in Madagascar, Nigeria, Uganda

No REDD in Africa Network Maputo Statement: “REDD does not reduce emissions, REDD does not halt deforestation”

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In August 2013, the No REDD in Africa Network met in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. The members of the Network, which was launched at the World Social Forum earlier this year, produced a short statement, posted in full below.

In the past few weeks, REDD in Africa has hit the headlines several times. In Madagascar, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the government of Madagascar announced that 705,588 carbon credits are certified for sale from the Makira REDD+ Project. WCS estimates that the 400,000 hectare project will prevent emissions of 32 million tons over the next 30 years.

“The sale of these carbon credits has triple bottom-line benefits; it helps wildlife, local people, and fights climate change,” said Todd Stevens, Executive Director of Global Initiatives at the Wildlife Conservation Society. Stevens clearly hasn’t considered what happens when carbon credits are sold. Of course the Makira forest should be protected, but the sale of carbon credits ensures that somewhere else emissions will continue, thus cancelling out any reduction in Makira.

Last week, the World Bank agreed a US$3.6 million REDD deal with Uganda. But even with an additional US$865,000 grant from Australia, Uganda still needs another US$6 million to reach the budget in the country’s Readiness Preparation Proposal. Quoted in an IPS article about the deal, Lauren Goers Williams of the World Resources Institute points out that REDD is more complicated than everyone first thought:

“When it first came out, people acted like it was as simple as ‘Don’t cut down the trees, go out and measure some carbon and we’re done.’ But in reality all of these countries have sort of already been struggling with how to manage their forests or figure out how to protect some of them while also striving for economic development.”

Meanwhile, in Cross River State in Nigeria, a storm destroyed 1,000 hectares of the communally managed Ekuri forest. The Village Head of Old Ekuri, Chief Stephen Oji told the Daily Independent:

“The expected revenues from the payment for ecosystems services from Ekuri Community forest under the Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) is eroded as the amount of metric tons of carbon in destroyed trees and other ecosystem services – biodiversity, water, landscape – cannot be accounted for to warrant payments later when the programme kicks off fully. I praise our distinctive efforts and commitments to conserve our forest but see how the best we have done is lost in a twinkle of an eye!”

Maputo Statement

No REDD in Africa Network, August 2013

The NO REDD in Africa Network gathered here in Maputo Mozambique, on 26 August 2013 during the occasion of an international workshop on REDD with participants from Mozambique, other African countries, North America and South America deliberated on the implications of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) for Africa and by extension the global South.
We recognise the decision of the Tunisia meeting in March 2013 that decided on the need for a No REDD Platform to educate and inform communities and governments of the developing countries about the negative impacts of REDD in all its forms.
We acknowledge the fact that African governments have been ambushed with offers and promises of development financing flowing through REDD and adopted this without applying critical minds and making the necessary consultations.
We appreciate the participation of government officials and representatives of government workers from various departments to contribute to the conversation on REDD but note the unfortunate position expressed by them that despite the repertoire of evidence against REDD, the African governments are adamant to go ahead with REDD.
We, the undersigned, noted and expressed the following;
1. REDD was basically designed as an escape hatch for polluters in the industrialised countries to enable them to continue to pollute while assuming that their pollution was offset in forests
2. REDD does not reduce emissions and is merely a project for carbon trading,
3. REDD does not halt deforestation but defers, displaces or actually encourages conversion of forests into monoculture tree plantations,
4. REDD and REDD type projects lead to displacement of forest dependent communities, servitude, killings, repression and other human rights abuses,
5. Much of African land and forests have been targeted for REDD and carbon credit projects or are marked to be auctioned off to private interests,
6. REDD rewards logging companies and agri-business,
7. REDD projects have been rushed on developing country governments with very little opportunity for internal and local consultation with the promise of development funding,
8. REDD represents a major threat to security of land, food and water in Africa as it is a land grabbing agenda of continental scale.
On the basis of the above and other considerations, the workshop declared as follows
1. Governments must take steps to protect our forests from deforestation and degradation and do so without expectations of carbon credits,
2. Polluting industries and countries must stop emissions at source and not deflect the burden
3. Demand and over-consumption are major causes of deforestation and must be reduced to sustainable levels,
4. Governments must improve weak and ineffective forest sector governance and ensure that forest-dependent communities are duly consulted and their consent obtained with regard to actions on their forests and forest resources,
5. Governments must facilitate and support a new development pathway not premised on forest conversion,
6. Governments must consider development alternatives that are based on the historical capacities of the local communities and only collaborate with investors on projects designed by them rather than accept development projects designed elsewhere primarily to meet the interests of others,
7. African governments have a duty to protect the resources of their nations and protect the people and resources in their care from recolonisation.
List of signatories:

1. Justiça Ambiental / Friends of the Earth Mozambique
2. AAAJC (Associação de Assistência e Apoio Juridico ás Comunidades Rurais/ Association for Support and Legal Assistance for Communities), Tete, Mozambique
3. Calisto André Nais – local farmer from Mabu, Zambézia province, Mozambique
4. Adolfo Muressama – local farmer from Mabu, Zambézia province, Mozambique
5. Manito Coutinho – ACODEMUZO and local farmer, Quelimane, Zambézia province,
6. União Provincial de Camponeses (UPC, Provincial Farmers Union) of Niassa province,
7. UPC of Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique
8. UPC of Nampula province, Mozambique
9. UPC of Tete province, Mozambique
10. UPC of Zambezia province, Mozambique
11. UPC of Sofala province, Mozambique
12. UPC of Gaza province, Mozambique
13. UPC of Maputo province, Mozambique
14. Engenharia sem Fronteira (Engineers without Borders), Maputo
15. Kutsemba, Matutuine, Maputo province, Mozambique
16. FONGA (Forum das ONGs de Gaza / Forum of NGOs of Gaza), Gaza province,
17. FBO-Plataforma Inter-Relgiosa para Governação Participativa
18. Boaventura Monjane
19. Renaldo C. João
20. Mateus Costa Santos
21. Mussa Chaleque
Regional & International
23. Friends of the Earth International
24. Friends of the Earth Africa
25. Environmental Rights Action / Friends of the Earth Nigeria
26. La Via Campesina Africa
27. La Via Campesina, Brazil
28. Rose Luxemburg Foundation, South Africa
29. Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Nigeria
30. Indigenous Environmental Network, USA
31. Movimento de la Juventude Kuna (Movement of Youth of Kuna), Panama
32. Earthlife Africa, South Africa
33. Timberwatch, South Africa
34. Rainforest Resource and Development Centre (RRDC), Nigeria
35. The Rules, Kenya / South Africa
36. World Rainforest Movement
37. Movimento Sem Terra (MST / Landless Peoples Movement), Brazil
38. Centre for Civil Society, South Africa
39. Forum of African Investigative Reporters, South Africa
40. African Biodiversity Network (ABN), Nairobi
41. International Political Forum
42. Juddy Blessol Wambui, Kenya
43. Cassandra Smithies, Researcher, USA


PHOTO Credit: No REDD in Africa Network on flickr.

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  1. Ok, so as this article in some sense suggests, REDD is just a starting point, if you like. It is a funding a mechanism. There is no big secret about this. If these funds are used judiciously, REDD CAN indeed stop deforestation, yes, through a well-run conservation programme. If you are of the opinion that injecting extra funds into forest conservation projects does not help, then and only then can you say that REDD cannot stop deforestation. Let’s face it, funding mechanisms for forest conservation have been around for a while, maybe since the ’80s, and this debate is not ground-breaking. The problem is still the same.

    The point about carbon credits “allowing” polluters to continue polluting, I disagree with. Would they have continued to pollute in the absence of the project? I would argue yes. The notion ‘allowing’ is merely an artefact of the mechanism (cap-and-trade itself). The alternative would be banning carbon emissions totally. I am pro this, but run after it if you want, and if you can. Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth often do, but how real the results are is often debatable. I like to call this argument “we are screwed anyway (until someone innovates out of polluting technology and gets it past the petrol industry machine)so why not pump some extra money into forest conservation?”.