The province of Mai Ndombe in the Democratic Republic of Congo has about 10 million hectares of forest. Of the population of 1.8 million living in Mai Ndombe, about 73,000 are indigenous people.
Last week, José Ilanga the Director General in charge of forests at the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development in the Democratic Republic of Congo, announced that plans were underway to lift the country’s 16-year-old moratorium on new logging concessions. Today, more than 50 environmental and human rights organisations have written to key donor governments and agencies, including Norway, UK, France, USA, and the World Bank, calling on them to suspend funding immediately to the DRC government for forestry and forest conservation.
On 1 February 2018, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s forests were dealt a double blow. First, DRC’s Minister of Environment, Amy Ambatobe, reinstated three illegal logging concessions covering an area of 6,500 square kilometres. Second, DRC’s president, Joseph Kabila, signed off on three oil exploration concessions covering a huge area of Mai Ndombe province, including part of the Salonga National Park.
In November 2017, Fern published a report titled, “Unearned credit: Why aviation industry forest offsets are doomed to fail”. The report takes aim at the aviation industry’s planned carbon trading mechanism, the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation.
Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu is a big cheese at the UN climate meetings. He was the Democratic Republic of Congo’s lead negotiator at COP23 in Bonn. He is the chairman of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations. He is the ex-chair of the Africa Group at the climate negotiations, and last year he was the chair of the least developed countries. He is on the board of the Green Climate Fund.
Ten days ago, REDD-Monitor sent some questions to Hicham Daoudi, project manager of WWF’s REDD project in Mai Ndombe, Democratic Republic of Congo. The questions were a follow up to a post on REDD-Monitor that was based on a critical report about the REDD project, written by LICOCO, a Congolese NGO.
Last week, REDD-Monitor wrote about the Democratic Republic of Congo’s delegation to COP23 in Bonn. The questions in the headline pretty much sum up the post: “Why did the Democratic Republic of Congo send 340 delegates to COP23 in Bonn? And who paid?”
According to the UNFCCC’s provisional list of registered parties, just over 19,000 people travelled to Bonn for this year’s climate negotiations, COP23. While that’s a huge number of people, it’s only about half of the number that travelled to Paris for COP21. Ovais Sarmad, Deputy Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, says that 28,800 people took part over the two weeks of meetings in Bonn.
Kevin Conrad is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations. He’s currently in Bonn at COP23, the United Nations climate conference, as part of the delegation of the Democratic Republic of Congo. In May 2017, the Coalition for Rainforest Nations Secretariat put in an application to register “REDD+” as a trademark in the USA.
WWF’s largest REDD project in Africa is in Mai Ndombe province, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to WWF, the results so far are “very encouraging”. On its website, WWF states that, “The participatory approach through local development committees has proven to be a success with effective achievements.”
For a REDD project to generate carbon credits, the project developer has to write a story about what would have happened without the project. This story, or baseline scenario, is crucial to REDD. As long as the actual deforestation is less than the deforestation in the baseline scenario, the REDD project can generate carbon credits.
Last week, Rainforest Foundation UK and US wrote to staff at the World Bank, asking the World Bank not to approve the Mai Ndombe integrated REDD programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo, because of the risks involved for local communities. Yesterday Laurent Valiergue, Senior Forestry Sepcialist at the World Bank, replied. His response is available in full below.
Tomorrow (28 August 2017), a meeting is planned at the World Bank. On the agenda is whether to give internal approval for the Mai Ndombe integrated REDD programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ahead of the meeting, Rainforest Foundation UK and US have written to the Bank asking that the programme not be approved.