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News from the Accra Caucus: Durban climate talks put forests at risk
7 December 2011
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Accra Caucus on Forests and Climate Change
Durban climate talks put forests at risk
Durban, South Africa
NGOs from all continents have voiced their concern over draft rules on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) finalised over the weekend. The NGOs, gathered in Durban for the 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, claim that the draft rules would allow governments to set their own reporting guidelines for social and environmental safeguards, as well as to propose their own reference levels against which to determine emission reductions from deforestation. There is also no process to determine if there are overall global emission reductions from deforestation.
A coalition of around 100 civil society and indigenous peoples organisations from 38 countries, the Accra Caucus on Forests and Climate Change, warns that the rules agreed so far in Durban create a huge risk for forest dependent peoples when it comes to implementing REDD in tropical countries. The message from business and world leaders gathered in Durban to promote REDD is starkly different. It seems they are expecting a bonanza of carbon credit finance, Executive Secretary to the UNFCCC, Christiana Figueres, told delegates gathered at Forest Day on 4 December, that “The governments of the world are writing a global business plan for the planet, [...] and REDD is its spiritual core.”
REDD is already being rolled out in many countries without safeguards in place. For example, in the Republic of Congo a project was launched in November to create one million hectares of forest and agro-forest plantations, aiming to increase carbon stocks with funding from private investors looking to increase biofuel production. Maxient Fortunin a representative of the Congolese civil society said: “Affected communities have not been informed about the project, let alone consulted. There has been no discussion of how communities will benefit from the project, or any understanding of what REDD is.”
Observers of REDD discussions in Durban have said that the decision taken on safeguards represents a step backwards from what had been agreed in Cancun. “The decision made so far in Durban does not deliver the needed guidance for reporting on REDD safeguards, particularly regarding the participation of local communities and indigenous peoples,” said Samuel Nnah Ndobe of Centre for Environment and Development in Cameroon.
The Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) safeguard decision is peppered with terms such as “where appropriate” and “national circumstances”, which leaves it to the discretion of governments how they report on the safeguards. “Many countries could effectively never report on their safeguards compliance and yet still be complying with the letter of the decision” said Kate Dooley of European NGO FERN. “The decision provides no incentive for governments to improve the way their forests are governed and poses a great threat to forest dependent peoples”.
The Accra Caucus insists that forests are not commodities, and should not be treated as a business. “Developed country governments gathered in Durban must commit to provide finance for climate change, including protection of forests without selling them as offsets which allows the North to escape their obligations to reduce emissions” said Monica Lopez Baltodano of Centro Humboldt in Nicaragua.
Contacts in Durban:
- Samuel Nnah Ndobe, CED, Cameroon: +27 (0) 762255966, firstname.lastname@example.org (English/French)
- Maxient Fortunin, Republic of Congo: +27 (0) 769644115, email@example.com (French)
- Kate Dooley, FERN, Brussels: +27 (0) 714115194, firstname.lastname@example.org (English)
- Monica Lopez Baltodano, Centro Humboldt, Nicaragua: +27 (0) 820097621, email@example.com (English/Spanish)
Posted By Angela Strader at 10:50am on December 08, 2011
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