Coming into the Poznan COP 14 climate negotiations it was clear that REDD was going to be one of the hot topics discussed.
Our worst fears about REDD have started to come true.
Today, the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand opposed the inclusion of recognition of rights of indigenous peoples and local communities in a decision on REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) drafted by government delegates at the UN Climate Conference.
They want to include REDD (I’ll explain it in a second for those of you not in UN acronym land) in the future climate agreement, but they oppose protecting the rights of the indigenous and forest peoples that will be DIRECTLY affected by REDD measures. This is unjust and unacceptable. As a US citizen I am disgusted and outraged by my country’s position on REDD. They do not speak for me or millions of other US citizens who believe in human rights and decency.
Tropical forests store enormous amounts of carbon and its release, through deforestation, accounts for one-fifth of annual carbon emissions. In response, a proposal for ‘reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation’ (or REDD) was agreed as part of the ‘Bali roadmap’.
Oscar Reyes, from Carbon Trade Watch writes that, “The logic underpinning REDD is fairly simple. At present, the short-term economic gains from deforestation outweigh the long-term good of forest conservation. By investing up to £7.5 billion globally per year into saving forests, the economic balance is believed to change in favour of the latter. This money would be paid in the form of carbon credits, worked out in relation to national deforestation rates – the more a country saves, the more it earns.”
The Bali roadmap was vague on how to do this, but gave the World Bank responsibility for administering REDD pilot schemes. The World Bank has a terrible environmental and human rights record in forests (and other areans)- from Indonesia to The Democratic Republic of Congo.
Today’s outrageous striking of all rights language in REDD is further proof that the policies being debated at Poznan are less about saving people and the planet, and more about making more profit for major corporations.
Earlier this week I was speaking to Ibnu Najib, an Indonesian student and fellow member of the International Youth Delegation.
He has been closely following REDD throughout the conference because it is an issue that directly threatens people, particularly forest and Indigenous people, in Indonesia. A REDD-like project was financed by Merrill Lynch and involves over 750,000 hectares of forest. After terrible situations in Nepal and around the world, Najib says he’s “scared of people being expelled from their land and prevented from practicing their religion, their culture, and their livelihood.”
The issue really is simple. The primary supporters of REDD are the International Emissions Trading Association (an industry front group for basically every bad company you can think of) vs. Indigenous people and people standing in solidarity with them.
It is about basic human rights. It’s about an unequivocal reference to rights and the the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People being reinserted into the Draft COP14 Decision text on REDD.
It’s making me see RED(D).