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Just days before a meeting to resolve the crisis in the Embobut Forest, the Kenya Forest Service torched 30 houses
Over the past decade, Kenya Forest Service guards have repeatedly evicted people living in the Embobut Forest in the Cherangany Hills. On 25 February 2015, guards torched more than 30 houses belonging to the Sengwer indigenous people and destroyed school books, clothes and cooking utensils.
Today, a three-day-long meeting is planned to start, hosted by the World Bank and the Kenyan Government, aimed at discussing positive ways forward. The Sengwer, then, are supposed to sit down to talk with the government whose agencies burned their houses last week.
On 27 February 2015, the Sengwer wrote to the World Bank and the Government of Kenya asking them to stop the evictions or cancel the meeting. The Sengwer called for an urgent meeting with the meeting organisers to ensure that the harassment stops permanently before the talks begin.
Kenya Forest Service guard: “Burning of houses will continue as long as the Sengwer build houses inside the forest”
The World Bank is hosted a Colloquium on “Deepening Dialogue with Stakeholders in the Forest Sector in Kenya”, at the week of 6 March, 2015.
The Colloquium was organised following a series of violent evictions over many years of the indigenous Sengwer from their homes in the Embobut Forest in the Cherangany Hills.
Days before the Colloquium started, guards from the Kenya Forest Service torched 30 houses belonging to the Sengwer. Hardly a promising setting for the Colloquium.
On its website, the World Bank describes the Colloquium as “historic”. The Bank reports that,
The opening day was marked by frank and promising exchanges between nearly 300 leaders of the Sengwer, Ogiek, Yiaku, Aweer, Kaya, Masai, Samburu, Illchamus and Endorois communities and representatives of the national and county governments.
A new report released today highlights how forest dependent communities in Cross River State, southeast Nigeria, are losing rights and livelihoods, as their forests are being locked down by the government, which seeks cash through a United Nations backed ‘carbon trading’ scheme, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).
The report, ‘Seeing REDD: Communities, Forests and Carbon trading in Nigeria’, by Nigerian organisation, Social Action, was presented today in Lima, Peru at an event at the People’s Summit on Climate Change, which coincides with the 20th Conference of Parties (COP20) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in the Peruvian capital city.
The report shows how the implementation of the REDD+ mechanism is having a devastating effect on the economies of affected communities around the Cross River forests. With neither adequate consultation nor alternative livelihood options, community members, who have depended on the forests for generations, are now being victimised by government agents following a ban imposed on economic and cultural activities in the delineated forests. Thus, REDD+ has restricted access to forests where indigenous communities gather food, medicine and energy. Local nutrition and livelihoods are seriously threatened and the attendant scarcity of food products caused by government’s actions have led to increase in the prices of basic food products. Ironically, higher wood prices, occasioned by REDD+, is encouraging illegal logging in the forests.
By Jeffrey Gogo
CRACKS are beginning to emerge in the implementation of Zimbabwe's biggest privately-funded project aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) in Kariba. Carbon Green Africa (CGA), a UK firm, has since 2009 implemented the REDD+ project across the four Mashonaland West rural district councils of Mbire, Nyaminyami, Binga and Hurungwe.
Under REDD+, monetary compensation is paid for projects that limit greenhouse gas emissions growth in tropical forests.
Those carbon savings are later sold to Western countries or firms in the form of credits (a.k.a offsets or units), keen to neutralise pollution in their home economies.