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REDD in the news: 7-13 March 2011

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REDD in the news: 7-13 March 2011. PHOTO: Wetlands International

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.

Abstract of PhD seminar: ‘Uncertain Emission Reductions from Forest Conservation: REDD in the Bale Mountains Eco-Region, Ethiopia’

Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, no date | The environmental integrity of a mechanism rewarding REDD depends on appropriate accounting for emission reductions. Largely stemming from a lack of forest data in developing countries, emission reductions accounting contains substantial uncertainty. This uncertainty is rarely reported, or even quantified, and the simple application of broad assumptions over large forest areas is commonplace. Using a case study in the Bale Mountains Eco-Region in southwest Ethiopia, simple and complex forest carbon accounting methods are compared, and the profits from a REDD project modeled. Complex accounting through primary data collection found weighted mean forest carbon stock of 195tC/ha ±81. Simple biome-averaged data reported by the IPCC would underestimate forest carbon density in the Eco-Region by as much as 63% in tropical moist forest and 58% in tropical dry forest.

Free, Prior, and Informed Consent in REDD+

RECOFTC, February 2011 | The principle that indigenous peoples and local communities have a right to give or withhold their Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) to developments affecting their resources is not new. However, experience using FPIC in REDD+ implementation is still limited in the Asia-Pacific region. Using relevant examples from a range of locations and sectors, this manual provides a basis for developing country-specific guidance on employing FPIC in REDD+ processes.

UN-REDD Programme 6th Policy Board Meeting

UN-REDD, no date | The UN-REDD Programme’s sixth Policy Board meeting will be held in Da Lat, Viet Nam from 21-22 March, with a joint field visit on 23 March 2011. More information about the meeting will follow shortly.

Estimating Opportunity Costs and Implementation Costs of REDD+ for the National Planning Process

World Bank Institute, no date | Type: Workshop Start Date: Apr 25, 2011 End Date: Apr 29, 2011 Location: Thailand. The goal of the course is to provide participants with an understanding and hands-on tools to analyze the opportunity costs and implementation costs of REDD+. These costs are important elements for the development of national REDD+ strategies. This is the second delivery of this course focusing on Asian countries.

Why REDD matters in Mozambique – a story in pictures

IIED, no date | In 2010, on behalf of IIED, photographer Mike Goldwater made his way round Maputo, Nampula and beyond to capture a pictorial story of the causes of deforestation in Mozambique and the possible responses to those threats that might be assisted by REDD finance. The resulting gallery captures the realities that Mike discovered. We see the people and communities that depend on forest areas. From individual needs to the large-scale industrial, the logging, fuel needs and expanding agriculture that threaten the forests are revealed. But we also see the responses to these threats already taking place nationally. From community level to the national government, ideas are being researched and tested to battle the deforestation and find sustainable solutions to climate change that benefit the poor. These images give some indication as to why REDD matters in Mozambique – and why getting it right will need to involve those people whose lives it will affect.

7 March 2011

TFG report calls for new UNFCCC REDD+ Mechanism

Tropical Forest Group, 7 March 2011 | TFG released a report calling for a new UNFCCC REDD+ Mechanism. The brief 10-page report can be downloaded from TFG’s home page or from the link in the blog title. The report has the following sections: Executive Summary. Context & Justification for Creating a New UNFCCC REDD+ Mechanism. Key Components of a UNFCCC REDD+ Mechanism. Annex on Key REDD+ Developments Outside the UNFCCC Process.

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Forest Carbon Portal, 7 March 2011 | We’re seeing the US Congress and President go back and forth on budget cuts, and the $1 billion the US pledged for REDD+ back in Copenhagen is still somewhere in the fog. Republicans are keen to backtrack and put the landmark commitment on the chopping block. VCS, now officially the Verified Carbon Standard, has approved a new methodology for Improved Forest Management developed by GreenCollar Climate Solutions to intervene in forests slated for commercial logging. This makes the seventh forest methodology VCS has approved, all of which have been finalized within the past 10 months. The UN-REDD Programme continues marching onwards, with the release of a five-year strategic plan, including expansion to additional countries to support REDD+ Readiness. In Nigeria, the national government convened stakeholders to help finalize the country’s Readiness Proposal which was invited for submission this month to the UN-REDD Policy Board.

North Korea wants to trade carbon credits

Reuters, 7 March 2011 | North Korea hopes to earn much-needed hard currency by selling UN-backed carbon offsets from a series of hydro-power projects, as the country faces sanctions over its nuclear weapons programme. If approved and registered by the UN, these would be the first projects for North Korea under a scheme called the CDM… Some analysts questioned the demand for carbon credits from North Korea, with fears the money might be siphoned off to nuclear arms or other military projects. The government has asked the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany, which focuses on humanitarian issues, to act as a go-between by working with UN-approved verification agency TUV Nord. According to Bernhard Seliger, the foundation’s representative in South Korea, North Korea is initially looking at trying to get approval for three hydro power plants of 7-8 megawatts (MW). Seliger visited the three hydro-plant construction sites in the north-east corner of the country in January.

Stopping export logging, oil palm expansion in PNG in 2012 would cost $1.8b, says economist

mongabay.com, 7 March 2011 | Stopping logging for timber export and conversion of forest for oil palm plantations would cost Papua New Guinea roughly $1.8 billion dollars from 2012 to 2025, but would significantly reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new analysis published by an economist from the University of Queensland. Writing in Pacific Economic Bulletin, Colin Hunt estimates Papua New Guinea (PNG) could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and degradation by 700-900 million metric tons by establishing a moratorium on the establishment of oil palm plantations and logging for export in 2012. He estimates the opportunity cost of cessation at $1.8 billion (in net present value terms) between 2012 and 2025, assuming a 10 percent discount rate.

Forest loss threatens Sierra Leone water supplies

CNBC, 7 March 2011 | The slopes of Leicester Peak, a protected rainforest on a hill above Sierra Leone’s capital, are a jumble of haphazard development and half-finished villas. Concrete buildings cluster against a tangle of trees and vines — a construction site in a forest reserve that supplies the city of Freetown with its water and where building is meant to be banned. It highlights a common problem across Africa, where efforts to halt forest loss are routinely flouted, often with the consent of a cash-strapped government or corrupt officials. “There is a huge encroachment,” said Jochen Moninger, who works for the German NGO Welthungerhilfe on a project to preserve the forest. “By the law of Sierra Leone no settlement, no activity is supposed to happen in these areas.”

On Carnaval, Belo Monte Installation Begins

By Zachary Hurwitz, International Rivers, 7 March 2011 | On February 25th, a judge suspended the partial installation license for Belo Monte Dam. On Thursday March 3rd, a regional judge overturned the suspension in a politically questionable ruling. And today, Norte Energia is celebrating Carnaval on the Xingu by beginning project installation, ignoring social and environmental prerequisites. According to the government, it’s a matter of national security; and according to a letter from Brazilian bank BNDES, loan conditions have been violated. Happy Carnaval. Thanks to a ruling late last week overturning the dam’s suspension and allowing them to go ahead with installation without having met 40 social and environmental prerequisites, Norte Energia (NESA) is dancing a samba on the Xingu River like a drunken tourist.

A New Study Shows That Palm Oil Plantations For Biofuels Leads to Deforestation

By Bryan Walsh, Time, 7 March 2011 | Another day and there’s another study that undermines the case for biofuels as an eco-friendly source of energy. This time it’s the booming palm oil plantations of Southeast Asia, which yield the raw ingredients for biodiesel, used most often in Europe. Activists have been warning for some time that the growth of palm oil is leading to deforestation in Southeast Asia, where forested land has often been cleared to build palm plantations. Malaysia and Indonesia produce 87% of the world’s palm oil, and the combined harvested area for oil palm has reached 6.5 million hectares (ha), up fourfold from 1990 levels. That’s an environmental threat that has impacts both local and global. Deforestation can lead to the loss of habitat for species that depend on the forest, and the cutting down and burning of trees worldwide is responsible for some 15% of global carbon emissions.

First large-scale map of oil palm plantations reveals big environmental toll

By Rhett A. Butler, 7 March 2011 | Expansion of industrial oil palm plantations across Malaysia and Indonesia have laid waste to vast areas of forest and peatlands, exacerbating greenhouse gas emissions and putting biodiversity at risk, reports a new satellite-based analysis that maps mature oil palm estates across Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, and Sumatra. The research, published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), finds that closed canopy oil palm plantations covered 8.3 million ha in 2010, including 2 million ha in Peninsular Malaysia, 2.4 million ha in Borneo, and 3.9 million ha in Sumatra. The analysis is conservative: it only accounts for mature plantations – those established in 2002 or earlier – that are over 200 ha.

Agribusiness Boom Threatens Key African Wildlife Migration

By Fred Pearce, Yale Environment 360, 7 March 2011 | The Ethiopian region of Gambella is home to Africa’s second-largest mammal migration, with more than a million endangered antelope and other animals moving through its grasslands. But the government has now leased vast tracts to foreign agribusinesses who are planning huge farms on land designated a national park.

Guyana Deforestation Triples Despite Funding for Forest Protection

ENS, 7 March 2011 | Deforestation rates in the South American country of Guyana have increased during the last year, despite a 2009 agreement with the Norwegian government aimed at supporting forest protection to avert climate change, the nonprofit watchdog organization Global Witness said today. Signed in November 2009 and worth up to US$250 million over four years, the agreement was initially welcomed as a potential breakthrough, and a blueprint for other countries to follow to preserve forests. Deforestation and land use change contributes 20 to 25 percent of the carbon emissions that cause climate change.

RI can be role model in green projects

Jakarta Post, 7 March 2011 | The Nature Conservancy (TNC) carries out conservation projects in Berau, East Kalimantan. It provides a management for sustainable forests required for Indonesia’s economic growth and contributing in global efforts to turn back climate change. It is hoped the Berau Forest Carbon Program will hopefully demonstrate a proper low carbon development scheme. The Jakarta Post recently spoke with Glenn T. Prickett, the TNC’s newly appointed chief external affairs officer, about the project. Below are the excerpts.

Possible implications of REDD on land and forest tenure – exemplified by the Indonesian case

By Kruse Thorben, capacity4dev.eu, 7 March 2011 | Past experiences with (forest) conservation projects and Payments for Environmental Services (PES) have shown that without addressing tenure, efforts are likely to be ineffective. People without or with weak tenure were not involved, conflicts arose and sustainable natural resource management and protection was difficult to achieve. Large-scale projects on forest lands were often conducted at the expense of local communities when tenure was not clear, recognised and secured. The new policy … (REDD) will also be implemented in extensive forest areas which will overlap with local communities’ territories. Forest-dependent communities often have only weak tenure in the respective countries. To address tenure issues prior to carrying out REDD projects is therefore highly important for REDD’s successful implementation and permanence, as well as for the affected communities and their livelihoods.

8 March 2011

Why am I the only woman at the table?

By Fraces Seymour, CIFOR Forests Blog, 8 March 2011 | Today we celebrate International Women’s Day, “a global day celebrating the economic, political, and social achievements of women past, present, and future.” According to the day’s official website, the first International Women’s Day events were held in 1911 when campaigns were underway for women’s rights to work, to vote, to be trained, and to hold public office. A century later, how well are we doing to ensure that women are represented in forest-related fora?

Engaging women in the sustainable management of Latin American Forests

By Gabriela Ramirez Galindo, CIFOR Forests Blog, 8 March 2011 | Mirna Cunningham chairs the Center for Autonomy and Development of Indigenous Peoples (CADPI) and is member of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues of the United Nations. Mirna, indigenous rights activist and Nicaraguan leader, was the first Miskitu woman to earn the title of surgeon. She is a leader in the peace negotiations in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region of Nicaragua, and has fought for the creation of the Statute of Autonomy in the Autonomous Regions of the Nicaraguan Caribbean. Mirna was the first Miskitu woman governor of the North Atlantic Autonomous Region and coordinator for the Continental Campaign of Indigenous and Black People in 1992.

Deforestation increased by 300% in 2010

Kaieteur News, 8 March 2011 | Guyana has seen deforestation rates soar over the last year, despite the signing of an agreement with the Norwegian Government aimed precisely at supporting a reduction in deforestation rates, the UK organisation, Global Witness, said yesterday. Signed in November 2009, the agreement – worth US$250m over four years – was initially welcomed as a potential breakthrough, and a blueprint for other countries to follow, in supporting the preservation of forests. However, Global Witness notes, once the technical details were made public, initial optimism gave way to widespread concern since a particular clause in the agreement actually allowed deforestation rates in Guyana to increase, at Norway’s expense. According to the organisation, the offending clause assumed an existing annual baseline deforestation rate in Guyana of 0.45 per cent on an interim basis until a more accurate baseline could be determined.

Saving Orangutans with Carbon Offsets

By Nick Kordesch and Todd Frank, Matter Network, 8 March 2011 | “These orangutans will have no place to go!” said Dr. Birute Mary Galidkas. The world-renowned primatologist had just told us that the carbon offset project we were verifying was the only hope for protecting the hundreds of injured and orphaned orangutans living at her Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) Rehabilitation Center. As if combating climate change wasn’t significant enough, now the offset project had the added responsibility of providing a home for orangutans… If approved, the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Preserve will be one of the first REDD projects to be verified to the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS)… Because the project has already generated income from investors, it shows that the private sector has the potential to drive action against climate change. InfiniteEARTH orchestrated the project and stands to earn a healthy profit by selling emissions credits to Russian energy giant Gazprom and others.

Groundbreaking New UN Report on How to Feed the World’s Hungry: Ditch Corporate-Controlled Agriculture

By Jill Richardson, AlterNet, 8 March 2011 | “To feed 9 billion people in 2050, we urgently need to adopt the most efficient farming techniques available. And today’s scientific evidence demonstrates that agroecological methods outperform the use of chemical fertilizers in boosting food production in regions where the hungry live,” says Olivier de Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Agroecology is more or less what many Americans would simply call “organic agriculture,” although important nuances separate the two terms.

German government to stand behind controversial biofuel

Deutsche Welle, 8 March 2011 | The German government said after crisis talks Tuesday it was sticking with the biofuel E10 despite major problems since the petrol was introduced at German filling stations last month. “We need to reduce our dependency on oil,” Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen said after the meeting with oil company representatives, automakers and drivers’ associations in Berlin. Röttgen rejected demands to suspend the introduction of the fuel, which has flopped in Germany, despite a successful reception in France last year. “All those involved in the meeting are in favor of E10 in order to protect the climate, to safeguard the environment, to preserve natural resources and for greater energy security,” he said. Röttgen also implied that E10, which has a 10-percent biofuel content, was the way out of environmental and political disaster…

Carbon emissions from peat-swamp forest clearing quantified

By Lin Edwards, PhysOrg.com, 8 March 2011 | Peat-swamp forests in Southeast Asia are being cleared to make way for food production and for oil-palm plantations for biofuel, but now a new study has quantified the resultant carbon emissions for the first time. Peat-swamp forests contain huge amounts of stored carbon both in the biomass above the ground in composting organic matter slowly breaking down in the soils, and much of this is released in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane when the forests are cleared and the swamps are drained. The new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) used satellite images with 250 meter resolution to produce maps of the closed canopy plantations in Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo and Sumatra.

Rise in Palm Oil Output May Help Satisfy Food Demand

By Niki Koswanage & Michael Taylor, Jakarta Globe, 8 March 2011 | Strong production of Southeast Asian palm oil is the best hope of boosting cooking oil supplies as soybean oil gets soaked up to make biofuel, its attraction redoubled by unrest in Libya that has driven crude oil to more than $100 per barrel. Vegetable oil markets had braced for a fall in palm oil prices in the second half of 2010. They expected strong output from top producer Indonesia as it harvested a bigger acreage, and as No. 2 supplier Malaysia improved yields. However, the threat of unrest in Libya disrupting crude oil supplies has brightened biofuel’s allure, which could prompt farmers in the Americas to channel soy oil into the energy sector to profit from high prices and demand.

Is palm oil a kernel of development for African countries like Liberia?

By Laurence Caramel, Guardian Weekly, 8 March 2011 | About 40km west of Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, in Grand Cape Mount county, a massive billboard proudly announces the arrival of the Malaysian palm-oil conglomerate: “Sime Darby, developing sustainable futures”. In the middle of a recently cleared plot of land women are sowing palm seeds imported from Malaysia in little plastic packets. This relatively small nursery is one of the first stepping stones in a project that might turn Liberia into a top source of palm oil. “There was just degraded forest here,” one of the plantation managers, Zulkifli Isa, carefully explains. “We cleared it a year ago and we’ll plant the young shoots in a year. Then we’ll have to wait three years for the first crop.” In August 2009, Sime Darby signed a contract with the Liberian government for a 220,000-hectare concession lasting 63 years.

New use of satellite imagery gives better view of forest destruction

Dina Fine Maron, E&E, 8 March 2011 | Scientists have developed a new satellite-imaging technique that allows them to have a better bird’s eye view of when carbon-rich peatlands were cleared and to what extent they have been replaced by palm oil trees. The work, which depends on a blend of satellite images, marks the first attempt to systematically quantify carbon loss from peatland destruction across the region and directly tie it to oil-palm expansion. Published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study found that about 6 percent of carbon-rich peatlands in Peninsular Malaysia and the islands of Borneo and Sumatra were cleared to make way for oil-palm plantations by the early 2000s. In the process, about 3 percent of forest-dwelling birds across the region were lost and massive quantities of carbon were released from clearing peatlands, according to the authors’ estimates. [R-M: subscription needed]

Kenyans swap carbon roles to save forest

AFP, 8 March 2011 | Mwakitau Kaleghe used to scratch out a living from burning charcoal, culled from trees whose felling helped turn a rich tropical woodland in southern Kenya into a desolate mosaic. Today, though, sees Kaleghe, 65, enlisted in an environmental war, as a captor of carbon rather than an emitter of it and as a custodian of Rukinga forest rather than an agent in its destruction. Kaleghe nurtures tree seedlings that he then sells to a UN-backed project carbon-credit project.

Forests and Rural Livelihoods: 5 Perspectives

By Roxanna Samii, IFAD, 8 March 2011 | On Friday, March 4, Frances Seymour, Director General of CIFOR, visited IFAD to speak with staff. ICRAF Director General Dennis Garrity, also in town, joined the discussion as an impromptu special guest, making the ensuing discussion even more rich.

Community Forestry and REDD+

Profor, 8 March 2011 | The inclusion of communities in the management of state-owned forest resources has become increasingly common in the last 30 years. Surveys suggest that the forest area under community tenure or management is now approaching 25% of the global forest estate. Community forestry approaches vary a lot, both between countries and sites, and the differences often evolve around institutional dimensions such as benefit- and power-sharing arrangements. There is an increasing understanding of the multiple benefits of community empowerment in the forest sector, as well as on the limitations and constraints associated with it. More recently, the emergence of REDD+ has engulfed the participatory forestry discourse, and the integration of local communities is seen as a critical ingredient of equitable REDD+ architecture.

Rhodia Credits Show CO2 Trade Can Help Brazil, World Bank Says

By Matthew Carr, Bloomberg, 8 March 2011 | Rhodia SA (RHA)’s sale of 6 million carbon credits to the World Bank’s Spanish Carbon Fund shows that emissions trading can help emerging nations cut pollution and potentially aid in their economic development, the lender said. The credits for delivery through 2013 are generated under the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism from a Rhodia plant that produces adipic acid in Paulinia, Brazil, the French chemical maker said Feb. 28. The fund chose to accept credits from adipic acid, for an undisclosed price, because the Paulinia project “helps our work beyond carbon finance,” the Washington-based bank said in an e-mailed response to questions. “In all carbon projects, the added revenue stream of the carbon credits is important in facilitating the technology change and can be instrumental in helping nations such as Brazil in their development challenge,” said Mauro Azeredo, a spokesman for the bank in Brasilia.

9 March 2011

REDD news update Indonesia: February 23 – March 4, 2011

By Michelle Kovacevic, CIFOR Forests Blog, 9 March 2011 | This week, Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) announced that Indonesia suffers losses that reach Rp. 14 trillion (US$1.6 billion) per year due to deforestation… More on the not-yet-signed moratorium on logging, Tempo Newspaper reported that Hans Brattskar, an official from the Norwegian International Climate and Forestry Initiative, met Indonesia’s Vice President, and the head of REDD+ Task Force this week… Kompas (in Bahasa) broke a story this week, questioning Norway’s commitment to cutting carbon emissions in Indonesia. It has been alleged that the Norwegian government owns shares in five palm oil companies operating in Central Kalimantan, some operating without a forest release permit or wood utilization permit… Beside delays at the policy making level, on the ground, some problems with REDD+ pilot projects are beginning to emerge.

The Fiji REDD-Plus Policy

Scoop News, 9 March 2011 | The Fiji REDD-Plus Policy will be launched by the Permanent Secretary of Fisheries and Forests on Wednesday 09 March 2011 at the Holiday Inn, Suva, Fiji. The Fiji Cabinet, on 07 December 2010, endorsed the Fiji National REDD-plus Policy. Fiji recognises REDD-plus as an opportunity to contribute towards global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen the socio-economic status of its forest resource owners and protect its forest ecosystems. The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)/ Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Regional Programme Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region is supporting Fiji in its efforts to engage in a REDD-plus carbon financing mechanism through a REDD-readiness programme.

World Bank says land titling project failures caused “grave harm”

DPA, 9 March 2011 | The World Bank said Wednesday that a land titling programme it funded in Cambodia has failed thousands of people living in central Phnom Penh. The bank’s mea culpa follows the government’s forced eviction of thousands of people from the area around Boeung Kak lake in the capital over the past two years. The bank said the evictions had caused ‘grave harm’ to residents. Thousands more residents are under imminent threat of being evicted with little or no compensation in a controversial development deal of the 133-hectare site that is linked to a prominent ruling party politician… The World Bank assessment was carried out by an independent inspection panel, which examined the Land Management and Administration Project (LMAP) that began in 2002 and received 24 million dollars from the organization.

Congo community to use carbon payments to put kids through school / Reforestation project is DRC’s first registered under Kyoto Protocol

World Bank, 9 March 2011 | A small community in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that decided to replant its degraded forest is ensuring education for hundreds of children and providing basic health care services – in part thanks to carbon revenue that their reforestation project is expected to generate. Ibi village, located on the Batéké Plateau approximately 150 kilometers from the capital Kinshasa, is now finding itself in the spotlight as it boasts the DRC’s first Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project approved and registered under the Kyoto Protocol. In addition to fighting climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide, the Ibi Batéké Carbon Sink Plantation Project is helping surrounding communities improve the livelihoods of its people through job creation and provision of health and education while promoting other environmental benefits such as the regeneration of patches of savannah and sheltering wildlife.

Moving REDD+ in the Republic of Congo

By Patrick Kipalu, Bank Information Center, 9 March 2011 | Bank Information Center (BIC) is actively working with Congolese civil society organizations on REDD+ through their platform called “Plateforme pour la Gestion Durable des Forêts” to provide them with the necessary support in advocacy and information access for genuine participation into the REDD+ process… In the midst of this challenging process, the RoC R-PP is being revised by the National REDD Coordination Office, hopefully incorporating contributions from various actors. A national validation workshop of the revised R-PP was organized in Brazzaville from February 22-23rd, 2011 by the government.

Govt: ‘Forest investors’ grabbing villagers’ land

By Lusekolo Philemon, IPPmedia, 9 March 2011 | The government yesterday expressed concern over the increasing wave of investors illegally buying large chunks of land from villagers for forest farming and management, apparently to engage in carbon trade. “If the situation is not arrested, it will cause land conflicts in future, because most villagers do not understand the intricate international contracts,” said Richard Muyungi, Assistant Director, Division of Environment, in the Vice President’s Office. Muyungi was speaking during a stakeholders’ forum on climate change, which involved participants from Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Manyara regions. He said some investors have been engaging directly with villagers, grabbing large portions of land for forest investment through questionable contracts, which was against the country’s laws.

10 March 2011

World Bank Rep Valentini to be based in Jamaica

Stabroek News, 10 March 2011 | From next week, the World Bank’s Country Representa-tive for Guyana, Giorgio Valentini will no longer be based here but in Jamaica. Valentini takes up duties in Jamaica on March 15 and remains the bank’s country representative for Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and now Jamaica. Speaking with Stabroek News, Valentini said the move was communicated to the governments of Guyana and Jamaica two… [R-M: subscription needed]

Fighting illegal logging in Indonesia by giving communities a stake in forest management

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 10 March 2011 | Over the past twenty years Indonesia lost more than 24 million hectares of forest, an area larger than the U.K. Much of the deforestation was driven by logging for overseas markets. According to the World Bank, a substantial proportion of this logging was illegal… In a series of conversations with mongabay.com’s Rhett Butler, [Ambrosius “Ruwi” Ruwindrijarto, Telepak] discussed the evolution of Telapak and what is needed to protect and sustainably steward Indonesia’s natural resources.

Poor nations must embrace biomass fuel

carbonpositive.net, 10 March 2011 | Rather than shift energy reliance in developing nations away from wood and charcoal, such biomass fuels are a great resource that can be tapped sustainably for highly flexible energy supply, a report for the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) says. Some forestry projects are attempting to wean rural peoples off wood and charcoal because unsustainable forest use has led to degradation and total loss forests and their ecosystems. In Kenya, the Kasigau REDD project aimed at halting deforestation in the Rukinga Sanctuary is paying locals to stop cutting down and burning trees for charcoal, and instead grow tree seedlings. The IIED report “Bundles of energy: The case for renewable biomass energy” argues, however, that poor nations already dependent on biomass fuels should embrace these energy sources. What’s needed is practices to ensure biomass is utilised in ways that ensure it becomes a sustainable source of green energy.

Has ‘climate’ become a dirty word?

By James Fahn, eco-business.com, 10 March 2011 | When President Obama gave his State of the Union address in January, there seemed to be more commentary among environmentalists about what wasn’t said than what was: specifically, his failure to even mention the words “climate change” or “global warming” or “carbon” despite speaking effusively about the need for clean energy development… In Indonesia, Veby Mega Indah, who writes for AlertNet and IPS along with local publications, says she and her Indonesian colleagues don’t necessarily mention climate change in stories about extreme weather events because it’s hard to know whether they are being caused by phenomena like La Niña or the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Usually, they stick to terms like “weather anomaly.” But these days, they focus even more on the subject of forestry and climate change, and the REDD+ projects … that are taking off there.

RI cool on climate mitigation schemes: Walhi

Jakarta Post, 10 March 2011 | Programs aimed at empowering people in developing countries to adapt to climate change have not drawn much interest from the government because they focus more on mitigation, a report says. The “Climate Finance” report by the Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi) is to be officially published on Sunday. “A number of countries have offered money for adaptation schemes but the government has shown less enthusiasm for it,” Teguh Surya from Walhi said at a discussion at The Jakarta Post on Wednesday. One of the reasons was the system channelling adaptation money went directly to the people while mitigation programs only offered more debt to he government, he added. He said Indonesia had failed to propose a candidate to run for the committee on adaptation schemes under the international framework of climate change. This also indicated the government’s reluctance to implement adaptation programs.

Belo Monte hydroelectric dam construction work begins

By Tom Phillips, The Guardian, 10 March 2011 | With most Brazilian eyes firmly fixed on the country’s annual carnival, construction work officially started this week on the controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric dam in the Amazon. In a blog post, the company leading the dam project, Norte Energia, announced that infrastructure work on roads that will provide access to the region started on Monday morning. A photograph showed lorries and a yellow road-roller moving on to the site. The £7bn Belo Monte dam on the Amazon’s Xingu river is scheduled to start producing energy on 31 December 2014 and would be the second largest of its kind in Brazil and reputedly the world’s third largest. The Brazilian government says the dam is urgently needed if the country is to keep pace with soaring domestic energy demand resulting from a booming economy that grew 7.5% last year.

11 March 2011

EU Needs to Urgently Set Rules for Withholding Carbon Permits, Orbeo Says

By Matthew Carr, Bloomberg, 11 March 2011 | The European Union needs to move quickly to set rules for removing and then bringing back carbon permits in the world’s biggest emissions market, according to an analyst at Orbeo. The timing and quantity of any set-aside from the market, affecting the supply and price of carbon permits, would make it easier for utilities to decide about shutting down fossil-fuel plants, said Emmanuel Fages, a Paris-based analyst at Orbeo, the emissions trading venture of Societe Generale SA and Rhodia SA. “What the European Commission does by keeping its options open is to increase the risk in the market for participants,” Trevor Sikorski, an analyst for Barclays Plc in London, said yesterday by e-mail. “Will installations really invest in greater emissions reductions if there is a risk that they may not be needed?”

Luncheon admits “some sloth” by Govt. stalling release

Kaieteur News, 11 March 2011 | The government yesterday admitted that its sloth in finalising project documents is what is delaying the release of funds under the country’s forest-saving deal with Norway, despite accusations by President Bharrat Jagdeo that the World Bank was responsible for the delay. The Guyana Government has not submitted a single project for funding to the Steering Committee which has to approve the projects and allow for the release of Norwegian funds. Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon confirmed this yesterday, saying that the delay in submitting the project documents had to do with “some sloth”, some of which he said was unavoidable, while other delays had to do with corrections that had to be made after consultations with third parties regarding the design of the projects.

GRIF projects being processed – Luncheon

By Johann Earle, Guyana Chronicle, 11 March 2011 | Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, says main projects to be financed from the Guyana REDD Investment Fund (GRIF) are closer to being approved, and the Steering Committee is working to ensure that these ventures are perfect in terms of project design. The HPS was speaking at his post-Cabinet press briefing at the Office of the President yesterday. “At least three main projects that we have identified for access to the first annual tranche – they would have to be cleared, submitted and adopted by the Steering Committee,” he said. The first project is the Amaila Hyrdoelectric project, and work is progressing on the financial aspect of this venture, which the GRIF will supplement. He noted that the second one is financing solar panels for Amerindian communities and the third is the land demarcation and titling for Amerindian communities.

The Global Witness Report is somewhat misleading on the deforestation rate

By Jorge Trevin, letter to the editor Stabroek News, 11 March 2011 | Unfortunately, the report by Global Witness does not tell the entire truth and therefore is misleading to some extent. Somebody who reads the report would understand that 0.45% was considered as the deforestation rate for Guyana at the signing of the agreement. In fact this is an agreed reference level which also takes into account the average deforestation rate of tropical countries (0.6%). It is also true that the assumed deforestation rate for Guyana in the agreement (0.3%) was too high. But that specific information and figure is not in the Global Witness report. The agreement established an agreed reference level which is a middle point between deforestation in tropical countries and deforestation in Guyana. The 0.45% is an average between both, and taking into account a rate of 0.3% for Guyana that we know now was incorrect.

Berau ready to implement REDD plus

Jakarta Post, 11 March 2011 | Berau regency strengthens its commitment to supporting emissions reduction both at national and international levels by establishing a Berau Forest Carbon Program strategic plan and a special committee that will direct the implementation of the program. “It is an important momentum. By establishing the strategic plan and the special committee, Berau becomes the first regency ready to implement a district-wide based REDD plus program in Indonesia,” said Berau Regent H. Makmur HPAK on Thursday. He said that the Berau Forest Carbon Program offered an opportunity to show how a district wide based REDD plus program could be implemented. The district-wide based implementation of the program can provide lessons on the implementation of REDD plus both at national and global levels.

Regulators Embrace Voluntary Carbon

By Molly Peters-Stanley, Ecosystem Marketplace, 11 March 2011 | The newly-christened Verified Carbon Standard (VCS – formerly the “Voluntary Carbon Standard”) released its long-awaited program update, VCS Version 3, earlier this week; and anyone perusing it might easily miss the VCS’s underplayed announcement of what amounts to an all-star cast of members on its newest advisory committee. If the list of committee participants doesn’t turn any heads, it should. Selected from over 100 applicants, the VCS’ finalized Advisory Committee – tasked with strategic input and guidance around accounting for reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) – includes a who’s who of conservation leaders from governments worldwide. “The response was tremendous,” says VCS CEO David Antonioli, “which is great because it indicates that there’s this space in the market where people are totally engaged and keen to see something happen.”

Smoke And Mirrors – A Critical Assessment Of The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility

Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources, 11 March 2011 | In December 2007 the World Bank launched its FCPF to act as a catalyst to promote public and private investment in ‘REDD’ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). As the FCPF completed its first year of activities in 2008, FERN and FPP undertook a critical review of the REDD concept notes presented to the FCPF by tropical forest countries. Our review, ‘Cutting Corners’, concluded that the process had been rushed, with little to no consultation with indigenous peoples, local communities or civil society organisations, and failed to meet the Bank’s own standards. This report presents findings of a follow-up review. We have found that the FCPF is still failing to fulfil its social and environmental commitments, while national REDD Readiness Preparation Proposals (R-PPs) lack sufficient plans for policy and legal reforms that would uphold forest peoples’ rights, improve forest governance and reduce deforestation.

12 March 2011

Government Defends Land Concessions

By Van Roeun, Cambodia Daily, 12 March 2011 | Responding to questions over a nearly 190-square-km concession for rubber and other crops in Ratanakiri’s Virachey National Park, the Ministry of Environment offered a sweeping defense of land concessions and revealed plans for a 50,000-hectare “multi-use” economic zone in the area. The new concession and “special economic development zone” follow other plans to develop the park, the bulk of which in 2006 was opened up to mining exploration… Thuk Kroeun Vutha, secretary of state at the ministry of environment, said there was nothing illegal with the government’s plans, and referred questions back to Mr Samith’s department. “It is not against the law when the government approves it,” he said.

Government Defends Land Concessions

By Van Roeun, Cambodia Daily, 12 March 2011 | Responding to questions over a nearly 190-square-km concession for rubber and other crops in Ratanakiri’s Virachey National Park, the Ministry of Environment offered a sweeping defense of land concessions and revealed plans for a 50,000-hectare “multi-use” economic zone in the area. The new concession and “special economic development zone” follow other plans to develop the park, the bulk of which in 2006 was opened up to mining exploration… Thuk Kroeun Vutha, secretary of state at the ministry of environment, said there was nothing illegal with the government’s plans, and referred questions back to Mr Samith’s department. “It is not against the law when the government approves it,” he said.

13 March 2011

Guyana, Norway to review forest protection pact

Stabroek News, 13 March 2011 | Representatives of the Guyana and Norway governments will meet soon to discuss several issues related to the forest protection agreement between the two countries including revision of the interim reference level for deforestation set out in the agreement. The 0.45% interim reference level set under the US$250 million five-year forest saving deal has been repeatedly questioned by commentators who point out that it is higher than Guyana’s historical deforestation rate and that Guyana would continue to receive payments under the agreement even if it increases deforestation. A recent report showed that the deforestation rate here was 0.02% since 1990 but this rate tripled in the first year of the agreement. Despite the rising rate, Guyana qualified for the first payment under the Norway deal since the rate was still well below the interim reference level. [R-M: subscription needed]

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