REDD in the news: 25-31 July 2011

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REDD in the news: 25-31 July 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.

UN-REDD Newsletter 20

UN-REDD Newsletter, July 2011 | he UN-REDD Programme has released the July 2011 issue of its newsletter, which highlights the UN-REDD Programme’s participation in the Oslo REDD+ exchange, which took place from 23-24 June 2011, in Norway, focusing on matters related to REDD+ safeguards and policies addressing the underlying drivers of deforestation. The Newsletter reports on national-level activities and regional workshops related to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries as well as conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stock (REDD+).

GCF Newsletter

Governors Climate and Forestry Task Force, July 2011 | GCF Member Spotlight, Aceh, Indonesia, By Kemitraan. GCF Task Updates: Task 1 Subnational REDD+ Frameworks; Task 2 GCF Fund; Task 3 GCF Knowledge Database; Task 4 GCF Communications. REDD Developments: Oslo REDD Exchange, By Mariana Pavan & Avi Mahaningtyas. Forest Tenure, Governance and Enterprise, By Avi Mahaningtyas. GCF News: GCF Workshop Summary, By Mariana Pavan. Register to attend the GCF’s Annual Meeting: 20-22 September, Luwansa Hotel, Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan.

REDD and Community Forestry: Opportunities and Challenges in Nepal

By Dhaney Thapa, Forestry Nepal, 2011 | REDD has emerged as a major mitigation measure of climate change. It is proposed as a win-win strategy for both north and south. Nepal has also participated in pilot project of REDD. It is believed that CFUGs can also benefit from carbon trade due to high success of community forestry in high hill of Nepal, Nepal’s current laws and policies, communities have clear rights to manage and use trees and forest products. However ownerships right of forest could create some difficulty between government and community forest user groups in benefit sharing of REDD. Further REDD itself has multiple prior-condition for the REDD trade. This paper tries to analyze the conceptual ambiguities in the REDD trade and further tries to explore thegovernance and technical aspects of REDD with especial focus on community forestry of Nepal.

The first Report on the state of applied genetics for forest conservation and sustainable trade

Double Helix, July 2011 | Applied genetics for forest conservation and sustainable trade is still very much at its infancy. Despite this it is still possible to discern certain aspects of its future which we have used as the framework for this report. We have split the genetic applications into three distinct disciplines; population genetics, DNA fingerprinting and DNA barcoding. These have applications that will have implications for chain-of-custody, certification systems, new legislation, CITES, forest health, reforestation and conservation. This report sets out to introduce the technology and how it is being used so that the future implications can be clearly understood. We use examples of projects that are currently under way and introduce projects that are being planned.

The Social Inclusion of REDD in Peru

By Daniela Erler, Sina Frank, Jonas-Ibrahim Hein, Hannes Hotz, Anna-Maria Santa Cruz Melgarejo and Fariborz Zelli, German Development Institute and GIZ, no date | The study examines the level of social inclusion of major REDD processes in Peru at different levels. These include inter alia the drafting of the national readiness preparation proposal; meetings of national and regional REDD roundtables; four selected REDD projects at the local level. One of the study’s core results are suggestions on how to better include vulnerable groups – in particular different types of forest users –in these processes and how to include their access to relevant information. Moreover, the capacities of public institutions like the environment ministry and regional governments need to be enhanced considerably to strengthen their role in the different REDD processes. Finally, these processes have to adopt an integral vision that goes beyond the realization of the REDD mechanism. [R-M: Report in Spanish.]

Katoomba Issue Brief REDD Opportunities in Uganda

Forest Trends, no date | Projects and programs to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) provide a unique opportunity for Uganda to sustainably conserve forest biodiversity and generate real benefits for the country and its population. Successful implementation of REDD requires clear identification and nurturing of viable projects, as well as appropriate policy, legal, and institutional frameworks. In 2009, with support from the Global Environment Facility of the United Nations Development Programme and the Mitsubishi Corporation, the Katoomba Group and the Katoomba Incubator led the REDD Opportunities Scoping Exercise (ROSE) in Uganda…

REDD and forests

Climate Funds Update, no date | Climate Funds Update tracks a number of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) specific funds. For each fund, we offer page with general fund descriptions, details on fund governance and the fund’s relationship with official development assistance (ODA). In addition, this page provides an overview of: Where REDD-specific climate funds receive pledges from; How much REDD-specific funds have approved for disbursment and actually disbursed. Spending on REDD and forest-related projects by all funds by region and country income level.

25 July 2011

WWF partnering with companies that destroy rainforests, threaten endangered species

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 25 July 2011 | Arguably the globe’s most well-known conservation organization, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), has been facilitating illegal logging, vast deforestation, and human rights abuses by pairing up with notorious logging companies in a flagging effort to convert them to greener practices, alleges a new report by Global Witness. Through its program, the Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN), WWF—known as World Wildlife Fund in the US and Canada—has become entangled with some dubious companies, including one that is imperiling orangutans in Borneo and another which has been accused of human rights abuses in the Congo rainforest. Even with such infractions, these companies are still able to tout connections to WWF and use its popular panda logo. The Global Witness report, entitled Pandering to the Loggers, calls for WWF to make large-scale changes in order to save the credibility of its corporate program.

How WWF works with the logging companies

By John Vidal, The Guardian, 25 July 2011 | I went with the villagers to the logging camp deep in the forest where hundreds of trees had been felled and were waiting to be transhipped to Europe and China. To my astonishment, there was a WWF office, complete with toy panda, right in the middle of the camp. As far as the villagers were concerned, WWF was the logging company, responsible for taking their timber. I tried to tell them that it was a conservation group trying to protect the trees, but it was useless. “WWF and Safbois are as one,” they said… What no-one could understand was why WWF was working in close partnership with one of Africa’s biggest logging companies and perceived to be working against local people. The conservation group said it was trying to improve the company’s practices. It did not seem to be helping the people affected by logging.

REDD+ Finance – is the money reaching the forests?

By Nick Oates, Climatico, 25 July 2011 | In recent years the transfer of climate finance has emerged as a policy response to equitably addressing climate change mitigation and adaption in developing countries. Much attention has been given to setting up the multilateral or bilateral mechanisms needed to classify, transfer and disburse the funds pledged by donor countries. Of those that have sprung up, thirteen out of the twenty-four major funds focus on REDD+ as the sole or a major objective. For some observers it has been difficult to keep track of the progress made by the new funds, not least because all thirteen emerged in the space of three years. Nevertheless, using the UK government’s recently commissioned analysis of existing REDD+ targeted funds as a springboard, some preliminary analysis on the progress made by the REDD+ targeted funds can be carried out.

Significance of Forests as Carbon Sinks Underestimated, Study Shows

International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, 25 July 2011 | The world’s forests absorb much more carbon dioxide than previously thought, a study released by the American journal Science reported last week. According to the study, forests can absorb up to 2.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year – about one-third of the carbon dioxide released through the burning of fossil fuels or almost 10 per cent of the world’s total CO2 emissions. According to the International Energy Agency, total global CO2 emissions reached a record high in 2010 at 27.8 billion tonnes. The article provides an in-depth analysis of the distinct roles of boreal, temperate, and tropical forests in capturing CO2 – the first of its kind. Tropical forests have the highest dynamic in absorbing greenhouse gas from the atmosphere – slightly more than temperate forests and more than twice as much as boreal forests.

[Indonesia] Climate justice

By Siti Maimunah, Inside Indonesia, 25 July 2011 | Unfortunately, Indonesia’s government is not alone in neglecting the fate of fishing and farming populations in the face of climate change. These marginalised communities have fared little better in international climate change negotiations. With industrialised countries having made minimal efforts to reduce their own emissions, and now reneging on their commitments to help developing nations do the same, principles of climate justice are left far behind. To address climate change properly, we also need to make critical assessments of human security, ecological debt, land rights, and inequitable patterns of production and consumption. The main result of the Cancun climate meetings has emphasised carbon offsets. By the next round of UN climate change negotiations in Durban at the end of this year, developing nations will be responsible for up to 65 per cent of reductions in potential emissions.

[Indonesia] Selling the wind

By Environmental Justice and Governance Research Lab, 25 July 2011 | This brief article is based on questionnaire style interviews with 69 leaders of mukim (a mukim is part of Aceh’s traditional governance structure, and consists of several villages). The interviews were conducted by local researchers in January 2011. Of the 69 mukim leaders interviewed, 61 were from areas within the Ulu Masen project area, while the remaining eight were from jurisdictions that border it. The results of our survey show a critical lack of access to information and a chronically low level of REDD literacy. Of the 69 mukim leaders interviewed, 67 said they didn’t clearly understand the REDD concept, nor the socio-economic impact it potentially would have on their communities. None had been involved in a meeting with the Aceh government convened specifically to enter into consultation, nor to negotiate the terms and conditions of REDD in their local area.

Climate change and Indonesia

By Judith Mayer, Alex Ryan & Edward Aspinall, Inside Indonesia, 25 July 2011 | This special edition of Inside Indonesia focuses on the challenges of climate change in Indonesia by zeroing in on the environmental, livelihood, social equity, and policy issues that are entwined in this complex issue. Our lead article, by long-time activist and analyst Patrick Anderson provides an overview of the issues involved and the principles at stake. Focusing in on Indonesia’s forests, he notes the sensitive political, cultural and social equity issues that arise when policy-makers try to protect biomass that is also a source of livelihood for some of Indonesia’s poorest people. As well as introducing the REDD framework, he points to an important principle elaborated by many of the authors in this special edition: the central importance of recognising the rights and needs of forest communities and other disadvantaged groups. The poor must be put first if climate change is to be tackled effectively.

Using Indonesian forests

By Daniel Murdiyarso, Inside Indonesia, 25 July 2011 | n a nut shell, Indonesian forests and peatlands offer challenging opportunities to mitigate climate change when managed properly. But that is a major challenge. Redesigning forest governance is vital and engaging wide public participation is necessary for Indonesia to ensure effective greenhouse gas emission reduction.

[Indonesia] Community engagement

By Brihannala Morgan, Inside Indonesia, 25 July 2011 | Consider it from the businessman’s perspective: It all makes so much sense. The rainforest, vital for people, biodiversity, and global climate, is being cut down to make money. But what if he was able to pay good money to those same people who are cutting down the forest to keep the forest intact? What if he was able to convince those people (and companies and governments) who insist that they care about stopping climate change to actually pay those costs? As a bonus, he can take a few cents out of every transaction, and make a fortune. Sounds like a great deal. Now consider it from the perspective of a villager in Central Kalimantan: It looks a bit more complicated. Farming much as his parents farmed, he learns that the fallow field he has been clearing in his family’s secondary forest has been sold, and that he is no longer allowed on it.

[Indonesia] Holding up the sky

By Patrick Anderson, Inside Indonesia, 25 July 2011 | Indonesia is one of the first nations from the global south to commit to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Three quarters of Indonesia’s emissions result from deforestation and land degradation, so meeting this commitment will require major changes in how the country manages its forests. Many groups are hoping that efforts to reduce deforestation will include respecting the right of traditional communities to own and manage their customary forests. The challenges are enormous… The simplest way for Indonesia to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to stop deforestation, and to force plantation expansion to take place on lands that have already been cleared. There are signs that industry is starting to move in the right direction.

[Indonesia] Taking action in the provinces

By Silvia Irawan, Inside Indonesia, 25 July 2011 | Despite numerous donors having poured millions of dollars into Indonesia for REDD activities, none of the money has trickled down to Papua, a region that has been waiting since 2007 to generate carbon credits from conservation… The REDD task force established by the president in September 2010 has not yet delivered on its mandate to prepare an institutional arrangement for REDD implementation and to establish a national REDD body (which is due to occur in June 2011). Two months before the deadline, less than five per cent of the total sum of US$30 million provided to support the task force has been spent.

[Indonesia] Reaching for the sky?

By Frank Jotzo, Inside Indonesia, 25 July 2011 | When President Yudhoyono declared at the September 2009 Pittsburgh G20 meeting that Indonesia was taking on greenhouse gas emissions target, it sure made a splash. The commitment was to cut emissions by 26 per cent relative to business-as-usual voluntarily and unilaterally, and by up to 41 per cent with international assistance. And this from a developing country with big challenges in poverty, health and education, at time when it was still unclear what the developed countries would commit to. But what does the emissions target mean, and how might it be achieved? It depends on how the pledge will be interpreted. And it depends to what extent the Indonesian government will be able to harness the many opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that exist in the country. As with many other areas of policy, the difficulty is not coming up with a vision, but implementing it. The challenges are enormous.

Exposed: Ethiopia gives farmland to foreigners while thousands starve

Survival International, 25 July 2011 | A Survival investigation has uncovered alarming evidence that some of Ethiopia’s most productive farmland is being stolen from local tribes and leased to foreign companies to grow and export food – while thousands of its citizens starve during the devastating drought. Vast blocks of fertile land in the Omo River area in south west Ethiopia are being leased out to Malaysian, Italian and Korean companies, as well as being cleared for vast state-run plantations producing export crops, even though 90,000 tribal people in the area depend on the land to survive. The government is planning to increase the amount of land to be cleared to at least 245,000 hectares, much of it for vast sugar cane plantations.

[Guyana] Trustee receives second installment of GRIF amounting to US$38M

By Johann Earle, Guyana Chronicle, 25 July 2011 | On July 18, 2011, the World Bank, as Trustee of the Guyana REDD Investment Fund (GRIF), received the second installment of the Norway funds in the amount of NOK 213 million, or approximately US$38M, and as a result, there is now approximately US$68 million available for funding decisions by the Steering Committee. This is according to an update from the World Bank on the current status of the GRIF. The last Steering Committee meeting took place on May 12, 2011, and was co-chaired by Guyana and Norway. “On June 16, 2011, the Steering Committee approved the concept note for the Institutional Strengthening in Support of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) project, and agreed to finance project preparation by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

26 July 2011

Group Skewers Sustainable Logging Effort

By Joanna M. Foster, New York Times, 26 July 2011 | The World Wildlife Fund’s Global Forest and Trade Network, now celebrating its 20th anniversary, seeks to protect vulnerable forests by promoting global trade in sustainable timber. Participating companies receive technical assistance and an image boost from association with W.W.F. In return, they commit themselves to improving their practices, relying more on wood products that are legally harvested and sustainable… As W.W.F. lauds its program, however, it faces harsh criticism from a British-based based investigative group, Global Witness, which released a report this week titled “Pandering to the Loggers: Why W.W.F.’s Global Forest and Trade Network Isn’t Working.” Global Witness asserts that the forest initiative lacks transparency and accountability, that its membership and participation rules are riddled with loopholes and that its monitoring and enforcement mechanisms are inadequate.

This U.N. Program Should Have Taxpayers Seeing REDD

By Nick Schulz, Forbes, 26 July 2011 | REDD’s advocates think these financial flows will be less costly than other efforts to limit emissions. An analysis from Resources for the Future, an environmental research group, says, “one of the main arguments for creating such a system is that REDD will be inexpensive…” But the same analysis from RFF throws cold water on the rosy assumptions that REDD will be cheap. “REDD is likely to be significantly more costly than widely believed,” RFF finds. Why? Deforestation will migrate to the areas not targeted by payments. This would result in still more REDD payments. And the U.N. models don’t account for corruption and waste endemic to lofty bureaucratic projects of this kind. But even if REDD were relatively inexpensive, would it be good long-run policy? Probably not. What the environmental movement’s anti-forestry campaigners fail to appreciate are the dynamic economic effects that forestry unleashes.

Forest carbon study highlights REDD+ imperative

carbonpositive.net, 26 July 2011 | New measures of the amount of carbon absorbed from the atmosphere by the world’s forests show the critical role they play in tackling climate change, and the vital contribution of a global REDD+ mechanism to preserve them. A study by Australia’s national science agency CSIRO estimates that the world’s existing tropical, temperate and boreal forests absorb 2.4 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide through their natural growth and expansion. This is equivalent to 30 per cent of all the emissions from fossil fuel use each year. At the same time, the loss of native forest area at the margins, estimated by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to be 13 million hectares annually, contributes 2.9 billion tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere.

[USA] Study: Saving owls and salmon also stores carbon

Associated Press, 26 July 2011 | A new study finds that court-ordered logging cutbacks to save spotted owls and salmon from extinction have also helped the climate by storing more carbon. Researchers from the U.S. Forest Service and Oregon State University found that reducing timber production by more than 80 percent on national forests in western Washington, Oregon and Northern California since 1994 turned those forests into a carbon sink for the first time in decades. Growing more and bigger trees to store carbon that would otherwise contribute to greenhouse gas emissions is a strategy in the effort to control global warming. The study was published in the online edition of the journal Forest Ecology and Management. It was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the North American Carbon Program.

[Guyana] Government funds solar panels for hinterland villages

Stabroek News, 26 July 2011 | Government has tapped into the budget to fund solar panels for hinterland villages and is prepared to do the same for land demarcation exercises owing to slow disbursement of funds from the forests’ saving deal with Norway, President Bharrat Jagdeo told Amerindian leaders yesterday. In his address at the opening session of the National Toshaos Conference being held at the International Con-vention Centre at Liliendaal, the President promised that within two to three months, solar panels will be given to each home in every Amerindian community. Government is also prepared to tap into the budget for land demarcation even though it is costly, Jagdeo said to loud applause. The government had earmarked funds from the agreement with Norway to pay for these projects.

[Guyana] World Bank wants checks on Amerindian projects

Kaieteur News, 26 July 2011 | The World Bank, which is managing funds from Norway under the five-year forest saving deal with this country, wants discussions with Amerindians and other checks before it funds any project the government proposes for Amerindian communities.This means that the money will not come as early as President Bharrat Jagdeo wants. Yesterday the Head of State used the opening of a conference of Amerindian leaders to lash out at the World Bank. The President accused the World Bank, which has before insisted it is only following guidelines set out by Norway, of stalling the release of funds through its bureaucratic structures. Jagdeo said that if he were in control he would cut the World Bank staff by half and get twice the amount of work done. He also included some UN agencies as deserving of the same treatment.

[Guyana] At opening ceremony of National Toshaos Council Meeting

By Parvati Persaud-Edwards, Guyana Chronicle, 26 July 2011 | His Excellency President Bharrat Jagdeo, who delivered the feature address at the opening ceremony of the National Toshaos Council Meeting 2011, held yesterday at the Guyana International Conference Centre at Liliendaal, slammed detractors who called for a boycott of the event. The President said the event provided Toshaos of Amerindian communities with a national platform to deal with vital issues relevant to the development of their respective communities, and they should not allow any force to detract them from that focus. Expressing sentiments to the effect that seeing Toshaos of the various first peoples’ communities congregating together in Georgetown to have dialogue on the way forward for Amerindian communities, President Bharrat Jagdeo informed the gathering, which comprised of members of Cabinet, AFC co/leader Raphael Trotman, Members of Parliament, PPP/C Presidential Candidate Mr. Donald Ramotar,

[Guyana] Development in Amerindian communities indisputable

Guyana Chronicle, 26 July 2011 | Over 170 Amerindian leaders including toshaos, senior councillors and members of the Indigenous People’s Commission (IPC) will be interfacing with President Bharrat Jagdeo, Government Ministers and officials from the various government agencies, as they deliberate on matters relating to their development for the duration of this week at the fifth National Toshaos Council (NTC) meeting at the Guyana International Conference Center (GICC), Liliendaal. This year’s NTC meeting is being held under the theme, “Consolidating and Expanding Frontiers for Amerindian Development.” At the opening ceremony yesterday, Amerindian Affairs Minister Ms. Pauline Sukhai recalled that the inclusion of the once marginalised Amerindian population was the vision of former President, the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan and one that the current People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration worked tirelessly to realise.

27 July 2011

[Australia] The bush outfitter creates a future carbon sink

By Tom Arup, The Age, 27 July 2011 | Clothing company R.M. Williams has bought a sprawling property near Alice Springs with an eye to generating some of the first carbon offset credits that could be sold to the government under the carbon tax. The 5000-square kilometre property – former pastoral land known as Henbury Station – was bought in conjunction with federal government for $13 million and will now be managed as nature reserve. But the company also plans to store up to 1.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year for the next 10 to 15 years through management of the property’s environment. These efforts could be turned into offset credits and sold to the government through a $250 million fund it will establish under its carbon tax package or to voluntary offset markets.

[USA] Climate Change And Forest Fires Linked In New Study

By James Gerken, Huffington Post, 27 July 2011 | A study released this week predicts a grim future for the ecosystem in and around Yellowstone National Park. The study, by researchers at the University of California, Merced, concluded that rising temperatures associated with climate change could result in many more severe forest fires in the coming decades. Professor Anthony Westerling and his team found that by 2050, forest fires “would likely cause a major shift in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem” and “affect the region’s wildlife, hydrology, carbon storage and aesthetics.” The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, predicts that by 2050, years with no major fires will be extremely rare. Towards the end of the century, the average wildfire size is expected to exceed the largest from the current record year of 1988. In that year, fires affected over 1,200 square miles of Yellowstone forest, an area about the size of Rhode Island.

[Brazil] Small-Scale Land Speculators Contribute To Amazon Deforestation

By Stephen Leahy, Tierramerica, 27 July 2011 | Many migrants from southern Brazil who clear forests in Brazil’s state of Amazonas are making their living as small-scale land speculators and not as farmers or as cattle ranchers, new research has found. This on-the-ground reality and the proposed changes to Brazil’s Forest Code are likely to ramp up deforestation rates again, despite the country’s commitment to reduce deforestation 80 percent by 2020, experts say. The Forest Code (Law 4771) was adopted in 1965 and has undergone numerous reforms, the most recent in 2001. This past May 24, an overwhelming majority in the Chamber of Deputies voted in favor of a bill to relax its requirements with regard to forest conservation. The bill is currently under study in the Senate. A detailed study conducted in the municipality of Apuí along the Transamazon Highway in Amazonas found that many families in the region earned little income from cattle.

[India] Vedanta: time to give up on Niyamgiri mine

Survival International, 27 July 2011 | FTSE100 company Vedanta Resources faced vocal protests from Survival and other groups telling the company to give up on their notorious Niyamgiri mine in Orissa, India. Vedanta was denied permission to mine in the Niyamgiri Hills, home of the Dongria Kondh tribe who have been vigorously protesting against the mine. Now the issue has returned to India’s Supreme Court. At today’s AGM the company was told by protesters inside and outside the meeting to respect the stance of both the government and the Dongria Kondh and to give up on the Niyamgiri mine. Actor and Survival supporter Michael Palin, who has visited the Dongria Kondh, said today, ‘I am very disappointed that the decision to stop Vedanta’s mine by India’s Environment Minister is now being challenged in the Courts. Vedanta needs, once and for all, to abandon this ill-conceived project and respect the rights of the Dongria Kondh people.’

[Indonesia] Palm oil, paper drive large-scale destruction of Indonesia’s forests, but account for diminishing role in economy, says report

mongabay.com, 27 July 2011 | Indonesia’s forests were cleared at a rate of 1.5 million hectares per year between 2000 and 2009, reports a new satellite-based assessment by Forest Watch Indonesia (FWI), an NGO. Expansion of oil palm and wood-pulp plantations were the biggest drivers of deforestation, yet account for a declining share of the national economy. The study, which compared year 2000 data with 2009 Landsat images from NASA, found that Indonesia’s forest cover declined from 103.32 million hectares to 88.17 million hectares in ten years. Since 1950 Indonesia lost more than 46 percent of its forests. Indonesia’s annual deforestation rate of 1.5 million ha puts it second only to Brazil in terms of annual forest loss over the period. But Indonesia’s deforestation rate as a percentage of total forest was more than three times higher than Brazil.

Japan revises its forest law to boost carbon sequestration

Climate Connect, 27 July 2011 | Japan has brought about changes in its Forests and Forestry Basic Plan under Forests Act (1964) with specific focus on carbon sequestration. A press release by the Ministry of Environment stated that the revision shave been made keeping in mind the diverse demands that forests are expected to meet. The plan is to be reviewed every five years. The release stated that the New Forest and Forestry Basic Plan will ensure uptake of carbon dioxide by forests through forest conservation and proper maintenance of the forest… Japan is a supporter of REDD Programme of the UN and during its sixth Policy Board meeting on 21-22 March 2011 had made its first funding commitment to the Programme of US$3 million. The REDD Programme seeks to reduce CO2 concentration in the atmosphere by holding the carbon in forests located in various developing countries.

[Guyana] Education, land among priorities for Toshaos

By Gaulbert Sutherland, Stabroek News, 27 July 2011 | Amerindian leaders from across Guyana have gathered for the five-day National Toshaos Conference. Stabroek News spoke with several of them on their expectations of the conference, which is being held under the theme ‘Consolidating and expanding frontiers for Amerindian development.’ Councillor of Haimacabra, in Region One, Alonso Cornelius hopes to have a successful conference. He noted that the proposal put forward by the village in the past was successful, and now for the community development project they will be proposing a walkway to help families gain better access to the school and health centre. Currently, some of the families have to walk through a swamp, he said. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Guyana] No group of Amerindians living in voluntary isolation

Guyana Chronicle, 27 July 2011 | Toshaos and Regional Chairmen of the 10 administrative regions yesterday declared that Guyana does not have any existing group of indigenous people living in isolation. This declaration came following a presentation by Project Coordinator- Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, Sharon Austin, on the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation (ACTO) with particular emphasis on indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation and initial contact. Austin and Toshao of Annai, Region 9, Michael Williams, will be in Brazil for the ACTO conference in August to share the Guyana Government’s policy towards indigenous peoples, which includes access to education, health, land titling and provisions in the constitution for their uplift.

28 July 2011

The Anatomy of the CER Price Melt Down

GHG Emissions Trading, 28 July 2011 | Some 6 weeks ago the price of a CER (certified emission reduction created from reducing greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries using the CDM or clean development mechanism of the kyoto protocol) was 13 Euro and the emissions markets were looking healthy. Then a matter of couple of weeks later a CER was fetching 9 euro. Why the rapid and precipitous meltdown in prices? Simply the market rapidly lost its liquidity after a series of events starting with renewed concern as to the sovereign debt of the so called PIGS Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain, and the likelihood of defaults. Soon after that the EC issued a directive on energy efficiency targets. Simple analysis of this meant that companies meeting these targets would not need as many CER to comply with the EUETS restrictions.

REDD news update Indonesia May – July 2011

By Leony Aurora, CIFOR Forests Blog, 28 July 2011 | The presidential decree on a two-year moratorium on new forest concessions was without a doubt the most anticipated REDD-related policy this year.The moratorium was part of an agreement with Norway to receive as much as US$1 billion if Indonesia could show verified emissions cut from the forestry sector. After a 5-months delay due to heavy lobbying, the decree was signed on May 20, 2011 and would be in effect in primary forests and peat lands for two years onwards, instead of retroactively from 1 January 2011 as initially planned.

Vietnamese Army Named as Timber Smuggler

EIA press release, 28 July 2011 | A new report released today (July 28, 2011) exposes the pivotal role played by the Vietnamese military in a multi-million dollar operation which is smuggling threatened timber over the border from the shrinking forests of neighbouring Laos. Laos has some of the Mekong region’s last intact tropical forests, but the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) report Crossroads: The Illicit Timber Trade Between Laos and Vietnam reveals its export ban on raw timber is routinely flouted on a massive scale to feed the ravenous timber processing industries of Vietnam, China and Thailand. During undercover operations in 2010 and 2011, EIA agents posing as timber buyers tracked a trail of corruption and inadequate enforcement back from the busy furniture factories and ports of Vietnam to its border with Laos and beyond.

Crossroads: The Illicit Timber Trade Between Laos and Vietnam

EIA, 28 July 2011 | Yesterday morning EIA released a new report and film in Bangkok exposing massive log smuggling between Laos and Vietnam, and how the Vietnamese military are the biggest players in what is a multi-million dollar racket that displaces Vietnam’s deforestation abroad so as to develop its multi-billion dollar wood furniture export sector. The report features three of the biggest companies exporting logs to Vietnam, in contravention of Laos’ ban on log exports. [R-M: Full report from EIA available here: http://bit.ly/r62jS2 (pdf file 1.2 MB)]

UK announces certification standard for forest carbon storage projects

Carbon Connect, 28 July 2011 | The UK government has announced new scheme to assess the carbon captured and stored by forest projects initiated for carbon sequestration. The new standard called Woodland Carbon Code is a voluntary standard that would provide certification to forest projects for the carbon capture and stored. This code would help businesses promote these projects as a credible source of carbon mitigation… After the registration of the project with the Forest Commission, the amount of carbon sequestered will be verified every five years. This would be done through the submission of a carbon report which measures the tonnes of carbon emissions ‘retired’ by the project. The data will then be certified by independent reviewers (Forest Commission). Once certified, the information would be added to a national database. The certification would help the project owners to sell carbon credits against the certified ‘retired’ emissions.

[Guyana] Toshaos’ voices heard during interaction with Cabinet Ministers

Guyana Chronicle, 28 July 2011 | As s customary during the National Toshaos Council (NTC) meeting, Amerindian leaders are given the opportunity to interact with President Bharrat Jagdeo and relevant sector ministers concerning issues of various communities. This year, the first round of discussions, which was chaired by Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, saw the Toshaos interfacing directly with the ministers who responded to questions and clarifications relating to roads and bridges, education, health, sports, water and housing, land issues, security and access to technology.

29 July 2011

Ongoing global biodiversity loss unstoppable with protected areas alone

ScienceDaily, 29 July 2011 | Continued reliance on a strategy of setting aside land and marine territories as “protected areas” is insufficient to stem global biodiversity loss, according to a comprehensive assessment published July 28 in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series. Despite impressively rapid growth of protected land and marine areas worldwide — today totalling over 100,000 in number and covering 17 million square kilometers of land and 2 million square kilometers of oceans — biodiversity is in steep decline. Expected scenarios of human population growth and consumption levels indicate that cumulative human demands will impose an unsustainable toll on Earth’s ecological resources and services accelerating the rate at which biodiversity is being loss.

[Belize] GOB “fiddling” what Guats continue raping Chiquibul Forest

By Adele Trapp, Amandala, 29 July 2011 | Over the course of the past year, 300 acres inside the Chiquibul Forest have been hacked, and the razed portions of the forest to date amount to 13,000 acres – larger than Belize City. That is according to Rafael Manzanero, the executive director of Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD), who spoke with Amandala today, Thursday, in Belmopan. The latest surveillance focus out in Western Belize – an area plagued with illegal incursions from Guatemalans – has been on illegal logging, which has cost Belize an estimated $15 million in the past year – almost half the budget for the Ministry of National Security… One initiative being heavily promoted as a means to help combat the negative effects of illegal harvesting from the area is to engage Belize in a UN REDD program where it can get real dollars for the carbon credits value of this most prized forest.

[Philippines] Carbon credits a threat to indigenous peoples?

Business Insight, 29 July 2011 | Indigenous peoples and their support groups are quite upbeat about reforms in the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. They look forward to the genuine and implementation of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act, particularly the provisions on Free, Prior and Informed Consent to any matter that affect their lives and communities. However, “a new threat in the horizon looms,” according to the annual Green Convergence report in mid-July. The State of Nature Assessment (Green SONA) was made public a week before President Aquino presented his 2011 State of the Nation Address before Congress on July 25. According to the report, the threat is the Clean Development Mechanism or CDM which is supposed to lower carbon in the atmosphere with an economic instrument. “A big concern is how it will impact on Indigenous Peoples,” it says.

[Philippines] New private property concept may rip off those on the ground

Business Insight, 29 July 2011 | Just like private property, carbon sequestration credits can now be bought and sold on national or international markets. Countries such as Australia are creating this new private property in response to international schemes that reward developing countries and landholders for REDD+, so-called for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. Already, according to the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in a new report, there are concerns that carbon payments will primarily benefit large landowners, carbon traders or governments. There are widespread concerns that tradable property rights will not benefit the millions of poor people that depend on forests for their livelihoods… They want a rethinking because how forests are managed on the ground involves a much wider set of rights, from land tenure to free movement, than simple ownership of carbon.

[Guyana] Some toshaos opposing Norway aid resolution

By Gaulbert Sutherland, Stabroek News, 29 July 2011 | Some toshaos are not happy with aspects of a resolution calling on the governments of Norway and Guyana to intervene to expedite the release of funds from the two countries forests’ partnership and were upset further by an attempt to openly list the names of those who did not sign on. Sources say that proceedings at the National Toshaos Conference yesterday afternoon at the Liliendaal Convention Centre took an interesting turn when Head of the National Toshaos Council (NTC), Yvonne Pearson began to list the names of leaders who had not signed on to the resolution. When she had read the first name and some toshaos realized what was happening, one immediately stood up and objected to what she was doing. This should not happen in a democracy, the toshao argued, according to leaders present at the meeting. Pearson did not list the other names. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Guyana] Several villages clarify their community’s border lines with Lands and Survey Commission

Guyana Chronicle, 29 July 2011 | Toshaos and Senior Councillors from more than a dozen Amerindian communities were yesterday given the opportunity to work along with the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) to clarify their respective village borders. When this process is completed, this will bring the number of titled Amerindian communities to 109. Additionally, there are 34 communities seeking applications for extension of their village lands.

30 July 2011

[Guyana] Amerindian leaders see Georgetown conference a farce

By Neil Marks, Kaieteur News, 30 July 2011 | Some Amerindian leaders who travelled to Georgetown for the meeting of the National Toshaos Council (NTC) see it as a farce to get them to support President Bharrat Jagdeo’s forest agenda, while ignoring vexing lands rights issues. Yesterday, leaders from villages in Regions One, Two, Seven and Nine said that they were being pushed to sign a resolution calling for the fast tracking of the release of funds the World Bank is managing under the forest saving agreement with Norway.

[Guyana] Toshaos say land issues being ignored

Stabroek News, 30 July 2011 | Several Toshaos from regions One, Two, Seven, Eight and Nine yesterday accused the government of sidelining concerns about outstanding land issues, while saying they were dissatisfied with the just-concluded National Toshaos Conference. “We are frustrated and disappointed by the way the government is treating our situation and not by the delay of release funds from Norway. We believe that some of the mechanisms established by the World Bank and others are there to protect our right, so we invite these bodies to our communities to hear and learn directly from us about our concerns. We have genuine problems that are not being taken seriously by the current administration,” Toshao of Arau, in Region Seven, Devroy Thomas said, while reading from a prepared statement, at a news conference at Herdmanston Lodge. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Guyana] Toshaos condemn Alliance for Change actions

Guyana Chronicle, 30 July 2011 | The fifth and final day of the National Toshaos Council (NTC) meeting concluded yesterday with deliberations centered on a statement issued by the Alliance for Change (AFC), which saw toshaos and village councillors refuting the claims and condemning the party’s actions. The opposition party earlier issued a statement which claimed that several toshaos had complained that government has not been allowing their voices to be heard and as such, has planned a press conference for July 30, to ensure that their requests were fulfilled. Chairperson of the NTC, Yvonne Pearson, also called on toshaos to voice concerns, if indeed the statement is a true reflection of them. However, the leaders all responded in the negative, noting that the AFC is seeking to mislead the public.

[Guyana] Toshaos agree by majority vote on resolution to fast track Norway forest funds

NCN Guyana, 30 July 2011 | Amerindian leaders have agreed by majority vote to a resolution calling for the fast-tracking of the institutional requirements for the release of the Norway funds critical to the implementation of projects under the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). The accord emanated on day two of the 5th National Toshaos Council (NTC) meeting where Amerindian leaders gathered in consultation at the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC). After discussions among the indigenous body, the document was presented to President Bharrat Jagdeo today at the closing of the conference. The resolution reiterates the firm commitment by the indigenous people to protect forests in response to the national call for development, a move which they see lends support for the achievement of the LCDS goals.

31 July 2011

Indigenous peoples in Suriname still wait for land rights

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 31 July 2011 | Legal rights and recognition for the diverse indigenous peoples of Suriname have lagged behind those in other South American countries. Despite pressure from the UN and binding judgments by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Suriname has yet to recognize indigenous and tribal land rights, a situation that has disconnected local communities from decisions regarding the land they have inhabited for centuries and in some cases millennia. A new report, Securing Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in Conservation in Suriname: A Review outlines how this lack of rights has alienated indigenous communities from conservation efforts in Suriname. Instead of having an active say in the creation of conservation reserves, as well as their management, decisions on indigenous lands have traditionally been imposed from the ‘top-down’ either by government officials or NGOs.

Honduran Police Burn Community to the Ground

theREALnews, 31 July 2011 | Homes, churches, schools, and crops all destroyed as the post-coup government continues to side with wealthy plantation owners over the country’s organized farmers. [R-M: See also this letter to the UK government about this CDM project: http://bit.ly/nSIUhn9 and this article: http://bit.ly/pO8VaZ]

[Guyana] Toshaos council acting in best interests of indigenous people

Stabroek News, 31 July 2011 | Head of the National Toshaos Council (NTC) Yvonne Pearson yesterday said that the body continues to look out for the interest of the indigenous peoples, while denying that it is being used to fulfil a government agenda. “We’re not subjects or tools of the government…we are always speaking in the best interest of our people,” she told a news conference at the Amerindian Affairs Ministry, along with Toshaos of regions One, Nine and Five. “We will not allow ourselves to be used…by media or any other,” she added, saying that “someone needs to apologise to us” for the misconceptions. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Guyana] National Toshao Conference deemed a success – say Toshaos

Kaieteur News, 31 July 2011 | Chairperson of the NTC, Toshao Yvonne Pearson has described the five-day National Toshao Committee (NTC) conference this year as a successful venture. She said that the entire committee is looking forward to having the commitments that were pledged to the Amerindians, fulfilled as soon as possible. Her comments came at a press conference yesterday in the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs conference room. “The conference was very good, a successful meeting. We look forward to commitments made to our people and are hoping also that the release of funds be expedited very soon. From now to next conference there should be lots of improvement with more to talk about in 2012’s meeting”Vice-Chairman of the NTC, Toshao Michael Maxwell of Annai, explained that the conference was successful for most persons, even if it did not satisfy everyone present.

[Guyana] All is not well in Amerindian villages, say some leaders

Stabroek News, 31 July 2011 | Contrary to the statements put forth by government, all is not well in Amerindian communities, several leaders of indigenous communities have said. Indigenous villages have “grave problems” with the cost of living in their communities, the proper running of schools, health facilities, communication and thus access to information as well as transportation, said Toshao of Arau, Devroy Thomas. Arau, a Region Seven village is located amongst the Pakaraima Mountains close to the Venezuela border.

Amerindians need long-term solutions to their problems

By Carl Parker, letter to the editor, Stabroek News, 31 July 2011 | Mr Jagdeo said in his address, “Do not be disheartened by the negative comments of a few who write in the newspapers or get on the TV. We don’t serve them.” What a revelation. Does he not know that as a public official, he is open to scrutiny at all times? He is subject to criticism even when his intentions are good. He should take those criticisms like a man, and do his job. He does not have to ‘cuss’ out everybody when they don’t see the wisdom in what he is doing. By that remark, Mr Jagdeo has unwittingly revealed a lot about himself and his presidency. Is it that he is not president of those who criticize him? Is it that he is only president of his supporters, and as such there is no need to serve those who do not agree with him? If that is the case then he should demit office at once. We need a president of all the people, even those who criticize.

[Guyana] President impressed with outcome of Toshao meet

Guyana Chronicle, 31 July 2011 | President harrat Jagdeo has deemed the just-concluded 5th National Toshaos Council (NTC) meeting held under the theme ‘Consolidating and Expanding Frontiers for Amerindian Development’ a huge success, despite attempts by sections of the media to discredit the event saying it was being influenced by the upcoming elections. “The same issues we have discussed prior have been discussed at this one, and we have made significant strides not only in reviewing the agenda since the last National Toshaos Council meeting, but we have also worked on new frontiers and programmes for the up-coming period,” he told media operatives during a press briefing Friday at the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC) at Liliendaal.

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