It’s the fire season in Indonesia. The haze is not as bad as last year, but once again Riau province in Sumatra was shrouded in smoke. Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency has set itself the target of putting out the fires by October.
This week, Benedict Bengioushuye Ayade, the governor of Nigeria’s Cross River State, will be in Guadalajara, Mexico taking part in the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force Annual Meeting. The aim of the GCF is to link states and provinces running REDD programmes with carbon markets in the rich countries.
The Borneo Case is a new film that documents the destruction of more than 90% of Sarawak’s forests and investigates where the profits from the destruction went. As the Bruno Manser Fund notes, “Vast illicit assets have been acquired by the former Chief Minister and current Governor of Sarawak, Abdul Taib Mahmud, and his closest family members.”
According to NASA, the Amazon is drier at the start of this year’s dry season than any year since 2002. The reason is reduced rainfall during the wet season because of El Niño. The result could be intense fires in the Amazon later this year.
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”.
In recent years, Papua New Guinea has handed out 5.5 million hectares of land as Special Agriculture and Business Leases. In addition, the government has issued 10 million hectares in logging concessions. The totally predictable result has been an increase in deforestation, and serious human rights abuses.
A few weeks ago, REDD-Monitor took a look at how the Asian Development Bank appears to have changed its tune on REDD. In 2010, the ADB was promoting the region’s “huge potential to benefit from REDD+”, but by 2015 the ADB acknowledged the “considerable uncertainty about the actual contribution that REDD will make”.
On 5 February 2013, Asia Pulp and Paper announced a Forest Conservation Policy. This included an immediate stop to clearing forest in any concessions controlled by APP and its suppliers. It was a dramatic change in policy for a company that is responsible for destroying vast areas of forest in Indonesia.
“We have to reduce emissions from deforestation if we’re to prevent catastrophic climate change,” WWF argues on its website. At a first glance, it seems like a no-brainer. Forests store an awful lot of carbon. When forests are cleared for cattle ranching, or to make way for oil palm plantations, the carbon dioxide goes back into the atmosphere.
On 21 March 2016, to mark International Forests Day, WWF launched a Forest Solutions Platform. The website lists 13 solutions to deforestation. “This platform is designed to create a space for dialogue, learning and sharing different viewpoints so that we can co-create solutions,” WWF writes.
“What we need is a new model of development for countries with tropical forests,” says Maria Claudia García, National Director of Forestry, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services at the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development in Colombia. According to Garcia, REDD is a “new vision”.
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.