The latest issue of “Forest Cover“, the newsletter of the Global Forest Coalition includes several articles about REDD. Miguel Lovera, GFC chairperson suggests chanting “stop the fraud now” might be the best strategy to follow in the run-up to the Climate COP in Copenhagen in 2009:

WE all thought that REDD was an acronym that stood for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, but now we have evidence that it is a color invented by climate ‘experts’ to induce a hypnotic trance in policy makers and other world leaders, prompting them to engage in an endeavor that could actually increase emissions of greenhouse gases, in the name of climate change mitigation. The powerful of the world are going to ensure that the communities that own and live from the forests will not produce any greenhouse gas emissions: that right is reserved for those who pay to continue their polluting activities. This hypnosis also ensures the amnesia necessary to obliterate the fact that the FCCC already compels them to conserve forests and avoid the greenhouse gas emissions caused by deforestation (in Article 4.1 (d)).

The effectiveness of this hypnotic trance was proven recently at the UNFCCC’s Ad Hoc Workign Group on Long-term Cooperative Action, in Accra in August, where bureaucrats gave a green light to the proliferation of all osrts of emission offsetting projects financed by the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, provided they are huge and that landowners can finance the onerous transaction costs.

GFC’s Simone Lovera compares REDD to another proposed solution to climate change: agrofuels. She describes REDD as “another disaster in the making”. REDD is a “fairytale about a simple solution to climate change”. While REDD proponents admit that there might be negative side effects for Indigenous Peoples and biodiversity, these are to be addressed not by rules or conditions, but by voluntary guidance, voluntary standards and certification systems. The UNEP-funded Mau forest project in Kenya illustrates the scale of the problems:

The UNEP-funded Mau forest project in Kenya has added yet another case to the list of carbon offset projects triggering serious human rights violations: the Mau forest was made ‘ready’ for this carbon offset project by forceful and often violent eviction of its inhabitants, including the Indigenous Ogiek People. These evictions shocked even the Kenyan parliament, which has called on the local authorities, UNEP’s partners in the project, to halt the evictions immediately, as they added to the already serious problem of internally displaced persons.

Further problems include the role of the World Bank, which refuses to give any guarantee that its Forestry Investment Program will not be used to finance the spread of industrial tree plantations, allowing companies to claim carbon credits for planting thousands of hectares of monocultures. The UNFCCC definition of forests includes plantations (and even clearcuts, which are “temporarily unstocked areas”). Thus a country could create large “temporarily unstocked areas” by clearcutting forests before replacing them with monocultures, without causing any deforestation, according to UNFCCC.

Another article, by Estebancio Castro Diaz, Global Forest Coalition, Panamá, describes a meeting during the UNFCCC Ad Hoc Working Group in Accra, during which several Indigenous Peoples’ representatives stated that they “would not implement REDD if they had any choice. Indigenous representatives stated that they have always suffered the negative impacts of these kinds of developments in their lands and territories. Furthermore, they expressed the need for full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples at all levels in the development and implementation of the REDD scheme and its pilot programs in developing countries.”

Since October 2008, Global Witness has been working on a project called “Making the Forest Sector Transparent“. The project has recently released its 2011 Annual Transparency Report, looking at the transparency record in seven countries: Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In each of the countries, Global Witness has formed a partnership with a local NGO and each of these partners in turn supports smaller civil society organisations working at grassroots community level. Each year, the project produces a Report Card for each country. In 2011, the Report Card looks at “20 key indicators on important provisions of the legal and regulatory framework that applies to the forest sector governance”.

The report cards for each country are available by clicking on the countries from the map on the website home page. There are some improvements on paper, such as freedom of information laws enacted by Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru and Liberia. But a press release about the launch of the report notes that none of the forest authorities are meeting their obligations. “These additional commitments currently amount to no more than statements of intent,” says David Young, forest campaigner at Global Witness.



A new report from FERN and the Forest Peoples Programme concludes that the safeguards put in place by the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership (FCPF) are inadequate. The report looks at eight Readiness Preparation Proposals (R-PPs) submitted to the FCPF and finds that FCPF safeguards are not clear and do not conform to the World Bank’s own safeguards.

This is FERN and FPP’s second report focussing on the FCPF. A 2008 report, “Cutting Corners” reviewed the REDD concept notes presented to the FCPF and concluded that the process had been rushed “with little or no consultation with indigenous peoples, local communities or civil society organisations, and failed to meet the Bank’s own standards.”