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.
In 2007, the Forest Peoples Programme put out a briefing paper about reduced emissions from deforestation, or RED, as REDD was called back then. The briefing warned of the risks of the rapid expansion of avoided deforestation schemes without due regard to rights, and social and livelihood issues.
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.”
Two weeks ago, REDD-Monitor posted a letter from indigenous peoples in Acre, Brazil announcing their support for the work of the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) in Acre. The letter was part of an on-going discussion in Brazil about REDD in Brazil and its impacts on indigenous peoples.
In June 2016, REDD-Monitor wrote about WWF’s partnership with Rougier, a French logging company, in Cameroon. Survival International had accused WWF of partnering with a company that is logging the forests without the consent of the local indigenous Baka communities. REDD-Monitor followed up some questions to WWF about its partnership with the loggers.
REDD is at the centre of a tense discussion in Brazil’s indigenous community. Some indigenous people support REDD, others oppose it. Ecosystem Marketplace has jumped into fray, accusing the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) in the state of Acre of “intentionally sabotaging a program that has enabled [indigenous peoples] to save their forests”.
The Suruí Forest Carbon Project was the first REDD project to be developed and run by indigenous people. The Suruí’s Seventh of September territory covers an area of 248,000 hectares on the border of the states of Rondônia and Mato Grosso. The chief of the Suruí, Almir Suruí, has been lauded internationally for his role in promoting the project. He’s been called the Gandhi of the Amazon. In 2013, he won a UN Forest Hero Award.
The social impacts of REDD on indigenous peoples and local communities who are dependent on forests has been controversial since REDD was included in the Bali Road Map at COP 13 in 2007. But over the past ten years, debate over whether REDD projects are desirable has been, to some extent at least, marginalised by a focus on how to manage the risks of REDD, and how to promote benefits through REDD.
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.
The Ogiek are one of the last groups of hunter gatherers in Kenya. Their ancestral land is in the Mau Forest in the Rift Valley of Kenya. For many years, the Kenyan government has threatened them with eviction, in the name of conservation. Last week, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights ruled that the Ogiek have the right to live in the Mau Forest and that the government of Kenya was wrong to evict them.
“For WWF, partnering with Indigenous Peoples is an essential part of our conservation work.” This sentence comes from WWF’s latest newsletter from its international forest and climate team. The article is written by Jolly Sassa Kiuka and Flory Botamba who work for WWF in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
On 2 April 2017, Kenya Forest Service guards violently attacked Elias Kimaiyo, a Sengwer community leader. The Forest Guards were burning houses belonging to the Sengwer. Kimaiyo was taking photographs.