to stand down as PM in order to face a tribunal investigating alleged financial irregularities (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11990157). The PNG Office of Climate Change is a department within Somare’s office.

    (You might also have reported on how, also at Cancun, Conrad’s….’associate’…Federica Bietta, successfully and unilaterally removed all references to safeguards from the workplan of the Interim REDD+ Partnership.)

    Conrad’s and the Coalition for Rainforest Nation’s determination not to have any scrutiny over REDD funding might benefit a few corrupt elites in the short term, but it is likely to be REDD’s downfall in the longer term. Unlike most of the members of the CfRN, donor governments are accountable to their taxpayers, and they will not be able to sustain payments for opaque schemes, the truth about which will eventually find its way into the public domain, however much the likes of the PNG government might not want to formally report on it. The private sector will have more sense than to invest in programmes where, in the absence of any safeguards or governmental system for upholding them, it will be the private sector itself that will carry all the risk, and face the consequences for any ensuing environmental or social abuses.

    So, Conrad and Bietta may feel pleased with their achievements in Cancun, but they have further undermined the prospects for REDD ever becoming a credible and fundable mechanism. The people of tropical forests who would potentially stand to gain from REDD, were it ever to work properly, will no doubt have their own views on the damage being wreaked by these characters.

  2. Rosland Reeve (aka ‘A Witness’ of Global Witness):

    We all know this is you! The whole NGO community is VERY tired of your endless misrepresentations of what is really ongoing!

    First, what Mr. Conrad stated is correct.

    1. NGOs should confirm positions with delegations before email blasts filled with ‘allegedly’ incorrect information. We all try to do that before making any public statements. This is just professional.

    2. No single Party can singly approve text within the UNFCCC. It is a negotiation process that is high pressure and fluid. Everyone understands this. All Parties must agree, including Annex-1.

    3. You give NO PROOF that Mr. Conrad had any role in the change of text. Nothing whatsoever. Where is your evidence between the email and outcome that shows cause???

    4. There is a SBSTA process over the next year to develop the rules, so whatever the text says at this point is really irrelevant. The next year is most important.

    Candidly, the article by Chris and your immediate comment reek of collusion. These tactics of personality attacks over substance discredit you both. Petty and sad. Totally unprofessional!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. And further, Rosland, False Witness” your deceitful claims about the REDD+ Partnership also do not withstand even the most basic due diligence. See the article where you are quoted in the EcoSystem Marketplace claiming PNG was somehow responsible (again with no facts whatsoever):

    http://www.ecosystemmarketplace.com/pages/dynamic/article.page.php?page_id=7757&section=home

    Note the statement issued by the World Bank, UN-REDD, Japan, and PNG stating that your allegations were all false (listed on the webpage andvcopied hereto.)

    _____________

    Gentlemen,

    On behalf of the REDD+ Partnership we would like to respond to the series of articles (specifically December 4th and October 7th) published in EcoSystem Marketplace. We feel compelled to offer clarification of the portrayal of “facts” and the countless points of misinterpretation.

    The preparation of the 2011-2012 Work Program was informed by three major principles: 1) Specific input from REDD+ Partners and stakeholders; 2) Surgical editing of redundant language and/or content: and 3) Incorporation of text that was taken directly from the REDD+ Partnership Ministerial Document agreed in Nagoya in November 2010. Under no circumstances did any party make unilateral “redactions” or add new text. Furthermore, the co-Chairs did not alter or cut any text related to the institution or role of safeguards.

    Accordingly, the REDD+ Partnership believes that corrections in all relevant articles by Ecosystem Marketplace is warranted. If you require further clarification on the Work Program and the process of its adoption to produce the corrective, please feel free to contact the co-chairs or the FMT/PT.

    Sincerely,

    Federica Bietta
    Junya Nakano

  4. @Redd Observer – perhaps you’d like to let us know who you are, before trying to guess who “A Witness” is.

    The email you quote is from Federica Bietta and Junya Nakano on behalf of the REDD+ Partnership, and not from the World Bank, UN-REDD, Japan, and PNG as you state. I think it’s worth quoting Ecosystem Marketplace’s response to the email:

    Ecosystem Marketplace Responds (21 December 2010)

    The issue of stakeholder involvement is complex, and we do not claim to cover its entirety in the pieces alluded to above. We also, however, are not aware of any factual errors in these reports. We are following up with Federica Bietta and other members of the REDD+ Partnership Secretariat to ensure their accuracy, which we continue to stand by. As new information comes to light, we will report it, and if any of that new information shows our previous reporting to have been in error, we will certainly set the record straight.

    We believe this discussion provides an opportunity for the REDD+ Partnership to share additional documentation of its decision-making process and can increase transparency consistent with the Partnership’s stated goals. We remain committed to providing accurate reporting on these issues while allowing stakeholders with varying opinions to express their views when any claims can be substantiated.

    We invite anyone who would like to shed more light on this issue to contact us at szwick@ecosystemmarketplace.com.

    Steve Zwick
    Managing Editor
    Ecosystem Marketplace

  5. Sorry, wrong link the the issue raised by Rosalind ‘False Witness’ Reeve, see correction below:

    http://www.ecosystemmarketplace.com/pages/dynamic/article.page.php?page_id=7873&section=carbon_market&eod=1

    Also, the quote provided previously specifically references the FMT/PT to respond to any questions. As you know very well, that is the World Bank FCFP FMT and the UN-REDD PT.

    So, Chris, maybe for once you should do your job and actually check the facts rather that rely on fact-less rumors from ‘False Witness.’

    One example: You and Rosalind still have not provided one shred of evidence for any role by Mr. Conrad related to any change in the text related to stakeholders as per the title of this article. I have looked and looked. No substance anywhere.

    Over and out!

  6. @Redd Observer – Correct. The email from Federica Bietta and Junya Nakano refers to the FMT/PT. That does not, however, mean that it is a statement “issued by the World Bank, UN-REDD, Japan, and PNG”.

    You believe that “A Witness” is Rosalind Reeve. But you present no evidence to support this belief. I’d suggest that before commenting again, you should say who you are. Thanks.

    Let’s take your points one at a time:

    1. NGOs should confirm positions with delegations before email blasts filled with ‘allegedly’ incorrect information. We all try to do that before making any public statements. This is just professional.

    Ecoforestry Forum did meet with the PNG delegation. They also tried (unsuccessfully) to arrange a meeting with Conrad and Bietta.

    2. No single Party can singly approve text within the UNFCCC. It is a negotiation process that is high pressure and fluid. Everyone understands this. All Parties must agree, including Annex-1.

    True it’s a consensus-based decision making process. Within that, any single party can put forward its position and any single party can suggest changes to the text. Parties then have to agree to that text. What PNG did was to propose weaker text.

    3. You give NO PROOF that Mr. Conrad had any role in the change of text. Nothing whatsoever. Where is your evidence between the email and outcome that shows cause???

    Conrad is Papua New Guinea’s Special Envoy and Ambassador for Environment and Climate Change. He’s part of the negotiating team. During the negotiations, PNG put forward the text mentioned above. If you believe a different country put forward this text, please let me know.

    The point of this post is that Conrad had a chance to listen to NGOs from PNG. He could have argued for stronger text in the REDD agreement. He chose to do neither.

    4. There is a SBSTA process over the next year to develop the rules, so whatever the text says at this point is really irrelevant. The next year is most important.

    You may think that the text of the Cancun agreement on REDD is irrelevant. I suspect many others would disagree with you. There was an opportunity in Cancun to make sure that indigenous peoples’ rights were included in any REDD+ activities. Conrad and others made sure that that opportunity was wasted.

  7. Chris,

    You claim to be a ‘professor of REDD’. I am simply a humble student sitting in the back of the class making a simple request — please substantiate your claims and demonstrate you have the necessary expertise to provide analysis! Intellectually honest, right?

    So, let’s go through your points one by one, as you have not answered any of the previous questions. Rather, you simply responded with further unsubstantiated opinions.

    1. Meetings: What evidence do you have that an NGO did or did not meet with a specific delegation or member? If you have ever been to a UNFCCC meeting, the country desks are well marked and it is easy to find delegates on a daily basis. Delegates sit there hour after hour. So, for someone to say they tried but ‘could not’ is not credible. They can’t have really tried.

    2. Draft Text: You claim that certain delegations and individuals proposed weaker text? What evidence do you have factually about what any delegation proposed? There were many rumors about differing texts. Please provide facts, as that would be quite interesting.

    3. See point above.

    4. SBSTA: As you correctly state, the agreed text reads:

    “(d) A system for providing information on how the safeguards referred to in annex I to this decision are being addressed and respected throughout the implementation of the activities referred to in paragraph 70, while respecting sovereignty;

    So,

    1. If a country is now required ‘establish a system for providing information on how it is addressing and respecting safeguards’, how can you say there is no obligation? Further, if expecting international funding, how could that be done without transparently monitoring/collecting information on these issues?

    2. If an agreement under the convention says a Party must provide information, unless specifically stating an alternate body, they are obviously calling for information to be provided back to the Parties of the Convention. Information, in case you missed this, is provided through National Communications. What else would the agreement be requesting, really?

    3. The agreement says there will be a 1-year process to develop the modalities for all of the above. So, to pass judgment before a process has not even started seems a bit curious.

    So, my dear ‘professor’ of REDD. Let me ask, do you have a legal degree; are you an expert on the UNFCCC process; have you ever been on a national delegation? If not, upon which expertise does your analysis rely?

    In summary, one could very easily draw the conclusion that the entire basis for your article is inaccurate: parties must establish a system to provide information on this matter to the COP; there is no opt-out; a SBSTA process will begin to iron out details; and finally, your delegation and personal attacks lack any substance and thereby any credibility.

    Chris, please do not bother replying if you are again simply restate your opinions (without any facts) or respond with any analysis (ill-informed and inaccurate as it presently is) lest you provide some sound basis for your reply. While you are free to your opinions, state them a such rather than misrepresenting them as ‘fact.’

    All the best, my nutty REDD professor!

  8. @Redd Observer – Thanks for your comment. You manage to use two logical fallacies simultaneously. Congratulations. First comes the strawman fallacy (I’m not a professor and have never claimed to be one) followed by the ad hominem attack (attack the person rather than the argument). I have an MSc in Forestry and Land Use, and have worked on forest issues for several years. No more.

    Back to your four points:

    1. The NGO concerned, Ecoforestry Forum, in an email to Conrad, pointed out that they had met with the delegation and attempted unsuccessfully to arrange a meeting with Conrad and Bietta. Sure, the delegations sit at their desks for hours on end. They do so to follow the negotiations. Yes, it’s possible to speak to them during the negotiations, but on an important matter like weakening safeguards in the REDD text the reality is that a separate meeting outside the meeting room will be needed to discuss the point in detail. Conrad could have responded to the email from Ecoforestry Forum by either agreeing to push for stronger text or arranging a meeting with Ecoforestry Forum to discuss the matter further. He did neither.

    2. Your original point 2 was about the consensus decision making process and the fact that all countries have to agree to the text. My point is that any country can have a position and can propose text for discussion. I assume that you concede this point as you’ve now merged points 2 and 3.

    3. As you are no doubt aware, having taken part in UNFCCC meetings, there are TV screens placed around the meeting venue. In his email to Conrad, Kenn Mondiai of Ecoforestry Forum wrote “I watched the closed circuit TV yesterday that, PNG (CfRFN) wants to put forward in the text something different to the original that was proposed by Norway and Philipines on the SAFEGUARDS.”

    4. I assume that you’ve now decided that the text is not “irrelevant”. Good. So, the text changed from “A system for monitoring and informing the Convention” to “A system for providing information”.

    I’ll re-label your sub-points (a), (b) and (c) to avoid confusion with points 1-4:

      (a). A “system for providing information” could mean anything. Including the word “monitoring” at least allows the potential for 3rd party independent monitoring.

      (b) You ask what else the agreement could be requesting apart from informing the Convention. Good question. It could mean anything. In which case why not leave the words “informing the convention” in the text to avoid ambiguity and wriggle room?

      (c) Yes there’s a year long SBSTA process, but the fact remains that the final REDD text is weaker than the draft version. Monitoring, as I’m sure you are fully aware, is crucial to the success of REDD. Deleting the word “monitoring” from the REDD text is not as trivial as you seem to believe it is.

    I have no choice other than to repeat what I’ve already said in conclusion: The point of this post is that Conrad had a chance to listen to NGOs from PNG. He could have argued for stronger text in the REDD agreement. He chose to do neither.

    I think we’ve discussed this as far as we can. We disagree on our opinions about the REDD text. You don’t seem to care that the REDD text was weakened. I do.

    So, we’re back to my questions for you:

    A. Why do you not reveal who you are before commenting further? So far, all we know is that you are “from a developing country, work for a home-grown developing country NGO, and have been following the REDD debate with keen interest.” You have stated that you have no relationship with the Coalition for Rainforest Nations but you are very quick to defend the REDD+ Partnership, Kevin Conrad and Federica Bietta against any criticism. On all the other issues covered on REDD-Monitor you remain silent. I can’t help but wonder why this is.

    B. I have never been on a government delegation. Neither have I ever claimed to have been on one. Have you ever been on a government delegation?

  9. The true attitude and agenda of Conrad and co(REDD+) is now being fully exposed and thank you to ‘Roberts’ and his team for helping PNG people understand.
    Its so obvious now, and thank you also REDD Monitor and Chris Lang for publishing the truth and facts that would not have been privy in any other way.
    Its so sad really to see so much nonsense and excessive spending of PNG and other indigenous forest countries monies to be simply wasted on this REDD or UNFCCC World Bank corruption of simply trying to steal and control the peoples land.
    Our PNG hero ‘Roberts’ has always been right.
    God Bless.

  10. Chris,

    First, to be clear, I am not writing blogs, you are. Am not providing analysis on areas for which I have questionable qualifications, you are. If you are going to behave this way, then you are open to criticism! Therefore, it matters not who I am, as I have not printed articles in the public domain that contain unsubstantiated personal attacks and flawed analysis — you have.

    Accordingly, anyone in the public domain has the right to seek facts and question analysis. Chris, it goes with the territory. Stop whining or just get off the internet.

    Again, you have tried to cleverly sidestep the fundamental issue, again, without any solid facts.

    1. Meetings: Again, you have provided no evidence that delegations or delegates avoided meetings. Of course, I have no idea if a request was really sent or a meeting was avoided, but the point is that you don’t either. You were not there. All you have is an allegation from a questionable source (which I will outline further below.) Admit it! Your whole case is hearsay!

    2. Proposed text: I asked you to provide facts that a delegation or delegate weakened or strengthened text. I did not dispute that delegates can propose text. You ask me to concede a point that what never at issue while avoiding the original point — you have not provided any evidence. Waiting…

    3. Allegations by Mr. Mondiai: The UNFCCC makes all of its closed circuit footage available online. I have quickly reviewed all the Plenaries and relevant Mitigation / REDD+ sessions and found no instance were PNG proposes any weakened text on safe guards. Now, I may have missed something. So, please give us facts — on which date and at what time did this occur? If Mr. Mondiai really saw this occur and can point us to it, then this can all be cleared up quickly.

    4. Regarding the agreed text, which I will print again below:

    (d) A system for providing information on how the safeguards referred to in annex I to this decision are being addressed and respected throughout the implementation of the activities referred to in paragraph 70, while respecting sovereignty;

    Let me refer to your replies:

    a) This is a whole sentence, not just four words. The sentence describes what the system must do — inform how safeguards are being addressed and respected throughout implementation. You make a giant leap by arguing that the word ‘monitoring’ implies independent verification. Independent monitoring never in either option. If it was, please substantiate with facts! Again,do you understand the UNFCCC process well enough to provide analysis?

    b) Another place clearly beyond your depth. No, the agreed text does not ‘mean anything’! This is a treaty with agreed procedures and years of precedent. Again, for developing countries, information is submitted via National Communications. Do you really understand how the UNFCCC works?

    c) What is important to REDD is that local and indigenous rights are respected, safeguards are integrated into implementation and accurate information is transparently available on how such safeguards are addressed and respected. There are several methods to achieve this objective and your choice for ‘monitoring’ by a 3rd party is just one. However, the UNFCCC has a long established practice of ‘reviewing’ information provided from Parties. One would expect that SBSTA will be considering exactly this. And no, while it may be your favorite word, the inclusion of the word ‘monitoring’ will not have this watershed affect the final modalities as you claim.

    Finally, the repeat of your final point is a hollow as it originally was — you have yet to provide any verifiable facts that PNG/Conrad weakened text or avoided meetings. Further, to me, your analysis of the agreed text does nothing but highlight that do you do not understand the UNFCCC process and the practical implications of the words themselves.

    Regarding your questions, refer to the opening of this email. This is about your blog, I don’t have one. Stop trying to deflect from the core issues — substantiate your case!

    And yes, I am of the opinion that the Rainforest Coalition has done more for the conservation of tropical rainforest conservation than any other group in the history of mankind. Never has so many developing countries, the stewards of the last great rainforests, united behind conservation. But that is just my humble opinion! Therefore, while you take joy in trashing the Rainforest Coalition, I have equal right to find joy in defending them. Nothing more, nothing less.

    But, please, I am legitimately interested, so if there is hard evidence (not hearsay and rumor) that the Rainforest Coalition weakened safeguards, I would be interested. But, with all your bluster, thus far, you have been all hot air!

  11. As an independent obsever of this back and forth between Chris Lang and “Redd Observer”, I find it quite curious that “Redd Observer” both thinks that A)Conrad and PnG did not propose or support the weakened safeguard text; and B) the new “weakened” text isnt, in fact, weakened at all.

    Any objective observer following the climate change negotiations knows that removing the need to monitor an action greatly reduces is efficacy. Without strong systems for monitoring, reporting, and verification you really have nothing. The MRV issue is relevant across the board, from REDD to GHG accounting and national reporting initiatives. Under the new REDD text only reporting is required, meaning there will be absolutely no means for monitoring or verification. If that isnt weak, I dont know what is.

    Getting back to the squabble between Chris and Redd Observer, lets be honest here: neither of you know exactly whats going on. But thats more an indictment of the lack of transparency in the UNFCCC REDD process than anything else. After a few hours of backroom negotiations a new text magically appears.

    Chris has written a story here that supports the claims of a large number of the NGOs that were monitoring the REDD process in Cancun. These are, to be certain, allegations that Chris has presented as fact and for that he should be held accountable. But at the same time, I personally think these allegations towards Conrad and PNG–considering the variety of sources that substantiate these allegations–are based at least somewhat in reality.

  12. So all along Conrad and his cohorts have been preaching about REDD safeguards particularly landowner interest. In PNG the majority do not know who Conrad is, if ever he thought of PNG it has been at Waigani luring politicians away from the real issue of REDD and inparting monetary and economic models of a carbon economy.

    Do you think the rural majority of whom rely on their for their very existance would welcome Conrad.. No!!!

    The Government of PNG has been misled by a man who is hell bent on taking away the nations sovereignty through his carbon diplomacy!!! (Of which he is a bully and a arrogant representative of Papua New Guinea)..

  13. @Joseph – thanks for this comment. I’m glad that you agree that the text has indeed been weakened.

    You are right in pointing out that I don’t know exactly what happened in Cancun. I should have made clear in the post what evidence I had for the allegation that PNG and/or Conrad were responsible for weakening the text. I’ve now done so in the comment above.

    If we focus on what we know:

    1. The text was weakened.

    2. Whether or not Conrad was directly responsible for weakening this particular part of the text, in his email Conrad dismissed Ecoforestry Forum’s request not to weaken the text.

  14. Chris, I fully support REDD Watcher and your comments. As a landowner of a vast forest area in PNG, I do not know who this Çondrad fellow is, and I would not event imagin allowing foreign so called experts to have anything to do with my forest and my God given inheritance in which my forefathers have lived and used for thousands of years.

    I gather Conrad fellow has been used by Somare to push Somare’s interest, definitely NOT the interest of 80% of the PNG people who own and depend on their forest and land.

    I would support Mr. Mondia’s moves in this regard, as he is a legitimate, true PNG national and he knows the values and cultural significance and the high dependency of the forest by our traditional landowners, definitely not someone like this Conrad fellow.

    Mr. Mondia, has the fullest support of genuine forest owners and we would anticipate this REDD issues be carefully considere, using the best methods, monitoring, verifying and so forth so that us the forest dwelers/owners are not tossed about by corrupt people with corrupt intentions.

    Good one, Chris, for the exposure and the lively debate so far. Keep on ‘monitering’, and keep us informed.

    Thanks,

  15. Joseph and Richard, as neither of you were in Cancun either, your opinions are also NOT BASED ON FACT but only recycled rumor and hearsay.

    Let us have Mr. Mondiai prove his allegations — where is the video evidence he refers to? The email from Mr. Conrad simply explains to Mr. Mondiai how the UNFCCC process works and what PNG hopes to achieve (strong and transparent system for safeguards.) Then he asks him to check his facts before sending email blasts. All reasonable. In summary, there is nothing of substance here at all.

    That is why Chris is highly irresponsible with his Blogs by unfairly perpetuating unsubstantiated rumors and holding out his opinions as fact.

  16. Interesting article on climatechangepartnership.org, “Cancun’s ‘rushed’ forest deal” – extract below:

    Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, another Philippines negotiator, said there had been attempts to water down the deal’s safeguards during the negotiations.

    Saudi Arabia, she said in an interview, had pushed for the removal of provisions requiring the monitoring and reporting of compliance with the safeguards. It had insisted on regarding the safeguards as “additional obligations”, although it does not even receive payments under REDD.

    “It was quite surprising that they were questioning the standards we want included in REDD when the country does not have any forests,” said Tauli-Corpuz.

    But maybe even more unexpected was the opposition of forested countries who will directly benefit from the REDD programme.

    Rosalind Reeve of Global Witness, an NGO, told reporters the REDD negotiations had still been deadlocked in the last few days of the talks as Papua-New Guinea and Brazil resisted the safeguards.

    She said the two rejected any language about the safeguards as it related to their national sovereignty. Put simply, she added, there was no consensus on how developing countries could account for their logging activities.

    “We’d like to have Brazil and Papua-New Guinea be more supportive of environmental safeguards and integrity provisions. If we do not break these barriers of sovereignty, we can never solve climate change,” said Reeve.

  17. Redd Observer , how the hell do you know if Joseph or Richard were in Cancun or not.
    The text and dialogue from you here is absolute rubbish.
    Everyone knows the ambition of Conrad via the UNFCCC is to….
    Control forest lands to receive a pay per result through ‘ soveriegnity’ ‘ Bull S’..then.
    Ultimately help form a World Carbon Bank..or what ever Conrads crooked ex-banking financiers are trying to establish next in conjunction with the UNFCCC or these corrupted REDD+ hosts.
    then in PNG’s case distributed any funding through the Colombian Business School which his girl friend ‘Bietta’ and a Coalition of Rain Forests Director will try and control.
    Conrad has been involved in the theif of over 100 million kina in PNG , his support from Bertha Somare has kept him out of any court cases and these such allegations have been sitting dormant while this crook hovers around the world representing the UNFCCC for PNG as a self appointed Ambassador.
    Conrad is a educated scammer and has been receiving monies from the the PNG Government and financiers on false pretences, the PM of PNG has been miss informed by his own daughter and this devil Conrad.

  18. @’REDD Observer’

    You are pathetic. For someone that dares to challenge and insult the very many well-informed commentators and contributors to this site, and who says that views should be based on firm evidence, you are deeply ignorant and uninformed about what goes on at meetings such as a UNFCCC COP.

    If you had the first idea of what you were talking about, you would know that some of the most important lobbying goes on in backrooms, on anonymous bits of paper slipped to the Chair or Secretary of the relevant committee, or whispered in delegates’ ears in the corridors. As it happens, though, Conrad was both noted lobbying for the weakening of safeguards on the c.c video broadcasting of a particular meeting on 8th December; the ‘anonymous’ (but nevertheless identifiable) Coalition for Rainforest Nations’ lobbying document setting out the proposed weaker text (as described above in this post) was widely circulated and seen by many people. If you look properly through the UNFCCC’s webcasts, you will probably find the record of the meeting yourself. Even if you can’t find it there, if you had the first iota of intelligence you would know that the absence of evidence of existence is not evidence for non-existence. You just happened not to have been party to those discussions, and you can’t believe other people who were. Perhaps Chris will post the CfRN’s lobbying document.

    What basis of expertise do you have for saying that the proposed changes to the text are “nothing substantial at all”? Are you a lawyer with speciality in international environmental agreements or international human rights law? Whoever you are, it sounds as if your prime motivation is to protect the reputation of Kevin Conrad and his Columbia Business School cronies, regardless of the evidence for whether this is justified. Perhaps you have been listening too much to people who evidently have a very ‘flexible approach’ to truth.

    You are demonstrably wrong on every count, as evidenced by numerous witnesses in numerous independent circumstances, as well as the document which was used by Conrad/CfRN to try to critically weaken the safeguards. Conrad’s refusal to countenance NGO concerns about this is a matter of record. I note that at no point did Conrad himself deny that the allegations about his proposed changes to the text were in fact, accurate.

    Like everyone else that has placed their faith in the Conrad/Bietta duo, you too have now been made to look stupid. You should apologise for your misplaced insults.

  19. A Witness/REDD Observer,
    Just a point of order… Can you disclose who you are. You both seem to know what you are talking about… I know no one will shoot you for expressing your selves.

    Although I have reserved opinions and had already drew conclusions about your arguement, It will be interesting to lock horns when you emerge from the dark.

    Come out… lets see you play.

  20. Hornby who the hell are you ,what do names have to do with this topic? How do identifying people have anything to do with this discussion of past and future corrupted intentions of a proven crooked con man(Conrad), you can see how Conrad answered the NGO after they revieled its concerns of his supposed “watering down”.
    No one is offering any referee positions, either add some constructive input or criticism or rack off, you sound like one of those Conrad CfRN , UNFCCC idiots or cronies ,and no one gives a rats ass of your personal reserved opinions .

  21. I would like to clarify that I am not the person who is writing under the name of “A Witness”. Further, I am not quoted in the Ecosystems Marketplace article referred to in the 6 January post by the “REDD Observer”.

  22. Don,

    Thanks for the points raised. Firstly, I am not like one of those Conrad CfRN, UNFCCC idiots/cronies as you have described. We know Conrad is not doing enough, if not nothing for PNG as a negotiator. Example, watering down of the yet important texts that would otherwise speak volumes for the majority (85%) of people who own lands in PNG.

    Secondly, those discussions ended up parallel with no point of intersection, and (thought) it woul be nice to know who said what in this debate.

    Thirdly, I am on your side if you are on my side.

  23. Senson ,
    First of all my direction was aimed at Hornby with his righteous refereeing attitude , are you Hornby ?
    Conrad has been using PNG land which is 97% owned by PNG people as collateral to fund his expectations and lavished existence also UNFCCC participation.
    It has been disgracefully costly and publically shameful for PNG and his counterpart Dr Wari Iamo and his cohorts and Conrad have been removed from representing PNG , regarding any negotiations of PNG’s Environmental , Human and Land Tenure rights.
    The decision documents are being prepared , and I have asked to allow them to be advertised here on REDD Monitor.
    The discussions you secondly described have been of contrast in opposite parallel and need to be left alone to learn of each writers opinions.
    The whole REDD and REDD+ fiasco is so ridiculous , how would any one have ever thought forest protection would be come such a circus…..and we are still not saving any ‘ rainforests’.
    Of course I will be your friend if you are genuine.

  24. Don,

    Finally we are friends. My initial comment was not intended to destabilize the efforts of those genuine people like yourselves who work tirelessly to use REDD/REDD+ to reward our unspoken and defenseless populace in rural communities.

    I am with you in all these. Lets push from every angle to make REDD+ participatory, inclusive and a win situation especially for the rural population of PNG.

  25. .Senson , I did not know we were enemies…and we ‘could’ be friends if you were genuine.
    REDD+ cannot work in PNG.
    REDD+ is an unworthy mechanism for customary law of PNG.
    Japanese influence has always failed in PNG and will always be never taken seriously.
    Japan has the worst economic situation on planet , cost of food , lack of quality food and water , homeless , unemployment , suicide ,an internal system which has failed and has no relative future.
    Japan will not try and take over PNG to supply its food or natural resources from PNG at the expense of PNG people , although Japan could purchase foods and produce under PNG terms and conditions with a mutual specification and agreed price, after Japan recognises and legislates a PNG ‘forest protecion’ voluntary carbon unit and enforces its emitters in Japan to buy to offset their responsibilities.
    Are we still friends?

  26. UN concern over PNG ‘stealth logging’ Ilya Gridneff, AAP Papua New Guinea Correspondent
    March 22, 2011 – 1:24PM

    AAP

    The United Nations has sent Papua New Guinea’s government a please explain letter about millions of hectares of land allocated for what some say is “logging by stealth”.

    In October last year AAP reported PNG villagers in Western Provinces were outraged the government had given away more than a million hectares of pristine forest for Special Agricultural Business Leases (SABL) without their knowledge or consent.

    Western Province now has half of PNG’s allocated 5 million hectares of SABLs – close to ten per cent of the entire country.

    The leases are for projects like oil palm farms. But some view them as a backdoor way for foreign companies to log pristine forest.

    PNG has one of the world’s largest and most precious forest resources and the build-up of SABLs has enraged green groups, NGOs and numerous government officials who have raised concerns that the forests were under threat by what they describe as logging by stealth.

    The chairman of the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Anwar Kemal, on March 11 this year raised the UN’s concerns in a letter to PNG’s UN Ambassador Robert Aisi.

    “The committee expresses its concern about information according to which indigenous lands are under threat of alienation through the government’ practice to issue long term leases,” Mr Kemal wrote.

    The committee called on PNG to “urgently” respond by July 31 this year.

    It called on PNG to ensure the action did not “result (in) alienation of lands belonging to indigenous peoples” and that there were “measures to ensure that all leases are granted with prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples and measures taken to grant indigenous landowners have access to justice and an effective remedy in case of violation of their rights”.

    The UN added it was concerned the PNG government had not submitted any reports to the Committee since 1984.

    PNG’s Lands Department grants SABLs to companies to build legitimate farms. But concerned parties say unscrupulous players use the leases to bypass forestry laws, clear fell forest, export the logs, and then disappear.

    Earlier this month a coalition of NGOs, universities and environmental scientists met to announce the Cairns Declaration in response to alarming social and environmental impacts of SABLs.

    “We reached a strong consensus on the need to halve the granting of SABLs” the declaration states.

    “SABLs are a clear effort to circumvent prevailing efforts to reform the forestry industry in PNG, which has long been plagued by allegations of mismanagement and corruption”.

    PNG Government authorities did not immediately return calls inviting them to comment.


    ****Its was reported that Conrad recently flew into PNG with a Palm Oil investor, to excersise a REDD+ project.

  27. @Don (#28) – Thanks for this. I’ll do a post soon about the letter from the UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

    Could you please provide a link to provide further details about Kevin Conrad’s recent trip to PNG. (Incidentally, I edited your comment as follows: provided a link to the AAP article; deleted the adverts; and put a break line at the end of the AAP article to make clear that it’s your comment about Conrad and not part of the AAP article.)

  28. Thanks Chris very good….. I will try and and get evidence of the immunity entrance into PNG of Conrad and his investor.

    A email from a PNG Government office:

    You know Kevin Conrad came in with a billionare who is trying to develop oil palm in Sepik. They claim PM gave them immunity and by passed all customs clearance much to the displeasure of the PM/s department. I have fired off a question to Bertha for her to tell me what Conrad was doing with some like this rich man.

    Chris maybe you should try and confirm this with either PNG customs or Bertha Somare*

  29. @ Chris ,
    Your question…….Given your acquaintance with Roberts, do you happen to know whether Conrad replied to the letter?

    Would you expect a snake in the grass affiliated with the UNFCCC and WB to respond to the truth, stop asking stupid questions.
    In yesterdays Post Courier.
    Question about Carbon Trading

    The forest covering the East Pangia area in Southern Highlands Province is huge. And customary landowners of this vast forest resource have decided that they want to get into the carbon trade business. And they do not want logging operations to move into the forest and destroy their pristine forest.
    At a meeting a week ago at the Pangia district office with Government officials, including officers from the Environment and Conservation Department, the resource owners made their position known. They want to preserve their forest and the biodiversity instead of logging which they contend is destructive.
    The meeting came one week after hundreds of the resource owners staged a peaceful protest with placards and banners, declaring “say no to logging and yes to carbon”.
    The East Pangia Carbon trade project, being promoted under the Voluntary Carbon Trading framework, is one of several that are being developed by forest resource owners around the country. Another one that comes to mind is the Kamulo Doso project in the Western Province. We understand there are some being proposed in Madang, Sandaun, East Sepik and Central provinces.
    Voluntary carbon trading is not new to the world. We are told that there are countries already trading carbon offsets from their forests for cash and resource owners are benefiting from this income.
    The same can happen here but the Environment and Conservation Department, is against this. Secretary Dr Wari Iamo claims voluntary carbon trading is “risky” as there is no policy framework in place. It has even engaged an international law firm to tell the world that Papua New Guinea requires extensive legislation to be passed by the Parliament before it can implement any system to commercialise carbon sequestration in the forests. Further, there is no legal or other basis for the establishment of Carbon Sequestration Schemes in Papua New Guinea such as the Kamula Doso Project and the April Salumei projects. Both projects are legally untenable. The Department further states that until the legal regime in Papua New Guinea establishes a foundation for such schemes, they are little different to a modern day version of the false prospectus for the Port Breton Colonisation Scheme issued by the Marquis du Reys and circulated through Europe in the late 1870’s. Carbon trading is, to the simple people of Papua New Guinea, is a way of saving their forest but at the same time earn some money.
    We are of the opinion that the State has no right in any way or form to decide land tenure on behalf of local customary landowners of PNG. It is the prerogative of the local customary landowners through their Incorporated Land Groups who have the mandate to decide whether to go into voluntary carbon trading or not. And the Office of Climate Change and Development and the Environment and Conservation Department should make it their business to ensure that these people achieve their projects and gain from the voluntary carbon trading opportunities. Up to now, the resource owners are waiting for the Department to come out and tell them if they have a policy framework or formulated laws that will allow resource owners to trade their carbon offsets from their forests, in whatever form and way.
    Instead, the Department of Environment and Conservation, the very government agency, tasked to protect the natural environment in this country, is issuing environmental permits left, right and centre to resource and logging companies. In the case of the controversial Special Agriculture Business leases, the department has grant environmental permits covering millions of hectares of land for logging operations.
    And to top it off, the department has even drawn up legislation which was enacted by Parliament to stop customary landowners from seeking compensation for damages caused to their environment in PNG courts. This is nothing but criminal.

    Of course when articles and facts refer to Wari Iamo , it must be understood that Kevin Conrad uses Wari Iamo to do his dirty work.
    Conrad and the UNFCCC use Wari Iamo as their agent to confuse PNG people with this REDD+ rubbish.
    Interestingly to learn is that Wari Iamo is resigning from his positions with Forestry , Office of Climate change , Department of Environment and Conservation.
    His next appointment is a Independent Party which he is being funded and sponsored by RH and other logging companies for the next 2012 elections.

  30. @Greenie cap

    You say that “The East Pangia Carbon trade project, being promoted under the Voluntary Carbon Trading framework”. Can you please point us to where this ‘framework’ can be inspected?

    Thanks

  31. @ D Witness
    I did not say anything regarding the article.

  32. A GREAT DAY FOR PNG, THE UNFCCC AND REDD+

    The O’Neill-Namah government will replace the Ambassador of Climate Change Kevin Conrad who represents Papua New Guinea and lives in New York in the United States of America.
    Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah announced this in the official handover and takeover ceremony for Ministry of Environment and Conservation at Holiday Inn in Port Moresby yesterday.
    Mr Namah said that it is no good for someone who has few or no knowledge about the culture, tradition and lifestyle of the people and cannot understand and solve landowner issues in the country to represent Papua New Guinea.
    “I want the office of climate change to be restructured and there would be no ambassador living overseas, I want to replace the ambassador to climate change Kevin Conrad, the office must be here and the ambassador must live in PNG, not in overseas. Let some of our own men who know landowner issues very well take on the responsibility so that they can address the issues easily, we want change and have PNG on the safe side, the old regime is gone and this is a new regime,” Mr Namah said.
    Mr Namah, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Forest, thanked Sir Michael Somare for getting political independence but his government will get economic independence.
    “We thank former Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare for achieving political independence but my government will now get economic independence, I want change and have some economic development in the country,” Mr Namah said.
    Mr Namah said that there isn’t enough time left and the new government will focus on main areas in agriculture, human resource and tourism development.
    “Our human resources is paramount and as a new government, we prioritise this and have K350 million for free education next year from elementary up to grade 10 and grade 11 to tertiary institutions, the fees will be subsidised, we will also choose two provinces to be tourist destinations and we will invest more in agriculture,” Mr Namah said.
    He said the new government will also deal with MPs and bureaucrats who practice corrupt deals while holding public offices.
    “Though this new government has short period of time, we will make sure we get rid of corruption, especially the Kokopo K125 million sovereign community infrastructure treasury bill (SCITB) deals, those who are involved will be exposed.
    “We expose them and we will dispose and send them to jail,” Mr Namah said.

  33. I just randomly came across this website. I found the back-and-forth about Kevin Conrad curious. You are all wrong. I was there and witnessed which parties cut the final deal on the safeguard-related text in question. It would be unfair to put the responsibility on PNG.

    On this you are right: The UNFCCC needs to improve transparency. And on this Kevin is right: rumor-mongering, and (I add) a lack of respect for those with whom we disagree, is largely unhelpful to the shared objective we all seek — which is to find ways to protect the world’s forests.

    Respectfully, a REDD+ negotiator

  34. @ REDD+ negotiator.

    Do you believe REDD+ exists ?

    Does REDD or REDD+ reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation ?

    Have you any evidence or information regarding as you are a REDD+ negotiator?