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REDD in the news: 14-20 March 2011

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REDD in the news: 14-20 March 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.

CDM: Radio stories for Africa

UNFCCC, no date | The UNFCCC secretariat has produced five ‘broadcast-ready’ radio stories for dissemination to radio stations in Africa. These stories are meant to make the CDM understandable and accessible to a broad audience, including community stakeholders, potential project participants and policy makers. If you would like to receive these radio packages in broadcast quality please send an email to cdm-multimedia(at)unfccc.int. Please read our important disclaimer by clicking on the link in the top right corner.

Guyana: Bold low-carbon strategy

The Courier, January-February 2011 | Interview with President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo: We’ve spoken with France and Australia and have always asked the United Kingdom to get involved. Whether they will actually contribute is still to be seen. The way the programme is designed will allow a number of other donors join at any point in time. Several agencies – internal and external independent forest monitors – will come in and look at it. We’re building a world class Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system using satellite imagery – Global Imaging Satellite (GIS) technology – to measure any change in the carbon stock on the ground so you actually get paid for what you deliver. We needed to give credibility to the product. It could serve as a model for those who want to be involved in the REDD plus mechanism developed through the UNFCC. It is inclusive and participatory, broad-based and transparent and represents a real partnership.

The Second Asia-Pacific Forestry Week

The REDD Desk, no date | The Second Asia-Pacific Forestry Week: “New challenges – new opportunities” will be organized 7-11 November 2011, in Beijing, China. It is expected to be the largest and the most important forestry-related events in the region in 2011. The event is expected to bring together 1500-2000 individuals from governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), research institutions, regional and international networks, UN agencies and the private sector. High-level forestry officials from throughout the Asia-Pacific region are expected to attend the event. It will provide a unique opportunity for diverse stakeholders and forest managers to share perspectives and seek solutions to the most challenging issues facing forests and forestry today.

CBD Publishes Booklet on REDD+, Biodiversity and Livelihoods

Climate-L, March 2011 | The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), have published a booklet titled “Biodiversity and Livelihoods: REDD-plus Benefits.” The publication demonstrates how measures and policies for REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, including conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of carbon stocks) can simultaneously address climate change, biodiversity loss and poverty. The booklet reviews the role of forests in, and synergies between, mitigation and adaptation strategies, and the importance of indigenous and local communities as key partners and beneficiaries of REDD+ efforts. It also points to market interest in multiple benefits of forests beyond carbon, noting that a financial compensation mechanism should aim to achieve multiple benefits simultaneously and remunerate their mutual promotion.

Southern Highlands REDD Readiness

Wildlife Conservation Society, no date | As part of a Tanzania-wide investment in Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) initiatives, the Royal Norwegian Government is supporting WCS to conduct a REDD Readiness project in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. The purpose of the project is to design and carry out a robust baseline study to provide methods for estimating deforestation, carbon sequestration, emissions and leakage in southwest Tanzania’s four most important forests covering 52,680 hectares. Using a range of remotely-sensed and ground-truthed techniques, as well as participatory monitoring methods, this pilot will provide substantial carbon data and demonstrate to relevant national authorities by the end of 2013 appropriate tools for implementing REDD strategies and monitoring forest degradation.

REDD+ and Watershed Funding

By Rowena Soriago and David McCauley (ADB), International Conference on Watershed Management: From Local Watershed Management to Integrated River Basin Management at National and Transboundary Levels, no date | Growing ADB REDD+ Support REDD/Land Use Pilots (~$5m ADB) Mekong Basin: Lao PDR, Viet Nam, Cambodia; PR China: Jiangxi Province Forest Management; Silk Road Ecosystem Restoration of dry land forests; Philippines: Forests in River Basin Management; Heart of Borneo: Indonesia Action Plan support. Exchanging knowledge. Building Partnerships.

14 March 2011

What forestry can do for climate change policy

By Allan Hansard, ABC, 14 March 2011 | Growing trees is nature’s way of absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. So most would assume that the forest industry would be front and centre of the government’s climate change policy. They’d be wrong. The government’s carbon price to be introduced from July 2012 will rightly focus on the big emitters but will provide next to no incentives for growth in Australia’s sustainable forest industry – which absorbs and stores carbon from the atmosphere. Last week Professor Ross Garnaut released his latest report, Update Paper 4: Transforming rural land use, recognising the positive contribution that the industry can make in absorbing carbon emissions. Professor Garnaut pointed out that forestry has big potential for emissions reductions – up to 853 million tonnes annually, compared with 164 million tonnes in agriculture. To put these figures in perspective, our economy’s total annual emissions are around 560 million tonnes.

Prey Lang scepticism aired at forum

By Thomas Miller, Phnom Penh Post, 14 March 2011 | Villagers vented while the government defended its approval of an economic land concession in Prey Lang forest during a public forum in Kampong Thom province’s Sandan district over the weekend… Residents say the 6,044-hectare economic land concession to Vietnamese-owned CRCK Rubber Development Co, Ltd is a threat to their livelihoods and to one of Cambodia’s largest forests… The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries signed a contract granting CRCK a 70-year lease on the plot of land in May last year, following approval from Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Council of Ministers in September 2009, according to documents obtained yesterday by The Post… Sim Vanna, Sandan district governor, said the concession would bring development to the area, and urged the villagers to work for CRCK. “Before the company comes, it is quiet, there is no market. Now, there is a big market,” he said.

EU May Need Tighter Supply to Avoid CO2 Slump, Adviser Says

By Catherine Airlie and Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg, 14 March 2011 | The European Union may need to tighten the supply of permits in its emissions-trading system to avoid a price slump if planned energy-efficiency measures curb demand for pollution rights. “If we are serious about our energy-efficiency targets, then this would almost take the value of emissions allowances down to zero,” Pierre Dechamps, adviser for energy, climate change and environment at the EU regulator, said today at a conference in London. “Unless we introduce more stringent measures or tighten the market, we are in a situation where there will be a drastic decline in prices,” Dechamps said. The EU’s emissions trading system, known as the ETS, is the cornerstone of Europe’s plan to reduce greenhouse gases blamed for climate change. It imposes pollution limits on more than 11,000 utilities and manufacturing companies and sets a 2020 cap on discharges that would be 20 percent below 1990 levels.

Following (voluntary) protocol

By Molly Peters-Stanley, Eko-Eco, 14 March 2011 | Panelists taking part in an early morning plenary session of IETA’s Carbon Forum North America might have been surprised by the high level of attendance at the 8:30 AM session. It turns out that IETA organizers know exactly how to turn out a crowd, and it wasn’t the promise of conference-grade coffee. It might, however, have had something to do with the allure of news on compliance-grade offset protocols. High-level panelists included California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols and Resources for the Future President Phil Sharpe, who responded to some pretty big questions: How did the US carbon market get here (i.e. not very far), and what are we going to do about it to get somewhere else? Later today, we’ll post a full synopsis of this and other high-level discussions taking place at the Washington forum.

Green Injustice: How Obama’s environmental policies hurt the poor

By Niger Innes (Congress of Racial Equality), Washington Examiner, 14 March 2011 | Radical environmental groups have a power over President Obama and his administration that is truly astonishing. At a time when the economy is struggling and low and middle income earners – both in the United States and overseas – are worried about their economic prospects, the administration continues to pursue policies that will unambiguously harm them… Under one program, USAID has committed $40 million over four years to help cease deforestation in Indonesia. Greens worry that land conversion in forested areas to productive agricultural use harms the atmosphere. These funds would contribute to a program called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, which amounts to a green welfare program for poor countries designed to retard development. Under REDD+, developing country governments receive payments if they crack down on entrepreneurial activity that will provide platforms for robust economic growth.

Biodiversity And Livelihoods – REDD-plus Benefits

Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources, 14 March 2011 | The importance of biodiversity and livelihood aspects within the design of REDD-plus has been recognized at many levels. Achieving these multiple benefits will require new levels of collaboration among different actors at national and international levels. This brochure demonstrates how measures and policies can be shaped to simultaneously address climate change, biodiversity loss and poverty. It identifies opportunities for synergies and mutual enhancement of the objectives of international agreements, particularly the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), as well as decisions taken by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly following the recommendations of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF).

Conservation of forests set to get a push increase efforts in conserving forests

By Zephania Ubwani, The Citizen, 14 March 2011 | Tanzania will step up efforts in forest conservation as a strategy to reduce the impact of climate change. Deforestation and forest degradation have been blamed for increased emissions of carbon dioxide and other green house gases.An environmental expert with the Vice President’s Office (VPO), Mr Patrick Ndaki, said in Arusha last week that forest conservation would be given priority in efforts to mitigate climate change. “This is because forests are major stocks for carbon. Existing forest reserves must be conserved,” he said. He was briefing environmental stakeholders on how Tanzania was implementing the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) programme.

Climate Justice Inside and Outside the UNFCCC: The Example of REDD

By Stephanie Long, Ellen Roberts and Julia Dehm, Journal of Australian Political Economy, 14 March 2011 | In this article we use the example of the negotiations on ending deforestation, called REDD in UN language, to show two things. Firstly, how the marketisation of the natural environment dominates as a ‘climate solution’ within UN processes. Secondly, the complexity of engaging with the UNFCCC for civil society, and particularly the climate justice movement. We offer observations on how this relationship is constantly developing particularly since Copenhagen, and consider the challenges involved in struggles for climate justice.

15 March 2011

Urgent need to save Imbak

Daily Express, 15 March 2011 | Malaysia’s last bastion of rich biodiversity – Imbak Canyon – needs to be conserved urgently for future generations. Dr Waidi Sinun, Yayasan Sabah’s Conservation and Environment Management Division Manager, said the Imbak Canyon probably represents the last opportunity for the State Government to conserve an area that is pristine, rich in biodiversity and unique in terms of geological and geomorphologic attributes. With a total area of about 30,000ha including two ridge-top virgin jungle reserves, the canyon makes a significant contribution to the coverage of protected areas in Sabah. “It is the last remaining contiguous area of unlogged lowland dipterocarp forest left in Sabah, a truly priceless heritage,” he said at the Imbak Canyon Scientific Expedition Seminar at Promenade Hotel, Monday. In order to manage such an area effectively, he said one of the first agenda is to conduct inventory and research on the biodiversity found therein.

Updated REDD-plus guide

FIELD, 15 March 2011 | Download our new Guide for REDD-plus Negotiators – updated after the Cancun Climate Conference. The guide is available in English, French and Spanish. The purpose of this guide is to assist developing country negotiators and others who are working on REDD-plus. This is an updated version of the guide that was released in October 2010.

ITTO reports reproduce data transmitted by the Guyana Forestry Commission

Janette Bulkan, letter to the editor Stabroek News, 15 March 2011 | However, the undated Guyana National Bureau of Standards document GYS 496:2010 –‘Requirements for the Guyana Legality Assurance System’ issued in February 2011 makes no mention of independent forest monitoring, nor did its draft issued in March 2010. This confusion of messages from the government may have contributed to the delays in issuing verification reports on developments in Guyana… Articles 13 and 146 in the National Constitution point in the direction of government transparency, even in the absence of the long-promised Freedom of Information Act. The secrecies and confusion over government procurement contracts for roads, sea defences, drainage and irrigation, pharmaceuticals, the One Netbook/Laptop Per Family repeats in the forest sector and does not improve the international standing of Guyana.

We Must all Learn from Each Other

By Gabriel Thoumi, Ecosystem Marketplace, 15 March 2011 | Furthermore, if indigenous communities are going to benefit from carbon payments for saving endangered rainforest and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), they need to base their decisions on both traditional and western scientific knowledge that can be effectively communicated. Integrating traditional knowledge with scientific knowledge can improve and clarify land-tenure rights for indigenous communities by bringing clarity to hunting, harvesting, and co-management of biodiversity resources on their traditional community forestry lands. As shown in the Maya Atlas: The Struggle to Preserve Maya Land in Southern Belize, 42 local communities in southern Belize used rural participatory mapping techniques to demonstrate how they traditionally used their local environment including their diverse relationships with location specific ecology and biodiversity.

IETA Launches Publication Series and Two New Papers on REDD+

IETA press release, 15 March 2011 | At a press conference held jointly with Avoided Deforestation Partners at IETA’s Carbon Forum North America, the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) unveiled a new publication series that will address critical policy issues for REDD+ from the perspective of the private sector. Henry Derwent, President and CEO of IETA and Richard Saines, Principal at Baker & McKenzie LLP & IETA’s Land-Use Working Group Chair represented IETA at the press conference. The first two papers released delve into the issues of the “Nested Approach” and “REDD+ Trajectories”. They aim to explain how these concepts should be integrated into a REDD+ Crediting Mechanism in order to ensure an opening for private sector investment and private sector participation in efforts to protect forests on-the-ground. IETA will release additional papers on other critical issues in the coming months.

Statement by Mr. Ahmed Djoghlaf Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity

Asia-Pacific Regional Consultation and Capacity Building Workshop on REDD-Plus, Including on Relevant Biodiversity Safeguards, Singapore, 15-18 March 2011 | the objectives of this workshop are therefore to: consult effectively with Parties on the development of advice on relevant safeguards for biodiversity; identify possible indicators to assess the contribution of REDD-plus to achieving the objectives of the CBD; assess potential mechanisms to monitor REDD-plus impacts on biodiversity; enhance the coordination of capacity-building efforts on issues related to REDD-plus. The Secretariat will compile the views expressed in the workshop and present them to the CBD’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advise (SBSTTA) at its sixteenth meeting… The 2010 International Year of Biodiversity was a resounding success – it is now time to translate our achievements into an equally successful 2011 International Year of Forests.

16 March 2011

EU Carbon Rises to Highest Price in Two Years as German Reactors Are Shut

Matthew Carr, Bloomberg, 16 March 2011 | European Union carbon permits surged to their highest price in almost two years after Germany said it will halt its seven oldest nuclear reactors, increasing demand for replacement power from fossil fuels… “Today we are witnessing a perfect storm for the EU emissions trading system,” said Matthew Cowie, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance in London. During the next few months, “we have high natural-gas prices and the probable closure of older German nuclear plants,” he said. Europe may have less nuclear output during the next few years and continued high gas prices, which would force utilities to burn coal and drive carbon prices “sharply” higher, Cowie said… Before today’s surge in carbon prices, the EU proposed selling 120 million permits at early auctions next year to limit price shocks as it phases out distribution of free allowances. The price fell as much as 0.5 percent after that announcement.

CO2 Traders Buying Options as Futures Jump, CarbonDesk Says

Matthew Carr, Bloomberg, 16 March 2011 | Carbon traders are buying call options to protect against further price increases in anticipation that Europe will produce less nuclear power, according to CarbonDesk Ltd. The London-based brokerage handled 1 million tons of December options to buy permits at 24 euros ($33) a metric ton today, Chief Executive Officer Brett Stacey said by phone. December futures rose as much as 3.2 percent today to 17.76 euros a ton, the highest price since Dec. 2, 2008, on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London. They traded at 17.30 euros as of 12:25 p.m. “It’s buying some upside protection,” Stacey said. “Ten days ago you couldn’t find a buyer. All of a sudden we’ve seen a lot of interest. I think we’ll have a good day.”

Palm Oil Follows Commodities Down Over Continuing Japanese Nuclear Crisis

Jakarta Globe, 16 March 2011 | Malaysian palm oil futures shed as much as 3 percent on Wednesday, tracking other commodity prices lower as the nuclear crisis in Japan sent investors scrambling for perceived safe haven assets. The benchmark May 2011 crude palm oil contract on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives ended down at 3,347 Malaysian ringgit ($1,091) a ton, after earlier touching a low of 3,268 ringgit. Prices of the vegetable oil, used in products such as food, cosmetics, tires and biofuels, hit a near four-month low of 3,250 on Tuesday. “It’s a sad scenario,” one trader said. “There have been two attempts to recover since Friday, but the market has succumbed to selling pressure. Overnight, Chicago collapsed. It is time to form a bottom – 3,250 should be a temporary bottom.”

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Forest Carbon Portal, 16 March 2011 | As several countries around the world busily keep moving forward with their REDD+ readiness plans, the supporting UN-REDD and World Bank Programs will be meeting next week in Vietnam to take stock and consider some important new proposals. For the UN-REDD Programme, look for the Policy Board to review the UN-REDD Fund’s performance over the past year as well as consider a pivotal step towards international principles and criteria for REDD+ safeguards. For the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, safeguards will also be on the menu, but tailored more for fund managers who will be delivering REDD+ financing. Back on the voluntary side, VCS is keeping on at full throttle, releasing VCS Version 3, standard-wide guidance that updates the earlier VCS 2007.1… Do we need to look further for yet another sign that 2011 will be a big year for forestry and other land use projects?

Cash alone will not slow forest carbon emissions

By Andy White, Nature News, 16 March 2011 | The carbon market has proved more difficult and expensive to develop than many expected. Property rights in rural and forested areas of many developing countries are unclear and contested, and there is little agreement on who owns the land, much less on who owns the forest or the carbon. Serious scientific challenges hamper efforts to measure carbon and monitor changes in land use. And a new study by the US-based Munden Project, which specializes in designing commodity markets, shows that a global forest carbon market could easily be manipulated and would not reduce deforestation. Yet as the world struggles to develop REDD, national and international data show that deforestation is declining. Recently released UN figures show that, from 1990 to 2010, the net forest area increased in 58 countries that have more than 200,000 hectares of total forest, and was holding steady in another 18.

Willis explains Amaila Falls Road Project delay

By Johann Earle, Guyana Chronicle, 16 March 2011 | Engineer attached to the Ministry of Public Works and Communication, Mr. Walter Willis said yesterday that the Amaila Falls Road Project is now just about 20 per cent complete, with rain, lack of critical equipment and labour hampering work on the ground. Speaking to the Guyana Chronicle, he said the hope is to have substantial completion of sections two, three, four and five by June 2 and, by the middle of August, sections six and seven to a point where they can accommodate all terrain vehicles (ATVs) and four-wheel drive pick-ups and trucks. Willis explained that the contractor was given 240 days, from the time of the award of the first construction notice to proceed, by which to complete the works and that was issued on October 5, 2010, with the second on January 11, 2011.

Motilall offers to take media on site of Amaila Falls road project

Kaieteur News, 16 March 2011 | Chief Executive Officer of Synergy Holdings Inc., Makeswar ‘Fip’ Motilall, says that he is currently in consultation with the subject Ministry to seek a way to have media operatives travel to the site and view the ongoing works. Synergy Holdings Inc is the company that has been contracted to build the Road to the Amaila Falls which is going to pave the way for the construction of the Hydropower plant. Motilall told this newspaper yesterday that other media operatives have been seeking to get to go to the site and he said as was promised during a recent interview that the company will allow media operatives to visit the location. He denied reports that there was any abandonment of the camps and stated that work is ongoing. Motilall said that there are currently five active camps where works are ongoing along the route and the company is gearing to set up another one.

Green Injustice: Environmentalists practice Corporate Social Irresponsibility

By Niger Innes (Congress of Racial Equality), Washington Examiner, 16 March 2011 | Companies, governments and NGOs who felt a genuine sense of social responsibility for those who live on less than a dollar a day would support foreign direct investment in these communities to promote entrepreneurial risk taking and the cultivation of native enterprise and industry. Instead, we get appalling and insulting programs such as REDD+. This program, crafted by those who want global government run by the United Nations, pays poor people not to develop home-grown commercial enterprises for trading goods in global markets. It’s a perverse kind of welfare check designed to bribe poor people to stay at home and sit on their hands. Indeed, for governments today straining under bulging deficits, subsidies are not the answer. Removing barriers to trade and technology are keys to the global economic growth that will enrich everyone.

5 Actors, 5 Trends, a Continent of Complexity

By Christine Padoch, CIFOR Forests Blog, 16 March 2011 | How do you structure a REDD+ project in tropical Latin America to make sure it’s effective and equitable at the same time? How do you deliver food, clothing, housing and income to a population of 109 million and counting, while protecting the tropical forests that are crucial to the planet’s health? Not without understanding just how different the key actors in land use change really are, designing a suitable mix of incentives, and then making some very hard choices, says CIFOR scientist Pablo Pacheco and his colleagues in a recent article published in the journal Forests.

Back to court for Vedanta Resources’ controversial mine

Survival International, 16 March 2011 | India’s Supreme Court is to consider a new bid to green-light FTSE 100 Vedanta Resources’ infamous bauxite mine in Orissa state, east India. The mine was dramatically blocked in August last year, after independent investigators found it would ‘destroy’ the Dongria Kondh tribe who live in the area. The tribe mounted a hugely successful international campaign to save their homeland, earning the support of celebrities such as Michael Palin and Joanna Lumley. The Orissa government has always supported Vedanta’s mine, and is petitioning the Supreme Court to reverse the ban through the state-owned company Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC). The OMC had previously signed an agreement with Vedanta to build the controversial mine.

17 March 2011

Carbon Trading

Costing the Earth, BBC Radio 4, 17 March 2011 | It sounded like the perfect answer. Carbon trading could halt global warming, boost ‘green’ investment in the developing world and make money for city traders. Four years on and Europe’s complex system to cut emissions from our factories has comprehensively failed. Despite vast amounts of money and effort being thrown at the scheme the current phase of carbon trading has, according to one report, cut emissions by a third of one per cent. In ‘Costing the Earth’ Tom Heap asks if capitalism’s big idea has a future or just a murky past.

Does REDD Need a Global Carbon Market to Work?

Rights and Resources Initiative, 17 March 2011 | The assumption that it was necessary to pay people, or governments, to stop deforestation, and that a global carbon market was necessary to raise the requisite funds, was a foundational underpinning of REDD… Emerging experience, recent events and a new report call all of this to question. First, a new study by The Munden Project, a private firm specializing in developing derivative trading platforms and commodities markets, finds that the uncertain definition of the forest carbon commodity, the low percentage of final value to the forest carbon producers, and the lack of a production system where the commodity’s quality, sale and transfer can be easily, and independently verified, all result in a very risky and substandard market – that will not only not reduce deforestation, but that could be easily manipulated and cause even more destruction.

Horrific treatment of Amazon Indians exposed 100 years ago today

Survival International, 17 March 2011 | 30,000 Amazon Indians were enslaved, tortured, raped and starved in just 12 years during the rubber boom, according to a historic report submitted by Irish investigator Roger Casement, 100 years ago today. Casement was sent by the British government to investigate crimes committed by British-registered rubber giant, the Peruvian Amazon Company. He found, ‘The crimes charged against many men now in the employ of the Peruvian Amazon Company are of the most atrocious kind, including murder, violation, and constant flogging’.

Pulp and paper firms urged to save 1.2M ha of forest slated for clearing in Indonesia

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 17 March 2011 | Indonesian environmental groups launched a urgent plea urging the country’s two largest pulp and paper companies not to clear 800,000 hectares of forest and peatland in their concessions in Sumatra. Eyes on the Forest, a coalition of Indonesian NGOs, released maps showing that Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) control blocks of land representing 31 percent of the remaining forest in the province of Riau, one of Sumatra’s most forested provinces. Much of the forest lies on deep peat, which releases large of amount of carbon when drained and cleared for timber plantations. Eyes on the Forest says the proposed forest moratorium, which was supposed to be signed January 1, 2011 but has been held up due to intense political pressure from the forestry sector, will not protect the forest areas since the concessions have already been granted.

Call for Consultants: Forest Governance and REDD

Transparency International, 17 March 2011 | Transparency International (TI) is inviting expressions of interest from highly motivated international experts on forest governance and REDD. The expert would be expected to adapt an existing manual which details research tools on risk mapping, risk analysis and anti-corruption monitoring within the forestry sector for application to the REDD context. This work is being undertaken as part of a four-country regional programme on “Forest Governance and Integrity” implemented by TI national chapters in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia and the national contact in Vietnam. For more information on the opportunity please visit the Transparency International website at: http://www.transparency.org/contact_us/work/tenders#REDD

Open source forest accounting methodology for REDD projects developed

mongabay.com, 17 March 2011 | Avoided Deforestation Partners, a forest conservation group, has coordinated the development of an “open source” forest carbon accounting methodology that could help speed projects aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and degradation. The group says the new protocols could substantially reduce the cost of establishing forest carbon conservation projects under the REDD mechanism. Carbon accounting and methodology costs can easily top $100,000, making it difficult for small projects to win certification. “These modules offer a system for those who cannot afford the cost of developing tailor-made carbon accounting protocols for their forest protection projects,” said Jeffrey Horowitz, founder of Avoided Deforestation Partners (ADP), in a statement. “In addition to eliminating such costs, project developers can hit the ground running.”

Nesting Projects and REDD+ Briefing Document

Climate Focus, 17 March 2011 | With a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Forest Trends and Climate Focus are assisting developing countries in the development of a range of activities related to reconciling subnational, in particular project-level, activities with emerging jurisdictional REDD+ regulatory frameworks at the national level.

European emissions trading: the cap that does not fit

By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 17 March 2011 | An update on the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme and just how loose the cap on emissions is now, following the economic crash … The latest analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows that last year, carbon emissions from the energy, steel, concrete and manufacturing facilities in the ETS rose by an estimated 1.8%. Yes, rose, not fell. I think carbon trading schemes are necessary as part of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit climate change. But to work, the cap on emissions has to be tight enough. The reason emissions rose in 2010 compared with 2009 was that emissions had fallen hard from 2008-2009 (11%) and 2007-2008 (5%). So there was room last year for emissions to grow, as the economy recovered a little, without hitting the cap.

Local Chief Elections and Deforestation

By Agus Purnomo, CIFOR Forests Blog, 17 March 2011 | The success in boosting the quality of democracy can also positively affect the quality of natural resources management. The decision to have local elections is a national consensus and this democratization process needs to be continued by improving the rules of local elections. We need to prevent the return of a management style where the rulers divide natural resources to their cronies. Let’s foster a fair democracy while improving welfare through sustainable development.

18 March 2011

IDB to administer carbon partnership grant

Stabroek News, 18 March 2011 | Guyana will now tap a US$200,000 grant under the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), after a previous pact with the World Bank was cancelled. An agreement was signed last year with the World Bank for the grant, which is for preparation and information sharing activities here under the forests initiative, but the money was not disbursed. A progress report this month on countries participating in the FCPF said that the Formulation Grant agreement was signed but cancelled on January 18, 2011. It noted that Guyana had requested to access the Grant through the IDB on November 17 last year. When contacted, Agriculture Minister, Robert Persaud explained that the agreement was not cancelled but would be transferred to the IDB. The World Bank has since approved Guyana’s request for the IDB to perform the services as Delivery partner. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

Guyana reviews system to ensure that logging meets international standards

Kaieteur News, 18 March 2011 | Amidst growing international demands to end illegal logging, Guyana is currently reviewing its system that hopefully will meet with global standards. The system will be crucial if Guyana wants to continue exporting its forest products especially to the US and Europe, both which have introduced stringent requirements to ensure that logs are cut according to accepted standards. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, a draft report has been presented to the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) and the Forest Products Development and Marketing Council (FPDMC). GFC, with support from international donors, commenced and developed a draft Legality Assurance System in 2006. The system, termed the “Guyana Legality Assurance System” (GLAS), went through several revisions with direct and indirect stakeholders.

The ruin of Aceh: natural destruction continues

By Andre Vltchek, China Dialogue, 18 March 2011 | Shadia Marhaban, one of the Helsinki,negotiators, is now president of Aceh Women’s League (LINA). “The plundering of the natural resources of Aceh is a serious problem. We should stop logging and mining,” she said. “Aceh is being exploited once again, but often in different ways than before. In the past, exploitation was mainly because of TNI [the Indonesian military] but now even former GAM are involved…GAM lacks experience in governing.” … It is no secret that the war in Aceh was largely driven by Jakarta’s desire to keep the area’s vast natural resources under its control. Western companies that had signed lucrative business deals with Indonesia’s former dictator Suharto were always firmly opposed to independence for Aceh, as well as Indonesia’s largest province, Papua, and, for decades, East Timor… “It may not always be visible from the car, but illegal logging is everywhere,” said Salma Waty.

REDD Alert March 2011

Bank Information Center, 18 March 2011 | BIC is pleased to share with you the latest edition of the REDD Alert. The REDD Alert is a resource for civil society engaged in the global REDD+ process, with a special focus on the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility. The alert brings you the latest information available on the FCPF process, other REDD initiatives such as UN-REDD and the Forest Investment Program, and other related news from around the world. REDD Alert is a project of Bank Information Center with contributions from other civil society groups working to make REDD a more participatory, transparent and equitable process. This edition of REDD Alert brings you: Updates on the 8th Meeting of the FCPF Participants Comittee in Da Lat, Vietnam; News on the Task Force on the Common Approach for Multiple Delivery Partners in the FCPF; Country updates for Costa Rica, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia; Update on the revised R-PP template.

Mexico Going Green

By Greg Benchwick, IFAD, 18 March 2011 | When looking at the remarkably complex world of carbon offset, REDD+, sustainable forestry and natural resource management, Mexico is emerging as one of the world’s leading open-air laboratories. After all, this is a place where the tides of revolution have become institutional realities, where large organizations like the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR) are pioneering new ways to bring REDD+ into the mainstream. It is a place with a complex and nuanced socio-economic context, where the poorest 40 per cent of the rural population live on just US$652 a year (despite a national average of nearly US$9000), and where deforestation, vulnerability to climate change and natural resource management issues are making it to the front burner of the national agenda.

Mexico Going Green

By Greg Benchwick, IFAD, 18 March 2011 | When looking at the remarkably complex world of carbon offset, REDD+, sustainable forestry and natural resource management, Mexico is emerging as one of the world’s leading open-air laboratories. After all, this is a place where the tides of revolution have become institutional realities, where large organizations like the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR) are pioneering new ways to bring REDD+ into the mainstream. It is a place with a complex and nuanced socio-economic context, where the poorest 40 per cent of the rural population live on just US$652 a year (despite a national average of nearly US$9000), and where deforestation, vulnerability to climate change and natural resource management issues are making it to the front burner of the national agenda.

19 March 2011

Local people have their voice in project implementation

Jakarta Post, 19 March 2011 | There will be no permits available for any organization initiating Reducing Emissions for Deforestation and Forest Degradation plus (REDD-plus) projects without first implementing the Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) process involving local communities and indigenous people living in forest areas, a senior official says. National Forestry Board (DKN) presidium head Made Subadya Gel Gel said Thursday that REDD-plus project initiators had to carry out the FPIC process in planned project areas before they could receive the necessary permits from relevant REDD-plus institutions. “We need to carry out such processes to make sure that the implementation of REDD-plus in Indonesia will directly benefit indigenous people and local communities,” he said at the launching of recommendations on FPIC instruments held by the DKN, the Forestry Ministry and the UN-REDD Indonesia.

REDD-plus policy for a healthy future

Fiji Times, 19 March 2011 | The Fiji national REDD-plus policy is towards a healthier future for the country says Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit’s (GIZ) director, Hermann Fickinger. Dr Fickinger is also nearing the end of his term with GIZ in Fiji and used the launch of the policy as an opportunity to farewell the many colleagues and friends he had made during his tenure. He said while the policy had been controversial and largely unknown throughout the world countries such as Brazil, Netherlands and Germany had been using it for years now… In his address, he highlighted the similarities between the policy and indigenous behaviour towards the environment. “Taking care of your environment has always been part of your culture. The only difference is REDD landowners will now get paid for protecting and safeguarding their forests,” he said.

Plans to reduce emission

Fiji Times, 19 March 2011 | The REDD-plus policy is an approach aimed at reducing the 20 per cent of emissions related to forests through financial incentives. The REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation)-plus concept links financial incentives to forest conservation, sustainable management, and enhancing and increasing carbon stocks for credits for carbon emissions avoided and/ or carbon sequestered. For years, Fiji’s forests have been a source for financial and economic gain through agriculture, logging and land development. As a result, a large portion of the country’s 1.1 million hectares of forest cover are now tracts of degraded and unutilised land. The Government recognises the REDD-plus policy as an opportunity to contribute towards the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen the socioeconomic status of its forest resource owners and protect its forest’s eco-systems.

Collective agreement

Fiji Times, 19 March 2011 | Stakeholders and landowners present at the launch of the Fiji National REDD-plus policy were in a collective agreement that significant progress had been made towards the establishment of a national MRV (measuring, reporting, and verification) system. The two main considerations for forest carbon monitoring were forest area change and forest carbon change. Forest area change is undertaken by remote sensing whereas forest carbon stock measurement is undertaken by means of forest inventory on the ground combined with detailed maps commonly generated through remote sensing. The Department of Fisheries and Forests along with its partners in the REDD-plus policy are currently assessing forest area change and forest carbon change between 1991 to 2001 and 2001 to 2007.

REDD Danger

Global-Politics.co.uk, 19 March 2011 | However, while England’s publicly owned forests will remain off the table for private interests, the same cannot be said for forests worldwide as plans to implement a market-led scheme for forest protection gain momentum. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) will see countries in the global south paid to preserve their forests in order to stem carbon emissions. The latest formulation, REDD+, includes mitigation measures from conservation, sustainable management of forests and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

20 March 2011

Synergy barge brings more equipment for Amaila road

By Johann Earle, Guyana Chronicle, 20 March 2011 | President of Synergy Holdings Inc., Makeshwar ‘Fip’ Motilall says a barge has arrived in the country with additional equipment for the Amaila road project, which saw delays because of the rains and the lack of machinery and labour. Speaking with the Guyana Chronicle last night, Motilall said the barge, with 16 pieces of equipment including bulldozers and front-end loaders on board, transited the Demerara Harbour Bridge (DHB) at around 14:30hrs yesterday, and will be cleared at Omai’s wharf sometime this morning. Explaining some of the delays, Motilall said the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) withheld their approval of the project until many pieces of information could have been supplied. He said that while Sections One through Five of the road project were blessed with approval, Sections Six and Seven were delayed because of the environmental study of the larger Amaila Falls Hydro-project being tied to those sections.

Taraba draws six-month REDD readiness plan

By Michael Simire, Daily Independent, 20 March 2011 | Taraba State of Nigeria is aiming to becoming the second REDD Pilot State in the country after Cross River, which is on the verge of accessing funds set aside under the climate change mitigation programme. However, while it took Cross River State several years to attain this status, Taraba, apparently riding the crest of the goodwill arising from the flagship Cross River agenda, intends to be REDD ready in a record six months.

REDD News Updates: 5-17 March, 2011

By Michelle Kovacevic, CIFOR Forests Blog, 20 March 2011 | In a search for a solution to the moratorium crisis, the latest draft is currently being rewritten reports Kompas (in Bahasa) by a government lawyer. Under debate is whether including all types of forest will improve its governance or hamper forest conversion to agricultural land. Investors are worried that moratorium implementation without exploring all possible consequences could lead to potential investment loss of Rp 29 trillion per year. The currently draft is being criticised by NGOs because it still allows forest conversion for geothermal, mining, power plan, sugar cane plantation, rice field and other vital projects.

REDD starting to take root

Vietnam Investment Review, 20 March 2011 | Like most of the K’hoi people living in Preteng village, about 80 kilometres west of Dalat city, K’Sau is a man of the forest. In the first 30 years of his life, he depends on teh forests, largely to meet the need for fuel, water and food. K’Sua now knows that he will continue to make his family’s living out of forestry sources but in a different way. K’Sau recently learnt about environmental values of the forests. Being involved in a United Nations pilot forestry development programme on green house gas emission reduction, he becomes aware of the importance of the carbon stored in the forests and the benefits he will reap from preserving the forest for carbon credits.

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