Posts Tagged ‘REDD’

Global: Nicht in unserem Namen, Greenpeace…

Montag, Mai 30th, 2011

REDD Light!

Indigenous say offset plan threatens traditional title

by Dawn Paley


Hector Rodriguez, posing defiantly in front of riot police, was among the thousands of Indigenous peoples, small farmers, women, environmental groups and other activists who took action and made their voices heard throughout the two-week COP 16 conference. “The market will not protect our rights,” reads a statement by the Indigenous Environmental Network, which represents front-line Indigenous communities. “Approaches based on carbon offsetting, like Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation [REDD], will permit polluters to continue poisoning land, water, air, and our bodies [and] will only encourage the buying and selling of our human and environmental rights.”


SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, MEXICO—The carbon market was the hottest issue at last year’s Conference of the Parties (COP)-16 summit in Cancun. Inside the meeting, delegates approved the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and Conservation program (REDD+). However, outside the official meeting, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and Indigenous-led organizations clashed over its merits.

Opponents of REDD+ (or simply “REDD”), say the mechanism is a false solution to the climate crisis which will intensify a pattern of land grabs by the private sector throughout the Third World. The final Cancun text on REDD does little to address these concerns, as it does not contain wording that would prevent conservation projects from encroaching on the rights and title of Indigenous peoples living in forest-rich lands.

Deforestation is responsible for at least 18 per cent of global carbon emissions—more than aviation and global transport combined—according to a report by carbon management company Carbon Planet. REDD is a mechanism by which forests in developing countries are “sustainably managed” or designated as carbon sinks in order to mitigate climate change. Though REDD primarily emerged from the COP-13 in Bali in 2007, the idea germinated during Kyoto Protocol negotiations in 1997.

In Cancun, a clear anti-REDD message unified many Mexican Indigenous, environmental and peasant groups, but NGOs such as Greenpeace International, the World Wildlife Federation, the Environmental Defense Fund, and Conservation International promoted the REDD agreement.

No REDD projects have yet been implemented in Chiapas, which, as a state with heavy forest cover, is a target region for the program. According to Gustavo Castro Soto, an organizer with Otros Mundos (“Other Worlds,” a social and environmental justice organization) in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, the mechanisms for measuring the effectiveness and impact of REDD programs have yet to be designed.

Already, precursors to the implementation of REDD have people like Castro worried. Barring people’s access to forests on ejidos (communally-held lands) is the first necessary step in putting these forested areas on the carbon market.

“This is how the government will ensure that there is a forest in each ejido, and this will obviously be sold as an Environmental Service [a UN-defined category of the carbon market], for which the government will receive a quantity of money, of which the community will receive a fraction,” said Castro.

“This is what they call sustainable community forest management,” he said dryly.

Decisions about how exactly to finance REDD have been postponed to COP-17 in Durban.

“If REDD is going to be financed through the carbon market, it won’t be a real solution to climate change,” Mariana Porras of Friends of the Earth Costa Rica told The Dominion in a phone interview from San Jose. “We’ve denounced this, but government groups don’t see it the same way,” she said.

Market-based financing for REDD will likely complement the ongoing privatization of forest reserves, which moves ownership and access rights of forests currently owned communally by Indigenous or peasant communities into the hands of individuals.

In Costa Rica, as in Mexico, the government is in the early phases of implementing REDD, which means engaging in public consultations. “If you see who gets invited to the meetings about REDD—to the consultations—it’s rare that you’ll see a peasant community, or peasant organizations,” said Porras. “Mostly, you’ll see people who own private lands, or people from private organizations.”

In Cancun, the Indigenous Environmental Network stood in opposition to the discourse of many other NGOs. In a final statement from Cancun, they berated COP-16 as the “World Trade Organization of the sky,” and harshly criticized the REDD plan. “The agreements implicitly promote carbon markets, offsets, unproven technologies and land grabs—anything but a commitment to real emissions reductions,” reads their final release.

In the streets of Cancun, Greenpeace International brought delegates from around the world to show support for popular movements, but the organization’s language fell short of grassroots solidarity. Days before the final agreement was reached, Executive Director Kumi Naidoo released a statement saying that “a good REDD deal would benefit biodiversity, people and the climate.”

Greenpeace was steadfast in its support for the outcome of the climate negotiations in Mexico, and after COP-16 wound down, Naidoo posed for a photo with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, and praised the president’s leadership in reaching a global climate agreement.

Resistance to the REDD program did not end with COP-16. Activists say that the COP-17 meeting in Durban at the end of the year will be decisive as to the future of REDD, and the carbon market is sure to be a key issue in the months preceding the conference.

Dawn Paley is a journalist based in Vancouver.


(Quelle: The Dominion.)

Kamerun: Indigene als die besseren WaldschützerInnen

Samstag, Juli 24th, 2010

“Pygmy peoples issue warning on climate change policies

© Kate Eshelby/Survival
Lush forests are key to the Pygmy sense of identity. Their land informs their culture and provides their livelihood.

Members of ‘Pygmy’ communities in Cameroon have issued a clear message in the wake of the Copenhagen climate change talks: their rights to their forests must be respected.

According to the Forest Peoples Programme , the Baka, Bagyeli and Bakola peoples fear that climate change mitigation projects will further exclude them from their forest homes and that climate change is already affecting their forests.

A central plank of current international climate change talks is REDD – reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. REDD projects could help to protect forests and the communities that depend on them, but only if they are developed with the full involvement of the peoples concerned and have the protection of land rights at the core.

The latest incarnation of REDD is REDDplus, but it is the ‘plusses’ – conservation, forest management and enhancement of carbon stocks – that are causing concern for indigenous peoples. Pygmy peoples have suffered both from the deforestation of their lands and from conservation programmes which have excluded them.

Pygmy communities in Cameroon, state they will only accept REDD if their rights to their forests and to free, prior informed consent over projects are respected and if they get an equal share in any benefits from the projects.

‘If we are talking about conservation, then the Baka are the best conservationists. We have been living here since time immemorial, and the forest has not disappeared. Those who now claim they are conserving the forest are the same people pillaging our forests. We see sawmills felling large portions of our forest every day. Is it not this same government that authorises the felling?’ Daniel Njanga, Cameroon.”


(Quelle: Survival International.)

Guyana: Internationale Hilfe, aber nicht für Indigene Völker

Donnerstag, Juli 8th, 2010

Guyana: indigenous peoples continue to be left out

During May, the Norwegian Government announced that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Guyana to contribute US$230 million towards the country’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). It only remained to be decided which financial agency would act as the intermediary with the fiduciary responsibility to make sure the monies were handed over with due care. Would this be the World Bank and what standards would the World Bank follow to supply this money?

This question was repeatedly asked of World Bank employees who advised that the World Bank would have to apply its ‘safeguards’. These are the standards which Bank staff are obliged to follow to ensure that the Bank’s projects are not damaging, and are part of its normal ‘due diligence’.
The World Bank’s safeguard on indigenous peoples is quite strong, even if not perfect. Indeed, two previous World Bank projects, proposed for Guyana to develop the country’s protected area system, had to be shelved because the Government of Guyana was not prepared to revise its policy towards indigenous peoples to properly recognise their rights. So when, in early discussions, the World Bank staff made clear to the President of Guyana that if he wanted the Norwegian money to flow through the Bank then they would have to apply their ‘safeguards’, the President was apparently displeased. There was an impasse.

The Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) wrote a detailed letter to the Norwegian Government pointing out that not only the World Bank, but also the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), had requested the Government of Guyana to change its laws and policies towards indigenous peoples so that they recognised their rights. The APA asked the Norwegian Government to insist on respect for their rights. The reply from the Norwegians was equivocal, spoke only in generalities and avoided direct reference to the legal issues raised.

By early June, the reasons for this reticence had become plain. The Guyana Government was insisting that the World Bank should adopt ‘creative instruments’ for passing through the Norwegian climate funds, which would allow it to avoid applying the Bank’s ‘safeguards’ to all its projects. According to the Guyanese press (June 2010), the Norwegian Government had agreed to this ‘creative’ approach, which would suggest that it may be keener to move money than to guarantee rights. Under the new arrangement the World Bank will pass on the Norwegian monies to Guyana once it has reached ‘certain benchmark applications’. The monies will then be released to other ‘partner entities’ once they submit project proposals related to the country’s Low Carbon Development Strategy, but they will then only have to apply the specific safeguards required for that project by the delivery agency.

Just how badly the indigenous peoples of Guyana are being left out became clear in a new report just issued by the Amerindian Peoples Association (Our Land, Our Future). Reviewing the past decade of Amerindian participation in policies and projects on their lands, the report details the rapid expansion of mining in Guyana as mineral prices have soared on global markets. Small- and medium-scale gold mining have intensified and new technologies have expanded operations into new areas. Exploration permits for other minerals, including for uranium, now cover about two-thirds of the country, while new prospects to develop bauxite, with associated hydropower and smelting plants, pose major threats both near the mouth of the Essequibo River and in the heart of the Pakaraima Mountains.

Whereas the impacts of mining on the Amerindians are very severe, the study found no evidence that the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) has been serious about curbing damage. Social and environmental impacts include forest loss, polluted waterways, mercury contamination, criminality, drug abuse, and sexual exploitation and abuse of very young Amerindian girls. Amerindians themselves are also heavily engaged in mining with serious consequences for health, nutrition and their own cultures. Cases from Regions 1, 7 and 9 focused on in the study reveal that, even where efforts are made to help communities raise their concerns with the Government and companies, these agencies ignore community voices. In one case the GGMC has even defied a court ruling calling for mining to be halted on a community’s traditional land. Permits are being granted to miners without due consultation with communities, and their right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) is being ignored.

The current disagreements between the Amerindians and the Government of Guyana over its natural resource management plans are only likely to be resolved if legal and policy adjustments are adopted which recognise the Amerindians’ rights in line with Guyana’s obligations under international law. New initiatives are also needed to control mining, mitigate social and environmental impacts and ensure that Amerindians participate in plans for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in fair and transparent ways that respect Amerindian rights to their territories and to give or withhold their free prior and informed consent to measures that will affect them. .


(Quelle: Forest Peoples Programme.)


Siehe auch:

Guyana indigenous demand say over land

Lateinamerika: Kein Wald, kein Kohlendioxidspeicher, keine Biodiversität, kein …

Donnerstag, Juli 8th, 2010

From Carbon Sink to Carbon Source, The Amazon Rainforest Continues to Deteriorate

By Amanda Wheat

The Amazon rainforest will become an environmental foe if action is not taken to protect it

From Ecuador to Brazil, the Amazon rainforest defines South America’s identity as one of the world’s most unique displays of biodiversity. The Amazon also serves as the world’s biggest weapon against greenhouse gases; its trees eliminate one fifth of global greenhouse gas outputs. However, deforestation and an increasing number of droughts have ravaged the forest, turning it into yet another source of carbon output.

The concept of a carbon sink is an important one. It refers to a natural or artificial reservoir that accumulates and stores carbon. Because plants take in carbon from the air and release fresh oxygen, any large body of plants serves as an important carbon sink.

Covering 1.7 billion hectares of land, the Amazon is the largest tropical forest in the world and also the most important carbon sink. Unfortunately, this forest is also the most endangered. According to a study published by the Inter-American Development Bank, this region of the world loses 4.6 million hectares of forest annually to deforestation, mainly for development purposes and cattle farming.

American economist Jeffrey Sachs recently explained to MediaGlobal that “The challenge of the Amazon is an enormous one. Even if Brazil and the rest of the Amazonians do all the right things, global climate change could still wreck the Amazon.”

Climate change has threatened the Amazon with catastrophic drought. An international team lead by ecologist Oliver Phillips of England’s University of Leeds, found that prior to the 2005 drought, the Amazon absorbed 400 to 500 million tons of carbon per year. Today, the forest emits close to a billion tons per year.

A damaged carbon sink may be attributed to an increase in global greenhouse gases and expedited climate change. Despite the knowledge of this damaged ecological system, there have been no deforestation reductions; carbon output continues to increase.

Meanwhile, the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal Progress Report shows that CO2 emissions increased drastically throughout Latin America. The UN report also highlights the fact that the biodiversity conservation goal for 2010 was completely missed: “Based on current trends, the loss of species will continue throughout this century, with increasing risk of dramatic shifts in ecosystems. The major drivers of biodiversity loss are not yet being addressed.”

In the midst of such concrete evidence, it seems hard-hitting policy will be the most effective way of addressing deforestation and carbon emissions. Sachs stated, “One of the most important things that should be done is the UN REDD initiative [Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries].” Under this program, market and financial incentives are to be used as a means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries.

But concrete action remains tangled in bureaucracy. Sachs added that an agreement regarding the exact details of REDD had not yet been reached. “We’re not yet on a sustainable development path, the [Amazon] region needs a strategy and the world as a whole needs strategy.”

The question that remains, however, is how much of the Amazon will be left when the world agrees on a “strategy”? While policy makers work to solidify their plans, deforestation and drought will continue to uproot a very delicate ecosystem.

(Quelle: MediaGlobal.)