photo: Felix Francis via flickr.
As the last official negotiations before the COP15 climate talks came to a close in Barcelona, progress on REDD forest protection scheme negotiations hit a new low. That's the word from the Ecosystems Climate Alliance, which says several key safeguards, as well as explicit language protecting intact forests, are missing: According to ECA, safeguards for transparent forest government structures, for the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, for conservation of biodiversity all have not been finalized -- considering that many of the countries which will benefit from REDD have weak governance to start with, ECA describes these as "gaping holes" that need to be closed.
Without Oversight, REDD is Worthless
Dr Rosalind Reeve from Global Witness, one of the NGOs forming the Ecosystems Climate Alliance, describes the situation:
If developing countries want to benefit from REDD, they need to build confidence in the frameworks they put in place, and demonstrate that safeguards are being met. The text as it stands reflects a strong push to receive REDD funds with no oversight. With no provisions to monitor how countries are implementing REDD and applying safeguards, the REDD agreement is worth no more than the paper it is written on.
Intact Forest Provision Must Remain, Be Strengthened
As far as provisions that would protect natural forests from being converted to plantation agriculture, and which had been removed after the Bangkok climate talks last month, these have been tentatively reintroduced but in a weakened state. Furthermore, there is no guarantee they will remain.
Without such a provision included, Peg Putt of the Wilderness Society says, "REDD monies projected to preserve tropical forests could instead allow industrial-scale logging and replacement of forests with pulp or palm oil plantations."
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