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Indigenous Peoples and Southern Civil Society observers to the FCPF respond to NGOs’ call for the World Bank to suspend its REDD programme. Rainforest Foundation UK replies: “We trust that as observers you will seriously consider both the lack of meaningful progress on REDD Readiness as well as the very worrying reports emerging from certain ER Programmes”

To mark the tenth anniversary of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, more than a dozen NGOs signed a letter to the Bank calling for the suspension of the FCPF. “This approach to forest protection simply has not worked,” they wrote.

A few days after the letter was sent, a response arrived. Not from the World Bank, but from Daniel Ole Sapit, Managing Trustee of the Community Resource and Development Centre in Kenya. Sapit is the Indigenous Peoples Observer for Anglophone Africa to the FCPF Readiness Fund and to the FCPF Carbon Fund.

Sapit signed the response for and on behalf of six southern observers to the FCPF. The response states that,

We are gravely concerned and indeed dismayed and taken aback by your letter, which was written with utter disregard to the views and consultation of legitimate representatives of the constituencies that you purport and claim to speak on their behalf.

Simon Counsell, Executive Director of the Rainforest Foundation UK, replied to Sapit and the other observers to the FCPF, on behalf of Rainforest Foundation UK. In his reply, Counsell thanks Sapit for the letter and adds,

We note that it does not address any of the substantive issues raised – that after ten years and US$200m spent, the FCPF is unable to point to any forests that have been saved or to offer a plausible case for how it will do so. We trust that as observers you will seriously consider both the lack of meaningful progress on REDD Readiness as well as the very worrying reports emerging from certain ER Programmes.

Here is Sapit’s letter, followed by Counsell’s reply (both posted in full and with permission):

Mr. Simon Counsell
Executive Director
Rainforest Foundation UK

13th December 2017

Dear Mr. Counsell,

RE: RESPONSE TO YOUR UNILATERAL DEMANDS ON THE FCPF FROM SOUTHERN CIVIL SOCIETY AND INDIGNEOUS PEOPLES OBSERVERS.

Our attention has been drawn to your letter to the World Bank President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, dated the 8th December 2017 and titled “Open letter to the World Bank and international community on the tenth anniversary of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility.

We are addressing you as the official Southern Civil Society Organizations and Indigenous Peoples Observers to the Forest Carbon Partnership Fund (FCPF). We are gravely concerned and indeed dismayed and taken aback by your letter, which was written with utter disregard to the views and consultation of legitimate representatives of the constituencies that you purport and claim to speak on their behalf.

Our role as observers is directly mandated by our constituencies after selection through vigorous, transparent and self-selection processes appropriately contextual to our Indigenous Peoples governance traditions and in the case of civil society and local communities, selection by our peers through a third party verified election. Suffice to say, we are the legitimate voices for our respective constituencies located in the countries that participate in the partnership.

Our proactive work with the FCPF has been through extensive engagements facilitated to realize and progressively achieve an open and inclusive platform responsive to the realities and aspirations of communities and the other stakeholders in the partnership, achieving several milestones including entrenchment of safeguards and the expansion of Strategic Environmental and Social Assessments within REDD+ countries, strengthening of human rights frameworks and in particular rights to land, genuine consultations through concrete multi-stakeholder approaches and enhancing Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) for Indigenous peoples.

We believe that if you made attempts to verify and obtain information related to your allegations, including with the Coordinator, the team at the FMT and ourselves as the representatives of those who have proactively engaged with the FCPF processes and who will be impacted with your recommendation, then the apparent one-sided view would have been deconstructed.

The FCPF arrangement is not perfect but genuine stakeholders must focus on improving on the limitations by working on a path forward to build on the existing gains and not attempt to stop its work.

It is therefore our considered opinion that you withdraw the letter and open a constructive engagement with ourselves and the other stakeholders of the FCPF if your intention is to help strengthen the delivery of the mandate under the Charter of the FCPF, otherwise your letter is a furtherance of the long held truism that some northern organizations whose interests are not aligned with the true aspirations of southern constituencies continuously arrogate themselves as spokespersons of these stakeholders without the expressed consent and mandate of these constituencies.

Sincerely

DANIEL OLE SAPIT
MANAGING TRUSTEE & INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OBSERVER-ANGLOPHONE AFRICA

FOR AND ON BEHALF OF THE UNDERSIGNED

1. Mr. Mithika Mwenda–Pan Africa Climate and Justice Alliance–African Civil Society Observer
2. Mr. Parfait Dihoukamba–REPALEAC-CONGO–Francophone African Indigenous Peoples Observer
3. Mr. Onel Maserdule–Indigenous Forum of AbyaYala–Mesoamerica Indigenous Peoples Observer
4. Mr. Edwin Vasques Campos–Coordinating Organization of the Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon Basin – South American Indigenous Peoples Observer
5. Mr. Gustavo Sanchez-Red MOCAF Mexico and Latin America Civil Society Observer
6. Ms. Grace Balawag-Tebtebba Foundation and Asia Indigenous Peoples Observer

 

From: Simon Counsell
Date: 14 December 2017 at 10:50
Subject: RE: 10th anniversary of the FCPF – call for suspension of its funding
To: Dan Sapit

Dear Daniel Ole Sapit and other Southern Civil Society Observers of the FCPF,

Responding purely on behalf of RFUK, thank you for your letter. We note that it does not address any of the substantive issues raised – that after ten years and US$200m spent, the FCPF is unable to point to any forests that have been saved or to offer a plausible case for how it will do so. We trust that as observers you will seriously consider both the lack of meaningful progress on REDD Readiness as well as the very worrying reports emerging from certain ER Programmes.

We have to point out that you are observers to the FCPF, and do not ‘represent’ those impacted by ER Programmes, any more than Environmental Defense ‘represents’ all northern civil society. The signatories to our letter from both northern and southern civil society, as well as others who have since signalled their support, are perfectly entitled to hold and present their views on the FCPF, based on their different experiences of the programme.

RFUK as an organisation engaged constructively, if often critically, with the FCPF since even before it was formally established. With local partners we have since followed it and some of the ‘readiness’ and ER programme development closely on the ground, and have engaged in countless discussions and detailed analyses in relation to these, including directly with the FMT and relevant governments. It is precisely because we see that this has brought very little substantive change that we are calling for a suspension of FCPF pending a thorough review of it.

Sincerely

Simon Counsell
Executive Director
Rainforest Foundation UK

 


Full disclosure: REDD-Monitor has in the past received funding from Rainforest Foundation UK. Click here for all of REDD-Monitor’s funding sources.
 

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  1. Sapit couldn’t better confirm the validity of the RFUK arguments.