REDD in the news: 16-22 May 2011

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REDD in the news: 16-22 May 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.

Tackling corruption for governing REDD in the Philippines

u4.no, May 2011 | Forest governance in the Philippines during the post-colonial period has involved protracted efforts to arrest and reverse patterns of overexploitation of forest products and land. Much of this loss is commonly attributed to weak enforcement of existing forestry laws, to mismanagement, and to abuses including corruption. National efforts aimed at reversing forest degradation have taken on a new dimension in the context of recent international focus on actions aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change, and there is keen interest in participating in schemes for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in the country. This Issue paper assesses past experience related to forest management in the Philippines with a view to providing policy considerations for the implementation of REDD.

Funding for forests: UK Government support for REDD+

Climate Focus, IUCN, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Winrock International, May 2011 | Such support is intended to include demonstration projects and ‘payment for results’ programmes, as well as continuing work on ‘REDD+ readiness’ to help countries build capacity and implement effective policies, to support the scaling-up of REDD+ activity. It is in this context that the UK Government has commissioned this report to provide an independent analysis of funding options for REDD+. The report reviews major REDD+ programmes, highlighting gaps as well as good practice. It explores options for partnerships with forest nations and with other donors, as well as for expanding the UK Government’s support for multilateral funds and programmes and its work in supporting forest governance. The report also looks explicitly at opportunities to use public finance to catalyse private sector activity and investment in REDD+.

Local Forest Management and Climate Change Mitigation in Burkina Faso

Focali, no date | The Focali theme “Making REDD work for the poor” is exploring the potential impacts of REDD+ on the livelihoods of poor people. REDD+ will be implemented in many different contexts and impacts on rural livelihoods will to be very different, depending on local circumstances. We intend to conduct several studies, in different national and local contexts in order to get a broader picture of the potential impacts of REDD+. This report is a first step in our study of Burkina Faso. The purpose of the report is to provide an up-to-date overview of issues relating to forests and livelihoods in Burkina Faso, and to provide guidance in relation to the development of pro-poor REDD policies in the light of that overview. The two main parts of the report are a literature review of rural livelihoods literature in Burkina Faso from a REDD+ perspective and a local case study of a forest management area.

Carbon Monitor

Carbon Monitor, May 2011 | Continued stability in the NZU means prices sub $20.50 after two short weeks. Trading conditions have been relatively liquid, occurring between $20.10 and $20.50 on a spot basis. There has been a slight increase in market activity as demand for NZUs leading into the May surrender date seem to be slightly out-stripping the current volumes of NZUs being made available for sale.

16 May 2011

[Indonesia] Journalists visit mangroves to learn about REDD+ and climate change

By James Maiden, CIFOR Forests Blog, 16 May 2011 | 7 journalists from all over Indonesia attended a workshop in Bali in April on REDD+ and the role of wetlands in climate change. Hailing from the big Jakarta newspapers as well as from regional outlets in Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Papua and Bali, the group learnt about the science of climate change from some world-class forest scientists. The workshop was held in partnership with Internews, a Washington D.C.- based media training organization, and the Society of Indonesian Environmental Journalists.

Once upon a time in a bureaucracy

By Frances Seymour, CIFOR Forests Blog, 16 May 2011 | Early in my career, I was part of a network of Ford Foundation program staff and grantees attempting to facilitate the “bureaucratic reorientation” of forest departments and irrigation ministries in Southeast Asia to support community-based approaches to natural resources management. Our goals included changing armed forest guards into facilitators of forest-farmer groups, a process that is still underway in various forms a quarter-century later. Only in retrospect did I recognize just how ambitious those goals were, and the degree to which success would require fundamental changes in how staff were educated, recruited, rewarded, and recognized.

Will Indonesia lose the next oil palm?

By Rhett Butler, Jakarta Post, 16 May 2011 | Biodiversity itself also has value. Remember that the oil palm is a product of rainforest biodiversity – it originated in the forests of West Africa. But will continued deforestation destroy the next potential oil palm or the next anti-HIV drug before it is discovered? Will Indonesia turn away from what truly makes it unique – its rich cultural heritage and biodiversity – to model the mistakes in the Western developmental model, or will it be a part of developing a new global model for combining prosperity with sustainability? It’s up to Indonesians to decide.

UN Forum of Indigenous Affairs Begins on Monday

By Ana Luisa Brown, CubaHeadlines.com, 16 May 2011 | The Permanent Forum of the United Nations Indigenous Affairs begins on Monday its tenth session at the headquarters of the world organization without a central issue of discussion but with a very tight agenda of problems to be solved. The program of the annual event of that mechanism, established in July 2000 by the UN Economic and Social Council, includes questions relating to development, environment and human rights of those groups of people. It will also talk about the situation of indigenous communities in Central America, South America and the Caribbean and relations between the permanent Forum and the rest of the UN organizations and Agencies.

Kenyan firms to tap new IFC carbon fund

By Steve Mbogo, Business Daily, 16 May 2011 | Kenyan companies investing in carbon trading projects are set to benefit from a new fund set up by IFC to cover a financing gap arising from the European Union’s decision to stop buying carbon credits from developing countries beginning next year. The 150 million euros or Sh18.3 billion International Finance Corporation (IFC) fund is a major win for Kenyan companies, most of which are planning to start income-earning carbon trading projects that help reduce emission of carbon dioxide and provide cheaper, renewable energy. The EU, which is currently sponsoring up to 80 per cent of environmental conservation projects started by Kenyan companies, has said it will stop buying carbon credits from non-least developed countries beginning 2012.

Should Environmentalists Ever Count On Their “Enemies” To Make Change?

By Jigar Shah, Fast Company, 16 May 2011 | Some people fighting for climate change legislation have apparently taken the position that beggars can’t be choosers.

 The need to choose good partners to make change might seem obvious. But in the current political and economic climate, some environmentalists apparently have taken the position that beggars can’t be choosers.

 I just finished reading The Climate War by Eric Pooley, a book about the failed political battle to get Congress to take legislative action on global warming. In the book, Pooley describes the extraordinary efforts by former Vice President Al Gore, the Environmental Defense Fund’s Fred Krupp and Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers (pictured below) to get comprehensive national climate legislation passed.



Is REDD+ the right route for conservation organisations?

World Land Trust, 16 May 2011 | The World Land Trust believes that REDD+ is an important way of tackling deforestation and climate change, but its full benefits for conservation may not be realised if projects are poorly designed and managed. In 2010, the World Land Trust (WLT) ran a training programme to enable African NGOs (non-governmental organisations) to benefit from opportunities for carbon funding. The programme focused on REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation-Plus), as it is considered the most promising bio-carbon funding system for the future. WLT worked on the training programme with IUCN National Committee for the Netherlands (IUCN NL), as both organisations believe that the best way of achieving long-term sustainable conservation is by strengthening local NGOs. Based on the training programme we have produced an introductory guide to REDD+, now available to download.

Sustainable Forests: Bolivia’s Pioneer Indigenous Plan

By Jean Friedman-Ruodvsky, Time, 16 May 2011 | Bolivia, specifically its indigenous communities and their NGO advocates, has been a pioneer of this effort, and communities in Brazil, Peru and the Guyanas have jumped on board as well. The Chiquitana venture, established in 2001 in the town of Zapoco by the Ayoreos and an NGO called APCOB, with government approval and monitoring, was Bolivia’s first indigenous-run forestry business. Its goal is to help save the dry forest – which is South America’s second-largest eco-system behind the Amazon rain forest, but whose trees are being felled at a faster rate than others on the continent – while giving the rural poor a shot at a living wage.

Government U-turn halts tribal eviction from India’s national parks

Survival International, 16 May 2011 | The Indian government has scrapped its controversial policy of expelling tribal people from wildlife-rich areas to turn them into national parks. Under new proposals, tribal people can only be evicted with their free, prior and informed consent. Tiger reserves, however, are excluded from the new policy – Survival has written to the Environment and Forests Ministry urging it to apply the same rules to tiger reserves. The previous policy had to be hastily withdrawn following criticism that it would ‘inevitably lead to violations of people’s rights and [to] greater displacement [of tribal peoples].’ Tensions have been growing between those advocating for the rights of India’s 84 million tribal people, and those fighting for wildlife reserves to be people-free ‘wildernesses’.

[Guyana] Mr Fip Motilall’s transfer

Stabroek News, 16 May 2011 | Prime Minister Sam Hinds took exception to the lead story in Thursday’s edition of SN headlined `Motilall sold Amaila licence to Sithe’ which reported on the revelation at a public forum on March 11 of the transaction. In a letter to SN and the Kaieteur News the PM said that the two newspapers “prefer to continue the innuendos about some sort of corruption and to be flippant about this tremendous development for our people and country, rather than to take the opportunity to educate our population at large, about what is a very common way in which big projects, such as the Amaila Falls hydropower project, get done”.

The ghost of Marcos hangs over Guyana

By Mike Persaud, letter to the editor, Kaieteur News, 16 May 2011 | I refer to the bombshell that has just been dropped on this troubled nation called Guyana: the awarding of a multi-million dollar contract by the government to Mr. Fip Motilall in a dubious tender process – and now the revelation that Mr. Motilall has sold the contract for an undisclosed price. What has actually flipped here? Is it the contract (sometimes referred to as the licence) to build the road to Amaila Falls or the contract to build the hydroelectric power plant? Reading all the related articles and letters in the Kaieteur News and SN, it seems clear (I could be wrong) it is one contract (one licence) to build both the Road and the Power Plant. And, this contract had been awarded in a widely reported and scandalous tender process to a man named Fip Motilall.

Introducing Transparency Institute Guyana Inc.

Stabroek News, 16 May 2011 | Guyana stood at 126 on the Transparency International 2010 Corruption Perception Index. That means that of the countries included in the last survey, our country was in the bottom third of the world’s most corrupt countries. We agree that numbers and statistics alone do not tell the whole story. Like any perception, the ranking may be better – but then again it may be worse. Whatever it is, the ranking reflects poorly on the country’s image, its reputation as an investment location and its characterization of all Guyanese. For those of us in Transparency Institute Guyana Inc. (TIGI), whatever the number is, we are not comfortable with it. We consider it the duty of each and every Guyanese to change that perception, as much for our country’s reputation as it is to stem and then reverse the corrosive effects of corruption, the damage it does to the economy and the cost to the poorer people in the country.

17 May 2011

Reprofiling

The Automatic Earth, 17 May 2011 | German banks alone have €28 billion in Greek debt on their books. That does not include any swaps! A haircut such as that which would probably be required in a run-of-the-mill debt restructuring might be in the vicinity of 50% or more. Which would take €14 billion out of German banks’ books. And many billions more out of other global banks. They would need to recapitalize, and some might not be able to do so. But that’s not the worst part. Those same German banks carry €114.7 billion in Irish debt, and €146.8 billion in Spanish debt. That is still only the German banks. What British, French, Dutch and Spanish banks hide in their vaults at 100 cents on the dollar (or euro) is easily an order of magnitude more… They can’t do Spain. Spain will be certain to bring down banks, reputations, vast wealth and markets. But still, Spain, both the country and its banks, are in dire straits.

Cameroon strives to redistribute forest wealth to its people

By Ruth Raymond, CIFOR Forests Blog, 17 May 2011 | A new study provides valuable insights for the international community as it establishes a system for reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation to tackle climate change. In the early 1990s, Cameroon experienced a rapid expansion in its timber industry. This led to a new law to limit the environmental consequences of increased forest exploitation and to guarantee that forest-dependent communities would benefit. Under the law, part of the tax paid by logging companies for the right to harvest the forests – known as an Area Fee – is intended for local communities.

[Australia] Carbon price will be ‘well south’ of $40 a tonne

By Jeremy Thompson, ABC news, 17 May 2011 | The Federal Government says the carbon price will be “well south” of a reported $40 a tonne, despite research showing the high price is needed to give investors incentive to switch from coal-fired power plants to gas. Fairfax newspapers have quoted Deloittes research for the Government that says black coal generation will remain the cheapest way to generate power unless the price on emissions rises relatively quickly to $40 a tonne. The figure is well above the often-quoted $20 to $30 a tonne suggested by the Government’s climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut. The Deloittes research says continued uncertainty would add almost $5 a megawatt hour to the cost of power by 2017, equating to $1 billion a year on the nation’s power bills. Climate Change Minister Greg Combet says the report that the carbon tax – to begin in July next year – will be starting at $40 a tonne is “not right”.

Under pressure from rising deforestation, Brazil’s IBAMA establishes ‘Zero Deforestation Policy’ in the Amazon

By Karimeh Moukaddem, mongabay.com, 17 May 2011 | IBAMA, Brazil’s equivalent of the EPA, is suspending 1,300 planned operations for 2011 in order to concentrate on curbing a spike in regional deforestation through a two-pronged strategy of greater institutional presence and reciprocal agreements with local municipal governments. Following a series of meetings in the Amazonian states of Pará, Mato Grosso, and Amazonas between IBAMA and political leaders, landowners, ranchers, and environmentalists, IBAMA announced a “Zero Deforestation Pact” last Wednesday in cooperation with the Federal Public Ministry (Ministério Público Federal). The increased emphasis on Amazonian forest protection follows the release of an IBAMA document obtained by Folha revealing a jump in Amazonian deforestation that the government believes is related to proposed changes to relax the Forest Code, a debate which has given confidence to those deforesting.

[Guyana] Disparity seen between Amerindian groups, others in LCDS – report

Stabroek News, 17 May 2011 | Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) is a logical and reasonable set of proposals but it does not consider in detail the balance of obligations and rewards to different groups and sectors of society, a report on the impact of Norwegian support here, has said. The study is the first in an ongoing real-time evaluation of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) through which Oslo is providing support to Guyana to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in a deal potentially worth up to US$250 million by 2015. It was commissioned by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) which oversees Norwegian aid. The report observed that non-Amerindian rural groups (most of which include some Amerindian members), many of which are mainly dependent on mining and forestry, have been given no specific consideration and indeed…[R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Guyana] Hydro project cost includes unaccounted US$200M

Kaieteur News, 17 May 2011 | Chartered accountant Christopher Ram has questioned Sithe Global’s stated intention to put US$200 million into the Amaila Falls Hydro-Electricity Project in western Guyana. For Ram, the cost for the two main components of the project leaves a huge amount of money not properly unaccounted for, given the touted cost of the project. Sithe Global is estimating that the project will cost between US$650M and US$700M. Sithe Global is the developer of the hydro electricity project at Amaila Falls. The company lists itself as an international development company engaged in the development, construction, acquisition and operation of electric generation facilities in attractive markets around the world.

[Guyana] No evidence that Fip Motilall spent US$5M – Christopher Ram

Kaieteur News, 17 May 2011 | Despite recent statements on the Amaila Falls Hydro Project that former developer, Makeshwar Fip Motilall spent an estimated US$5M for work, he has failed to reflect the expense on his financial records. According to attorney-at-law/accountant, Christopher Ram, there are now more questions than answers with the pressure on Government to come clean on the details of the project. Over the past week, Sithe Global, the US-based developer, in what has been described as bombshell revelations, said it acquired the license from Synergy Holdings, owned by Motilall.

18 May 2011

Broadsheets and tabloids: Who knows what about REDD+

By Ruth Raymond, CIFOR Forests Blog, 18 May 2011 | An analysis of media attention surrounding efforts to mitigate climate change is providing valuable clues about what is driving the climate change agenda in forest-rich countries. The analysis, conducted by The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) focuses on the REDD+ programme: a global initiative that compensates developing countries for conserving their forests. The idea is to enable forest stewardship to compete financially with forces that work against it, such as agricultural conversion, timber extraction and infrastructure development. CIFOR is supporting efforts by developing countries to deliver effective REDD+ programmes. One contribution is a global comparative study of REDD+ across Asia, Africa and Latin America. The study is particularly concerned with identifying the actors who are driving public policy on REDD+.

One Lawman With the Guts to Go After Wall Street

By Robert Scheer, Truthdig.org, 18 May 2011 | The fix was in to let the Wall Street scoundrels off the hook for the enormous damage they caused in creating the Great Recession. All of the leading politicians and officials, federal and state, Republican and Democrat, were on board to complete the job of saving the banks while ignoring their victims … until last week when the attorney general of New York refused to go along. Eric Schneiderman will probably fail, as did his predecessors in that job; the honest sheriff doesn’t last long in a town that houses the Wall Street casino. But decent folks should be cheering him on. Despite a mountain of evidence of robo-signed mortgage contracts, deceitful mortgage-based securities and fraudulent foreclosures, the banks were going to be able to cut their potential losses to what was, for them, a minuscule amount.

Bankers take centre stage in fight to save rainforests

By Richard Anderson, BBC News, 18 May 2011 | Given their obvious lack of qualifications, not to mention their recent track record, bankers don’t immediately spring to mind as potential saviours of the rainforests. Biologists, conservationists and ecologists may seem better suited, but in actual fact one of the most important tasks facing the world today may fall to financiers. A scary thought perhaps, particularly in light of the global financial crisis brought about in part by excessive risk taking and dodgy synthetic investments dreamt up by over-zealous bankers, but one that is fast becoming reality… As Andrew Mitchell of the Global Canopy Programme puts it: “In the race against climate change, forests have come from nowhere to being a front runner.” Tackling deforestation, he says, is now seen as one of the “biggest, cheapest and quickest” ways of tackling rising temperatures… “The problem cannot be solved without the private sector,” Mr Mitchell says.

[Namibia] Opportunities will arise from climate change

New Era, 18 May 2011 | According to a recent Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) report on Climate Change in Namibia, if managed rightly, climate change funding could help contribute to realise the third National Development Plan (NDP3) and Vision 2030. The country continues to receive huge funds to address climate change from international organisations such as the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), Africa Adaptation Programme (AAP), MDG Achievement Fund, Adaptation Fund, Clean Development Mechanism, and Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), among others. “Similarly, using the optimal conditions in the country to develop a clean energy sector based on wind, solar, or invader bush technology, not only mitigates green house gas emissions but would improve Namibia’s position as an energy producer in an energy-starved region,” researcher, Servaas van den Bosch stated.

Restoring the world’s forests while feeding the poor

By Nigel Sizer (WRI) and Lars Laestadius (WRI), The Guardian, 18 May 2011 | “We are one shock away from a full-blown crisis,” stated Robert Zoellick, the president of the World Bank, at a recent meeting of the bank and the IMF. He was referring to a critical increase in poverty, resulting from the escalating cost of food. The UN’s food price index has risen 37% since March 2010. Basic cereal prices are up 60% over this period. Wheat is up 63%, and maize 83%. Roughly 1 million people slide into extreme poverty for each 1% rise in global food prices, the bank’s analysts calculate. Availability of land for farming is a key factor in long-term food supply and prices. As the human population expands, the remaining forests, wetlands and other fragile ecosystems will come under greater threat as farmers push further into the frontiers of the Amazon, Borneo and the Congo, as well as intensifying production in North America, Europe and beyond.

Is your dining table made of illegally logged wood?

By Katy Brown, The Guardian, 18 May 2011 | The tropical rainforests of southeast Asia may be a long way away from your living room, but how can you be sure that your dining table and chairs aren’t made from wood that’s been illegally logged on the other side of the world? In the course of researching the new furniture buyer’s guide for the magazine Ethical Consumer, I’ve discovered that you need to be a keen-eyed eco-detective to ensure that your new furniture isn’t implicated in the wholesale illegal logging of the world’s remaining tropical forests. Right now, timber is being ripped from national parks, outside of logging concessions and from the expansion of illegal plantations. This activity is having a devastating impact on indigenous communities, endangered forest habitats and wildlife in large parts of southeast Asia, Africa and South America.

[Australia] Debate over rainforest conservation gets heated

mongabay.com, 18 May 2011 | A debate over the need to conserve forests versus converting them for industrial use grew heated last week at Australian National University (ANU). A forum brought together policy experts, scientists, and a forestry lobbyist to discuss Australia’s role in overseas forestry. But an exchange between William F. Laurance, an ecologist at James Cook University, and Alan Oxley, a former former Australian trade ambassador who lobbies on behalf of forestry interests, became the focus of the event. Laurance blasted Oxley for representing himself as a moderate voice on forestry issues and portraying his World Growth International group as a humanitarian organization. He said that Oxley took positions supporting large forestry interests, rather than the rural poor.

[Guyana] All Amerindian communities will benefit from LCDS funds

Guyana Chronicle, 18 May 2011 | The Ministry of Amerindian Affairs referred to the article published in Stabroek News of Thursday, 12th May, 2011, headlined, “Amerindian ministry’s authority over REDD spending ‘inappropriate’, says report”. It is yet another example of one-sided reporting by the Stabroek News, whereby they chose to report on what was said by a team of external consultants, without sharing with their readers the facts about Government policy. The facts are as follows. As well as policies that benefit all of Guyana, there are three main policy areas within the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) that are of particular relevance to Amerindians.

[Guyana] Low Carbon Development Strategy investments take shape

Guyana Chronicle, 18 May 2011 | As Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy moves beyond its start-up phase, the government is leading efforts to advance work on the six priority investments for this year. The six investments will accelerate Guyana’s transition to a low carbon economy by deploying the US$70M earned by Guyana for the provision of Forestry Climate Services under the Guyana/Norway Agreement. The six 2011 investments are: Amerindian Land Titling (US$3.9M)… Hinterland Electrification Project (US$4.25M)… Amerindian Development Fund for Village Economy Development (US$4M)… Small and Micro Enterprise Development (US$3M)… Amaila Falls Hydroelectricity Project (US$45M)… Institutional Strengthening (US$7M)…

[Guyana] Amerindian ministry defends role in REDD spending

Stabroek News, 18 May 2011 | The Ministry of Amerindian Affairs yesterday defended its role in indigenous villages’ spending of REDD funds, saying that it is fulfilling its part as “the facilitator of policies and investments that advance the self-identified needs of Amerindian communities.” In a statement responding to an article published last week in Stabroek News, headlined `Amerindian ministry’s authority over REDD spending ‘inappropriate,’ says report,’ the Ministry said ongoing design of the detailed investments is being led by Amerindian communities. It accused Stabroek News of “one-sided” reporting and wrongly said the “inappropriate” tag was “implied” by this newspaper. The “inappropriate” description was contained in the first Guyana country report on the real-time Evaluation of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI). [R-M: Subscription needed.]

19 May 2011

[Indonesia] SBY Signs Decree on 2-Year Deforestation Moratorium

Jakarta Globe, 19 May 2011 | President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has finally signed a two-year moratorium on the conversion into logging concessions of almost half of the total forest cover in Indonesia. The moratorium is part of a bilateral agreement with Norway in which Indonesia will receive $1 billion to launch activities under the United Nations-backed Reducing Emissions From Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD Plus) program. Agus Purnomo, a presidential adviser on climate change, said the moratorium applied to all peatlands and primary forests that had not been reserved for any purpose and for which no permits had been issued. Agus said 64 million hectares of Indonesia’s 130 million hectares of total forest cover was protected by the moratorium, which took effect after Yudhoyono signed the decree on Thursday.

Indonesia Bets on REDD With new Moratorium, but can it Deliver?

By Daniel Kandy and David Diaz, Ecosystem Marketplace, 19 May 2011 | Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Thursday signed a two-year moratorium on logging in primary forests and dredging in peatlands to unlock up to $1 billion in seed funding from the government of Norway that could help the country earn billions more by saving tropical rainforests and capturing carbon in trees. To earn a shot at that less-than-certain income, however, it will have to forego guaranteed billions in concessions from logging, pulp, and palm oil industries – an equation that prompted internal government debate over the definition of “primary forest”, and delayed the signing of the moratorium by five months. The official text is expected to be released on Friday, and those definition are sure to be scrutinized by industry groups and environmentalists alike.

[Namibia] Where there is forest, there is life

By Absalom Shigwedha, The Namibian, 19 May 2011 | Hindu people of India have a saying in their language stating, “if there is forest there is life and if there life there is forest.” This supports the message of Namibia’s second Biodiversity Action Day, held at Omauni in Ohangwena region last week-end. Although forests are only found in some areas of Namibia, they are the source of livelihood for many people wherever they occur, said Environment and Tourism Minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah. It is for this reason that Namibia chose the theme “Forests for People,” to celebrate the 2011 International Year of Forests. Forests prevent soil erosion and help regulate the climate, purify drinking water and are a source of many medicinal plants. Bees and other forest insects, she said, pollinate agricultural crops such as fruit trees and help increase yields of seeds and fruits.

VCS and Chilean Exchange Team up to Speed Project Development

By Dan Kandy, Forest Carbon Portal, 19 May 2011 | Latin America could become a model of low-carbon development – if it can beef up local expertise and speed up development of carbon offset projects. The Santiago Climate Exchange and the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) are working together to do just that. The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Chilean nonprofit Fundación Chile will jointly open a new VCS office in Santiago to speed the carbon offset certification process in Latin America and to support Fundación Chile’s new Santiago Climate Exchange (SCX), under terms agreed to in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed on May 10.

[Guyana] Stabroek News distortions of LCDS disgusting- HPS

Guyana Chronicle, 19 May 2011 | Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, at a post-Cabinet media briefing at the Office of the President yesterday, expressed Government’s “disgust” at the way in which certain sections of the media, particularly the Stabroek News, have been reporting on the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). “So entrenched is their anti-Government bias that there are some who are prepared to cut off their noses to spite their faces,” the HPS lamented. He said that even though nothing has, in any significant way, injured the appropriateness, timeliness, and legitimacy of the strategy, both in its wider and national context, there are still forces which seem intent on threatening its success. He emphasised that notwithstanding constant clarifications and publicly available facts on the strategy, they continue to spew reports that are heavily biased and prejudiced.

[Guyana] Amaila Falls Hydro Project… Controversy surrounds Sithe Global licence

Kaieteur News, 19 May 2011 | Controversy surrounds the licence Sithe Global says was handed to it by Synergy Holdings, the original developer of the US$700 million Amaila Falls Hydro Electricity Project. Yesterday, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, said that it was a question of semantics whether Sithe Global has an altogether new licence or whether the licence which it now has is the old licence with some amendments. James McGowan, Senior Vice President (Development) at Sithe Global said recently that his company had “acquired the licence from Synergy Holdings.” “Sithe Global and its affiliate Amaila Falls Holdings have since acquired 100 per cent interest in the project from Synergy,” McGowan has said.

[Guyana] ‘Significant action’ taken to speed up Norway funds release

Stabroek News, 19 May 2011 | The governments of Guyana and Norway recently took “significant action” to accelerate the disbursement of funds from the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) after expressing their belief that the intermediation of GRIF funds is taking longer than it should, the Office of Climate Change announced Tuesday. President Bharrat Jagdeo has severely criticised the GRIF’s trustee–the World Bank–in the past for what he said was its sloth in making funds available. The World Bank has rejected this and said that any delay is with the GRIF Steering Committee, which has to approve projects for funding. Guyana chairs the GRIF Steering Committee, which met recently but no project was yet given final approval so that funds could be disbursed. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

20 May 2011

Indonesia’s moratorium on forest clearance

Reuters, 20 May 2011 | The moratorium, an instruction signed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, orders ministers and government offices to suspend the processing of permits to log and convert forest, including for timber and palm oil, in primary forests and peatlands in the following government categories: conservation forest, protected forest and production forest. Secondary forests, which have been touched by human activity, in these areas can still get permits. It was not clear if there would be any sanctions if the presidential instruction is not followed, or firms developed land covered by the moratorium ban. This opens up the risk of poor implementation in a country with rampant corruption and weak law enforcement.

Greenpeace, analysts slam Indonesian logging pause

AFP, 20 May 2011 | Elfian Effendi, executive director of policy analysis group Greenomics, said the moratorium “still creates potential for Indonesia to destroy its natural forests”. A recent Greenomics analysis of forest ministry data found that more than nine million hectares of forest was under concessions belonging to seven conglomerates including Sinar Mas, a palm oil giant that has been criticised by green groups for its logging practices. Environmental group WWF last year released a study of satellite imagery showing that almost half of the forests on Indonesia’s Sumatra island had been destroyed since 1985, at a rate of 542,000 hectares a year.

Indonesia forest moratorium softens blow for planters

By Olivia Rondonuwu and Michael Taylor, Reuters, 20 May 2011 | Indonesia revealed a long list of exemptions on Friday to a two-year moratorium on new permits to clear forest, a concession to the hard-lobbying plantation industry in the world’s top palm oil producing nation that vexed green groups… [I]ndustry body the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) praised the signing of the moratorium, as it targets annual 10 percent increases in green palm supplies. “It is an affirmative step in the right direction that upholds the integrity of sustainable practices toward the production of palm oil, and reaffirms the country’s commitment in this area,” Darrel Webber, secretary general at the RSPO said in a statement.

Yudhoyono signs Indonesia forest ban

carbonpositive.net, 20 May 2011 | Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has signed a long-awaited law bringing into effect a two-year moratorium on clearing primary forests and peatlands across the tropical island chain. The ban was originally timetabled for January 1 as part of a $1 billion aid deal from Norway but has been held up as Jakarta struggled to define the detail and appease agricultural and business interests… Environmental groups warn that there is yet more detail required on how the moratorium will work. Further exemptions from the ban are expected for geothermal energy and food projects of significance… Others say the watered down moratorium is a welcome step in the right direction towards greater forest protection, enforcement of such laws, and progress towards the country’s climate goal of reducing greenhouse emissions by 26-41 per cent below business as usual levels by 2020.

[Indonesia] President signs decree on forest moratorium

Jakarta Post, 20 May 2011 | President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has signed a decree suspending new concession permits and to improve good governance on primary forest and peatland in Indonesia. Suspension of all new concessions will be enforced for 2 years, and will be effective immediately… Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam said in a statement Friday that a key goal of the 2-year moratorium was to give time and attention to improving the governance of peatland areas and the forest sector in Indonesia so that they could be significant contributors to the national goal of reducing GHGs by 26 percent by 2020. “I hope the establishment of a degraded lands database can be accelerated, so pulp and oil palm industries will have clarity on the land where their business can be expanded. This is part of what President Yudhoyono has committed to providing, as Indonesia pursues the twin objectives of 7 percent of economic growth while reducing emissions by 26 percent,” the statement says.

[Indonesia] Moratorium issued to protect primary forests, peatland

Jakarta Post, 20 May 2011 | President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Thursday finally signed a policy banning the conversion of primary forest and peatland for two years as part of a government pledge to combat climate change through reducing deforestation. With the presidential instruction, all local authorities should stop issuing forestry permits, including for plantation and mining companies eyeing businesses in primary forest and peatland areas… The REDD taskforce led by Kuntoro Mangkusubroto wanted the moratorium imposed on both primary and secondary forests as well as peatland. Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said secondary forests should remain open to commercial exploitation to aid the country’s economic development.

[Indonesia] Four kinds of exceptions to apply in forest clearing moratorium

Antara News, 20 May 2011 | The government is to make four kinds of exceptions in the implementation of Presidential Instruction No. 10/2011 on Moratorium on New Logging Concessions for Primary Forests and Peat lands… “In enforcing the moratorium, the government will make certain exceptions,” Agus Purnomo, the President`s Special Assistant on Climate Change, said… The first category of exceptions would be on logging concessions covered by “in principle” permits from the forestry minister. Also exempted from the moratorium would be forest clearing to make room for vital national development projects, namely geothermal, oil and gas explorations and exploitation, electricity, paddy fields and sugarcane plantations. The third category of exceptions would be on areas covered by extended development permits as long the concession holder`s business license was still valid. The moratorium would also not apply to forest clearing to be done in the interest of ecosystem restoration.

Ban on new forest concessions in Indonesia is good news for climate change, but many challenges remain

CIFOR press release, 20 May 2011 | Indonesia today took a step toward cutting its carbon emissions by issuing a presidential decree banning new concessions in primary forests and on peatlands, but more stringent measures may be needed if the country is to meet its ambitious targets for cuts in greenhouse gases… “This is a positive development,” said Daniel Murdiyarso, a Senior Scientist at CIFOR. “This is a win not only for climate change, but also the preservation of the incredible biodiversity these forests hold, including orangutans, Sumatran tigers, rhinos and other endangered species. Importantly, it will prevent the loss of livelihoods of local people who depend on forests.” … While the moratorium will prevent the issuance of new forestry concessions in much of the country, it will not necessarily stop, or perhaps even slow, the rate of deforestation in the short-term. Large numbers of concessions have been issued in recent years that have not yet been developed.

Malaysia and Indonesia bolster defence of palm oil industry to west

By Rikke Bruntse-Dahl, The Guardian, 20 May 2011 | Malaysia and Indonesia, which together account for about 90% of the world’s palm oil production, have launched a joint PR offensive to defend the industry’s environmental record. Late last week, ministers from the two countries agreed to finalise plans for a European Palm Oil Council (EPOC) by the end of this year, to defend the trade of palm oil to the European Union and counter the “anti-palm oil campaign”. The industry has been accused by environmental groups of destroying biodiversity and causing social conflicts, deforestation and climate change. In a joint communique, the countries said: “This body will provide the industry [with] a collective platform to represent both countries on public debates that relate to palm oil issues such as sustainability, energy security, public health, address NGOs’ anti palm-oil campaigns, non-aligned lobby groups, media, journalists and feedbacks of Members of the European Parliament.”

Indonesia logging law ‘disaster’ for forests: analysts

AFP, 20 May 2011 | Environmentalists said Friday a long-awaited moratorium on logging in Indonesia, part of a $1 billion climate deal with Norway, is a “disaster” for forests and will do little to fight global warming… “We are very disappointed. We’re concerned because it only covers primary forests and peatlands,” Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaigner Bustar Maitar said. He said the moratorium should also protect woodlands defined as “natural forests”, but these had been left at the mercy of the logging companies. Chris Lang, author of the REDD-monitor blog which tracks efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation, said the moratorium was a “disaster for Indonesia?s forests, indigenous peoples and local communities”. He said the moratorium decree announced by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono late Thursday — five months after it was due to be in place — contained “gaping loopholes”.

Indonesia Outlines Plan to Curb Forest Clearing

By Aubrey Belford, New York Times, 20 May 2011 | “I guess everybody has their own expectations,” said Agus Purnomo, Mr. Yudhoyono’s special adviser on climate change. Referring to nongovernmental organizations, he added, “The NGOs, the international community, they would like to see all permits in all forests be suspended.” “That’s never been the intention,” he said. “All we’ve committed to is natural forests — that is forests, in good standing, untouched by humans.” … “Actually, it’s really a bit disappointing,” said Bustar Maitar, a lead forest activist at Greenpeace. “For sure, industry will be happy with this. This is part of their strong lobbying.” The plan is “a step forward,” said Aida Greenbury, managing director of Asia Pulp and Paper, one of Indonesia’s largest paper producers, but she said it needed to be followed by government action on promises to clear up Indonesia’s confusing system of land classification.

Favourable Review of Indonesian Delivery on Forest Emission

ScandAsia.Com, 20 May 2011 | An independent review shows that the Letter of Intent between Indonesia and Norway on climate and forest issues has had a very beneficial impact on REDD+ developments in Indonesia. Three of Indonesia’s six agreed deliverables under the forest partnership with Norway have been achieved or are close to completion. But a moratorium on new forest conversion concessions and key new institutions are delayed.

[USA] Carbon Traders Ask California Agency for Fake Offset Protection

By Simon Lomax, Bloomberg, 20 May 2011 | Companies that unknowingly buy fake carbon-offset credits in California’s planned cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases shouldn’t be forced to replace them with real ones, according to emissions traders. The proposed carbon market, which is scheduled to start next year, “cannot work” if the state doesn’t change the “buyer liability” rules for offset credits, the Geneva-based International Emissions Trading Association and four other lobbying groups said in a May 2 letter to the California Air Resources Board obtained today. California’s cap-and-trade regulation seeks a 15 percent cut in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from power plants, refineries, factories, cars and trucks by 2020.

Brazil forms ‘crisis cabinet’ following unexpected deforestation surge

By Tom Phillips, The Guardian, 20 May 2011 | Hundreds of environmental protection officers are being deployed in the Brazilian Amazon after government satellites detected a sudden, unexpected surge in deforestation. On Wednesday, Brazil’s environment minister Izabella Teixeira announced the creation of a “crisis cabinet” to crackdown on illegal logging in the world’s largest tropical rainforest, after satellites registered a 27% hike in Amazon deforestation between August 2010 and April this year compared with the previous year. “The order is to suffocate environmental crime,” said Teixeira, following the release of images that showed at least 1,848 sq km of rainforest had been destroyed, compared with 1,455 sq km a year earlier. Satellite data painted an even more disturbing picture of deforestation in March and April this year when nearly 593 sq km of forest were lost – an increase of over 470% compared with the same period in 2010.

In Defense of Unlikely Partnerships

Environmental Defense Fund, 20 May 2011 | Jigar Shah’s blog post about The Climate War made me sad. Not because he missed the point of my book or had unkind things to say about people I admire – the man is entitled to his opinion. The piece saddened me because it gave voice to an incredibly damaging green stereotype: the notion that we enviros are ideological purists more interested in being right than being successful, and that we can’t work with anyone who doesn’t meet our high standards. I’d thought Shah knew better. After all, he runs an NGO that works with industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions–and he and I have even discussed the need to reach out to corporations if we’re going to turn the carbon tide. (I call it the Willie Sutton rule: If you want to cut pollution, you have to talk to polluters.) That’s certainly the approach of Environmental Defense Fund, which Shah disparages in his post.

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Forest Carbon Portal, 20 May 2011 | From the formation of an international alliance of domestic legislators to push REDD policy to the lingering debate over Guyana’s REDD+ Investment Fund, there appears to be no shortage of pioneers taking to the front lines for REDD. Rainforest Alliance has responded to charges from watchdog NGOs regarding its verification of Guyana’s REDD readiness, and Ecosystem Marketplace probes into the nuts and bolts of the new paradigm for REDD payments being developed between Norway and Guyana.

Registration for first Indian REDD project expected soon

climate-connect.co.uk, 20 May 2011 | Community Forestry International (CFI) and the Mawphlang community have been working together since 2005 to preserve a 75 hectare area in the Umiam basin watershed region. The tribal community hopes to get funding from the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility to help the project registered under the REDD mechanism. Representatives from CFI recently met officials of the World Bank to discuss the challenges and improvements possible in the project. CFI believes that the developed countries, which are the major source of investment for such carbon abatement projects, prefer investing in projects operating at grassroots levels that avoid bureaucratic hurdles and mismanagement of funds.

UN-REDD Programme’s May 2011 newsletter

UN-REDD, 20 May 2011 | In this month’s edition, we bring you key results from Viet Nam’s unique cross-regional exchange with REDD+ experts in Mexico and Ecuador, as well as updates on the UN-REDD Programme’s ongoing partnership with Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE). We also feature editorials on a recent report on private sector financing and REDD+ from UNEP’s Financial Initiative (UNEP FI) and on the UN-REDD Programme’s collaboration with GLOBE International on a new initiative for legislators working with REDD+.

REDD Rage: Organizing to Stop the Network of Death

By Anne Peterman (GJEP), Climate Connections, 20 May 2011 | During a workshop on REDD, a woman from Bolivia in traditional dress explained that in Spanish “red” means “network,” and that REDD was the “Network of Death.” “What Indigenous Peoples really need,” she said, “is a network of life—one that is opposed to REDD, but supports peoples’ traditional ways. We must form this network,” she insisted. “We need a global network of Indigenous Peoples opposed to REDD.”

[Guyana] Mr. Kissoon is so out of touch with reality

By Peter Persaud, letter to the editor, Guyana Chronicle, 20 May 2011 | I wish to respond to the column by Mr. Freddie Kissoon in Kaieteur News of Wednesday, May 18, 2011 titled ‘Psychology, reality and Norway money.’ First of all, I believe that Mr Kissoon is so out of touch with reality that he does need some psychological treatment. Mr. Kissoon continues his unfounded attacks on President Jagdeo and the LCDS. In his article, he posits that ‘the Norwegians listened to the AFC and the PNC…’ and they ‘read people like Dr Bulkan.’ No doubt the Norwegians do listen to them but it is obvious their positions have not gained any traction or influence over how Norway responds to Guyana. Let us not forget the letter written by Bulkan and AFC presidential candidate Khemraj Ramjattan to Norway on the eve of Minister Solheim’s visit to Guyana in March 2011, asking Norway not to release any funds to Guyana.

[Guyana] Writing the Rules for a New REDD Paradigm: Norway and Guyana

By Chris Santiago, Ecosystem Marketplace, 20 May 2011 | Plenty of doubt and skepticism was surely in order, so Guyana and Norway agreed early on to employ several third-party auditors to build confidence in the results. For example, … the certification group Rainforest Alliance was contracted to assess Guyana’s performance against a set of indicators intended to show the government’s burgeoning capacity for forest governance, monitoring and conservation. But shortly after its release, Rainforest Alliance’s independent verification has come under direct fire… The Global Witness letter … faults the Rainforest Alliance’s verification more for the manner in which it was carried out than for its conclusions. It’s hard to imagine a more direct assault on a certifier’s credibility than by calling into question the organization’s very ability to follow the rubric they were given.

21 May 2011

[Indonesia] Financing of REDD ‘must steer clear of past mistakes’

Jakarta Post, 21 May 2011 | Activists and experts said Thursday the government should establish an effective financial monitoring mechanism before disbursing funds for REDD Plus programs… Indonesia Corruption Watch deputy coordinator Emerson Yuntho said the fund was still prone to abuse or embezzlement. “There should be a strengthening of the monitoring mechanism to ensure no more abuse occurs, especially concerning money for the REDD Plus initiative,” Emerson said, adding that a strong monitoring mechanism would require an independent monitoring agency and the KPK and the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK).

[Indonesia] Activists Cry Foul as 35% of Forests Avoid Permits Freeze

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 21 May 2011 | Sighs of relief from activists on Thursday that a long-awaited two-year moratorium on forest clearance permits had finally been signed were drowned out on Friday after it emerged that more than a third of Indonesia’s forest area will not be covered. “The announcement is a far cry from the commitment made by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono related to forest protection and leads to big questions on its implementation,” said Bustar Maitar, a Greenpeace forest campaigner.

[Indonesia] Forest Moratorium Too Harsh For Some, Too Weak for Others

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 21 May 2011 | While forest activists were denouncing a government moratorium on new concession in forests as disappointing, a palm oil businessman on Friday said the regulation went too far and only created more uncertainty for businesses. On Thursday, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono issued a presidential instruction ordering the Forestry Ministry, governors, and district heads to stop issuing new logging concession in primary forests and peatlands for the next two years. But green activists said the moratorium was only applicable to only 64 million hectares of the country’s 132 million hectare forest coverage. And now Joko Supriyono, secretary general of the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (Gapki) bemoaned the fact the business world had not been consulted. Joko said the moratorium included forested areas known as APL, which are forests that can be used for other purposes such as plantations or mining.

[Indonesia] Environment Watch: Industries urged to help preserve forest

By Wahyoe Boediwardhana, Jakarta Post, 21 May 2011 | Businesses in East Java have been criticized for reluctance regarding preservation of the Mount Arjuna Forest despite their apparent economic benefit from the area. As many as 483 businesses in the province are thought to make use of the Brantas river, which originates from the Arjuna forest area and passes through 12 cities and regencies within their area of business activity – including areas where industrial waste is allegedly disposed. Kaliandra Sejati Foundation recently reported that only two industries were involved in the environment preservation drive through the Forest Care program. The Mount Arjuna forest spans a total of 50,000 hectares encompassing five mayoralties and regencies in East Java — Pasuruan, Malang, Jombang, Mojokerto regencies and Batu municipality.

[Indonesia] REDD+ needs to change the way we think about forests

By Leony Aurora, CIFOR Forests Blog, 21 May 2011 | Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, or REDD+, means a difficult shift to a new paradigm where economic growth in Indonesia is attained by leaving trees standing, said Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, head of a taskforce that’s preparing the implementation of the global scheme that compensates developing countries for keeping their forests. “Everything in this country is built with the old paradigm where development means cutting trees”, Kuntoro said. “This includes the institutions, economic frameworks and regulations. We are now at the point in which we have to develop a new stage, and this is not easy.”

[India] Global carbon market’s dirty secret

By Will Evans, Global Post, 21 May 2011 | In India, a company with a spotty environmental track record is raking it in thanks to carbon credits. The hot and humid South Indian community of Mettur in Tamil Nadu is a tangle of industry and nature. Palm trees and factory chimneys tower over small farms. A giant dam cuts across a sacred river. The main manufacturer in town, Chemplast Sanmar, has been here for decades, producing refrigerant gases, industrial solvents and polyvinyl chloride for making plastics. The company also churns out something more intangible: carbon credits. Carbon credits, which serve as a cornerstone of the world’s response to global warming, are a means by which a company can offset its carbon emissions. Under a United Nations program created by the Kyoto Protocol, they are awarded to companies in the developing world that reduce their greenhouse gases.

[Guyana] Is Kissoon aware that the World Bank manages the GRIP funds?

By Carl Narine, letter to the editor, Guyana Chronicle, 21 May 2011 | I read Frederick Kissoon’s column under the caption “Psychology, reality and Norwegian money” (Kaieteur News Wednesday 18 May, 2011). Mr.editor, permit me to use the medium of the Guyana Chronicle to inform the Norwegians that Frederick Kissoon is a known political opponent of the Government of Guyana and his rationalisatin on Guyana’s LCDS lacks objectivity and can be described as merely political. But the Norwegians are aware that lunatics like Kissoon exist in society who should be listened to but ignored. In the pursuit of his partisan political interests Kissoon uses the Kaieteur News to his full advantage to make unsubstantiated claims against the Government of Guyana, yet he accuses the government of being fascist, Kissoon doesn’t know the meaning of fascism. Kissoon said that the Norwegians listened to the PNCR and AFC when they last visited Guyana and they also read people like Dr Bulkan.

[Guyana] Stabroek News is playing a wicked political game

By Peter Persaud, letter to the editor, Guyana Chronicle, 21 May 2011 | The Amerindian Action Movement of Guyana (TAAMOG), a member of the Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee of Guyana’s LCDS rejects and condemns the Stabroek News reporting on Guyana’s LCDS under the caption: “Disparity seen between Amerindian groups, others in LCDS report’ (Tuesday May 17, 2011) as politically mischievous and wicked, designed to use the LCDS in its politically partisan agenda in the run-up to Guyana’s 2011 General and Regional Elections. The Stabroek News in the demonstration of its partisan politics is selectively twisting out of context portions of a report on Guyana’s LCDS commissioned by Norad, the Norwegian agency for Development cooperation to deliberately discredit Guyana’s LCDS and to sow the seeds of division in Guyana’s multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society and even at the level of the multi-stakeholder steering committee of Guyana’s LCDS.

[Guyana] Some media houses deliberately misrepresenting facts on Amaila hydropower project

By Sharon McDonald, letter to the editor, Guyana Chronicle, 21 May 2011 | At first glance, one would feel that many people have misunderstood the issue of the Amaila Falls hydropower project which saw some changes recently, more so, with the change of licence from Synergy to Sithe Global. However, it seems that some sections of the media are deliberately misrepresenting the facts in an effort to create confusion in the minds of Guyanese. Prime Minister Samuel Hinds recently clarified the issue in a statement in which he explained the conception of the Amaila Falls project and the circumstances under which the interim licence was changed. I believe that the Prime Minister’s statement was very straightforward and I fail to understand why some persons are still confused. This is the only word I can associate with these persons who continue to offer misrepresentations of the issue.

[Guyana] Electricity for 10,500 hinterlands homes

Kaieteur News, 21 May 2011 | Government has unveiled a major hinterland project that will see 10,500 homes being equipped with solar power. The programme is being executed by the Project Management Office, Office of the President, with the Office of the Prime Minister responsible for procurement and monitoring activities. The Ministry of Amerindian Affairs will also be lending support to the project implementation, a government statement announced. Government is estimating that the majority of hinterland households, which includes 80 percent of the Amerindian population, are at present without access to basic electricity. “The government will shortly launch the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) Hinterland Electrification Programme that will rectify this long-pervading inequity by providing access to clean and renewable energy,” the statement said.

[Guyana] Over 10,000 households to benefit from hinterland solar power project, says gov’t

Stabroek News, 21 May 2011 | Solar home systems would be installed in 10,500 Amerindian households for about 135 Amerindian communities that at present remain un-served, the government said on Thursday, while announcing the impending start of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) Hinterland Electrification Programme. “The majority of hinterland households, which includes 80 percent of the Amerindian population, is at present without access to basic electricity,” the Guyana Government said in a statement, while adding that the electrification project would rectify the “long-pervading inequity” by providing access to clean and renewable energy. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

22 May 2011

[Indonesia] Big Donor Norway Welcomes Indonesia’s Forest Plan

Jakarta Globe, 22 May 2011 | Norway welcomed on Friday a plan by Indonesia to impose a two-year moratorium on logging in primary forests despite a five-month delay to the deal. Norway and Indonesia signed an agreement in May last year under which Jakarta promised to impose the moratorium. In return Norway vowed to pay $1 billion in aid, based on Indonesia’s performance in achieving long-term goals to slow deforestation. “The launch of the moratorium is one important step forward for Indonesia,” Norwegian Environment Minister Erik Solheim said in a statement. “What Indonesia is embarking on is a very serious development choice. Indonesia’s efforts to combine the goal of 7 percent economic growth with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2020 are commendable,” he said.

Sheltering forests for people

By Bandana Shakya, Repblica, 22 May 2011 | The climate change policy of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) and bringing out the role of conservation and sustainable forest management (REDD plus) is the latest undertaking aiming to help combat the threats to forests. The idea is to integrate climate change mitigation measures with sustainable forest conservation and management. The CBD’s Programme of Work on Forests complements the UNFCCC climate policy by urging nations to create enabling mechanisms to conserve the biodiversity of all forests types so as to sustain the services of forest ecosystems for the benefit of people, and to increase the carbon pool.

Black and white and REDD all over: a plan to save the world’s forests

By Peter Kanowski, The Conversation, 22 May 2011 | There are many practical concerns about implementing REDD+. What are the baselines from which REDD+ gains or losses would be assessed? How do we monitor, verify and report changes in carbon stocks? What will that cost? And will REDD+ simply displace deforestation to countries with the least capacity or interest to participate? … [I]t’s possible that REDD+ will provide an excuse for inaction on the 85% of emissions that are non-forest based. Some agriculturalists are worried that forests will displace agriculture from land, and use the water that will be needed to feed a growing world population. Researchers have been trying to work out whether saving forests for carbon will also preserve biodiversity… REDD+ funding could be directed to most high-priority biodiversity regions without severely reducing carbon sequestration. But non-REDD+ funding will be necessary to really protect biodiversity.

[Guyana] Gov’t guilty of ‘no truth, half truths and distortions’ — Christopher Ram

Kaieteur News, 22 May 2011 | Activist and chartered accountant, Christopher Ram, has blasted the government over what he calls the “secrecy” involving the planned Amaila Falls Hydro Electricity project that is slated to cost up to US$700 million. “This government has been guilty of no truth, half truths and distortions” with regard to the project, Ram said in a recent interview. Ram wondered who was ultimately responsible for making the decisions regarding the project, saying that whoever is, could not be patriotic or interested in the development of Guyana. “One has to wonder if they are interested in their own personal development, the development of their pockets and those who are their supporters and friends,” he stated. Ram has blasted the government for not being forthright in dispending information to the public. “I believe the government has a duty to consult and inform people in matters affecting their welfare and their future,” he declared.

[Guyana] Will report on Norway aid prompt changes?

By Gaulbert Sutherland, Stabroek News, 22 May 2011 | Guyana may have to implement some of the key recommendations contained in a recent report on the impact of Norwegian aid here including tackling the question of how non-Amerindian rural groups are to benefit. The first Guyana country report on the ‘Real-Time Evaluation of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative, Contri-butions to National REDD+ Processes 2007-2010’ was released recently and a number of recommendations were made in relation to several contentious issues. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

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