REDD in the news: 5-11 March 2012

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REDD in the news: 5-11 March 2012

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.

[Vietnam] What are the lessons from the 3 year implementation of 1st pilot UN-REDD programme?

REDD-Vietnam, March 2012 | UN-REDD Programme Viet Nam is now developing two reports, the evaluation report for effectiveness of awareness raising and training, and lesson learned report from activities in particular areas such as Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), Benefits Distribution System (BDS) consultations. The Programme is conducting interviews with related stakeholders not only in Hanoi but also in pilot province, Lam Dong, where UN-REDD Phase 1 has been running since 2009. The two reports are going to be available tentatively around the end of April.

National Options for REDD+ Environemental Safeguards: Operational Guidance

By Steve Swan, SNV, February 2012 | This six-page guide, based on the Nov 2011 full technical paper, presents six categories of options for operationalising the Cancun safeguards. It translates the Cancun safeguards’ broad generic statements of good intent into an integral part of national policy and a set of cohesive actions to put into practice. The guide maintains that safeguard compliance does not demand substantive policy innovation or adoption of new tools and technologies; forest management and governance practices need to be improved upon through REDD+ rather than overhauled or replaced. The options for national-level safeguard responses in the guide are presented in the context of delivering environmental co-benefits; however, they are equally applicable to social co-benefits.

AIPP REDD+ Mekong Coordinator

Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, March 2012 | AIPP is implementing a project “Promoting Rights-based and Equitable REDD+ (Reducing Emission from Degradation and forest Degradation) Strategies in the Mekong Sub-region” in 4 Mekong countries – Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and Lao PDR under the Environment Programme, which will be supported by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) for 2 years. The overall objective of this project is to promote approaches in national REDD+ strategies that take into account long-term forest conservation goals and the rights and concerns of indigenous peoples/ethnic minorities (IP/EM).

Commitments and options for safeguarding biodiversity in REDD+

Forest Carbon Asia, SNV, March 2012 | This brief outlines the international commitments to biodiversity in REDD+, the risks and opportunities, and international and national options for promoting biodiversity in REDD+.

Building REDD+ Policy Capacity for Developing Country Negotiators and Land Managers: Lessons learned (Task Force Meeting Report)

By Jessica Boyle, IISD, 2012 | The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins at the World Agroforestry Centre (ASB–ICRAF) have partnered to deliver a third and final phase of the Building REDD+ Policy Capacity for Developing Country Negotiators and Land Managers project. Building on the establishment of the REDD Development Dividend (REDD–DD) Task Force in Phase II of the project, a small advisory group of experts was brought together on the margins of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 17) in Durban, South Africa in December 2011. The goal of this meeting was to identify a thematic area (or areas), informed by the work of Phases I and II, under which to develop lessons learned and case studies. This report highlights the key messages that emerged from the discussions and provides an overview of the meeting proceedings.

5 March 2012

World Bank Says Carbon Fund May Shrink Following Price Slump

By Catherine Airlie and Mathew Carr, Bloomberg, 5 March 2012 | A World Bank Group unit says its fund for investing in carbon projects that generate emissions credits after 2012, when the first commitment period of the United Nations’ Kyoto Protocol ends, will probably shrink. The International Finance Corp. said its Carbon Facility Fund, which had raised 150 million euros ($198 million) when it closed in June, was suspended by November after plummeting UN offset prices triggered a measure to protect projects supplying the credits. Investors will probably scale back their commitments to the fund, according to the corporation. “I think the fund size will reduce,” Vikram Widge, head of climate financial products at the IFC in Washington, said in a March 2 telephone interview. “Watching where the market settles is the prudent thing to do.” The bank’s unit is looking at ways of changing the structure of the fund and will make a decision around the end of the month, he said.

Why Rio+20 must not leave politics out of sustainable development

By Melissa Leach, The Guardian, 5 March 2012 | In the runup to June’s Rio+20 Earth Summit, sustainable development goals (SDGs) are a hot topic… When it comes to combating hunger in settings such as rural Kenya, does sustainable development mean improving nationalfood security through boosting agricultural productivity, using modern plant breeding and genetic engineering to roll out technical solutions at scale? Or does it mean tackling diverse local food insecurities shaped by ecological, market, social and institutional contexts, through farmer-participatory approaches? Or, take the much-touted Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (Redd) schemes – will these secure the livelihoods of forest users while enabling them to benefit from carbon markets? Or will they become “green grabs” that appropriate local resource rights in the interests of global environmental repair?

First chuffs from the Durban climate train

By Richard Black, BBC News, 5 March 2012 | Last week, we heard the first tiny sounds of a train leaving the Durban Platform. For those of you who don’t speak UN climate convention-ese, what I mean is that governments have taken their first tentative steps in the process towards negotiating a new global climate deal… The first thing that governments committed themselves to was sending in their thoughts on how “ambition” could be increased – in other words, how carbon emissions can be tackled more enthusiastically than they are at the minute. Their deadline was last Wednesday…

Cameroon government cracks down on illegal logging

By Elias Ntungwe Ngalame, AlertNet, 5 March 2012 | The government of Cameroon has intensified a crackdown on illegal loggers in a measure aimed at conserving the country’s forest resources and combating the effects of climate change. Philip Ngole Ngwese, the country’s minister of forestry and wildlife, recently announced the suspension of licenses for 27 companies that had failed to comply with legislation governing activities in the forest sector. “This decision forbids these companies from undertaking activities relating to forest exploitation, transport and export of logs and processed timber products,” Ngole Ngwese said in a statement. “The decision is putting some order into forest exploitation in the country, to ensure forest resource sustainability, governance and to protect the environment from the effects of climate change,” the statement said.

Central Africa desperate for forest experts: workshop

By Susan Linnee, CIFOR Forests Blog, 5 March 2012 | Forestry experts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have a hefty workload: as only 100 of them exist to manage the second largest tract of tropical forest in the world, each is theoretically responsible for 2.3 million hectares. While Central Africa is desperate for more forestry researchers, African universities – which are often the only domestic institutions with the expertise to train them – “are not prioritising forest research and leaving students to their own devices”, according to CIFOR scientist Francois Hiol Hiol at a workshop held in Douala, Cameroon last week. “There is a real need for national plans for forestry research in Central Africa which can address globally pressing issues such as carbon sequestration and REDD+,” he said.

Guyana’s path to paradise

By Sarah Grainger, BBC Travel, 5 March 2012 | Guyana, aware of its potential as an ecotourism destination, is struggling to manage the competing demands of development and conservation. In November, the Marriott hotel chain began construction in Georgetown, and US air carriers, such as American Airlines are considering establishing routes to Guyana soon. Currently, Delta Airlines has services from New York to Georgetown and Caribbean Airlines flies between Port of Spain and Georgetown, connecting Guyana to the Caribbean and North America. To counteract this development, the country is trying to implement a carbon credit scheme that will see richer economies pay to preserve the Guyanese rainforest and save it from destruction by gold and diamond miners. Former president Bharrat Jagdeo came up with this unorthodox plan to keep Guyana’s rainforest pristine and the Norwegian government has already agreed to participate, paying millions of dollars to Guyana to offset Norway’s carbon use.
Indonesia’s draft Forest Investment Plan opens for public consultation

The Ministry of Forestry, Republic of Indonesia, 5 March 2012 | Forest Investment Programme (FIP) is one of the strategic funding climate-related programs under the Climate Investment Funds (CIF)… Indonesia is one of the 8 (eight) pilot countries (pilot country) around the world participating in the FIP and has secured funding commitments to the allocation of funding FIP grant of U.S. $ 37.5 million (53.6%) and soft loans amounting to 32.5 million U.S. $ (46.6%). Currently the Government of Indonesia with Multi Development Banks / MDBs (World Bank, ADB and IFC) was making a Forestry Investment Plan (Forest Investment Plan) Indonesia conducted through a process of consultation with various parties. For the purpose of producing a document that is credible and inclusive, the draft Investment Plan for Forestry in the framework of FIP will be disseminated to the public to get input from various parties.

Greenpeace and APP: Maybe Someday They’ll Even Be Friends

Wall Street Journal, 5 March 2012 | The long-running battle between Greenpeace and Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), a giant Indonesian paper company, is heating up again. But this time, there’s a new wrinkle: The two sides are being surprisingly nice to each other – at least for now. In a report issued Thursday, Greenpeace accused the company of illegally logging a protected species of trees, ramin (Gonystylus), for pulp… In response, APP thanked Greenpeace for its trouble, and promised to look into the matter. “APP is grateful to Greenpeace for bringing this report to our attention,” said a statement issued by APP on Thursday. “We take very seriously any evidence of violation of the regulations concerning the protection of endangered tree species. APP will now study the allegations very closely.”

[Indonesia] A Clarification About REDD+

By Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, Jakarta Globe, 5 March 2012 | I wish to highlight part of the 11th paragraph in this article, which says: “When the task force’s mandate expires in December, [Kuntoro Mangkusubroto] said, its work could continue through an independent body or a task force attached to the Forestry Ministry.” This part, according to me, needs a further explanation because otherwise it could give rise to a misunderstanding among your readers. The final guidance made by the president, as recorded in my explanation, is as follows: “The president has already provided the guidance that this institution, whatever its form, will directly report to the president, the institution will be at the ministerial level and will not be attached to a ministry. This is a very clear guidance from the president and we should all build on this.” The options that I cited were discourses upon which a final decision was made directly by the president, as in the above statement.

Some Resource Titans Not Thrilled With Indonesian Export Ban

By Tunggadewa Mattangkilang, Jakarta Globe, 5 March 2012 | East Kalimantan’s resources are exploited by some of the country’s biggest coal companies, such as Bumi Resources unit Kaltim Prima Coal, Harum Energy and Berau Coal. In 2011, the province earned $36.33 billion from coal exports, or 95 percent of its total export earnings. Palm-oil was second with less than 2 percent.

6 March 2012

Romney’s one big idea on climate – and why he’s unlikely to pursue it

By Brad Plumer, Washington Post, 6 March 2012 | As James Pethekoukis points out, Romney’s book “No Apology” expresses some interest in a tax on carbon emissions, as long as it’s revenue neutral — that is, offset by tax cuts elsewhere. Romney is too cautious to fully back a carbon fee, but it’s an idea supported by one of his economic advisers, Greg Mankiw, as well as by a few prominent conservatives, like Arthur Laffer, who argues that we should be taxing things we want less of (pollution, say) rather than things we want more of (income and work). It’s also an idea that’s gaining favor among greens and think tanks as a deficit-reducing measure. As Rep. Henry Waxman explained in a recent interview with Ezra Klein, a price on carbon is one way to bring down the debt without slashing Medicare or defense spending too heavily. Last year, four of the six groups that sketched out deficit plans for the Peter G. Peterson Solutions Initiative ended up advocating a carbon tax…

Views on new market mechanisms

By Payal Parekh, climate-consulting.org, 6 March 2012 | In Durban at COP 17, Parties agreed to conduct a work programme to consider a framework for various approaches, including opportunities for markets. Parties also defined a new market mechanism and established a work programme to elaborate the modalities and procedures with a view to a decision in December in Qatar at COP 18. Translated into coherent English, this means that while Parties were not able to establish a new market-based mechanism, they were able to get the ball rolling toward establishing one. Parties and admitted UNFCCC observer organizations have been given the opportunity to provide views on existing views and mechanisms. Since this provides a window of opportunity to influence upcoming discussions by Parties on new market mechanisms and various approaches, I provided input to submissions prepared by my colleague Oscar Reyes, a research fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.

World Bank Reports Experience with A/R Biocarbon Fund Projects

Climate Change Policy & Practice, 6 March 2012 | The World Bank has published a new report by the BioCarbon Fund detailing the experience in over 20 afforestation and reforestation (A/R) Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) forest projects in 16 countries since 2004, with the aim of enhancing knowledge on regulatory issues and policy in the forestry sector. The report, titled “The BioCarbon Fund Experience: Insights from Afforestation/Reforestation Clean Development Mechanism Projects,” outlines topics such as CDM regulations, non-permanence, land-related issues, greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting, financing, legal and institutional challenges, and assessing under-delivery risk. For each of these topics, specific recommendations are presented, including to: develop concrete tools to facilitate methodology selection; create a standard for calculating emission reductions; and simplify additionality requirements.

[New Zealand] ETS reminder to hundreds of forest owners

Waikato Regional Council, press release, 6 March 2012 | Waikato Regional Council is writing to hundreds of forest owners in the region reminding them they need to register their forests by 31 March if they want to qualify for and claim Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) New Zealand units under the first five-year sequestration period of the Kyoto Protocol. The letters will go to owners of more than 600 parcels of forest planted on some 39,000 hectares after 1989. “These Waikato plantings, if registered for credits, represent a significant potential income stream for forest owners under the Government’s emission trading scheme,” said biosecurity and heritage group manager John Simmons, himself a shareholder of a company registered under the ETS, The forests can be registered with the NZ Emissions Unit Registry by 31 March 2012 for credit claims back to January 2008. The last opportunity to register and claim NZ units or credits for the first Kyoto commitment period is 31 December 2012.

[Pakistan] Merlins Wood signs MoU with KP and AJK govts

Pakistan Today, 6 March 2012 | In order to implement the United Nations initiative on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, known as UN-REDD with the goal of helping countries implement REDD+ strategies, Merlins Wood on Monday signed an MoU at a local hotel with the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to develop a REDD+ project in the province. The company also has a similar MoU in place with the Government of Azad State of Jammu and Kashmir. Terra Global Capital has partnered with Merlins Wood to carry out the carbon development work and market the pioneering projects. REDD Managing Director Sareeba, Leslie Durschinger, founder and managing director, Terra Global Capital, officials from UN REDD+ projects and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and environment experts attended the MoU signing ceremony.

7 March 2012

Collective powers needed to maintain access and control of land and resources

By Gabriela Ramirez Galindo, CIFOR Forests Blog, 7 March 2012 | Since the 1980s, several countries worldwide have recognised community rights to forests, resources, resource revenues and land titles. Now, in order to maintain access to and control of their land and resources, communities must form legitimate, representative and accountable leadership to represent their needs and interests, says a recent CIFOR study. “In the recognition of rights to forest or land, issues of authority and its role within multileveled governance institutions needed for territorial management should not be ignored or treated lightly, as it strongly influences the control of land, resources, and political power” said Peter Cronkleton, senior scientist at CIFOR and co-author of the study Who Represents the Collective? Authority and the Recognition of Forest Rights.

Saving biodiversity: a $300 billion-a-year challenge

By Deborah Zabarenko, Reuters, 7 March 2012 | Saving biodiversity – the vast variety of animal and plant life on Earth – will be expensive: an estimated $300 billion a year for the next eight years, according to the new chief of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity. But Brazilian Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias said that failing to protect the essential diversity in the natural world would cost more, creating global repercussions of disease, hunger, poverty and diminished resilience to climate change. “Biodiversity is the basis of everything we do in agriculture, everything we do in health,” Dias told Reuters. “So the development of new vaccines, the development of new cultured varieties of plants is based on biodiversity, genetic resources. If we lose biodiversity, we lose the options for future development in these areas.”
Brazil delays Forest Code vote

mongabay.com, 7 March 2012 | Brazil’s Congress will delay its vote on a controversial revision to its forest code, which regulates how much forest can be legally chopped down, reports Brazilian state media. Agencia Brasil said the vote has been rescheduled for Tuesday, March 13, to allow more time to rally support for the bill, which has split lawmakers between a pro-agriculture block known as the ruralistas and those who worry the changes could drive more deforestation and grant amnesty for farmers who illegally cleared forest in the past. The current text has been revised to include greener provisions relative to the original version championed by ruralistas.

Rally calls on Brazil President to veto new forest code

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 7 March 2012 | A coalition of 200 organizations, known as the Comitê Brasil in Defense of Forests and Sustainable Development, rallied today in Brasilia against proposed changes to Brazil’s Forestry Code. The code, which was supposed to be voted on this week but has been delayed to shore up more support, would make changes in over 40-year-old code that some conservationists fear could lead to further deforestation in the Amazon. Protestors called on the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, to veto the bill as it stands now, holding signs exclaiming, “Veta Dilma!” (“Veto it Dilma!”). “We have to be extremely vigilant to ensure that the interests of small hegemonic groups do not prevail against the wishes of society at large, which is tired of laws that benefit the few to the detriment of the many,” WWF-Brasil CEO Maria Cecília Wey de Brito said in a press release…

[Cambodia] Villagers in homes protest

By Paul Chapman, Reuters, 7 March 2012 | This 340-square-kilometre area of the Botum Sakor national park in Cambodia was once pristine jungle. Now it’s making way for a city-sized casino resort being built by Chinese firm Tianjin Union Development Group. But villagers say they’ve been forced from their homes… Cambodia’s government has stepped up sales of protected land to private companies. Criticism from foreign conservation groups is muted because they fear being kicked out. Chut Wutty of the National Resource Protection Group says the buyers are forcing people from their homes… Last year Cambodia’s government sold off more than 7, 600 square kilometres, most of it in national parks and wildlife havens. Companies from many countries are exploiting the sell-off… but the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights says the most lucrative projects are dominated by the Chinese.

China gambles on Cambodia’s shrinking forests

By Andrew R.C. Marshall and Prak Chan Thul, Reuters, 7 March 2012 | It was once the unspoiled jungle home for tigers, elephants, bears and gibbons. But today Botum Sakor National Park in southwest Cambodia is fast disappearing to accommodate a much less endangered species: the Chinese gambler. “This was all forest once,” says Chut Wutty, director of the Natural Resource Protection Group, an environmental watchdog based in the capital, Phnom Penh, gesturing across a near-treeless landscape. “But then the government sold the land to rich men.” He means Tianjin Union Development Group, a real-estate company from northern China, which is transforming 340 sq km (130 sq miles) of Botum Sakor into a city-sized gambling resort for “extravagant feasting and revelry,” its website says. A 64-km (40-mile) highway, now almost complete, will cut a four-lane swathe through mostly virgin forest.

Fip Motilall never completed Amaila Falls road design – Walter Willis

Kaieteur News, 7 March 2012 | The government is racing to complete the Amaila Falls hydro project road. In the process, it has had to extend the deadline once again, the fourth adjustment since it awarded a US$15.4 million contract to Synergy Holdings headed by Makeshwar ‘Fip’ Motilall back in March 2010. The new deadline is June, pushed back from April when Fip Motilall had guaranteed to complete the contract. The contract was awarded on condition that Motilall would design and construct the road. And the contractor, who was said to have never built a road, but who sought to justify his being granted the contract, agreed to execute the project. The terms of the contract stipulated that he would complete the works within 18 months of being awarded the contract. However, there were delays in the start up, first to allow Motilall to procure the equipment and then to secure a Performance Bond.

[Indonesia] After illegal logging allegations, certifier lodges complaint against paper giant APP

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 7 March 2012 | Less than a week after Greenpeace released evidence that protected tree species were being illegally logged and pulped at an Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) mill in Sumatra, a major certifier, the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), has lodged a complaint and asked for an investigation. In addition to PEFC’s move, the National Geographic Society (NGS), which was found to be sourcing from APP recently, has publicly broken ties with the company, and Greenpeace has handed over its evidence to Indonesian police who told the group there would be an investigation. Last Thursday Greenpeace released a detailed report outlining a year-long investigation that found companies supplying APP were cutting and pulping ramin trees, which are legally protected under Indonesian law as well as under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

[Indonesia] $4.9b in Plans Await Land Law Details

By Kunradus Aliandu, Jakarta Globe, 7 March 2012 | The passage of the land acquisition law late last year has paved the way for major infrastructure projects worth billions of dollars, a senior government official said on Tuesday. The law has been hailed as a step forward in easing the country’s lengthy and tedious land-acquisition process, but investors are awaiting an implementing regulation so the projects’ expedited construction can begin. Bastary Pandji Indra, director of the public-private partnership program at the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas), said there were plans for seven projects worth a total of $4.91 billion to be constructed this year. The projects include an expansion of Tanjung Priok Port, the busiest port in Indonesia, which will involve $1.17 billion worth of investment; an $800 million toll road in Bandung; and a $790.8 million, 60-kilometer North Sumatra toll road project, from Medan to the international airport in Kuala Namu…

Mexico organization partners with EDF to address deforestation, climate change and rural development

By Danae Azuara Santiago, EDF blog, 7 March 2012 | I’ve recently moved to Chiapas, the southernmost state in Mexico. As EDF’s Mexico Program Coordinator, I’m here to work with local organizations on reducing deforestation and benefiting local communities that own forests. One of the groups we’ve partnered with is AMBIO… AMBIO’s expert in carbon sequestration and community planning, Sotero Quechulpa, had an idea for an experiment, which AMBIO turned into reality: recruit university students who have almost completed their degrees in fields like forestry and agronomy (the science of soil management and crop production) and need hands-on experience to complete their studies, and place them as interns in rural communities to address specific local problems and capacity needs for forest management and sustainable economic alternatives.

8 March 2012

James Hansen’s Must-See TED Talk: Starting To Reduce CO2 In 10 Years Is Too Late

By Dan Miller, Climate Progress, 8 March 2012 | NASA climate scientist James Hansen gave a talk at the TED conference in Long Beach, CA on February 29th where he laid out the case for taking urgent action to reduce greenhouse emissions… Dr. Hansen said that if we wait 10 years to begin reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we will need to reduce them at a rate of 15%/year to stabilize the climate. This, he said, would be “difficult and expensive — perhaps impossible.” Dr. Hansen referred to his grandchildren and said “It would be immoral to leave these young people with a climate system spiraling out of control.”

Kyoto 2 should last until 2020 – EU environment ministers

Argus Media, 8 March 2012 | The majority of European Council environment ministers support an eight-year second commitment period under the Kyoto protocol rather than a five-year term, according to draft conclusions on the follow-up to the Durban climate summit seen by Argus. Most delegations are “of the view that the second commitment period should start in 2013 and end in 2020, emphasising that the new single global and comprehensive legally-binding agreement should enter into effect no later than the beginning of 2020”, the document said. Only a few member states advocate a shorter commitment period or are of the view that at this stage the EU should keep both options on the table, it said. The environment council is due to adopt the conclusions, prepared by the Danish EU presidency, tomorrow. The council will also finalise conclusions on a roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050 and Rio + 20: pathways to a sustainable future.

Empowering rural women for U.N. International Women’s Day

By Karin Holzknecht, CIFOR Forests Blog, 8 March 2012 | The United Nations have chosen the theme “Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty” to celebrate International Women’s Day 2012. To achieve this goal in forestry, governments, donors, and non-government organisations need to pay more than lip service to the idea of gender and give women a strong role in forest management. “There is no single recipe for success, but taking the time to understand the roles of women and their constraints is critical for taking appropriate action to empower women, reduce poverty and further economic development,” said CIFOR scientist Sheona Shackleton, lead author of a study of the invisible women in forest product value chains. These values also must form the heart of sustainable development, and of the outcomes of the Rio+20 UN conference in June, say experts. Twenty years after the first Rio conference, great social and economic inequities still remain.

REDD+ can have multiple benefits for indigenous territories, if it respects their rights

By Gabriela Ramirez Galindo, CIFOR Forests Blog, 8 March 2012 | REDD+ policies in Latin America can strengthen indigenous territorial management institutions and help defend those territories from external competitors that threaten to exploit insecure land rights, says a new report by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “Indigenous people need strong multilevel institutions – ideally democratic – in order to defend their rights. These should have political support from the state, but they also need legitimacy within a local context,” said Peter Cronkleton, Principal Scientist at CIFOR. The recommendation is just one of several highlighted in Rights to forests and carbon under REDD+ initiatives in Latin America which attempts to address the complex issue: What should policy-makers consider when implementing REDD+ projects in indigenous territories?

Carbon Blood Money in Honduras

By Rosie Wong, Foreign Policy in Focus, 8 March 2012 | Finally, if Wikileaks cables detailing some of Facussé’s more unsavory dealings—including but not limited to his potential links to drug traffickers (to say nothing of his documented violence against local farmers)—are any indication, Facussé’s misdeeds are no secret to the North. And yet one CDM board member told a journalist that “we are not investigators of crimes” and that there is “not much scope” to reject the project under CDM rules. As rights groups have brought these problems to light, Northern companies associated with the project have pulled out one by one, including a consultant that contributed to the project application, the German government bank that had agreed to give a loan to Dinant, and the French electricity company that had agreed to buy the credits. This has left Miguel Facussé and Dinant out on a limb. However, the struggle to stop European carbon market money from flowing to Bajo Aguán is not finished…

Blue Ventures Conservation receives world reknowned grant to conserve mangrove forests in Madagascar

Year Out Group, 8 March 2012 | The UK Government’s environment department, DEFRA, today announced a generous grant for the conservation of critical mangrove forests Madagascar, as part of its Darwin Initiative for overseas biodiversity conservation. This new project will expand Blue Ventures’ work with coastal communities in western Madagascar to develop innovative new approaches to mangrove conservation and coastal poverty alleviation. As a result of the project, it is hoped that coastal communities in this impoverished region will be able to earn new income from the sale of carbon credits, enhanced productivity of crab and shrimp fisheries, and the sustainable supply of charcoal and timber. Blue Ventures will work with the region’s fishing communities to implement effective community-based management of mangroves so that they are able to supply these ecosystems services. Blue Ventures will also broker the equitable sale of the ecosystem services…

[Pakistan] Alarm over mangrove devastation

By Faiza Ilyas, Dawn, 8 March 2012 | Speakers at a conference on mangrove ecosystem said that an acute lack of awareness among the people as well as policy makers about mangroves and their critical role in life was a major hurdle in conservation of these special forests along the coast. Pakistan, they said, was among the 14 most vulnerable countries to natural disasters and there was a dire need to conserve mangroves, which, they said, were not only one of the highly productive forests, but also served as natural defence against intense wave action. The event — National conference on mangroves ecosystem in Pakistan: sharing of experience with policy makers — was organised by the Human Resource Development Network (HRDN) in collaboration with the Mangroves for the Future (MFF) at a hotel on Thursday.

Newest Scam on Fringe of Climate Change Involves Land-Grabs in Peruvian Rainforest

By Bill Weinberg, Indian Country Today Media Network, 8 March 2012 | Nilsson, meanwhile, has approached another rainforest people in Loreto with a REDD project. Working through another Hong Kong–registered firm, Amazon Holdings Ltd. according to REDD-Monitor, and a new group called Conservation and Sustainable Social Inclusion for the Amazon, Nilsson this time approached the Yaguas people of the Apayacu River (a tributary of the Amazon proper, downstream from Iquitos) in late 2011. Under the proposal, Amazon Holdings would sell timber from the region in China, according to REDD-Monitor. The Sydney Morning Herald suggests Nilsson seeks to sell carbon credits generated by his Amazon projects to polluters in Australia. The Federation of Native Communities of the Ampiyacu (FECONA), the indigenous organization for the Apayacu and Ampiyacu watersheds, denounced the deal in a November 5 statement, charging that involvement in such a scheme had “divided and pressured the Matsés people.”

[Tanzania] Destroying forests under the guise of development projects

The Citizen, 8 March 2012 | Do you think government is doing enough to contain forest abuse in the country and help mitigate impacts of climatic change? The government is doing enough. We commend the move to turn the Tanzania Forest Service into an autonomous body which will go a long way to improving forest management. But there is a need of having proper guidelines in development activities to strike a balance with conservation. Farmers should be educated on the use of organic manure since it is more friendly to the environment. More participation is needed in REDD and ideas provided about forest conservation should be considered. The government should support forest conservation activities, invest in proper village land use and reduce village land conflicts that are sometimes threatening the lives of forests.

As the Thai government plans reforestation, local voices must be heard

By Lena Buell, RECOFTC’s Blog for People and Forests, 8 March 2012 | In late February, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra announced the government would invest 3 billion baht in reforestation and preservation activities around the country, following an audience with His Royal Highness the King of Thailand in which His Majesty urged the government to focus on reforestation initiatives… However, planting new forests may not be the panacea the government is hoping for. Concerns abound over the potential for mismanagement on the part of government officials, with many worried over the possibility of conflict should local communities not agree with government reforestation plans… Luckily, forestry officials are keeping these considerations in mind during the planning process. Bangkok Post reports that officials recognize the need for “a drastic change in their approach … as many previous efforts failed because of corruption and lack of local input.”

9 March 2012

REDD+ readiness finance: necessary but not sufficient

By Charlene Watson, ODI Blog Posts, 9 March 2012 | To date, readiness finance has largely come from international public sources. Donor country governments are under pressure to show that their public resources are being spent well. REDD+ moves away from ‘aid-as-usual’ for forest conservation by promising more results-based outcomes. But, as a report released by Global Witness illustrates, existing financial flows for REDD+ are not sufficiently transparent to ensure the necessary accountability of finance, nor to allow for the evaluation of the effectiveness of the REDD+ finance spend. Davyth Stewart from Global Witness noted that greater controls to ensure traceability, accountability and transparency of financial REDD+ flows are necessary. We also need to show progress is being made in overcoming pervasive challenges that have hindered past efforts to conserve forests. Generating evidence that scarce public money is being used well will be crucial if it is to continue to flow.

[Brazil] Indigenous Groups Launch Ground-Breaking Environmental Regime

By Beto Borges, Ecosystem Marketplace, 9 March 2012 | The Brazilian state of Acre has implemented a comprehensive legal framework to support compensation and payments for ecosystem services, and indigenous groups are among the first to begin implementing it… That stewardship could soon be rewarded as the Brazilian state of Acre implements its System of Incentives for Environmental Services (Sistema de Incentivo a Serviços Ambientais, or “SISA”), an ambitious legal framework that Acre created two years ago to support compensation and payments for ecosystem services. The indigenous program is actually one of four SISA subprograms in the works, each aimed at a different key stakeholder group. The others are medium-to-large rural producers, small family farmers, and forest communities such as rubber tappers.

[Guyana] GGMC advertises first small miners lottery since 2009

Stabroek News, 9 March 2012 | The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) has published notices in the local media announcing an impending lottery for special mining permit parcels in the gold-bearing regions of Guyana. The lottery, which will be held next Tuesday, affords interested persons the opportunity to secure permits for 60 parcels at locations at Lethem, Mahdia, Bartica, Pork Kaituma and Mabaruma. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

Guyana to enter forestry p’ship with the EU

By Kwesi Isles, Demerara Waves, 9 March 2012 | The Guyana government has agreed to sign on to the EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade programme (EU FLEGT) which will see only legally harvested timber exported to the bloc as one of the key pillars. Natural Resources and the Environment Minister Robert Persaud told reporters on Friday that the government formally expressed its intention to do so to the EU Delegation in Georgetown on Thursday. “It’s a voluntary programme but also it is one in which demonstrates Guyana’s commitment in ensuring that we practice in terms of the forestry sector and the utilization our resources we maintain international benchmarks,” the minister said. “Being committed to this arrangement will not see a disruption to any particular activity, be it forestry, be it mining or any of the natural resources activities that we have.”

[Indonesia] Vignettes of a year in Borneo: land in dispute

By Carol Colfer, CIFOR Forests Blog, 9 March 2012 | We lived in the middle of Borneo, as a family, working on the first year and a half of a Conservation Project. The book is partly the story of our personal adjustment. We found that creating a life in the middle of Borneo was not always easy—even when one member was an experienced anthropologist! We had funny, touching, enlightening, saddening experiences that seemed to bear telling. This is also a story of Borneo’s people. I hope their individuality, their personalities, feelings, likes and dislikes come across. I wanted this story to make clear their essential humanity. Forest people must be seen not only as victims and destroyers, but also as creative actors, as human beings who can contribute to finding solutions to our shared problems. This story is about real people who happen to live in tropical rainforests. Lastly, I wanted to convey the kinds of problems that hamper significant success in conservation projects…

Despite recognition of indigenous land rights in Nicaragua, communities still losing out

By Gabriela Ramirez Galindo, CIFOR Forests Blog, 9 March 2012 | While legislation that recognises indigenous territorial rights in Nicaragua represents a significant victory for local forest communities, many governance issues still have to be resolved if they want to keep control over access and use of their land and natural resources, says a new paper by the Center for International Forestry Research. “The ownership and control of forested land as defined by the legislation has meaning and consequences beyond the establishment of borders for the people living on the land. Not only does it involve the negotiation of physical boundaries, but also the recognition or creation of an entity who fully represents collective interests,” said Anne Larson, a Senior Associate with CIFOR and author of Making the ‘rules of the game’: Constituting territory and authority in Nicaragua’s indigenous communities.

[Tanzania] Valuing the Arc: Five-Year Experiment Draws to a Close

By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 9 March 2012 | If anyone knows the value of the Eastern Arc Mountain ecosystem, it will be George Jambiya and Neil Burgess… “Neil basically realized that he needed to get beyond general statements about the value of nature and show decision-makers where the value lies within their actual landscapes,” says Taylor Ricketts, co-founder of the Natural Capital Project, which is itself a joint project of Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment, The Nature Conservancy, and WWF… Burgess mentioned his dilemma to Cambridge Professor Andrew Balmford, who told him about a grant available from the Leverhulme Trust. Balmford applied for and won that grant, while Burgess lined up the University of Dar es Salaam and the Sokoine University of Agriculture, each of which unleashed scores of staff and PhD students to ramp up the mapping process… As NatCap was joining the project, Ricketts applied for and won a grant from the Packard Foundation.

10 March 2012

Guyana moves to join EU forestry partnership

Stabroek News, 10 March 2012 | Guyana has signalled its readiness to enter into a forestry partnership with the European Union that could see stricter monitoring of forest operations here. The government on Thursday formally expressed to the European Union Delegation to Guyana and the Government of Norway its intention to formally commence the process of negotiation with the EU with the aim of joining a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). Guyana will be engaging with the EU on next steps in the process, a press release from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment yesterday said. In an effort to combat illegal logging, the EU has set up the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Uganda] Tension as 15,000 ignore eviction notice

By Martins E. Ssekweyama, Monitor, 10 March 2012 | Tension over land ownership is brewing in Ssemabable District as at least 15,300 people, said to be encroachers in the area, continue to ignore an eviction order by the police and district leaders. The residents, said to be mostly from the Bahima tribe in western Uganda, are currently living in Bigaaga Forest Reserve in Ntuusi Sub-county, which they say is going to be their permanent home. Part of the forest is said to belong to the National Forestry Authority while the other portion is said to belong to Uganda Investment Authority. However Mr Joseph Migadde Amooti, the Ntuusi LC5 councillor, said the lease for the 28 square mile forest expired in 1999 and the government has since then taken over its ownership. Armed with sticks, machetes and spears, the cattle-keeping group clashed with locals early this week, prompting Police Chief Kale Kayihura to move to the area, where he has camped since Wednesday.

Uganda, Belgium in $2.6m carbon credit project

The EastAfrican, 10 March 2012 | Uganda and Belgium are planning a $2.6 million campaign to help companies implement projects, which can earn carbon emissions credits under the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) over the next three years. Under carbon offset programmes like the CDM, firms invest in projects that reduce climate-warming emissions in developing nations and receive credits called certified emissions reductions in return. Supported by the Belgium Development Agency and the Climate Change Unit (CCU) of the Ugandan Ministry of Water and Environment, the project has begun the implementation of a training programme to strengthen the country’s ability to benefit from the CDM. “A developed country can credit the emission reductions achieved through its investment in Uganda towards its own emissions commitment,” said Bob Natifu, CCU’s communications officer.

11 March 2012

[Papua New Guinea] Investor Loses US$10 million in Bewani

Papua New Guinea Blogs, 11 March 2012 | “Namah heavily implicated in the saga and received substantial cash benefits totalling almost half a million in US$ dollars.” Malaysian investor is now demanding 80 percent of shares in the Bewani Palm Oil Development Limited, a landowner company from Vanimo or be reimbursed for all the expenses incurred totalling US$10 million. Maxland (PNG) Limited whose sole shareholder Andrew Lim is the Managing Director of Pricewood Products Berhad of Sandakan, Sabah Malaysia was misled into spending more than US$10 million dollars between 2007 up until 2009. Maxland (PNG) Limited was approached by the member for Vanimo/Green Belden Namah in his capacity as Minister for Forest in the previous Somare government. Mr Namah expressed the desire for Lim’s company to finance and develop the Bewani agro forestry palm oil project in the Sandaun Province.

Land ownership boosts climate resilience in India

By Manipadma Jena, AlertNet, 11 March 2012 | India’s REDD+ framework is still evolving, and RCDC [Regional Centre for Development Cooperation] is working with Plan Vivo, a UK-based non-profit organisation that will assess the project and may award credits according to the amount of carbon emissions it reduces. “If villagers can claim ownership, collectively and individually, over surrounding forest resources, they will have a greater incentive to protect, preserve and use the resources in the most optimum manner. We will see reforestation, not deforestation,” says Barun Mitra, director of Liberty Institute, a property rights think tank in New Delhi. “After all, people (will) not kill the goose that lays the golden egg,” Mitra said.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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