In protest of inaction on climate agreements, more than 800 attendees in environmental and development groups walked out of the recent COP19 UN climate summit in Warsaw. Their action followed a walkout of the G-77 group of developing nations. However, inaction did not pose the only threat to the countries most vulnerable to climate change. Rather, the REDD+ agreement reached at COP19 puts developing countries under threat of being colonized for their carbon.
- 12/10/13: What has REDD done for land rights in the Congo Basin?
- 12/10/13: NIGERIAN: Wilmar International Announces Policy to Protect Forests and Communities.
- 12/08/13: WTO Protesters Denounce REDD Rice Reject carbon trading with food
- 12/06/13: COP19 Promotes Carbon Colonialism With New REDD+ Deal
- 12/06/13: Protest against California Governor Jerry Brown
January 31, 2014
(Forest guards arrive in Kenya's Embobut Forest in preparation for the evictions. © FPP)
Last year the Government of Kenya was getting “ready” for REDD in the Embobut Forest, now it is violently evicting the Sengwer People and forcing them “into extinction.” According to Survival International, “as many as a thousand homes have already been torched.”[i]
Sengwer spokesman Yator Kiptum denounced the “disaster” caused by combined force of the Kenya Forest Service and Administration Police, a paramilitary unit of the police, which is now evicting the Sengwer not just from the Embobut Forest but from the entirety of the Cherangany Hills, destroying property and burning homes. “The government of Kenya is forcing us into extinction," he said.[ii]
Thousands of indigenous Sengwer/ Cherangany people in Embobut Forest, Kenya, are threatened with eviction from their forest homes by January 2nd 2014.
For many years the Government of Kenya has been trying to move the indigenous Sengwer/ Cherangany of Embobut forest off their ancestral land by burning their homes. The Government has done this in the name of a (long since discredited) fortress conservation approach: seeking to remove local people from their lands, rather than support them in protecting their forests. Such an eviction is illegal under the Kenyan constitution, and under the international treaties signed by Kenya.
Though it is now fading, great expectations were placed on REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) as a means to fund better forest protection in the Congo Basin and elsewhere. But in what ways has REDD strengthened or weakened land and resource rights of forest communities?
As most readers will be aware, virtually all forest land in the Congo Basin officially belongs to the state, and forest communities have no land titles to areas they have in some cases inhabited for generations. As well as being fundamentally unjust, this situation increases the insecurity of communities’ lives and according to studies leads to increased deforestation and degradation. In-country and international groups, such as the Rainforest Foundation UK, have been calling for recognition of these rights, which are enshrined in international law.
At COP19, REDD+, a global carbon trading scheme, was passed. This jeopardizes the rights and resources of local communities throughout the global south, because of the prevalence of carbon-market-driven land grabs.