REDD in the news: 30 July – 5 August 2012

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REDD in the news: 30 July - 5 August 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. For past REDD in the news posts, click here.

Is REDD a solution?

By Maria Natalia del Riego and Magdalena Noszczyk (Alliance of Associations Polish Green Network), Forest in the world, no date | Even though REDD+ program was received very enthusiastically, after first results in Acre (Brazil), Kalimantan (Indonesia) Lacandona Jungle (Mexico), Tayna-Kisimba-Ikebi (Democratic Republic of Congo), Tanzania and Peru among others, there are some doubts about the effectiveness and transparence of this mechanism. These doubts concern legal regimen applicable, monitoring system and also structural issues such as the carbon market and governmental weaknesses or corruption. Both, good and bad experiments developed should serve as an example in order to avoid committing the same mistakes in following projects. A review of the most important lessons learnt through pilot experiences is shown below. Most important mistake when implementing REDD+ projects in some countries like Guyana, Peru and Indonesia has been the lack of a reliable mechanism of FPIC.

30 July 2012

Interview with the new CEO of The GEF, the world’s largest funder of environmental projects

By Mark Szotek, mongabay.com, 30 July 2012 | Dr. Naoko Ishii: After 30 years of work with the Japanese Ministry of Finance (MOF) and several leading global development policy groups, I am fully convinced that global development and environmental issues, which used to be treated as opposed to each other, are deeply interlinked and co-dependent. Going forward, these interests must “go hand in hand.” I am excited because fostering this important insight is an area where I feel the GEF can really make a difference.

[Brazil] Private sector “must tap into expanding sustainable markets” to protect Amazon: CIFOR expert

By Gabriela Ramirez Galindo, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 30 July 2012 | The private sector will play an important role in the protection of Amazon forests as it tries to tap into future markets promoting sustainability, a scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research says. Multinationals and large-scale agribusinesses have for decades been accused of being some of the biggest drivers of climate change – clearing vast tracts of plush, tropical forests mainly for cattle ranching and soya bean farming. But there is growing realisation they need to comply with environmental regulations. Regulations that many Brazilian states are keen to enforce as result of international commitments to sustainable production. They also have to adapt to consumer markets that are more sensitive to environmental sustainability, said Pablo Pacheco, who is conducting research looking at the implications on forests from globalised trade and investment for CIFOR.

[Cambodia] NGOs push for women to take leadership in forestry

By Justine Drennan, The Phnom Penh Post, 30 July 2012 | Put more women in forestry leadership roles, a group of NGOs said on Friday, and the impact could be greater than simply levelling the playing field. Cambodia has recently joined the global carbon credit market through REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus), a system whereby developing countries that protect their forests can earn money selling “carbon credits” to high-pollution countries. But Cambodia has yet to actually sell credits, and development groups WOCAN and Pact believe women are key to the initiative’s success. The groups’ study of REDD+ in Oddar Meanchey province has found that women play important roles in forestry, with greater skills than men in foraging and marketing non-timber forest products like thatch and mushrooms.

First of Its Kind Multimillion Dollar Trust Fund Launched to Protect Guyana’s Forests

Conservation International, 30 July 2012 | The Guyanese government today launched a US$8.5 million trust fund called the Conservation Trust Fund, the first of its kind for the country. The fund will provide long-term financing for the management of Guyana’s intact protected areas system (PAS) and will support efforts by the government, along with local communities, to manage the country’s PAS. The fund was established in part to recognize the outstanding contribution of the PAS initiative for Guyana, the region and the world. Financing for the trust comes from the German government through their development bank, KfW, which provided US$5 million with another US$3.5 million coming from Conservation International’s (CI) Global Conservation Fund, made possible by a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Guyana, EU to begin negotiating forestry partnership

Stabroek News, 30 July 2012 | Guyana and the European Union (EU) have agreed to commence formal negotiations later this year on entering into a forestry partnership, which would ensure ready access to the EU market for Guyana’s wood products. The aim is to conclude negotiations on a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) by September 2015, according to an agreed roadmap which will be developed jointly, a joint statement from the two partners said yesterday. “Guyana and the EU will work towards an agreement which should define clear objectives of adding value to forest governance, forest industry development and sustainability of the forestry sector. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

PNG’s forest sell-off revealed

By Hamish McDonald, Sydney Morning Herald, 30 July 2012 | Papua New Guinea’s former Somare government introduced a controversial concession that allegedly accelerated deforestation of its tropical forests and gave away a potential $US23 billion in carbon-trading rights to foreign interests, according to a Greenpeace report. The political time-bomb that awaits PNG’s new government, in a report by Greenpeace Australia Pacific released today, gives details of how a new type of concession introduced by the Somare government in 2003 called Special Agricultural and Business Leases has hastened the deforestation of the country. Immediately after he ousted predecessor Sir Michael Somare from the prime ministership last August, the present caretaker prime minister, Peter O’Neill, initiated a commission of inquiry into controversial forestry concessions granted over the previous decade when Sir Michael held power.

World’s largest butterfly disappearing from Papua New Guinea rainforests

By Mark Stratton, The Guardian, 30 July 2012 | Queen Alexandra’s eggs are laid on the poisonous leaves of a tropical pine-vine called aristolochia, found in Oro province’s rainforests. Emerging caterpillars feeding on aristolochia ingest its toxins throughout all stages of growth until they pupate into chrysalises. Red hairs on the emerged adult butterfly’s thorax warn predators that it remains highly toxic. Their biggest threat, however, remains progressive habitat clearance. Queen Alexandra’s have lost much of their range across Oro province’s coastal plain and are now condensed into a small stronghold on a remote plateau called Managalas. “Its habitat is being destroyed by oilpalm expansion and coffee and cocoa growing,” explained Eddie Malaisa, wildlife officer for Oro provincial government.

Logging companies gain easy access to PNG’s forests, says Greenpeace

By Mark Tran, The Guardian, 30 July 2012 | More than 5m hectares (12.35m acres) of customary-owned land in resource-rich Papua New Guinea have been signed over to unrepresentative landowner companies and foreign-owned corporations for up to 99 years, according to a report by Greenpeace. Of the total 5.1m hectares covered by special agricultural and business leases (SABLs), 75%, or 3.9m hectares, are controlled by foreign-owned companies under 54 subleases or development agreements. Malaysian and Australian firms control at least 3m hectares through 32 SABLs. PNG has the world’s third largest tropical forest, but demand for its logs has led to extensive deforestation. A satellite study in 2008 said the forests of this south Pacific country were being chopped down so quickly that more than half of its trees could be lost by 2021.

[Philippines] Safeguards, anyone?

By Marlea Muñez, REDD-Net, 30 July 2012 | It was in December 2010 in Cancun that the Philippines introduced the Philippine National REDD-Plus Strategy (PNRPS), and has been referring to ‘REDD-plus beyond carbon’ – with social, community, biodiversity and governance aspects of REDD-plus as equally important as the carbon objectives. From there, the critical engagement with CSOs through CoDe REDD Philippines and the department of environment and natural resources (DENR), through the Forest Management Bureau, further developed – from drafting the PNRPS to coming up with corresponding policy measures and demonstration activities on REDD+… It is obvious that Philippines has more than enough laws and guidelines in place. These BMU-GIZ policy studies, though not yet published, have actually already informed REDD-plus readiness phases in the country. Readiness projects are in place and there could be more. What is wrong then? How can safeguards be put on the table?

31 July 2012

Financing sustainable land use at scale: The smart Inari approach

By Lou Munden, Agroforestry World Blog, 31 July 2012 | In May of 2011, my staff and I began to examine a really interesting finance challenge – smallholder agriculture projects in Africa. Our question was simple: how could we connect those projects with reliable sources of capital? The scope of inquiry expanded over time and, to make a very long story short, we eventually concluded that the real problem we were trying to address wasn’t limited to just smallholder agriculture or sustainable forestry or wetlands preservation. Instead, it was the much broader issue of how to finance sustainable land use at scale. Today I’m happy to share a proposal – Inari – that’s designed to solve these problems. You can read about it in more detail at this link from FAO.

Code REDD: Harnessing Markets to Fight Deforestation

Sustainablog, 31 July 2012 | Over the past 2 decades, since the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, we have witnessed the launch of many initiatives to stop deforestation. Despite the good intentions of each approach tried, we have continued to lose an area the size of New York City every other day to deforestation. These activities account for 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions – more than the entire global transportation sector. But last month at Rio+20, we saw the launch of the Code REDD Campaign, a radical new market-based campaign to save the threatened forests of the world. Code REDD aims to make forests more valuable alive than dead by catalyzing demand in the private sector for high quality REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) projects approved by the campaign within the Voluntary Carbon Market.

600m allowances may be withdrawn from EU ETS

Point Carbon, 31 July 2012 | The European Commission’s proposal to change the supply side of the European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS), announced on July 25, could increase the price of European Union Allowances (EUAs) to €15/t in 2020, according to analysis from Thomson Reuters Point Carbon, the leading provider of market intelligence, news, analysis, forecasting and advisory services for the energy and environmental markets. “We currently assume that an agreement on back-loading 800 million allowances and on a permanent cancellation of 600 million allowances is politically feasible given the information that we have. In such a scenario, we forecast an average carbon price of €11/t for phase 3 of the EU ETS. We see prices increasing to €12/t in 2014, hovering between €10/t and €12/t between 2015 and 2018 and increasing to €15/t in 2020 as a result of a tighter phase 4 cap”, said Marcus Ferdinand, senior market analyst at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon.

US airlines urge Hillary Clinton to intervene over EU carbon law

Reuters, 31 July 2012 | A coalition of industry lobby groups urged the Obama administration on Monday to challenge an EU law that forces airlines that use European airports to pay for their carbon emissions. Groups including Airlines for America (A4A) and the US Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to secretary of state Hillary Clinton and transportation secretary Ray LaHood asking them to stop EU from forcing foreign airlines to comply with the bloc’s emissions trading system. The airlines are calling on the US authorities to file an action under the UN’s aviation body, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). EU countries are among ICAO’s 190 members. “As each day goes by without an EU act to halt or suspend the ETS, the harm to US airlines and aircraft operators grow while the US government’s credibility is weakened,” the groups said.

East Africa’s forests shrink, especially near parks

Reuters, 31 July 2012 | Forests in East Africa have shrunk over the past years, especially around the fringes of parks, complicating efforts to protect wildlife and fight climate change, a study showed on Monday. The report indicated that forest cover decreased by about 9.3 percent overall from 2001-09 in about 12 nations studied. Losses were biggest in Uganda and Rwanda, while only southern Sudan – which is now the independent country South Sudan – made fractional gains. “The decrease in forest cover is strongest just outside protected areas,” Rob Marchant of the University of York, who co-ordinated the study in the journal PLOS One by experts in Britain, Denmark and the United States, told Reuters.

Action research on strengthening the gender dimension of REDD+ SES in Nepal

WOCAN, 31 July 2012 | An action research on Gender, Forest and REDD+SES was conducted in Nepal jointly by the REDD-Forestry and Climate Change Cell, WEDO and WOCAN with the support from the REDD+ Social and Environmental Standards (SES) Secretariat. The main objectives of the action research were to identify gender considerations that are relevant for the Nepal REDD+ Program, understand the importance of including a gender perspective on REDD+ standards and safeguards, and propose recommendations how the REDD+ SES in Nepal can be gender responsive and socially inclusive. Workshops were organized for women organizations and for policy makers. The outcomes of the workshop will support global and national level efforts of the Nepal government and institutions and will provide suggestions for the international safeguards and standards processes.

[New Zealand] Forest vigilante threat dismays land owners

NZ Forest Owners’ Association press release, 31 July 2012 | Forest owners are dismayed at Otago University Professor Sir Alan Mark’s suggestion that he might assemble a group of activists to rip out forest seedlings on a farm near Dunedin. “It’s one thing for the professor to be a passionate advocate for environmental causes. It’s quite another to threaten vigilante action and to incite trespass,” says FOA Environment Committee chair Peter Weir. At issue is a 189 hectare block of Douglas-fir planted as a carbon forest by Landcorp at Waipori Station. The block borders Te Papanui Conservation Park and the Stony Creek Scenic Reserve. Sir Alan is fearful that wilding Douglas-fir will spread through these important tussock land reserves from seeds blown from the plantation. It is an issue he is passionate about. Sir Alan led a major campaign to remove wildling pines from thousands of hectares at Mid-Dome in Southland…

[Paraguay] Revealed: secret agenda of ranchers to steal uncontacted tribe’s land

Survival International, 31 July 2012 | The secret agenda of a huge ranching firm in Paraguay has been exposed by satellite photos showing a newly-constructed reservoir. The reservoir reveals the firm’s intention to clear nearby forest belonging to an uncontacted tribe. In a pattern characteristic of the Chaco region, landowners first build large water containers before clearing tracts of forest for livestock. Carlos Casado SA’s construction of the reservoir puts neighboring Indians, especially uncontacted Ayoreo, in immediate danger . The hunter-gatherer tribe relies on the forest for its survival. Ayoreo organization OPIT has called on Paraguay’s Ministry of Environment to step in and prevent such illegal deforestation. It has asked the government to ‘help us manage our forests which we have been trying to protect and recover title to since 1993.’

1 August 2012

REDD+ – Traditional Knowledge and Climate Science series

UNUChannel, posted to YouTube on 1 August 2012 | [R-M: A video about REDD by United Nations University.]

Do REDD Trees Make Forest Green?

By Gleb Raygorodetsky, National Geographic, 1 August 2012 | Both REDD and REDD+ approaches feed into carbon markets that are supposed to generate significant financial flows from companies with high degrees of GHG emissions in developed countries (e.g., from burning fossil fuels to create electricity) toward less polluting, carbon-neutral or carbon-negative activities in developing countries (e.g., community-managed forestry). The global forest carbon-based market is projected to generate US$30 billion a year. Amongst other things, carbon markets are expected to provide significant financial rewards for indigenous peoples and communities to continue to preserve their traditional forested lands. Since 2008, over US$7.5 billion has been committed to REDD+ projects, with many more billions promised. The main global REDD+ database currently has 647 registered projects in 40 countries amounting to US$3.32 billion.

How much money is needed to deal with climate change?

By Smita Nakhooda, AlertNet, 1 August 2012 | Estimates of the costs of addressing climate change in developing countries vary substantially from $480 billion to $ 1.5 trillion per year. Understanding growing needs for finance to help developing countries address climate change was the first item on the agenda at a workshop on Long Term Finance hosted by the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat in Bonn last month. How much money do we need? There are significant differences in the approach and assumptions underlying estimates of the cost of climate change, which make World Bank, McKinsey and UNFCCC numbers difficult to compare. Many estimates are based on investment needs, rather than the amount of international financial support needed. Global studies provide a useful reminder of the scale of climate finance that we need, but these aggregate figures are too abstract to guide investment choice.

From RED to REDD+: the evolution of a forest-based mitigation approach for developing countries

By Till Pistorius, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 1 August 2012 | The REDDplus mechanism currently negotiated under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has developed rapidly but not as expected. Treating deforestation as a climate mitigation issue, the negotiations have raised high expectations and triggered remarkable developments in the global forest sector and activities on all policy levels, based on the wide consensus among private and public actors that deforestation and climate change constitute urgent environmental problems that must be addressed simultaneously. Despite the stalemate of the UNFCCC process, the implementation of readiness and pilot activities began, and with it, the notion of the REDDplus debate changed. Concerns arose regarding the effectiveness and the integrity of REDDplus, in particular owing to the absence of clear modalities and funding.

Mangrove conservation is ‘economic’ CO2 fix

By Nick Crumpton, BBC News, 1 August 2012 | Protecting mangroves to lock carbon away in trees may be an economic way to curb climate change, research suggests. Carbon credit schemes already exist for rainforests; the new work suggests mangroves could be included too. But other researchers say the economics depend on the global carbon price. Presenting their results in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the US-based team emphasises that protecting mangroves has important benefits for wildlife as well.

Policymakers must consider forests before deciding on sustainable development goals

By Gabriela Ramirez Galindo, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 1 August 2012 | Scientists have called for policymakers to urgently consider the vital ecosystem functions served by forests ahead of the introduction of a set of UN goals to promote environmentally sustainable development post-2015. Louis Verchot, director of the Forests and Environment Programme at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), said much of the focus in recent years has been on the role forests play in helping offset the amount of greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels. But other vital functions served by these unique ecosystems need to be integrated into political, social and economic agendas, he said. Home to millions of plant and animal species, many of them yet undiscovered, forests also provide opportunities for jobs, food and medicinal cures.

Europe’s Carbon Market Trips on a New Proposal

By Alessandro Torello, Wall Street Journal, 1 August 2012 | A recent proposal by the European Union to buttress its program to curb greenhouse gases has raised new questions about the long-term path to clean air. The proposal, which aims to slow the pace at which permits to emit CO2 are sold on the Emissions Trading System between 2013 and 2020, risks having only limited effect if it isn’t followed by permanent measures, analysts say. The ETS, as the EU carbon market is known, was designed to encourage companies to invest in technologies that reduce their emissions in the long term, rather than to simply buy more permits to emit more carbon-dioxide. The higher the price of the contract, the stronger the incentive to curtail emissions. But prices have dropped to record lows this year, depressed by an underlying oversupply and exacerbated by the economic downturn.

Germany breaks renewables record during first half of 2012

By Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen, 1 August 2012 | Germany produced record volumes of renewable energy in the first half of this year, according to new industry figures that will come as a boost to the fast-growing European renewables market. Germany’s National Association of Energy and Water (BDEW) published initial estimates late last week revealing that, from January to June, renewable energy technologies accounted for more than a quarter of the country’s electricity supply for the first time ever.

2 August 2012

Deforestation now driven by profit, not poverty

By Martha Cuba Cronkleton, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 2 August 2012 | The main drivers of deforestation worldwide are no longer subsistence-level farmers trying to put food on their tables, but corporations, converting massive tracts of land for industrial agriculture, said the founder of the Mongabay website, adding that this offers a rare opportunity for conservation. Because McDonalds, Mattel Inc, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) and others are sensitive to campaigns by environmentalists, they are slowly becoming valuable actors in the fight to slow climate change, Rhett Butler said. There are several caveats, however: conglomerates need to be monitored against “green washing” — misrepresenting the environmental qualities of their products, a common strategy used by those under fire. And, as Western consumer markets decline, big offenders may eventually become harder to influence.

Countries opposed to EU carbon charge for airlines fail to find an alternative

Reuters, 2 August 2012 | A two-day meeting hosted the by US of 17 countries opposed to the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS) has ended without a joint declaration. The countries, however, reaffirmed their ambition to keep working on an alternative framework to address greenhouse gas emissions under UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). They remain opposed to an EU law that forces their airlines to pay for the carbon they emit on flights to and from Europe. “The meeting confirmed strong opposition to the ETS, but indicated interest in continuing to work on the suite of activities in ICAO,” a senior US official said on Wednesday. US, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, India, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates are opposed to EU’s so-called carbon tax.

Brazil’s deforestation rate still on decline in 2012?

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 2 August 2012 | Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon fell by more than a fifth for the 12-month period ending July 31, 2012, according to preliminary data released by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE). INPE’s Real Time Deforestation Detection System (DETER), picked up 2011 square kilometers of forest clearing between August 1, 2011 and July 31, 2012. In the year-earlier period, deforestation amounted to 2,578 sq km. DETER is based on relatively coarse satellite imagery, using 25 hectare pixels from NASA’s MODIS sensor. Since the system misses a significant proportion of deforestation, Brazil relies on PRODES (Program to Calculate Deforestation in the Amazon), which can detect areas of deforestation of more than 6.5 hectares, to make the final determination of deforestation on a year-to-year basis, usually releasing estimates each December.

[Brazil] Judge halts rail project close to Earth’s most threatened tribe

Survival International, 2 August 2012 | A judge has ordered Brazil’s largest mining company to suspend plans to double a controversial railway track, which would have put the livelihoods of Earth’s most threatened tribe in jeopardy. In a major setback for mining giant Vale, the ruling demands an immediate freeze on expansion work along the Carajás railway, and sets a daily penalty of US$25,000 for any breach. The forest home of Brazil’s Awá tribe lies next to the existing railway, along which 2 km-long trains run to the world’s largest iron ore mine.

Reference Levels and Payments for REDD+: Lessons from the recent Guyana-Norway Agreement

WWF, 2 August 2012 | This report discusses the various definitions proposed for REDD+ RLs and RELs and asserts that a RL to track REDD+ progress is not necessarily the same as a reward or crediting line and that the two concepts can and should be separated. The analysis assesses the pros and cons of several proposals of RLs/RELs to track REDD+ progress, as well as the pros and cons of several schemes to reward REDD+ countries. The authors refer to the recent Guyana–Norway agreement to discuss how these REDD+ reward schemes could be implemented on the ground. The paper concludes with lessons regarding the establishment of RLs and the future of REDD+ financing.

[Malaysia] REDD+ Readiness Workshop in Sabah

Shuttleworth Foundation, 2 August 2012 | From 31 July to 1 August, Holly Shrumm (Natural Justice) participated in a workshop on Malaysia’s emerging national institutional framework for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD+). The meeting, held in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, was part of a three-year ”REDD+ Readiness” joint project between the United Nations Development Programme and the federal Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (NRE).

In Mexico, Reclaiming the Forests and the Right to Feel Safe

By Karla Zabludovsky, New York Times, 2 August 2012 | On the morning of April 15, 2011, using rocks and fireworks, a group of women attacked a busload of AK-47-armed illegal loggers as they drove through Cherán, residents said. The loggers, who local residents say are protected by one of Mexico’s most powerful criminal organizations and given a virtual free pass by the country’s authorities, had terrorized the community at will for years. Cherán’s residents said they had been subjected to multiple episodes of rape, kidnapping, extortion and murder by the paramilitary loggers, who have devastated an estimated 70 percent of the surrounding oak forests that sustained the town’s economy and indigenous culture for centuries. What happened next was extraordinary, especially in a country where the rule of law is often absent and isolated communities are frequently forced to accept the status quo.

Salvadoran Civil Society Groups Opposed to Carbon Credit Plan

By Edgardo Ayala, IPS, 2 August 2012 | Civil society organisations are asking the World Bank to reject the Salvadoran government’s proposal to join a programme for reducing greenhouse gas emissions linked to deforestation, on the argument that it will actually harm the environment. If the government’s proposal is accepted it would delay “complaince of urgent national and international commitments on climate change,” say activists in a letter sent to Benoît Bosquet, coordinator of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), in June. The FCPF coordinates the global programme for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). El Salvador kicked off the adherence process when it sent the first document in April. The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources submitted a revised version of the proposal in June and the acceptance process is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

[Tanzania] Forestry conservation project impresses envoys

Daily News, 2 August 2012 | The Tanzania Forest Services (TFS)’s agenda and working plan has impressed Finnish and NOrwegian envoys who are now urging the government to back up such good approach with resources to ensure implementation. The Ambassador of Finland to the country, Sinikka Antila, said during the launch of a five-year Mama Misitu Campaign in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday that the two countries are impressed with the newly established forestry agency which seeks to improve transparency and governance in the sector. “But often, a country can have very good policies and regulations which are poorly implemented, we see that there is a lot of room for improvement,” Ambassador Antila said in a joint speech with Norway during a brief ceremony graced by Pwani Regional Commissioner, Mwantumu Mahiza.

The study tour on sharing lesson learned on REDD+ Readiness Preparation in Vietnam of Myanmar and Cambodia delegation

REDD-Vietnam, 2 August 2012 | From 31/7 to 4/8, 2012 a delegation from Myanmar and Cambodia visited Viet Nam. The delegation headed by Mr. Zaw Win Myint from Forest Research Institute of Myanmar and Mr. Khun Vanthana from Forestry Administration of Cambodia. This trip is a part of the South-South Exchange program between member countries of UN-REDD Global Programme. The purpose of the visit is to learn about the REDD+ Readiness preparation of Viet Nam. We hope that the visit will continue to strengthen the cooperation between Myanmar, Cambodia in Viet Nam in the implementation of REDD+.

3 August 2012

FCO Partners with Code REDD

Forest Carbon Offsets LLC, 3 August 2012 | Code REDD is a consortium of REDD+ developers and corporate partners that have come together to address the need for outreach and education regarding REDD+. The corporate partners pledge to purchase the high quality VCS and CCBA credits produced by the REDD+ developers. The REDD+ developers pledge to produce the credits and follow a code of ethics that’s goes above and beyond the already rigorous standards published by the Verified Carbon Standard Association and the Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Standard Association.

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 3 August 2012 | The call for community engagement as a subset of REDD readiness was reinforced through various outlets these past few weeks, whether in stories around Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) or in studies exploring the potential to engage women more actively in forestry leadership roles. In the wake of an FPIC field dialogue in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the REDD Climate Working Group – made up of national and local environment and development NGOs in DRC – suspended its participation in the working groups that were intended to produce the first draft of a national REDD strategy. In open letters to DRC’s Environment Minister, GTCR criticized the lack of effective public and community engagement in national REDD+ policymaking, calling for a more decentralized consultation process for all stakeholders involved.

Commericalization of nuts, mushrooms could hurt health of forest dwellers

By Martha Cuba Cronkleton, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 3 August 2012 | The commercialization of nuts, mushrooms, vegetables, and other food products from forests could have a downside — hurting health as rural communities shift from diets rich in fibre and micro-nutrients to processed foods, a nutrition expert says. Bronwen Powell, a post-doctoral Fellow at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), pointed to global rises in obesity and related health issues such diabetes and heart disease, linked to increasing market integration and reliance on purchased foods. There are ways to counter this, however, she said, urging policymakers to consider providing “appropriate and timely education” about nutrition at the same time as programmes designed to generate incomes. Non-timber forest products, or NTFPs, have significant value to forest dwellers: they often provide the only means of access to the cash economy.

Amazon deforestation falls again

By Adam Vaughan, The Guardian, 3 August 2012 | Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest has fallen again in the past 12 months, according to preliminary data published by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research. The reduction follows the passing of Brazil’s Forest Code in April, which green campaigners say weakened forest protection measurements, despite a partial veto by president Dilma Rouseff of the most controversial elements. Data from satellite images shows a 23% reduction in deforestation from August 2011 to July 2012 against the previous year, with 2,049 sq km being cleared compared with 2,679 sq km in the previous 12 months. The figures, published on Thursday, mark the continuation of a long-term trend that has seen clearance rates in the Amazon fall by about three quarters since peak deforestation in 2004.

Brazil backslides on protecting the Amazon

By Paulo Prada, Reuters, 3 August 2012 | In the 19 months since Rousseff took office, longstanding rules that curtail deforestation and protect millions of square kilometers of watershed have been rolled back. She issued an executive order to shrink or repurpose seven protected woodlands, making way for hydroelectric dams and other infrastructure projects, and to legalize settlements by farmers and miners. And she has slowed to a near halt a process, uninterrupted during the previous three administrations, of setting aside land for national parks, wildlife reserves and other “conservation units.” The president is clear in her reasoning: Unleashing further development in the Amazon rainforest, an area seven times the size of France, is essential to maintaining the sort of economic growth that over the past decade lifted 30 million Brazilians out of poverty and made Brazil the world’s sixth-largest economy.

4 August 2012

Climate change is here — and worse than we thought

James E. Hansen (NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies), Washington Post, 4 August 2012 | When I testified before the Senate in the hot summer of 1988 , I warned of the kind of future that climate change would bring to us and our planet. I painted a grim picture of the consequences of steadily increasing temperatures, driven by mankind’s use of fossil fuels. But I have a confession to make: I was too optimistic. My projections about increasing global temperature have been proved true. But I failed to fully explore how quickly that average rise would drive an increase in extreme weather. In a new analysis of the past six decades of global temperatures, which will be published Monday, my colleagues and I have revealed a stunning increase in the frequency of extremely hot summers, with deeply troubling ramifications for not only our future but also for our present.

5 August 2012

The risks of climate disaster demand straight talking

By Howard Covington and Chris Rapley, Financial Times, 5 August 2012 | These pages often focus on how the eurozone crisis will play out. Yet within a decade, this crisis will resolve itself one way or another. Meanwhile, the more important climate crisis gathers momentum with hardly a word on where it will lead. This is partly because climate change has slipped from the public agenda. But there is also, we suspect, a concern that climate is too contentious and complex a topic for a non-expert commentator to tackle. There may also be a fear that any honest appraisal of the possible course of events risks the charge of alarmism. In our view, the first is not the case and the second is a poor excuse.

National REDD+ Strategy June 2012 2nd draft

By Rogers N. Ruhiye, Let’s talk land Tanzania, 5 August 2012 | Recently, the Tanzania REDD+ initiative has formulated a second draft of the National REDD+ Strategy with its Action Plan for implementation which is attached herewith for general public reviewing and scrutiny. Comments are welcome as they can be sent to P.O.BOX 35097 Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania or reddtz@ira.udsm.ac.tz. Moreover, for facilitating the review process a research report on “Making REDD work for the Poor” and “REDD+ National Strategy of Indonesia” have equally been attached.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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