In order for REDD projects to generate carbon credits, a “baseline scenario” has to be created. This is supposed to reflect what would have happened under business-as-usual, or what would have happened in the absence of the REDD project.
A new report by the Forest Peoples Programme finds that “Deforestation and forest degradation have increased in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) despite the government’s commitment to safeguard its forests”.
“Conservation efforts in the Congo Basin are mostly failing to protect forests and biodiversity, having serious negative impacts on local populations, and for these reasons are probably unsustainable.”
In mid-January 2016, the Democratic Republic of Congo submitted its revised Emission Reductions Programme Document (ER-PD) to the Carbon Fund of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility. The Environmental Investigation Agency has produced a report of “preliminary comments” on the ER-PD.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has the second largest area of rainforest in the world. Since 2002, a moratorium on new logging licences has been in place. The government is now threatening to re-open its forests to new logging concessions.
The Mai Ndombe REDD project in the Democratic Republic of Congo covers about 300,000 hectares of forest. Project documents claim that without the project, the forest would be logged, and that communities in the area benefit from the project. A new article by Jutta Kill in the World Rainforest Movement Bulletin questions both of these claims.
On 25 September 2015, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo passed a new Ministerial Order (Arrêté 050) that creates a new category of artisanal logging concessions. The law was passed without public consultation, but will have severe impacts on local communities and forests in the country.
“Unless major changes are made in FCPF planning, design and validation of emissions reduction programmes to ensure alignment with the FCPF Charter and international human rights standards, the FCPF Carbon Fund risks enabling seriously flawed REDD pilots that could generate negative impacts on indigenous peoples and local communities as the FCPF moves towards implementation of activities on the ground.”
“Checking deforestation requires respect for our basic rights, which are the rights of all peoples and all human beings. Deforestation is unleashed when our rights are not protected and our lands and forests are taken over by industrial interests without our consent.”
The Accra Caucus recently release a report that looks at the development of safeguards in Guyana, Indonesia, Nepal, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The report finds that “there are continuing concerns about the current direction of REDD+, especially in some countries”.
In November 2011, PricewaterhouseCoopers warned that “The implementation of REDD+ in DRC will face numerous challenges because of the widespread nature of corruption in the country”. As in all other sectors, PwC added, corruption is “likely to be ever present”.