Archive for the ‘REDD COP-17’ Category

December 4, 2011 Written by: Leony Aurora
Photo courtesy of UN Climate Change/flickr.

DURBAN, South Africa (4 December 2011)__ Latest draft texts on REDD+ that will go forward to a plenary session for approval have postponed a decision on financing to next year and watered down safeguards requirements, leaving REDD+ projects in limbo and indigenous groups unprotected.

The UNFCCC’s ad hoc working group on the Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) asked the secretariat to prepare a technical paper to review what kind of financing sources will be suitable for specific REDD+ activities, said Louis Verchot, leading climate change scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “REDD projects have to go another whole year without any clear indication as to how this whole system is going to be financed,” he said at the sidelines of the UN climate summit in Durban.

Another disappointment is in the scientific sub-committee SBSTA’s “very weak” text on safeguards to protect local communities, indigenous peoples and biodiversity. The draft reduces requirements from collecting data and measuring impacts of REDD+ to merely reporting how developers implement safeguard measures, said Verchot. “Safeguards aren’t going to be safeguards.” (see the text in two parts here and here)

The decisions, or lack thereof, were made in “a void” as negotiators struggle to agree on what will happen after Kyoto Protocol, the current legally-binding climate treaty that doesn’t include REDD+ and that expires in 2012. “We have no idea how to fund” REDD+, said Verchot. As such, “we don’t have an objective, we don’t have a means to an objective. We’re going to make all the decisions about all the rules of how we’re going to get to our objective, but we don’t even know where we’re going.”

REDD+ aims to reward developing nations for reducing emissions by protecting, restoring and sustainably managing forests. AWG-LCA prepares the draft text on REDD+ finance (see pages 30-31 here) while the Subsidiary Body of Scientific and Technological Advancement (SBSTA) makes recommendations to the Conference of the Parties on how to measure, report and verify carbon emissions as well as on safeguards.

Financing decision in 2012

The AWG-LCA wants to know what sources of financing including public and markets can do for the different kinds of activities under REDD+, such as to reduce deforestation, reduce degradation, and manage forest in a sustainable manner, said Verchot. The ad hoc group will make a recommendation for REDD+ financing based on this information next year.

While acknowledging that such a review is good to have, “we’re seven years into REDD and we’re still looking at what the options are. We’re not making the hard decisions.” Asia Pacific negotiators, including China, said that they hoped to reach an agreement on financing for REDD+ in Durban.

The crux of the matter is that there’s no certainty on whether any binding agreement to cut emissions will replace Kyoto, said Verchot. “REDD is sort of cut loose…  it’s being launched into the world, it’s out there, but how it relates to anything else is not clear.”

Very weak safeguards

The final draft of the text suggests that countries would only have to submit qualitative information on how safeguards were implemented, said Verchot. “We have no way of actually measuring impact” of REDD+ on communities, which requires collecting and comparing before-and-after data, said Verchot.

The weakened safeguards text was probably adopted to accommodate developing countries’ frustration towards donors’ complex and costly requirements, which often differ from one agency to the next, at a time when only little money is flowing in for REDD+, said Verchot. “The feeling among developing countries is that they need to start getting something out of the program and there needs to be fewer hoops to jump through before receiving the promised support,” he said.

The current text significantly lightens the load for forested nations. “At the same time, there’s a need to ensure that local communities are not being harmed,” said Verchot. In the current form, safeguards are merely principles to adhere to, he said. “If we’re performing or not performing, it’s not going to matter, because we’re not going to measure it.”

Other issues, such as reference emissions levels, did not change much from the previous draft (see CIFOR story on these here). SBSTA is going to ask the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to reformulate their existing methods and guidelines for measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) to meet the need for REDD+. This will help to ensure that the forest carbon accounting is consistent with the national emissions accounting guidelines, said Verchot, who estimated this process to take two years.

For other reports from COP17, visit the blogs of these organizations:
The Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC)

January 17, 2012 | Filed under: Indigenous,Whenua Rangatiratanga | Posted by:

Indigenous leaders returning from Durban, South Africa condemn the fiasco of the United Nations climate change talks and demand a moratorium on a forest carbon offset scheme called REDD+ which they say threatens the future of humanity and Indigenous Peoples’ very survival.

During the UN climate negotiations, a Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities against REDD+ and for Life was formed to bring attention to the lack of full recognition of Indigenous rights being problematic in the texts of the UN climate negotiations.

“It was very disappointing that our efforts to strengthen the vague Indigenous rights REDD safeguards from the Cancun Agreements evaporated as the Durban UN negotiations went on. It is clear that the focus was not on strong, binding commitments on Indigenous rights and safeguards, nor limiting emissions, but on creating a framework for financing and carbon markets, which they did. Now Indigenous Peoples’ forests may really be up for grabs,” says Alberto Saldamando, legal counsel participating in the Indigenous Environmental Network delegation.

Berenice Sanchez of the Mesoamerica Indigenous Women’s Biodiversity Network says, “Instead of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 80% like we need, the UN is promoting false solutions to climate change like carbon trading and offsets, through the Clean Development Mechanism and the proposed REDD+ which provide polluters with permits to pollute. The UN climate negotiation is not about saving the climate, it is about privatization of forests, agriculture and the air.”

Tom Goldtooth, Director of Indigenous Environmental Network based in Minnesota, USA does not mince words. “By refusing to take immediate binding action to reduce the concentration of greenhouse gas emissions, industrialized countries like the United States and Canada are essentially incinerating Africa and drowning the small island states of the Pacific. The sea ice of the Inupiat, Yupik and Inuit of the Arctic is melting right before their eyes, creating a forced choice to adapt or perish. This constitutes climate racism, ecocide and genocide of an unprecedented scale.”

Of particular concern for indigenous peoples is a forest offset scheme known as REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). Hyped as a way of saving the climate and paying communities to take care of forests as sponges for Northern pollution, REDD+ is rife with fundamental flaws that make it little more than a green mask for more pollution and the expansion of monoculture tree plantations. The Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities against REDD+ and for Life, formed at the Durban UN climate negotiations, call for an immediate moratorium on REDD+-type projects because they fear that REDD+ could result in “the biggest land grab of all time,” thus threatening the very survival of indigenous peoples and local communities.

“At Durban, CDM and REDD carbon and emission offset regimes were prioritized, not emission reductions. All I saw was the UN, World Bank, industrialized countries and private investors marketing solutions to market pollution. This is unacceptable. The solutions for climate change must not be placed in the hands of financiers and corporate polluters. I fear that local communities could increasingly become the victims of carbon cowboys, without adequate and binding mechanisms to ensure that the rights of indigenous peoples and local forested and agricultural communities are respected,” Goldtooth added.

“We call for an immediate moratorium on REDD+-type policies and projects because REDD is a monster that is already violating our rights and destroying our forests,” Monica González of the Kukapa People and Head of Indigenous Issues of the Mexican human rights organization Comision Ciudadana de Derechos Humanos del Noreste.

The President of the Ogiek Council of Elders of the Mau Forest of Kenya, Joseph K. Towett, said “We support the moratorium because anything that hurts our cousins, hurts us all.”

“We will not allow our sacred Amazon rainforest to be turned into a carbon dump. REDD is a hypocrisy that does not stop global warming,” said Marlon Santi, leader of the Kichwa community of Sarayaku, Ecuador and long time participant of UN and climate change meetings.

Contact: Tom Goldtooth

Tel (USA): (218) 760 – 0442

NO REDD Resources

No REDD Papers – volume One (from