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A red light for REDD - UNFCCC decision on REDD poised to undermine rights and increase conflict in forested areas

Date: 07/12/2010

International NGOs call for a halt to REDD+[i] until guarantees can be made that indigenous rights can be respected, it will not be funded by carbon trading and funds will not be diverted to logging and agribusiness.

Through the negative atmosphere at United Nations climate talks in Cancun, many countries hope that a decision will be made on REDD+, paying developing countries to protect their forests. Today, NGOs held up a red light with the distribution of four reports showing that REDD is already failing on the ground. Reports from FERN, Friends of the Earth (FoE) and Rainforest Foundations UK and Norway outline how REDD initiatives are ignoring the rights of indigenous peoples, undermining existing gains in forest governance and being distorted by flawed economic advice.

A new report from FoE, REDD realities in black and white,[ii] includes case studies of the many unfolding REDD-related disputes which show that initiatives are missing respect for indigenous peoples' rights.

Forest campaigning group FERN has released Lessons learnt from FLEGT for REDD, [iii]a draft report showing how REDD is undermining successful initiatives to improve forest governance such as the EU's Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) plan. It shows why the focus of REDD+ on preparing to measure and verify emissions reductions is misguided and needs to turn instead to action to tackle the key drivers of deforestation such as unclear tenure rights and poor forest governance issues. It concludes that if long-term REDD+ financing comes from carbon trading, there will be no results to measure

The Rainforest Foundation UK's report, How McKinsey ‘cost curves' are distorting REDD'[iv] shows that advice given to governments of forested nations by international consultants McKinsey and Company to governments of forested nations[v] hides key programme costs and could increase rather than decrease destruction of natural forests by logging and agribusinesses, It could also further marginalise millions of poor farmers and the weaken environmental regulations.

"McKinsey's flawed analysis makes it appear cheaper and easier to tackle tropical deforestation than in reality. It might lead us to postpone the real actions that need to be taken at home to prevent climate change", says Simon Counsell, Executive Director of Rainforest Foundation UK.

Finally, the Rainforest Foundation Norway's report Building accountability in REDD+ through independent grievance and redress mechanisms,[vi] shows that safeguards have not been given sufficient political commitment. Independent grievance and redress mechanisms must be establish at national and international levels to foster accountability and help reduce conflicts. Siri Daman of the Rainforest Foundation Norway says "It is inconceivable that decision makers could start REDD activities without strong safeguards, monitoring systems and conflict resolution mechanisms. Without these, REDD is guaranteed to fail."

[i] Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation.
[ii] http://www.foei.org/en/resources/publications/pdfs/2010/redd-the-realities-in-black-and-white
[iii] http://www.fern.org/lessonsFLEGTREDD
[iv] http://rainforestfoundationuk.org/files/McRedd%20English.pdf
[v] McKinsey has provided services to Brazil, Indonesia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Guyana, Mexico and Papua New Guinea in the context of REDD.
[vi] http://www.regnskog.no/Languages/English/12765.cms

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