REDD Forest Agreement Still Missing Basic Elements for Sustainability

By Rainforest Action Network

As negotiations wrapped up in Barcelona at the UN Climate Talks, the opportunity for a robust agreement to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries (REDD) is dangling from a wire. The latest negotiating text, which parties will be working on at the opening of the Copenhagen UNFCCC COP15, contains no provisions to monitor vital safeguards in developing countries which will receive funding to implement REDD, nor language that will ensure the protection of intact natural forests in those countries.

REDD is intended to help developing countries protect their remaining rainforests and reduce the 15-20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions caused by deforestation, forest degradation and peatland destruction.

Yet without key safeguards, REDD will fail to protect forests. Many countries hoping to benefit from REDD funding suffer from poor legal frameworks, high levels of corruption and illegality, and weak enforcement. Our allies at REDD Monitor summed up the situation with this graphic detailing rates of illegal logging in REDD beneficiary countries.
Illegal Logging from REDD Countries
Key text that will prevent REDD from going the way of logging in terms of feeding corruption remains bracketed in the latest REDD text. [Brackets] means that some countries do not support this text, and from our conversations with negotiators it appears that the very same countries that stand to benefit from REDD funds are also working to undermine forest conservation and human rights in REDD. For example, here is the text that RAN and our allies in the Ecosystems Climate Alliance, working to include in the REDD negotiations in order for this forest deal to be a trustworthy alternative to logging and conversion:

• safeguards for transparent forest governance structures and support mechanisms {4(c)};
• safeguards for the rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities {4(e)};
• safeguards on conservation of biological diversity and enhancement of ecosystem services {4(f)}.
• an objective for protecting intact natural forests.
• provisions to monitor compliance with these proposed safeguards should they be incorporated into the agreement;
• safeguards to prevent the conversion of natural forests to forest plantations.

Most worrisome is the likelihood that there is no legally-binding deal as an outcome of the Copenhagen meeting. If the parties still strike a REDD deal without a commitment from rich countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, REDD could end up as an offsetting mechanism rather than a key tool in reducing global emissions.

And without forest protection and enforcement of safeguards as its key priorities, REDD will threaten rather than preserve the world’s remaining natural forests.
No CO2lonialism