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”.
A new report by Rainforest Foundation Norway “shows how a rights-based approach is both the most effective way to protect the rainforest, as well as the best way to avoid that forest protection leads to human rights violations.”
In a press release last month, Ecosystem Restoration Associates (ERA) announced that, “Through the development and monetization of high quality carbon offsets, the Mai Ndombe project will deliver ecosystem, social, economic, biodiversity and climatic benefits for communities within and beyond the project area.”
Since October 2008, Global Witness has been working on a project called “Making the Forest Sector Transparent”. The project has recently released its 2011 Annual Transparency Report, looking at the transparency record in seven countries: Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The claims made on behalf of burying charcoal, otherwise known as “biochar”, are extraordinary. According to the International Biochar Initiative, it will “fight global warming”, it will “boost food security”, and it will “discourage deforestation”. Meanwhile, it is “inexpensive, widely applicable, and quickly scalable”.
A new report from the Bretton Woods Project monitors the latest news about the Climate Investment Funds. The report notes several on-going concerns with the Forest Investment Program: about a proposed independent review of investment plans and the investment plans produced for Burkino Faso and the Democratic Republic of Congo (both of which have been approved).
Global Witness recently produced a short film on industrial logging in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The film raises an interesting conundrum. “The World Bank and other international donor agencies claim to support the protection of forests and the people that live in them. Yet many donors continue to support industrial logging.”
“We believe that the current situation demonstrates more than ever the need to pursue other paths beyond REDD+.” This is from this month’s issue of the World Rainforest Movement Bulletin, which focusses on REDD. The first article in the Bulletin asks “Can REDD+ be ‘fixed’?”, the answer to which is somewhat given away by the next article: “The ‘sins’ of the REDD+ approach”.