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Rainforest Roulette? Carbon markets might do more harm than good for efforts to tackle deforestation and climate change

Date: 28/08/2012

London – Using markets to try and keep carbon stored in the world’s forests might be a dangerous mistake, according to a new report published by the Rainforest Foundation UK  today, as governments prepare to meet later this week for a new round of negotiations on funding for climate mitigation, including for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (‘REDD’).

Key findings of the report are that:
•    A forest carbon market may increase rather than reduce the cost of tackling climate change;
•    Legal reform under REDD tends to favour carbon traders and not forest communities;
•    Ownership of the carbon stored in forests is contested, unclear and susceptible to fraud;
•    A forest carbon market might not reduce greenhouse gas emissions due to major design loopholes;
•    Alternative, more cost-effective, ways of reducing deforestation, and for raising the necessary funds, exist and are viable.

“Instead of protecting forests, the use of carbon markets will mostly protect the interests of heavily polluting companies.” said Simon Counsell, Executive Director of the Rainforest Foundation UK and one of the authors of the report. “They would be able to carry on polluting, whilst their payments to offset emissions in poor tropical forest countries will probably be very inefficient and ineffective,” he continued.

UN negotiations taking place in Bangkok from August 30th aim to agree on a global mechanism to finance the protection of forests in poor countries.  Many governments and the private sector favour the use of carbon markets.  The authors compare this potential decision to betting the future of the rainforest on a game of roulette.

“With the global carbon markets already in crisis, and after a number of high-profile scams involving forest carbon, choosing the market-based approach would be a very risky bet for protecting forests. There are viable alternatives on the table”, said Nathaniel Dyer, Policy Advisor for the Rainforest Foundation UK.

The report suggests that efforts to restrict imports of illegal timber, improvements in forest governance, and giving recognition to  the land rights of people living in the forests, would be more successful.

Download the report here.

RFUK Launches an appeal to empower communities in Gabon and CAR

Date: 26/06/2012

We have just launched a new project that will give special training to teams of young African lawyers, who will to work with local communities in Congo rainforest countries to help them stop the illegal destruction of their rainforest homelands. These ‘Community Lawyers’ will be deployed in the places where communities’ rights are most in danger of abuse. 

Together we can ensure that forest communities in Gabon and the Central African Republic have a legal voice.

We have had a generous offer from a donor who has agreed to match every donation you make towards this appeal. This means that every pound you give will be doubled - helping twice as many forest communities gain the legal rights to protect their ancestral rainforest lands.  Please help us shout twice as loud!

Read more

New Internationalist journalist wins Amnesty Media Award for her piece featuring our project in Peru!

New Internationalist journalist wins Amnesty Media Award for her piece featuring our project in Peru!
Date: 31/05/2012

New Internationalist's Vanessa Baird (pictured left with Helena Drakakis of The Big Issue) was declared one of the winners of this year's Amnesty Media Awards for excellence in human rights journalism for her coverage of the plight of the indigenous Ashaninka people of Peru, including visits to several communities in our RFUK project area and interviews with our Peruvian partners CARE. Winner of the Consumer Magazine category, her article 'Nature's Defenders - can indigenous people save the planet?' featured the struggle of indigenous peoples in Peru to defend the Amazon rainforest, their ancestral home. Vanessa gave a heartfelt account of the concerns of the Ashaninka people of the Ene river, who are resisting the Peruvian government's attempt to build a mega-dam in their territory - the focus of our Ban The Dam campaign. Winners were announced last night at a ceremony in London.

Congratulations, Vanessa!

Click here to read the online version of the New Internationalist piece.

Click here to read more about our Ban the Dam campaign here.

New York Times Feature - Dam Project Threatens a Way of Life in Peru

Date: 17/05/2012

The New York Times released a feature piece yesterday about the struggles of the indigenous Ashaninka communities of Peru in the face of the Pakitzapango Dam, a plight we have been attempting to publically highlight for some time with our Peruvian partner organisation CARE. The piece entitled 'Dam Project Threatens a Way of Life in Peru' examines the peril set to devastate communities with the proposed 2,200-megawatt Pakitzapango hydroelectric dam, which would flood much of the Ene River valley, and belong to a proposed five dam network that under a 2010 energy agreement would generate more than 6,500 megawatts, primarily for export to neighboring Brazil. The dams would displace thousands of people in the process.

You can read the article in full from The New York Times website by clicking here.

Are The Rainforests For Sale? A Lively Debate At The Eden Project with RFUK.

Are The Rainforests For Sale? A Lively Debate At The Eden Project with RFUK.
Date: 30/04/2012

Last week, Rainforest Foundation UK Executive Director Simon Counsell (pictured second from left) participated in a lively and fascinating rainforest debate entitled ‘Are the rainforests for sale?', held at The Eden Project in Cornwall, as chaired by journalist and news presenter George Alagiah, and alongside a panel of experts. The debate sparked discussion on solutions to deforestation, ranging from global financial incentives to sustainable palm oil to ecotourism. A blog post regarding the event can be found on The Eden Project's website by thinking here.

Congratulations London Marathon Team!!!

Congratulations London Marathon Team!!!
Date: 23/04/2012

Congratulation and Thank you to Anne, Alex, Kyara, Lila, Nicola and Sei Yon who yesterday completed the 2012 London Marathon in support of the Rainforest Foundation UK. Your efforts in training and fundraising have been hugely appreciated; together you have raised vital funding for our projects and we are extremely grateful for that. A second huge thank you is due to Tomas and Sheona, who provided massages for our weary runners and to our team of volunteers who did a brilliant job as usual.

We have a number of Gold Bond places for the 2013 Virgin London Marathon.
If you want to register early for next year to secure your place, email events@rainforestuk.org give us a call on +44 (0) 207 485 0193 and we will send you an application form and info pack to get you off and running!

Attend One Of Two Upcoming Public Discussions About The Rainforest!

Date: 05/04/2012

There are two upcoming discussions about the world's rainforests on the calendar for April involving Rainforest Foundation UK staff or trustees, and both welcome the general public to attend as audience members.

The first is an event at the Eden Project in Cornwall called "Are The Rainforests For Sale?" from 7-9pm on Friday 20th April in the Gallery, at the Eden Project's Visitors' Centre. The event is billed as a live debate discussing the plight of the world's rainforests and solutions to protect them, with journalist and news presenter George Alagiah and a panel of experts including RFUK Executive Director Simon Counsell; Andrew Mitchell, Executive Director of the Global Canopy Programme; plant specialist Professor Sir Ghillean Prance FRS, who is also a Trustee of The Eden Project, and Dr Benjamin Beck, Director of Conservation at the Great Ape Trust. More information about the event including tickets can be found by clicking here for The Eden Project's website.

The second event is a panel discussion at Canning House in London called "Human Nature?' Man And The Amazonian Environment" from 6.30pm on Tuesday April 24th, and will feature an expert panel discussing the role which people have had to play in shaping the Amazon rainforest. The Amazon is often thought of in terms of a 'pristine' natural environment, and yet, some scholars point to archaeological surveys which suggest that human beings have played an important role historically in shaping the forest and regional landscape. The panel will include RFUK Trustee and acclaimed anthropologist Dr John Hemming, as well as academics Dr Jos Barlow from Lancaster University, Dr Toby Gardner from Cambridge University, and Professor Yadvinder Malhi from Oxford University, all considered experts in this field. This will be a free event, but more information can be found at www.canninghouse.org or by phoning Canning House on 020 7235 2303.

Read A New Mapping For Rights Piece By Fred Pearce on Yale Environemnt 360!

Date: 16/03/2012

Internationally acclaimed journalist, author and environmental consultant Fred Pearce has written a new piece for Yale Environment 360 entitled 'Digital Defenders: Tribal People Use GPS to Protect Their Lands' fetauring RFUK's Participartory Mapping In The Congo Basin project!

You can read the piece by clicking here!

Well done again to RFUK's mapping team! And if you'd like to find out more about our mapping project beyond this story, have a look at our Mappingforrights.org website for resources, information and news about the project.

Read our Joint Statement on the International Day of Action For Rivers

Date: 14/03/2012

On the Annual International Day of Action For Rivers and Against Dams, the Rainforest Foundation UK alongside many other international and Peruvian NGOs, have released a statement to urge the Congress of the Republic of Peru to refuse the approval of the Energy Agreement with Brazil, and to express concern about the creation of the Multi-sector Commission for the Facilitation of Energy Investments, which could enable environmental certification for large hydroelectric projects in the Peruvian Amazon. The Energy Agreement with Brazil would compromise Peru's national energy security, environment and social peace.

The Rainforest Foundation UK collaborates with these organisations, alongside with its partner in Peru, the Central Ashaninka del Río Ene (CARE), as part of our campaign to Ban the Dam in Ashaninka territory. Click on the above link to find out more information about this project.

Click the Read More link to see the Statement in full (in English) or click the below link to download the Statement in Spanish.

Download the Statement in Spanish

Read more

Read about our Mapping For Rights project on CNN.com!

Date: 13/03/2012

CNN.com have today launched a feature on RFUK's Participartory Mapping In The Congo Basin entitled "GPS technology maps land rights for Africa's forest peoples" - which you can read by clicking here!

Well done to RFUK's mapping team! And if you'd like to find out more about our mapping project beyond this story, have a look at our Mappingforrights.org website for resources, information and news about the project.

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