in Poland

REDD texts on safeguards information system and drivers of deforestation will not be re-opened at COP19 in Warsaw

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The UN climate negotiations started this week in Warsaw. For the second year in a row, the negotiations coincide with a massive typhoon hitting the Philippines. Last year at Doha, Philippine negotiator Yeb Saño asked, “Please, let Doha be remembered as the place where we found the political will to turn things around.”

Typhoon Haiyan is one of the strongest storms ever recorded, with up to 10,000 people feared dead in the town of Tacloban alone. Speaking on Monday at the UNFCCC, Yeb Saño gave another moving speech (available in full on Democracy Now!):

What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness. The climate crisis is madness. Mr. President, we can stop this madness right here in Warsaw. We cannot sit and stay helpless staring at this international climate stalemate. It is now time to raise ambition and take action. We need an emergency climate pathway.

Unfortunately, addressing climate change is not on the UNFCCC’s agenda. PwC estimates that at current rates we will have used up this century’s climate budget by 2034:

Even doubling the current 0.7% rate of decarbonisation puts us on a path consistent with the most extreme scenario presented by the IPCC, and potential warming of around 4°C by 2100.

Even before the meeting in Warsaw started, Christiana Figueres, executive director of the UNFCCC, said that carbon budgets were a “good scientific exercise” but that it be politically too difficult for carbon budgets to be the basis for negotiations.

Yesterday in Warsaw, the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) REDD+ Contact group met. In part because of the non-existent negotiations on addressing climate change, the negotiations on REDD seem to be moving along swiftly.

The REDD+ Safeguards Working Group, a group of 25 civil society and indigenous organisations, is in Warsaw monitoring and providing analysis on the forest negotiations. The Group reports that,

Text on Safeguards Information System and drivers of deforestation and forest degradation will not be re-opened. Text has been forwarded to the SBSTA Chair for adoption by the COP.

Concerns about safeguards reporting and drivers of deforestation were acknowledged by several countries, including Norway, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Sudan (for the least developed countries), Colombia, Brazil, USA, Mexico and Ecuador.

The latest text on Safeguards Information System and drivers of deforestation and forest degradation is available on the UNFCCC website.

Anggalia Putri, of the Indonesian NGO HuMa, gave a brief presentation on behalf of the Accra Caucus, posted here in full:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity. My name is Anggalia Putri, speaking on behalf of Accra Caucus on Forests and Climate Change.
Distinguished delegates,
There are two urgent issues that we feel merit attention of all of you who are currently negotiating on our behalf: the text on drivers of deforestation and on safeguards information system. We strongly feel that the draft decision texts from Bonn on the two issues are inadequate regarding the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. On drivers, the current text suggests that local communities and indigenous peoples are the main drivers of forest loss, rather than large corporate producers and international commodity chains. We are extremely worried this text could pose serious risks for indigenous peoples and local community rights. There is ample evidence showing that protecting indigenous peoples’ livelihoods is an effective way to halt deforestation and forest degradation. These efforts need to be recognized, and the rights and territories of indigenous peoples and local communities respected.
Regarding safeguards, it is our view that effective safeguards implementation is fundamental to the success of all forest policies, including REDD+, and it depends on a robust monitoring and reporting system. We have the SIS now and its robustness in turn depends on the requirement for reporting, which must include an initial provision of information on how safeguards are addressed and respected before results-based payments can be accessed, irrespective of the timing of National Communications. In order to access results-based finance, countries must first provide information on how safeguards have been applied. Adequate support must also be provided for this with the full and effective participation of stakeholders.
In conclusion, we appeal to you, dear delegates, to reopen these draft decisions so that decisions from this COP-19 reflect that the livelihoods of forest dependent peoples are supported and not targeted as drivers and so that they state explicitly that the provision of information on safeguards will precede any results-based payments.

Thank you.

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Leave a Reply

  1. Thanks for this post, especially the presentation is insightful for as to why several NGOs opposed the decision.

    Do you remember/know in what context this presentation was given?

  2. @Sonia Weasley (#1) – Thanks for the question (and sorry it’s not clear from the post). The Accra Caucus presentation was an intervention during the SBSTA discussions on REDD in Warsaw, on 12 November 2013.

    The Accra Caucus is a coalition of more than 100 non-governmental organisations from 30 countries. It was formed in August 2008, in Accra, Ghana at a meeting organised to discuss issues and concerns associated with REDD. Click here for more posts involving the Accra Caucus.