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Archive for September, 2008

New UN scheme seeks to combat climate change from deforestation
United Nations | 24 September 2008

UN-REDD Programme LaunchSecretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced a pioneering initiative aimed at combating climate change through creating incentives to reverse the trend of deforestation, at an unveiling with Prime Minister of Norway Jens Stoltenberg.

The United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD Programme) is a collaboration between FAO, UNDP and UNEP. A multi-donor trust fund was established in July 2008 that allows donors to pool resources and provides funding to activities towards this programme.

The UN-REDD Programme is aimed at tipping the economic balance in favour of sustainable management of forests so that their formidable economic, environmental and social goods and services benefit countries, communities and forest users while also contributing to important reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The aim is to generate the requisite transfer flow of resources to significantly reduce global emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. The immediate goal is to assess whether carefully structured payment structures and capacity support can create the incentives to ensure actual, lasting, achievable, reliable and measurable emission reductions while maintaining and improving the other ecosystem services forests provide.

Read more about the UN-REDD Programme…

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Indigenous Groups Criticize Climate Talks
Worldwatch Institute | 22 September 2008

As international climate negotiations move closer to including forests in the successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, indigenous and traditional peoples realize they have either a lot to gain or everything to lose. If industrialized countries are allowed to purchase the carbon rights of forests, groups from the Americas, Africa, and Asia fear their ancestral lands may be taken away. They worry that the benefactors of the carbon market will be governments or wealthy landholders, and not them.

At a time when their concerns should be at the forefront of debates, the venues for indigenous peoples to express themselves have so far been limited. They are granted observer status at United Nations climate negotiations, but they do not have voting rights – leading many to demand a stronger voice in the process.

Forests were not considered as carbon sinks in the Kyoto Protocol, but realization that deforestation accounts for almost 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions has led to their reconsideration. Industrialized nations may be allowed to offset their emissions by paying developing nations to protect their forests, known as reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). Several indigenous groups initially opposed REDD due to their suspicion that it would be another form of Western land-grabbing. But climate negotiators say a solution would ideally benefit the traditional stewards of the world’s forests through some sort of financial compensation. As awareness grows about the potential benefits for forest peoples, some indigenous leaders are shifting towards wary support. But they still emphasize that without official land rights for indigenous peoples, REDD will likely lead to further suffering.
Indigenous representatives from across the globe have joined The Forest Dialogues – a gathering of environmentalists, business leaders, financial donors, and government officials who are forming a joint policy recommendation on REDD. Their inclusion should lead to a greater presence in the REDD debate.

“This is the first time indigenous and non-indigenous groups are meeting at this type of forum. This is very important for indigenous people… [The U.N.] should give indigenous people specialty status… because we are affected by the decision. We are the victims of climate change and we are the impact of a solution to climate change.” — Parshuram Tamang, International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of Tropical Forests

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Making REDD work for the Poor Leo Peskett, David Huberman, Evan Bowen-Jone, Guy Edwards and Jessica Brown
Poverty Environment Partnership, September 2008

Making REDD work for the PoorPoor forest-dependent communities figure significantly in various REDD proposals, which, as a recent Poverty Environment Partnership (PEP) paper explains, “are all based on the idea that developed countries would pay developing countries to reduce rates of deforestation or degradation by implementing a range of policies and projects.””

The PEP paper, “Making REDD work for the poor,” (authored by ODI and IUCN) presents the links between REDD and poverty, and discusses the poverty implications. “The potential contribution to rural poverty reduction could be immense, but REDD mechanisms may also entail new risks.” By linking these payments to carbon markets (i.e. putting a value on the carbon emissions that are avoided), large sums of money could flow to developing countries. With some estimates exceeding $30 billion per year, these could dwarf existing aid flows to the forest sector in developing countries. The potential contribution to rural poverty reduction could be immense, but REDD mechanisms may also entail new risks. This paper presents a framework for understanding the linkages between REDD and poverty, and conducts an initial analysis of the poverty implications of REDD.

The Policy Brief based on the report is a synthesis of the social dimensions of reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation. It presents ten required conditions that will ensure that the implementation of REDD mechanisms yields benefits for the rural poor in developing countries.

Download the full Making REDD Work for the Poor paper [pdf]…
Download the PEP policy brief [pdf]…

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