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REDD in the news: 6-12 June 2011

REDD in the news: 6-12 June 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.

Modalities for REDD+ Reference Levels

Meridian Institute, June 2011 | Looking toward the 17th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP) in Durban, South Africa, the Government of Norway commissioned Meridian Institute to undertake a new options assessment effort focusing on modalities for REDD+ reference levels. This project follows on two previous Norway-sponsored activities (REDD-OAR and REDD+ IOA)

Approaches to classifying and restoring degraded tropical forests for the anticipated REDD plus climate change mitigation mechanism

By N. Sasaki, G.P. Asner, W. Knorr, P.B. Durst, F.E. Putz, iForest, 2011 | Inclusion of improved forest management as a way to enhance carbon sinks in the Copenhagen Accord of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (December 2009) suggests that forest restoration will play a role in global climate change mitigation under the post-Kyoto agreement. Although discussions about restoration strategies often pertain solely to severely degraded tropical forests and invoke only the enrichment planting option, different approaches to restoration are needed to counter the full range of degrees of degradation. We propose approaches for restoration of forests that range from being slightly to severely degraded.

6 June 2011

Ecosystem Goods and Services from Plantation Forests

By Gabriel Thoumi, mongabay.com, 6 June 2011 | Given that plantations cover 140 million hectares, or 4% of the global forested area, and are a growing source of round wood and pulp, Ecosystem Goods and Services from Plantation Forests is very well timed edited value that can add value to the discussion and implementation of sustainable forest management within a carbon constrained and biodiversity depleted global economic system.

South Sudan’s tropical forests fast disappearing

By Karimeh Moukaddem, mongabay.com, 6 June 2011 | South Sudan’s tropical montane forests are fast disappearing according to new analysis by PRINS Engineering. At current rates, Mount Dongotomea, located in South Sudan’s most biodiverse ecosystem, could be completely stripped of tree cover by 2020. The forests of the Imatong Mountains, rising to 10,456 feet (3,187 meters), i in southern South Sudan are part of the Eastern Afro-montane ecosystem, rated by scientists as one of Africa’s biodiversity hotspots. Although the afro-montane forests reach only into limited areas of South Sudan, they offer the soon-to-be new country an estimated half of its plant biodiversity. These forests are home to many endemic and possibly unique species, but scientists have yet to study the region’s species.

ASB, IISD Hold Workshops for REDD+ Negotiators in Cameroon and Viet Nam

Climate Change Policy & Practice, 6 June 2011 | The Alternatives to Slash and Burn Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins (ASB) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) recently organized two workshops on capacity building for REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, as well as conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks) negotiators and stakeholders. The workshops convened from 10-12 May 2011 in Douala, Cameroon, and 18-20 May 2011 in Hanoi, Viet Nam. They provided a forum to discuss the way forward in REDD+ negotiations, share strategies and experience in REDD+ readiness and implementation, and explore issues under consideration in the negotiations.

33-Country Survey of World’s Remaining Tropical Forests to be Released 7 June

ITTO press release, 6 June 2011 | The international agency for monitoring and promoting the sustainable management of the world’s remaining tropical forests is set to release the largest and most comprehensive assessment of how 33 countries that control over 90 percent of the tropical timber trade are meeting their obligations to maintain these irreplaceable global resources. The new report, “Status of Tropical Forest Management 2011,” from the Japan-based International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) (http://www.itto.int/), will be released June 7 and is an exhaustive, country-by-country analysis of 1.4 billion hectares of tropical forests in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean. Employing new and existing data, the report provides the most accurate estimate yet of the amount of tropical forest in each of the 33 countries that is being managed in ways that will ensure its long-term survival.

[Nigeria] Group asks government to produce environmental blueprint

By Ben Ezeamalu, 234next.com, 6 June 2011 | The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has asked the federal government to produce a workable environmental blueprint that will address deforestation, gas flaring and other grave environmental concerns besetting the nation… Mr Bassey said his organisation disapproved of the dangerous eco-business currently thriving in Cross River State, where over one million hectares of forested land mass inhabited by forest-dependent peoples of Ekuri, Mbe/Afi, and Mangrove Forest Reserves are already being targeted as project sites for an initiative, REDD, by the Nigerian government in collaboration with some international donor agencies… “REDD-type projects have already resulted in land grabs, eviction, militarisation, hunger and economic truncation in counties like Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and other REDD-targeted countries,” said Mr Bassey.

Rising forest density offsets climate change: study

By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 6 June 2011 | Rising forest density in many countries is helping to offset climate change caused by deforestation from the Amazon basin to Indonesia, a study showed on Sunday. The report indicated that the size of trees in a forest — rather than just the area covered — needed to be taken into account more in U.N.-led efforts to put a price on forests as part of a nascent market to slow global warming. “Higher density means world forests are capturing more carbon,” experts in Finland and the United States said of the study in the online journal PLoS One, issued on June 5 which is World Environment Day in the U.N. calendar.

Forget deforestation: The world’s woodland is getting denser and change could help combat climate change

Daily Mail, 6 June 2011 | For years exponents of climate change theories have used images of deforestation to support their cause. However, the density of forests and woodland across much of the world is actually increasing, according to a respected scientific study. The change, which is being dubbed the ‘Great Reversal’, could be crucial in reducing atmospheric carbon, which is linked to climate change… The research, carried out by teams from the University of Helsinki and New York’s Rockefeller University, shows that forests are thickening in 45 of 68 countries, which together account for 72 per cent of global forests. Traditionally, environmentalists have focused their concern solely on the dwindling extent of forested areas, but the authors believe evidence of denser forests could be crucial in reducing the world’s carbon footprint.

Spending More On Forests Could Reap Enormous Benefits

UN press release, 6 June 2011 | Investing a relatively small amount each year in the forestry sector could halve deforestation, create millions of new jobs and help tackle the devastating effects of climate change, according to a United Nations report released today to mark World Environment Day. The report, “Forests in a Green Economy: A Synthesis,” finds that an additional $40 billion spent each year in the forestry sector — or just 0.034 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) — could result in substantial environmental improvements… Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which issued the report, said forestry is one of the key sectors capable of helping the world transition to a ‘green economy’ model that is resource-efficient and low in its use of carbon. “There are already many encouraging signals; the annual net forest loss since 1990 has fallen from around eight million to around five million hectares…” he said.

Breaking news from Bonn on climate negotiations: Bolivia & Tuvalu

By Tina Gerhardt, Climate Connections, 6 June 2011 | Bolivia has taken a firm stance at the opening of the UN climate negotiations in Bonn today, stating that it opposed the Cancún Agreement in Mexico and refuses to negotiate it now in Bonn until its concerns, particularly vis-a-vis the fundamental issue of REDD, are addressed. Discussions will resume this afternoon, taking up this topic.

Guyana, Congo ink five-year agreement to enhance sustainable management of forest

Guyana Chronicle, 6 June 2011 | As Government continues its fight to make countries become better aware of its policies on forest conservation and sustainable development, through the visionary Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud on Friday last inked an agreement with the Democratic Republic of Congo, to increase cooperation between the two countries in the field of forestry and wood industries. The MOU, which was signed by Minister Persaud and Congolese Minister of Forestry and Sustainable Development Henri Djombo, will pave the way for the strengthening of South-South cooperation between the two countries.

7 June 2011

Global demand for beef and soy challenges South American tropical forest conservation

By Andrew Wight, CIFOR Forests Blog, 7 June 2011 | Market forces and policies encouraging economic growth are having a increasingly large influence in shaping forest landscape transformation in South America, according to a recent research paper. In an article published in the January 2011 edition of Forests, Pablo Pacheco, a researcher at CIFOR and his colleagues said agribusiness development brings economic development to forest frontiers, but at the expense of forest conservation. This introduces challenges when implementing the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) scheme, which is designed to incentivise developing countries to sustain their forests.

Australia constructing satellite data receiving facility; may be used for REDD

Climate Connect, 7 June 2011 | Australian government is using advanced technology for protection of global forest resources. According to the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, “The Government is strengthening regional forest data accessibility by building a new satellite data receiving facility in northern Australia.” This facility would increase access to satellite images and improve monitoring of forests, with higher accuracy… It has also taken certain steps for capacity building of developing nations in protecting their forests. For facilitation of the above goal, Australia, along with five leading developed countries, has agreed to provide $3.5 billion to developing countries as initial public finance. Mr. Combet said that the present government is supporting development of a global mechanism which would help in reducing emissions from degradation of forest and its resources. These steps would eventually help in implementation of UN’s REDD scheme.

90% of tropical forests managed poorly or not at all

mongabay.com, 7 June 2011 | More than 90 percent of tropical forests are managed poorly or not at all, says a new assessment by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). The report, Status of Tropical Forest Management 2011, finds that while forests continue to be degraded and destroyed at a rapid pace there are signs of hope. ITTO says the area of natural tropical forest under “sustainable management” in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean increased by 47 percent from 36 million hectares (89 million acres) to 53 million hectares (134 million acres) between 2005 and 2010. Over the same time the extent of timber production under some form of management plan increased by about a third to 131 million hectares. “We are of course happy to see the progress that has occurred in the last five years, but it still represents an incremental advance, and some countries are still lagging behind,” said Emmanuel Ze Meka, ITTO’s Executive Director, in a statement.

Tropical forests ‘better managed’

By Richard Black, BBC News, 7 June 2011 | The world’s tropical forests are better managed now than five years ago, concludes a survey by the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO). The area under some form of sustainable management plan increased by about 50% over the period; but about 90% of tropical forest lacks protection. The most significant improvements have been seen in Africa, the report says. The ITTO is a pro-sustainable use trade body whose 60 member countries account for 90% of the global timber trade. Its current report – Status of Tropical Forest Management 2011 – analysed data from 33 important forest countries, including the really big players such as Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia. “The top line is that the area under sustainable forest management has gone up from 36 to 53 million hectares in five years,” said Duncan Poore, one of the report’s authors and a former head of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Progress too slow on saving tropical forests: report

AFP,7 June 2011 | All but seven percent of the world’s tropical forests are “managed poorly or not at all” despite efforts to boost sustainability, according to a major report released Tuesday. Forces driving forest destruction across four continents – including rising food and fuel prices, and growing demand for timber – threaten to overwhelm future conservation efforts, warned the 420-page study by the Japan-based International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO), an intergovernmental agency group that promotes sustainable use of forests. “Less than 10 percent of all forests are sustainably managed, and we expect deforestation to continue,” said Steven Johnson, ITTO’s communications director. “The economic rationale is just so compelling. Revenue streams coming from standing forests just can’t compete against conversion to agriculture or biofuel crops, pasture land for livestock, or palm oil plantation,” he said by phone.

‘Sustainable’ timber is not always what it seems

By Fred Pearce, New Scientist, 7 June 2011 | Most products sourced from tropical timber destroy the forest – and a sustainability logo may not be a reliable guide for your green conscience. While a report this week celebrates a 50 per cent increase in the area of tropical forests that are sustainably managed, other studies suggest this assessment is open to question… A CIFOR study, published online in December (Forest Policy and Economics, DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2010.11.005), found that only three out of the 10 FSC-certified forests in Cameroon operate “using techniques that are likely to ensure future harvest at the same rate as today”.

Climate Talks Face Time Crunch as Kyoto Deadline Looms

ENS, 7 June 2011 | IUCN and many other environmental groups believe that forests are central to efforts to deal with global climate change. They are promoting nature-based solutions to climate change, through REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and through recognizing the role nature can play in increasing resilience and reducing vulnerability of people in the face of climate change.

[Guyana] Timber trading, training, new technology to be explored

Kaieteur News, 7 June 2011 | Guyana has inked a significant agreement with the Democratic Republic of Congo, to increase cooperation between the two countries in the field of forestry and wood industries. The five-year Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed by Guyana’s Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud and Congolese Minister of Forestry and Sustainable Development Henri Djombo, will pave the way for the strengthening of cooperation between the two countries.The agreement will see the two countries establishing and developing cooperation to address sustainable forest management, REDD+ initiatives and the enhancement and development of processed wood and wood-based construction industries.

Norway needs Guyana too!

Kaieteur News, 7 June 2011 | From the conditions that are being applied on the disbursement of these funds, it can be presumed that Norway feels that it is doing Guyana a favour. Norway is not giving away money to Guyana. Norway has found a way to meet its emission reduction targets by purchasing credits from Guyana. No matter how much fancy language is used to explain the arrangement this is essentially what the agreement is about. Norway is essentially paying us for not cutting down the forests… Norway is under an obligation to reduce emissions and it is meeting those obligations by paying Guyana for carbon credits. So this is fair trade, no favours from Norway. Guyana is the one providing the favour. The Guyana Government ought to have disentangled itself from that strong environmental lobby that has pushed it into the Low Carbon Development Strategy and realized that favour that it was doing to Norway rather than the other way around.

8 June 2011

The UN Climate Negotiations Kick Off – Sort Of

By Tina Gerhardt, Earth Island Journal, 8 June 2011 | Pablo Sólon, Bolivia’s lead climate envoy, criticized the stalling, calling the previous meeting in Bangkok in April, the $6 million agenda, underscoring that all that was discussed was the agenda and no headway was made on generating a draft text for negotiation in South Africa… dditionally, Sólon took a strong stance against Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). Sólon stated that the main objection resided in the approach to forests. “There is a proposal in the Cancún agreement that focuses everything on … guidelines in the capacity of forests to capture CO2 ,” he said. “We must not focus on how to prepare forests for a market mechanism … We must fight deforestation now.” He stated: “We cannot spend the money that we have now … trying to measure the amount of carbon that a forest stores, in order to prepare the conditions for a future carbon market on forests.”

New publications on REDD+ and Agriculture

CGIAR Climate, 8 June 2011 | Today, the CGIAR Climate program releases four new publications that uncover the links between Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and agriculture. With agriculture a primary driver of deforestation in the tropics, the reports investigate how countries can achieve mitigation objectives as well as food security outcomes. The briefs are being released at a side event that brings together key players in the agriculture, forestry and rural development research communities, including Peter Holmgren (FAO), Frances Seymour (CIFOR), Lindiwe Sibanda (FANRPAN, Joachim von Braun (ZEF-Uni-Bonn) and George Wamukoya (COMESA).

Agriculture omitted from deforestation plans

Nature News Blog, 8 June 2011 | Many developing countries’ plans for curbing deforestation in return for payments from richer nations don’t tackle the key reason for cutting down forests – agriculture, the climate change conference in Bonn, Germany heard. A new analysis presented at the conference says very few strategies drawn up by forest rich nations under the United Nations’ enhanced Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) programme address the link between agriculture and deforestation… “There is simply no way governments can have credible REDD+ strategies unless their top priority is to address agriculture and food security – these are the main drivers of forest destruction,” said Bruce Campbell leader of CGIAR’s Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), which produced the analysis.

Forest protection plans failing to address food needs

mongabay.com, 8 June 2011 | Strategy plans for implementing programs to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) are failing to provide details on how they will address forest conversion for agriculture, which in most countries is a major driver of deforestation, argues a new report from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and Lexeme Consulting. The analysis is based on examination of 20 REDD+ “readiness proposals” submitted to the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), which is providing $345 million to tropical countries to prepare them for an eventual system of carbon-payments for deforestation avoidance. Such a system will require institutional reform, capacity-building and capabilities to monitor, report, and verify (MRV) emissions reductions.

Food Demand is Eating Away at Tropical Rain Forests

Do Your Part, 8 June 2011 | Clearing land to produce food and biofuels is threatening the world’s tropical rain forests.That’s the finding of a report published by the International Tropical Timber Association. The report also says pressure to plant fast-growing trees for timber, wood fuel and paper is taking its toll on the fragile forests. The group did report good news including growing awareness for the importance of sustainably harvested wood but pointed out it’s not fast enough to counter growing world demand for food. The study’s co-author says conserving forests is not as lucrative as converting them to farms for food and biofuels. Duncan Poore says “when you consider the increase in consumption in China and India it’s a very alarming prospect.”

Sustainable forests rise by 50%, says study

By Anthony Deutsch, Financial Times, 8 June 2011 | A study of the world’s forests has found a 50 per cent rise in sustainably managed tropical woodlands since 2005, helped by rising demand in developed countries for certified wood and UN programmes to reduce carbon emissions. The International Tropical Timber Organisation, an intergovernmental body promoting conservation and sustainable management, evaluated forest management in 33 countries, comprising 90 per cent of the tropical forest cover. The result was the 420-page report Status of Tropical Forest Management 2011, the Tokyo-based group’s second assessment of policy.

Tropical Forest Cover Increases

The African Executive, 8 June 2011 | A comprehensive assessment of tropical forest management reports a 50 percent increase in the area of tropical forest under sustainable management in just five years, but cautions that key drivers of that increase – growing demand for certified timber and funding for climate change initiatives – could have only a marginal impact in the long-term… ITTO reports that 26 of the 33 surveyed countries are participating in at least one REDD-related initiative, including the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, UN-REDD, the Forest Investment Program, the Global Environment Facility, ITTO’s own REDDES program, and several major bilateral programs.

[Pakistan] Deforestation affecting climate

The Nation, 8 June 2011 | Minister Agriculture and Forest Malik Ahmad Ali has said that global deforestation and its degradation has a negative impact on climate change for which, initiatives like Reduced Emission from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) was critically important as a mitigation response. Speaking at the inaugural session of training seminar on climate change and Reduced Emission from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) organized by Forest Department Punjab here on Tuesday, he said that World was losing forest cover at an alarming rate of about 13 million hectares per year and the major culprit for this massive deforestation was the conversion of forests into other uses such as agricultural, housing and industry. The minister said pressure on forest resources was extremely high in Pakistan and the country was ranked amongst the countries with highest deforestation rates in Asia despite scant forestry resources.

Using Forests to Bridge the Carbon Gap

By Stephen Leahy, IPS, 8 June 2011 | “We need forests to bridge the carbon gap,” said Stewart Maginnis, head of the Forest Conservation Programme of the IUCN. Carbon emission reduction commitments made by countries in the 2009 Copenhagen Accord will not be enough to keep global temperatures near two degrees of additional warming… However, according to Bram Büscher of the International Institute of Social Studies at Erasmus University in the Netherlands, REDD and other market-based mechanisms to protect forests simply will not work. “Making money will always trump the ecological benefits of forests in a capitalistic economic system,” Büscher said in an interview. “It’s simplistic to say everyone wins with REDD. There is nothing win-win under capitalism. It’s all about winners and losers,” he added. “Capitalism is inherently unecological. We’re trying to rig the system to make it work for the green economy. It’s a sham,” Büscher maintained.

Clamp Down on Illegal Logging Spells Good News for the Timber Industry

PRWeb, 8 June 2011 | Speaking at the launch of myclicks’ new website ‘timberinvestments.co’, Business Development Manager John Adam, outlined the industry trends behind the new initiative. ‘The latest addition to our stable of websites in the alternative investments and commodities field is a significant one. Originally planned for launch later in the summer, we have brought things forward in response to, amongst other factors, the recently announced VPA (Voluntary Partnership Agreement) between the EU and Indonesia. The agreement was signed on May 4th in Jakarta, as reported by Wood News.

North America’s largest forest carbon project launches, sells $4-million in credits

The Globe and Mail, 8 June 2011 | The Nature Conservancy of Canada is receiving more than $4-million in what it says is the largest forest carbon project to date in North America and the first deal of its kind in Canada. The land conservancy organization announced in Vancouver Wednesday that it has sold carbon credits that are the equivalent of 700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions… John Lounds, President and CEO of the NCC, said the deal involves a 55,000-hectare sweep of forested mountains that is known as Darkwoods. The land, which has extensive virgin forest with trees over 500 years old, lies on the west side of the south arm of Kootenay Lake, near Nelson. NCC purchased Darkwoods in 2008 for $125-million with funding help from federal and provincial governments… Pacific Carbon Trust, a Crown corporation established by the B.C. government in 2008 to deliver provincially-based greenhouse gas offsets, and ERA Ecosystem Restoration Associates, a Vancouver-based company…

Why Market-Based ‘Solutions’ to Climate Change Can Cause More Harm Than Good

By Jeff Conant, AlterNet, 8 June 2011 | When I learned last November that California’s then-governor Schwarzenegger had signed agreements to build a carbon offset protocol into California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32) (see AlterNet’s coverage here and here), and that one of these agreements was with the state of Chiapas, Mexico, where I’ve spent significant time, I wondered immediately what this would mean for the Indigenous communities of Chiapas, who have engaged in a long struggle for autonomy over their resources and territories.

US universities in Africa ‘land grab’

By John Vidal and Claire Provost, The Guardian, 8 June 2011 | The largest land deal in South Sudan, where as much as 9% of the land is said by Norwegian analysts to have been bought in the last few years, was negotiated between a Texas-based firm, Nile Trading and Development and a local co-operative run by absent chiefs. The 49-year lease of 400,000 hectares of central Equatoria for around $25,000 (£15,000) allows the company to exploit all natural resources including oil and timber. The company, headed by former US Ambassador Howard Eugene Douglas, says it intends to apply for UN-backed carbon credits that could provide it with millions of pounds a year in revenues.

Indonesia’s anti-mafia unit seeks to reopen $115 billion illegal logging case

mongabay.com, 8 June 2011 | Indonesia’s Anti-Mafia Law Task Force asked authorities Tuesday to reopen an investigation into illegal logging that may have cost the Indonesian state $115 billion. The investigation, which looked into logging by 14 pulp and paper companies in off-limits areas in the Riau province, was abruptly terminated in late 2008 after political pressure and the transfer of the lead investigator to a new post, according to an in-depth exposé published last month in the Jakarta Globe. As a result, the allegations against pulp and paper companies, which are associated with Asia Pulp & Paper and Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper, a subsidiary of Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings (APRIL), “never had a chance to be proven in court.” But now the Anti-Mafia Law Task Force, a unit of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), wants to reopen the case…

Indonesian politicians on the lam: The Singapore slink

The Economist, 8 June 2011 | Indonesia remains among the most corrupt countries in Asia, despite a high-profile anti-graft campaign by Mr Yudhoyono. On June 6th the president ordered Indonesia’s foreign ministry to do whatever it takes to arrest Mrs Nurbaeti and bring her back to Indonesia. The weekend confab with Mr Nazaruddin wasn’t the first time that an Indonesian government team was sent to Singapore to locate a high-profile corruption suspect. Last year members of a task force appointed by Mr Yudhoyono found a mid-level tax official, Gayus Tambunan, who allegedly bribed senior Indonesian police, prosecutors, and a judge after being caught with millions of suspicious dollars, at a shopping centre on Orchard Road. They persuaded him to return voluntarily to Jakarta to face trail.

[Indonesia] Ilegal Timber Trade Concern of All Nations: SBY

By Camelia Pasandran, Jakarta Globe, 8 June 2011 | President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called on other countries to help preserve Indonesia’s forests by not becoming markets for illegally logged Indonesian timber. “In short, there are a lot of fences out there,” the president, referring to dealers in stolen goods, said on Tuesday at a ceremony to hand out environmental awards. “Whenever we sell timber, we take the heat for deforestation. Certainly there are violations everywhere, which is what we’re cracking down on, but the truth is that there are also fences outside the country.” He stressed that in order to protect the country’s forests, it behooved other countries to cooperate in preventing illegal logging. “If you want to do good, let’s work together to sort out the timber industry,” Yudhoyono said.

[Indonesia] President asks governors to suspend issuance of new forestry permits

Antara News, 8 June 2011 | President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Tuesday asked governors, district heads and mayors not to issue new permits to manage rainforests and peatlands until the government finishes putting them in order. “I have decided to suspend the issuance of new permits to manage primary forests and peatlands while at the same time improving the management of forests and peatlands under presidential instruction number 10 of 2011. Let`s implement it. I instruct governors, district heads and mayors to implement it. Don`t issue new permits for the management of primary forests and peatlands until we finish putting them in order,” he said at a function to mark the World Environment Day at the State Palace here on Tuesday.

Bolivia’s Envoy Touts Financial Tax to Fund $100 Billion in Climate Aid

By Alex Morales, Bloomberg, 7 June 2011 | Bolivia is pushing for a tax on international financial transactions to help fund $100 billion of climate change aid that developed countries have pledged to provide by 2020. Under the plan, countries could opt to charge a 0.01 percent tax on any money coming in from abroad for any transaction, Bolivia’s lead climate negotiator, Pablo Solon, said today in Bonn, where two weeks of United Nations climate talks started yesterday. The money would then be paid into a fund that can disburse aid to any country, Solon said. The tax is needed to ensure aid pledges are met with new money, said Solon, noting an earlier promise by developed countries to pay $30 billion in climate change aid over the three years 2010 through 2012. “The famous $30 billion didn’t come to developing countries, not as new aid,” Solon said. A new tax would mean “we will begin to see new fresh money,” he said.

Guyana to co-chair interim REDD+ Partnership with Germany from July 1

Guyana Chronicle, 7 June 2011 | Guyana is hoping to influence the developing world to argue the case for hasty disbursement of the resources pledged to them when it assumes the role of co-chair to the Interim Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) + Partnership with Germany. President Bharrat Jagdeo told officials from over 35 countries in the Amazon, Congo and Borneo-Mekong regions gathered at a special summit for rainforest countries in the Republic of Congo that the position as co-chair will take effect from July 1… “We have to go into this partnership first of all… to ensure that the resources that are pledged don’t just remain pledges, that they are disbursed to our countries,” President Jagdeo said, assuring that Guyana will make every effort to represent the interests of the developing world.

[Guyana] New Norwegian Ambassador wants forest MOU accelerated

By Johann Earle, Guyana Chronicle, 8 June 2011 | Newly accredited non-resident Norwegian Ambassador to Guyana, Turid Rodrigues Eusebio, is eager to learn about Guyana and wants to see the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries advance into operation mode. She was speaking after a meeting with President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday at State House, where she had earlier presented her letters of credence. “I took over the responsibility from January 1, 2011, and this is the first time I am in the country, so for the time being, I am trying to form an opinion about the country and about the possibilities, the obstacles, get to know the country better, so I am still in that process,” she explained. Eusebio will be based at the Norwegian Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil.

9 June 2011

PNG govt still paying millions to McKinsey for climate strategy

PNGexposed Blog, 9 June 2011 | Documents obtained exclusively by PNG Exposed show the Papua New Guinea government paid almost US$ 500,000 (PGK 1.37 million) to international consultancy firm McKinsey & Co in September 2010 for 10 weeks work assisting with the development of PNG’s ‘Climate Compatible Development Strategy’.

Is The Recent Increase In Deforestation A Threat To REDD?

By Anne Riddle, Weathervane: A Climate Policy Blog from Resources for the Future, 9 June 2011 | While international efforts to curb deforestation have been on the rise, recent reports of an increase in deforestation in Brazil, and the signing of Indonesia’s logging moratorium commitment have brought attention squarely back to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+). At first blush, these news items seem straightforward, but deeper reading of the activity in these two countries reveals a more complex picture. While news of renewed deforestation in the Amazon seems bleak, Brazil’s swift response is heartening for REDD+ supporters, while Indonesia’s logging moratorium reveals significant weaknesses likely to undermine its effectiveness. Comparing the two unearths many of the issues REDD+ has struggled with since the beginning.

After the stalemate in Bonn

livemint.com, 9 June 2011 | There are renewed grounds for pessimism about getting an agreement on limiting climate change, if there was any hope to begin with. There are several pointers to that. On Wednesday, Canada confirmed that it would not support an extended Kyoto Protocol after 2012. It joins Russia and Japan in rejecting an agreement already in torpor. Then, for all practical purposes, the negotiations in Bonn are dead: Even if countries agree on something, it would require legislative approval back home, an uncertain prospect at best. Finally, data now shows that China has been the world’s top carbon emitter for a third year in a row. It overtook the US in 2008. In 2010, global carbon emissions rose at the fastest rate in more than four decades.

Manual on Estimating Opportunity Costs of REDD+ a Key Resource

ASB, 9 June 2011 | A recent version II of the manual titled Estimating Opportunity Costs of REDD+ can be found here. The manual was developed by ASB together with experts from the World Bank and the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility as a guide on how to estimate the cost of REDD+. It assists policy makers and project developers to gain knowledge and skills on how to determine costs that accrue because of not converting forests into other land uses. The manual addresses the calculation of costs and benefits of the various land use alternatives in relation to their carbon stocks and the identification of economic trade-offs involved in REDD+ activities and includes information on data collection, analysis and evaluation techniques.

Progress and Challenges on REDD+ Safeguards Highlighted at UN-REDD and Ecuador Event in Bonn

The UN-REDD Programme blog, 9 June 2011 | The UN-REDD Programme and Ecuador’s side event at the UN’s Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) focused on new tools and country progress in addressing REDD+ safeguards. Through presentations from the UN-REDD Programme, Ecuador, Viet Nam, the Climate Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) and Tebtebba (Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Ecucation), more than 120 participants from 30 countries and various governmental and non-governmental organizations were given an overview of the concepts and tools being developed to address safeguards in REDD+ implementation.

Indonesia’s Ambitious Forest Moratorium Moves Forward

By Beth Gingold and Fred Stolle, World Resources Institute, 9 June 2011 | A summary of key elements, and unanswered questions, in Indonesia’s recent moratorium on new forest permits… According to government statements, the decree applies to between 64 and 72 million hectares of primary forest and peatland, shown in a map attached to the decree. The decree highlights governance as a key area for improvement, critical in addressing the underlying causes of forest loss. The President calls on ministries and agencies to work together nationally and locally to implement the moratorium. It is difficult to assess the likely effectiveness of the moratorium in achieving its goal of reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, since the decree includes a number of exemptions (such as cases in which licenses are pending) without providing details on the exempted areas’ location or size.

REDD+ : Cutting Up Indonesia’s Forest Cake

By Kevin Rennie, CIVICUS World Assembly, 9 June 2011 | Norway and Indonesia celebrated the first anniversary of their $US 1 billion climate and forest partnership last week. This coincided with the recent Indonesian government’s bans on logging of 64 million hectares of primary forests and peatlands, with clearing permits suspended for two years. There is a lot happening in a country with one third of the world’s tropical rainforests, including similar amounts from Germany through FORCLIME (Forests and Climate Change Programme) and Fast Start funds from Australia. These are just part of the international development support for Indonesia’s REDD+ projects (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).

Indonesian Development Ban Fails to Refain Deforestation

By Brian Padden, VOA News, 9 June 2011 | Environmental organizations say Indonesia’s recently announced moratorium on developing new forest land is not slowing the rate of deforestation nor reducing the emission of greenhouse gases… Lou Verchot, a climate change scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research says confronting businesses that may exploit the environment will not stop development in forest lands. He says the moratorium also by itself will have little effect… Verchot says the $1 billion pledge from Norway pales in comparison with the $20 billion Indonesia makes each year in trading forest products with the United States alone… “If you are asking me if I am encouraged, I certainly am encouraged. I think it was courageous of the president to make the declaration. I think he is precipitating a discussion that needs to happen within Indonesian society. So its positive. At the same time the game’s not over…” said Verchot.

Protection Gives Mighty Boost to Few Forests

By Tim Wall, Discovery News, 9 June 2011 | “Today’s report shows that less than 10 percent of all forests are sustainably managed and that ITTO expects deforestation to continue,” said Andy White, Coordinator of the Rights and Resources Initiative in an ITTO press release. “The report also shows that reforming tenure and supporting community forestry are needed to prevent the continued loss of tropical forests and the industrial clearing and logging that leads to deforestation, poverty, and human rights abuses.”

Integrating agriculture and forestry in the landscape is key to REDD

physorg.com, 9 June 2011 | Evidence from benchmark sites across the tropics is proving that an integrated, multifunctional approach that allows for land-use sharing in agriculture, forests and other functions can achieve good results in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and raising food production levels. It provides more realistic solutions than the popular view on sparing land for forests through agricultural intensification… A recent policy brief published by ASB-ICRAF shows that commodities meant for export contribute to land use change responsible for emissions from deforestation, forest degradation and agriculture.

Germany’s Withdrawal of Funding Threatens Plan to Save Ecuador Forest

By Eric Marx, ScienceInsider, 9 June 2011 | The Ecuadorian government’s plan to keep oil in the ground in Yasuni National Park in exchange for compensation from world governments has taken a severe blow in recent days. Germany had tentatively pledged up to $50 million a year for the so-called Yasuni ITT Initiative but had reportedly been having second thoughts. Last week, the Die Zeit newspaper disclosed that the country was indeed withdrawing its support, and German officials and others involved in the negotiations for the funding have confirmed that decision. Given this development, scientists and activists concerned about Yasuni are debating whether the initiative is dead and whether they should now concentrate on minimizing any damage from anticipated oil exploration.

Outsourcing Global Warming Solutions

By Jeff Conant, Urban Habitat, 9 June 2011 | While the pollution-trading piece of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act has roused the ire of environmental justice advocates in the state, the question of carbon offsets has also raised concerns south of the border, where another set of “low-income communities” are already being impacted by the legislation. One of former Governor Schwarzenegger’s last acts in office, just a week before the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Cancún, Mexico, was to sign agreements with the states of Chiapas, Mexico and Acre, Brazil for a state-to-state cap-and-trade agreement to be part of AB32. As Welch explained, “Offsets are a mechanism used in a cap-and-trade program to try to achieve reductions in the sectors outside of the capped entities – that is, outside the polluting industries. CARB has adopted several offset protocols, one being forestry.”

[Guyana] The Amerindian community and opportunistic politicians

Guyana Chronicle, 9 June 2011 | Every year, nearing elections, opposition political parties target the Amerindian community, attempting to convince them that the Government is neglecting them. This community is perceived to be facilitators to shifting the ‘balance of power’ to a third force in the local political arena so, regardless of the well-documented and highly visible reality that Government has sustained an unprecedented dynamism in the provision of services and social enhancement interventions in Amerindian communities, opposition politicians and their allies in the media continually attempt to mislead them into believing that the opposite is true by obfuscating the facts and presenting false pictures of caring for their welfare, when in essence their manipulations and strategizing can only lead to a derailment and/or an inhibitor of Government’s hinterland development drive.

[Guyana] Minister Persaud lauds agreement with Congo as landmark

Guyana Chronicle, 9 June 2011 | Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud, on Monday, lauded the pact he signed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to increase cooperation between the two countries in forestry and wood industries. “It is a landmark agreement for us. With this, we bring the two tropical rainforest basins together and it is now for us to learn from each other and make advances as it relates to value-added,” he said at a media briefing. Mr. Persaud said the collaboration provides both countries with opportunities to advance in an area where there are commonalities. He said, during his recent visit to the Congo, it was observed that there are no wooden houses in that country and the stakeholders are interested in doing more with their forests in terms of value-added. “When the officials were here, they were amazed at what we do with wood here in Guyana, in terms of value-added and they want to develop a wood based industry in Congo. They want to learn from us,” Persaud said.

[Guyana] Amaila road on schedule for August – but for light traffic

Guyana Chronicle, 9 June 2011 | Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Public Works and Communications, Walter Willis, says the Amaila road will be sufficiently completed by August to allow for the passage of light four by four vehicles. He made this disclosure during an interview with the Guyana Chronicle on Tuesday. Willis said that a team of consultants have just returned from the construction site of the Amaila Falls Hydro-electric Project road being constructed by Synergy Holdings Limited. “The consultants came out on Saturday. They have to prepare their report [after which I would be in a position to speak further],” Willis said.

10 June 2011

Rash of murders threatens to silence environmental and social activism in Brazil

By Karimeh Moukaddem, mongabay.com, 10 June 2011 | Authorities in Brazil have sent an elite police force consisting of 60 officers to offer protection to environmental activists in the Amazon after a series of killings, reports the Associated Press. The move comes 10 days after Brazil’s Vice President Michel Temer announced the creation of a working group on Amazon violence following the assassinations of three activists in the region in late May. The Brazilian Amazon is no stranger to systemic violence against environmental activists, yet the response from the federal government in the past two weeks is the most significant to date.

World Bank Prototype Carbon Fund Syndicate Agreement Extended Through 2023

By Matthew Carr, Bloomberg, 10 June 2011 | The World Bank’s Prototype Carbon Fund extended an agreement until as late as 2023 to help govern the syndicate including six governments and 16 companies. “Diverging interests among PCF participants surrounding the extension of the PCF instrument beyond 2014 were overcome to reach a mutually beneficial solution,” said Martin Lawless, chairman of the fund and London-based global head of environmental financial products at Deutsche Bank AG. The fund’s accord was extended in December 2010 to the end of the last signed emission-reduction purchase agreement, or 2023 at the latest, Lawless said in the 2010 annual report of the Washington bank’s Carbon Finance Unit, published May 25.

Bangladesh to sign MoU with US for low carbon dev

The Financial Express, 10 June 2011 | Bangladesh and the United States (US) are going to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) soon to foster broader cooperation in low carbon development and other areas of climate change. Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) Meshbah Ul Alam told the news agency after a bilateral meeting with the US delegation on the sideline of the UN climate talks at Maritime hotel here Friday. Under the MoU, the US will support Bangladesh in the areas of Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), emission reduction from industrial units and power stations and promoting renewable energy and other areas, the secretary said.

Forests: Nature at your service

By D. Rudrappan, Business Day, 10 June 2011 | REDD Programme for Afforestation: UNO has launched resource efficient, low carbon, employment intensive collaborative initiative with 29 developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America to stabilise global warming by reducing green house gas emission so as to avoid an increase of 2° Celsius in surface temperature. In the process of increasing afforestation, developing countries earn carbon credit also through financial assistance from advanced countries. For instance in Nigeria, the World Bank has identified 750 Clean development Mechanism (CDM) projects which if implemented, the country could earn 1 billion euros, besides providing millions of jobs to the jobless youth. However, Cross River state has been implementing REDD Scheme for the past few years increasing the forest cover in the state, thereby earning millions of dollars.

Pressured by Greenpeace, Mattel cuts off sub-supplier APP

By Margot Roosevelt, Los Angeles Times, 10 June 2011 | Responding to pressure from Greenpeace this week, toy maker Mattel Inc. said it would direct its suppliers to stop buying wood products from Asia Pulp & Paper, a Singapore company that has clear-cut vast swaths of Indonesia’s rain forest. As the environmental group’s global campaign against Mattel gained traction, the El Segundo company said on its Facebook page: “Mattel does not support deforestation nor does it contract directly with Sinar Mas/APP. We purchase packaging materials from a variety of suppliers and it is not the normal course of business to dictate where suppliers source materials.”

Philippine forest project gets carbon credits

By Karen Boncocan, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 10 June 2011 | The Quirino Forest Carbon Project (QFCP) of the Conservation International-Philippines has been acknowledged under the Verified Carbon Standards (VCS) program, a global standard and quality assurance system at the forefront of accounting greenhouse (GHG) emissions reductions in the voluntary carbon market. The project was accepted in the VCS program after its standards were approved in June by a third party auditor, the Rainforest Alliance. Last year, it was also awarded a Gold-level under the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standards for including community and biodiversity benefits in implementing the project. Implemented in a 175,943-hectare protected area in the province of Quirino called the Quirino Protected Landscape (QPL), the project sits amid a rich biodiversity–endemic and threatened flora and fauna. It supports the sustainable development of nearby provinces.

11 June 2011

World Bank’s Role in Fuelling Climate Chaos

Friends of the Earth International press release, 11 June 2011 | A new report released today by Friends of the Earth International during the UN climate talks in Bonn this week shows that the World Bank Group has been increasing its investments in fossil fuels and promoting corporate-led false solutions to climate change, including carbon trading, that serve to deepen rather than alleviate the current environmental crisis. The report, ‘Catalysing Catastrophic Climate Change’, follows widespread concerns voiced by developing countries about the growing role of the World Bank in delivering climate finance… Despite the Bank’s lending for highly unsustainable projects around the world, it is seeking an influential role in the UN’s new Green Climate Fund and in mechanisms to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).

For Indonesia’s Forests, a Broken Promise

By Bernadinus Steni (HuMa), Jakarta Globe, 11 June 2011 | In his recent opinion article in these pages, Agus Purnomo, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s special adviser on climate change, blamed the environmental movement’s attack on the presidential instruction on the logging moratorium, saying the criticism overlooked the many good aspects of the decree, which puts a two-year halt on new permits to clear primary forests and carbon-rich peatland. We commend the president for taking steps to protect the remaining forests in Indonesia, but as civil society organizations, it is our duty to speak out when the measures are not the right ones.

Putting people at the centre of forest law-making

foresttransparency.info, 10 June 2011 | study of transparency in the forest sectors of four developing countries. The report shows improvements in governments’ willingness to engage with civil society in each country, but sounds an overall warning to the international community that access to information on forest management remains hugely insufficient. “Over a billion people live in the world’s forests – they need a say in how their land is used,” said Global Witness Forest Campaigner David Young. “This report shows some improvements in each country from 2009 to 2010, but overall underlines the urgent need for more transparent information and more meaningful consultation with civil society in forested countries. Policy makers negotiating how to finance forest carbon schemes in Bonn this week and Durban in December must take note.”

Bolivian indigenous social movements worried about future of Kyoto Protocol and reject the commodification of forests

Press conference, 11 June 2011 | “There must be a holistic vision of forests. Forests will not be protected through a mechanism that issues certificates for the reduction of emissions to be sold on a carbon market. With these certificates for the reduction of emissions in our forests developed countries and companies will not fulfill their emissions reductions obligations”, added Lauriano Pari. “There must be financial reward for countries and indigenous peoples who preserve their forests. This financial reward cannot be based on market mechanisms. Instead funds should come from developed countries and innovative funding sources should be explored. For example, by establishing a new mechanism for a tax on financial transactions that would generate funds without any conditionality.”

12 June 2011

Urgent measures needed to curb forest depletion – UN

By Michael Simire, Daily Independent, 12 June 2011 | The threats facing Nigeria’s forests are extensive and urgent measures are needed if the country is to meet its aspiration of a smooth transition into a sustainable green economy. United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator in Nigeria and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, Daouda Toure, who made the submission, attributed species extinctions and human greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to tropical deforestation. Toure, who spoke last week in Abuja at a forum organised by the National Parks Service to commemorate the World Environment Day (WED) 2011, noted that the theme, “Forests: Nature at Your Service,” highlights the crucial environmental, economic and social roles played by the world’s forests.

Environment versus economy: local communities find economic benefits from living next to conservation areas

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 12 June 2011 | “Protected areas can help local economies by attracting tourists who spend money in nearby communities, by protecting ecosystem services (such as water provision, flood protection, generation of non-timber forest products) which increase productivity, or through improved infrastructure and institutional development. However, protected areas also impose costs by restricting access to land and natural resources. So the question is whether the benefits actually have or have not outweighed the costs at the local level,” explains Katharine Sims, the author of a study which appeared last year in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management and a co-author of a related study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

World Bank Blamed for Fuelling Climate Chaos

By Jutta Wolf, InDepth News, 12 June 2011 | The report’s author, Joseph Zacune, expresses concern that the Bank is playing a leading role in promoting new schemes that essentially privatise developing country forests in the process of generating carbon offsets. “These schemes are characterised by the exclusion of affected communities and critical voices from relevant planning processes, and a failure to ensure the protection of community rights. There is considerable doubt as to whether these projects will even reduce deforestation,” says Zacune. Yet despite these negative trends, adds Zacune, the World Bank is trying to expand its role within the UN climate negotiations.

Invisible exports – timber logs to Jamaica unrecorded by the Guyana Forestry Commission

By Janette Bulkan, letter to the editor, Kaieteur News, 12 June 2011 | Jamaican Customs opened a shipping container in mid-March and discovered 122kg of cocaine in bags with a consignment of 130 logs. The Guyana Forestry Commission admitted knowledge of this shipment,apparently associated with a State Forest Permission assigned to Aroaima Forest Producers Association but actually operated by a Chinese national. Such shipment contravenes the order by the Junior Minister for Forestry in the national log export policy of 16 November 2008, that from 01 January 2009, logs could be exported only by holders of logging concessions, which the Chinese was not. The shipment was also illegal in contravening Article 158 of the Customs Act, in using a false name in the shipping documents. The Forest Products Development and Marketing Council has recently issued the trade data for March 2011 compiled by the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC).

Oslo eager for progress on forestry pact with Guyana, ambassador says

Stabroek News, 12 June 2011 | Norway’s new Ambassador to Guyana Turid Rodrigues Eusebio says that Oslo is eager for progress on its forestry initiative with Guyana but things have to be done in a proper way. Eusebio presented her letters of credence to President Bharrat Jagdeo at State House on Tuesday. The diplomat took over ambassadorial responsibilities for the Caribbean, including Guyana, on January 1 and will be resident in Brasilia. While pointing out that she is new to the post, Eusebio said that focus will be on getting the forestry partnership between Guyana and Olso, up and running.

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