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REDD in the news: 3-9 January 2011

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REDD in the news: 3-9 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.

Deforestation and Forest Degradation – REDD+

Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, no date | Participants in the Copenhagen Climate Conference reached agreement on the Copenhagen Accord where, among other things, some industrialized countries agreed to support developing countries in their efforts to reduce deforestation, the support amounting to USD 3.5 billion. Alongside the negotiations, at the initiative of France and Norway, a temporary REDD+ Partnership was established. More than 50 countries have joined this partnership, which aims at rapid launching of REDD+ efforts already in the period 2010–2012. The development policy aspect of Finland’s forest policy and the related action plan integrate mitigation of and adaptation to climate change with other development cooperation in the forest sector, and supports the creation of the REDD mechanism. Among other things, Finland has contributed to the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility of the World Bank.

REDD+ and the Amazon Biome

By Andrew Downie, World Economic Forum, no date | Discover some of the most outstanding REDD projects currently being carried out in Latin America, and how these and other initiatives can contribute to preserving biodiversity in the region while tapping into its vast natural resources. Key Points: How to scale up REDD projects in the Amazon is a key issue. When it comes to Amazonian areas, Colombia’s is very different from Brazil’s. Much of the Brazilian Amazon has been populated and developed, but the Colombian Amazon is still relatively untouched. Colombia is a laboratory and an enormous opportunity to plan sensibly. Ownership of large tracts of the Amazon is disputed. Land tenure issues must be resolved or many people will be reluctant to invest. The indigenous people living in the Amazon are key interlocutors in the discussion of whether or not to develop the rainforest. They should be consulted – their intimate knowledge is key.

3 January 2011

Forest Carbon Measurement Guideline

Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (Nepal), 3 January 2011 | REDD Cell, in collaboration with other stakeholders, has prepared Forest Carbon Measurement Guideline. The draft guideline is available Forest Carbon Measurement Guideline (6) for suggestions. REDD cell would like to request all concerned stakeholders for providing comemnts on the draft by January 10, 2011.

Why the climate summit sank

By Chris Williams, Socialist Worker, 3 January 2011 | [A]t Cancún, one of the few concrete outcomes was enshrining as an “achievement” the UN scheme known as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), despite widespread opposition. A Friends of the Earth report on REDD released on the eve of the conference described how corporations were being financially rewarded for ransacking and burning forests and converting them into monoculture plantations, while allowing developed countries to receive carbon credits.

Forest of Dean protesters fight big woodland selloff

By John Vidal, The Guardian, 3 January 2010 | There’s been nothing quite like it in the ancient Forest of Dean since the last time a Conservative government tried to privatise Britain’s largest oak forest. In 1993, the threat to sell off 42 square miles of woodland between the rivers Severn and Wye in Gloucestershire was only repelled after huge protests by locals and ramblers. At the rally today more than 3,000 people, backed by celebrities, bishops, leading conservationists and politicians, pledged to defend “the people’s” trees from what they fear will be a corporate land grab. Today, more than 110,000 people had signed a petition against the coalition’s proposed sale of all Forestry Commission land in England. Opposition to the sale of nearly 20% of all England’s wooded area is fiercest in Gloucestershire where yellow ribbons and posters have been tied around thousands of trees.

Too Many Draft Decrees Delay Indonesia’s Logging Moratorium

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 3 January 2010 | Indonesia’s much-hyped promise to enact a moratorium on new logging concessions from Jan. 1 has been held up over the question of which of the two draft presidential decrees on the issue should be signed… In order to make the moratorium legally binding, it must be backed by a presidential decree. However, the government has drafted two substantially different texts. The version submitted by the Ministry of Forestry is titled “Suspension of New Permits for Primary Forest and Peatland Conversion.” Another draft was later penned by the national REDD-Plus task force. It is titled “Suspension of Services and Issuance of New Permits for Primary and Secondary Forests and Peatland in Forest Areas and Other Uses Areas.” … Agus Purnomo, the presidential adviser for climate change, said both drafts were still being examined by the president’s office and that no decision had been made on which to sign.

Top five forest stories of 2010

By Glenn Hurowitz, Grist, 3 January 2010 | Global decline in deforestation, showing that REDD+ is working: By far the most important story of the year was the significant decline in deforestation, particularly in the Amazon. According to a report by the Global Carbon Budget in Nature Geoscience, emissions from land use change have declined about 39 percent, a marked contrast to the approximately one quarter increase [PDF] in fossil fuel emissions, driven largely by developing countries like China.

Consultant – Forest Investment Program Brazil, IDB

Inter-American Development Bank, 3 January 2010 | The Forest Investment Program (FIP) is a targeted program of the Strategic Climate Fund (SCF), which is one of two funds within the framework of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF). The FIP supports developing countries’ efforts to reduce deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) and promotes sustainable forest management that leads to emission reductions and the protection of carbon reservoirs. It achieves this by providing scaled-up financing to developing countries for readiness reforms and public and private investments, identified through national REDD readiness or equivalent strategies.

Ecuador’s novel plan to save rainforest

By David Blair, Financial Times, 3 January 2011 | Maria Fernanda Espinosa, the national heritage minister, said that setting a deadline was “responsible”, adding: “Otherwise, we will have all the environmental provisions we need, the highest technology and everything, but we will have to take this oil out.” So far only token amounts have been raised: Spain has given €1m ($1.3m), Chile has donated $100,000 and Belgium’s regional Walloon government has provided €300,000. All the money goes into a UN trust fund and Ecuador plans to use it for renewable energy, conservation and reforestation projects.

4 January 2011

The History and Frightening Future of Forests

By Tom Jacobs, Miller-McCune, 4 January 2011 | The United Nations has responded by creating the UN-REDD Programme… It will offer developing nations incentives (read: cash) to “reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development.” The effort could have a substantial impact, but only if it’s carefully implemented; well-intentioned programs from the past have yielded unexpected and unwelcome results. One example: The University of Exeter’s Luiz Aragao analyzed satellite images of the Amazon rain forest in Brazil. Last summer in the journal Science, he reported that 59 percent of areas where deforestation rates decreased between 2000 and 2007 have seen an increase in forest fires. “Forest landscapes in Amazonia are becoming more fragmented and, therefore, a growing proportion of forests is exposed to the leakage of accidental fires from adjacent farms,” wrote Aragao and co-author Y.E. Shimabukuro.

Bina Agarwal on Women’s Role in Conservation

By Katie Baker and Tania Barnes, Newsweek, 4 January 2011 | Katie Baker and Tania Barnes spoke with noted Indian economist Bina Agarwal on how women are central to global conservation efforts… How can empowering local women help address environmental problems such as deforestation? Rural women depend on forests and local commons for many items of daily use, such as firewood and fodder. About 65 percent of rural households in India and 90 percent in Nepal use firewood as the main cooking fuel, and most of it is gathered. Hence the costs of deforestation are borne especially by women. They thus have the most to gain from forest regeneration, but they also have to extract firewood, without which they cannot cook. This means that they face conflicting choices between immediate and future needs. Therein lies the complexity. Here women would feel empowered if they had access to alternative sources of clean cooking fuel as well as greater say in forest use.

Cancun’s ‘rushed’ forest deal

By Beverly Natividad, climatemediapartnership.org, 4 January 2011 | 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. With the agreement reached, forest nations, with the help of funding from rich economies, will in the next few months start implementing REDD. We shall soon see whether a text which left critical details and debates unresolved will damage REDD in the long run.

Forests Stand Taller after UN Climate Negotiations in Cancun, Mexico

By Andrea Tuttle, Pacific Forest Trust News, 4 January 2011 | So hurrah! Tropical deforestation is in the international spotlight. Government institutions are building to create forest-based climate solutions, forest carbon accounting data is becoming available and people are empowered to engage. But here in the United States? We still have much work to do to reduce loss of our temperate forests. Sixty percent of US forestland is in private ownership. Researchers increasingly recognize these cool temperate forests as a powerful climate defense. But landowners here at home are under steady pressure to convert and develop their lands, and few policies address the resulting climate impacts. This year’s stalled national climate and energy legislation held important forest provisions, but there’s little optimism for revival soon.

Coffee Forest vs. Village Carbon Forest

KpSHK, 4 January 2011 | Are thousands of citizens of Masurai Subdistrict, Merangin District guilty if they independently utilize area of HPH (forest concession) which has been abandoned since 15 years ago as public coffee plantations? Regulation and legislation ensure cultivation and utilization of forest areas by the people who live in and around the forest (as written in PP No.3 of 2008 jo PP No.6 of 2007, as well as Ministry of Forestry Regulation No.49 of 2008 on Village Forest). In the proposal of Government of Jambi Province on Jambi Forests which are encouraged to be the pilot area of REDD + (2009), Masurai Valley Forest which most of it has been planted coffee since 15 years ago by the community (which currently is in the productive years and becomes the number one coffee producer in Jambi) , which is located in Merangin District is proposed as a pilot area of Sumatera Forest Carbon Partnership between the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and the Government of Australia.

5 January 2011

World food prices enter ‘danger territory’ to reach record high

By Jill Treanor, Guardian, 5 January 2010 | Soaring prices of sugar, grain and oilseed drove world food prices to a record in December, surpassing the levels of 2008 when the cost of food sparked riots around the world, and prompting warnings of prices being in “danger territory”. An index compiled monthly by the United Nations surpassed its previous monthly high – June 2008 – in December to reach the highest level since records began in 1990. Published by the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the index tracks the prices of a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, and has risen for six consecutive months. Abdolreza Abbassian, FAO economist, told the Guardian: “We are entering a danger territory.” But he stressed that the situation was not yet as bad as 2008.

Meeting prep: CBD Asia-Pacific workshop on REDD+

Traditional Knowledge Bulletin, 5 January 2011 | Asia-Pacific Regional Consultation and Capacity Building Workshop on REDD+, including Relevant Biodiversity Safeguards 15-18 March 2011 (Singapore City, Singapore) Convened by the CBD Secretariat in collaboration with the National Parks Board of Singapore and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, this workshop will focus on biodiversity and indigenous and local community aspects of REDD+, including relevant safeguards.

The Climate Change Agenda After Cancún: Part II

By Myles Estey, World Politics Review, 5 January 2011 | So despite progress and general approval from observers, much remains unresolved. Discussion is still needed on how to practically implement market values on the carbon in global forests, how to measure this carbon and how to both regulate and fund the program. Pressure from civil society groups and a handful of Latin American countries also increased the focus on how best to address the rights of indigenous communities already inhabiting the would-be protected land. Judging by the amount of controversy the issue has generated thus far, pressure to protect the rights of the estimated 400 million people living in the forests is only likely to grow. So while the Cancún agreement provides greater protection for these groups than what was being discussed prior to the conference, national legislators will have to address this issue if REDD is to retain credibility.

Climate colonialism by stealth

livemint.com, 5 January 2011 | Third World activists are often animated by an anti-colonial instinct that induces them to oppose initiatives of Western governments, especially when it comes to globalization or capitalism. And these same activists can be counted on to speak out for and act on behalf of the global poor. But now, it looks like being part of a hodgepodge alliance of interests supporting international climate negotiations has dulled the sensibilities of these activists. As such, they became unwitting supporters of neo-colonialism under the auspices of the 16th session of the Conference of Parties (COP16). And the REDD programme in developing countries, widely applauded at Cancun, involves some decidedly anti-poor elements. In the first instance, European Union (EU) countries and Japan realized that emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol would put them at a competitive disadvantage compared with less-developed economies.

Mexico, the Leader in Community Forest Management

By Emilio Godoy, IPS, 5 January 2011 | Thanks to its experience with community forestry projects, Mexico can provide tips on how to manage forests while fomenting the development of local economies in 2011, the International Year of Forests… “The priority is to avoid losing forests, and this year gives us the opportunity to focus on the issue,” Iván Zúñiga, spokesman for the non-governmental Mexican Council for Sustainable Forestry (CCMSS), told IPS… At COP16, the Mexican government gave an idea of the vision on which the national REDD strategy will be based, when it begins to function in 2012… This strategy “should not replace the reduction of emissions from other sources,” Zúñiga said. “It is a risk if it is poorly implemented, but it is also an opportunity to curtail deforestation and the loss of forests, and to provide funds to enable communities to sustainably manage their forests.”

Carbon trade: Cambodia forests for EU scheme

By Jeremy Mullins, Phnom Penh Post, 5 January 2011 | Cayman Islands-registered Green Glory Ltd is in the process of obtaining management rights to establish a carbon credit scheme using Cambodia’s forests, according to a company statement. The firm is seeking rights to 450,000 hectares of the Kingdom’s woodlands for supply-side carbon credits. It is also planning to list on the London Alternative Investment Market exchange via the acquisition of AIM-listed Tricor Plc. The agreement between Green Glory and Tricor is subject to conditions – including the granting of the forest management rights by the Kingdom, according to a statement released late last week. Many developed nations have signed to the Kyoto Protocol, creating demand for carbon credits, according to the firm. Tricor requested a trading halt on December 31 as the deal was being finalised.

Indonesia divided over forest moratorium

By Olivia Rondonuwu, Reuters, 5 January 2010 | Indonesia’s government is still trying to thrash out the details of a two-year moratorium on forest clearing under a $1 billion climate deal with Norway, leading it to miss a planned January 1 start and continued uncertainty for plantation firms. The divergence of views between different Indonesian government ministries mirrors the inability of nations to agree a concrete pact to limit global greenhouse gas emissions at U.N. talks in Cancun last month.

Indonesia’s Forestry Freeze Plan is Still on Ice

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 5 January 2011 | Despite repeated setbacks for a long-awaited moratorium on new forestry concessions, the Forestry Ministry is still arguing over the details of the plan. Hadi Daryanto, the ministry’s director general of forestry management, insisted on Tuesday that it should be in charge of implementing the freeze. “The Forestry Ministry will be most effective because the ministry has the authority over forest lands, whether they are for mining activities or for plantations,” he said. “If there are others involved, then it would only create more red tape.”

Indonesia delays logging moratorium

mongabay.com, 5 January 2011 | Bureaucratic confusion has led Indonesia to delay implementation of its two-year moratorium on new logging and plantation concessions in forest areas and peatlands, reports the Jakarta Globe. The moratorium, which was agreed last May under Norway’s billion dollar forest conservation pact with Indonesia, was scheduled to begin January 1. It is now unclear when the forest conversion ban would be enacted.

Indonesia Eyes Spot on Green Climate Fund Committee

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 5 January 2010 | Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta says Indonesia cannot afford to be left off a committee that will administer a $30 billion international fund to tackle climate change.

Projected Global OTC Market for Forest Carbon Offsets to Hit $65 Million by 2015

Environmental Leader, 5 January 2011 | The global forest carbon offset market is projected to grow from $42.0 million in 2010 to $65.1 million in 2015, according to the latest issue of EL Insights. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 9.2% during this time period. [R-M: subscription required for full article.]

IUCN Adopts Forest as Strategic Focus in 2011

By Emeka Umejei, Daily Independent (Lagos), 5 January 2011 | As a member of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, IUCN will play a key role in increasing public awareness of the centrality of the world’s forests to human and natural well-being. Over the course of the year, IUCN will be highlighting new findings from its innovative Livelihoods and Landscapes Strategy, announcing bold new initiatives in its forest landscape restoration work and building upon recent successes of the international 2010 REDD-plus (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest degradation) agenda.

Deputy Envoy for Climate Change Gives Post-Cancun Update

By Christopher Porto, Carbon Capitalist, 5 January 2011 | With practically all nations reaching consensus, COP16 produced what are being referred to as the Cancun Agreements. Building upon the major points of the Copenhagen Accord, the Cancun Agreements provide considerably more substance from which to start piecing together a global deal. The key elements of the agreements as Pershing describes include language on shared vision, adaptation, mitigation, transparency, finance, REDD, and technology. After listening to Pershing’s synopsis, one really does get the sense that many if not all the primary issues concerning global climate change have now been officially addressed in this latest text. [R-M: includes Pershing’s powerpoint presentation.]

6 January 2011

The Californian Carbon Market, Forestry and REDD

Citola Blog, 6 January 2011 | Under the California cap and trade scheme, compliance businesses may meet up to 8% of their compliance obligation with carbon offsets and it is predicted that that businesses will make full use of carbon offsets as a cost-effective solution to achieve compliance carbon targets. “The world is watching what California is doing,” said Louis Blumberg, director of the California Climate Change Team at the Nature Conservancy environmental group. Canadian provinces Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia are working to join California in 2012. Nationally, the latest US midterm elections have implications for the broader environmental markets, however, as environmental strategist Andrew Winston has said: “Economic logic always wins out and sustainable businesses will be more profitable.”

Dollar trees line conservation road

By Richard Black, BBC News, 6 January 2011 | Maybe money does grow on trees. Certainly, you can find a growing number of people in the conservation movement suggesting that it does; and that if the money is to keep flowing, the wealth in the trees needs to be secured as safely as gold bars in any bank… “I think we need to look for innovative solutions that change the game a little bit,” says Taylor Ricketts, director of the Conservation Science Programme with environmental group WWF. “And I think this is one of them – aligning self-interest with conservation, as opposed to considering self-interest and the desire to make money and earn a living and develop economically to be a threat to biodiversity. “If we’re clever about it, we can align them so it actually re-inforces conservation.”

Govt looking for seat on Green Climate Fund

Jakarta Post, 6 January 2011 | Looking to influence how climate change money is allocated, Indonesia will nominate a candidate to serve on the Green Climate Fund’s (GCF) board, the Environment Minister says. The GCF, which implements the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), will have 25 board members, and be comprised of 15 officials from developed countries and 10 officials from the developing world, including seven Asian members. Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta said on Wednesday that GCF board members would have an important role in formulating the financial mechanism needed to support policies and projects, related to climate mitigation, adaptation, and capacity-building technology development and transfer in developing countries. “If Indonesia had a representative on the GCF board, it would be better able to promote a more balanced use of the Global Climate Fund for the interests of developing countries,” he told journalists.

With REDD, could financial markets become species’ extinction risk?

mongabay.com, 6 January 2011 | The emergence of a Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) mechanism for protecting forests could introduce new risks for biodiversity by linking conservation finance to exotic financial derivatives, warn researchers writing in the journal Conservation Letters. Jacob Phelps, Edward L. Webb, and Lian P. Koh argue that REDD could effectively link the fate of some species to the short-term whims of the carbon market. Conservation projects funded primarily by REDD are most at risk of being undermined by declining in carbon prices or changing investor preference. The authors add that the short-term nature of REDD – which is seen as a stop gap measure of at most 30 years – may fail deliver benefits over the time-scale need to safeguard biodiversity. “Conservation initiatives generally require long-term, stable sources of funding,” they write.

RI risks businesses, forests with US$1b forest moratorium delay

By Mustaqim Adamrah, Jakarta Post, 6 January 2011 | Indonesia missed the Jan. 1, 2011 targeted start of a two-year moratorium on forest-clearing, a major part of the US$1 billion letter of intent (LoI) it signed with Norway in Oslo last May. Activists say the delay will cause legal uncertainty for businesses, in addition to more damage to the environment and to Indonesia’s already bad environmental image in the international community. “Missing the targeted Jan. 1 start of the moratorium creates a bad perception of Indonesia’s stance on environmental issues at an international level because the President himself made that commitment,” leader for the non-governmental organization (NGO) Greenpeace Southeast Asia forest team Bustar Maitar said on Wednesday. “It also gives industries one legal uncertainty after another in doing businesses here.”

Moratorium Won’t Save Indonesia’s Forests: Activist

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 6 January 2011 | With a moratorium on new forestry concessions facing delays, an activist said on Thursday that even when in place it would have little impact on helping to preserve the environment… But Nordin, director of Save Our Borneo, a nongovernmental organization based in Kalimantan, said he doubted that either draft would prove effective. “This moratorium will not be enough to improve the issuance of permits in the country or to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation in the way they want to because, if it’s only applicable to primary forests, then what is the use?” he said. “Primary or virgin forests only account for around 3 percent [of all forests]. The rest is what we call ‘logged areas,’ or forest areas that have been managed before.”

Environmental Destruction, Effects of Climate Change to Worsen in Philippines

By Anne Marxze D. Umil, Bulatlat.com, 6 January 2011 | Even the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) uses the market-based approach in identifying responses to climate change. The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) mechanism is a mitigation option, a kind of international payment for ecosystem services. Through this mechanism, developed countries could pay developing countries like the Philippines for conserving its forests so that the world would turn a blind eye to the environmentally-destructive practices of the former. The REDD+ was passed in the Conference of the Parties (Cop) 15 negotiations in December 2009. The passage of REDD+ came about when the Cop failed to arrive at a binding agreement for countries under the United Nations. Cop is the governing body of the UNFCCC. There are already existing REDD+ projects in the country and one is in Mindoro according to Boongaling.

Can carbon offsetting save the rainforest?

Guardian, 6 January 2011 | Carbon offsetting is a global private sector solution depending on the nature and availability of the credits. An example is the type of credit available known as a REDD credit. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. REDD uses market/financial incentives to reduce CO2 emissions from deforestation and forest derogation. Its original objective is to reduce green house gases but it can deliver “co-benefits” such as biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation… supporting credits from a certified REDD project helps combat CO2 by maintaining the capacity of carbon storage within the trees themselves as well as not releasing previously stored carbon back into the atmosphere as a result of the slash and burn techniques used in forest clearance. But equally important, it protects a natural asset that is a unique bio diverse environment that has taken tens of thousands of years in development and cant be replaced once destroyed.

Excluded, but not Silenced: Indigenous Peoples at COP16

By Allan Lissner, The Dominion, 6 January 2011 | Led by members of international farmers movement La Via Campesina and the Indigenous Peoples Caucus, thousands marched through the searing heat in Cancun, Mexico, in December 2010, to demand real climate solutions. Their message was loud and clear: the communities on the front-lines of the problem – those who face the daily impacts of the climate crisis – are also on the front-lines of the solutions. “Current models of consumption, production and trade have caused massive environmental destruction,” according to a statement by La Via Campesina. “Indigenous peoples and peasant farmers, men and women, are the main victims. [We] need a change in economic and development paradigms. Human beings do not own nature, but rather form part of all that lives.”

7 January 2011

For sale – Cameron’s green credentials

By Johann Hari, 7 January 2011 | In order to raise £2bn, the Government is selling all 650,000 acres of our forests – a privatisation that even Margaret Thatcher blanched at… It is true that once a company has bought a forest, it will still need planning permission to cut the woods down. This is a crucial brake. But – wait – Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has just announced he is “remov[ing] the structures of control” and making it “much easier” to get planning permission across the country. Planning is being massively deregulated, just as the forests are sold. Not every buyer will cut them down, but some will. Why do the Tories think timber companies want to buy them – to abandon the work they do in every other country on earth and become druids? Confronted with this point, the Government admits there is a “possibility of established forest being bought by energy companies who would proceed to chip it all for energy recovery” …

Norway Agreement in Limbo, Waiting for SBY to Sign

Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 7 January 2011 | Environmental groups have lambasted the government for failing to enact a much-hyped moratorium on granting logging concessions due to start on Jan. 1… Bernadinus Steni, program coordinator for climate change and REDD from the Association for Community and Ecology-Based Law Reform (HuMa), said that while a presidential decree was necessary for domestic enforcement of the moratorium, there would be no international legal ramifications for Indonesia if the decree was not signed. “We’ve basically already broken the agreement by failing to obey the deadline for the moratorium, but there won’t be any legal consequences for us because international law doesn’t really consider a letter of intent to be binding,” he said. However, he said failure to act on the agreement could affect the disbursement of funding from the Norwegian government.

When A Deforestation Moratorium Doesn’t Matter

By Lindsey Allen, The Understory, 7 January 2011 | According to Reuters, which was given access to the draft plans: “The forestry ministry wants the ban only on new permits to clear primary forests and peatlands for two years, while the presidential delivery unit wants it to include secondary forests, to review existing permits and consider extending the timeframe.” Translated for the rest of us, this means that if the forestry ministry prevails we could see a moratorium that, among other shortcomings, doesn’t protect forests, peatlands, or orangutans. Nor would it provide a sound basis for low-carbon development opportunities or the emissions reductions targets called for by the president. In Indonesia we see many overlapping land claims and massive swaths of natural tropical forest that are still undeveloped but already licensed for corporate exploitation and conversion. Excluding existing permits from the moratorium is a bulldozer-sized loophole.

The Year in Illegal Logging: A Look Back

By Craig Hanson, World Resources Institute, 7 January 2011 | Climate agreements regarding “Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries” (REDD+) have the potential to reinforce existing efforts to curtail illegal logging. The same is true for the visionary forest-climate bilateral agreements between forest-rich countries such as Indonesia or Brazil and nations such as Norway. The groundwork, therefore, appears to be laid for another year of progress. If so, 2011 would take a further cut out of the illegal cut.

REDD+ and Financial Resilience for Conservation

By Noam Ross, noamross.net, 7 January 2011 | This month’s Conservation Letters has a Policy Perspective on the risks of relying REDD+ funding for conservation projects. REDD+ presents a potentially huge new pool of funds for biodiversity conservation, but the authors caution that it comes with a set of risks: Political risk… Competition Risk… There are a number of other risks associated with tying conservation funding with a nascent commodity market, and the authors urge conservationists to look to the private sector, which has been hesitant to invest in REDD+, and exercise similar cautions. I think it would be an interesting exercise for conservation organizations to look at this list of investment risks produced by forest investors in order to understand what drives this hesitancy. If a conservation project can address these comprehensively, it’s a lot more likely to be able to secure consistent funding.

9 January 2011

The inside story

By Indra Prasad Sapkota, ekantipur.com, 9 January 2011 | As a national delegate to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Party-16, I had an opportunity to witness interesting and rigorous deliberations on “climate change disputes” among the 194 parties… The first dispute was whether REDD activities of the developing countries should be subject to international monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV). The second was whether the social and environmental safeguards should be subject to international MRV. The third was whether the developing countries should be permitted the option of adopting a sub-national approach to REDD. Fourth, whether to allow market-based approaches to REDD (i.e., trading); and lastly, how activities under the REDD+ mechanism would relate to REDD activities under NAMAs (nationally appropriate mitigation actions).

Nigeria should buy into Cancun Agreement process – Fadina

Daily Independent, 9 January 2011 | While exploring behind-the-scene issues, achievements and unfinished businesses of the Sixteenth Conference of Parties (COP 16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that held recently in Cancun, Mexico, Executive Director, Centre for Investment, Sustainable Development, Management and Environment (CISME), Lekan Fadina, concludes that the challenge to Nigeria is to key into the process as it is now no longer business as usual. The challenge to us in Nigeria is to key into the process as it is clear that it is no longer business as usual.

Recognising the economic benefits of nature in 2011

By Richard Anderson, BBC News, 9 January 2011 | The world is waking up the fact that it can no longer sit back while the planet’s natural resources, and the species that depend upon them, are systematically destroyed. The economic and human costs of inaction are simply too great… One of the most important areas will be the development of the reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation programme, or REDD, under which forest owners are effectively paid not to cut down trees.

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