News / Africa

Carbon Grab—the Next Natural Resource Dilemma?

Kim Lewis
A Washington-based human rights organization warns of an unprecedented “carbon grab” by governments and investors that will infringe upon the rights of indigenous peoples in low- and middle-income countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa.
 
Research conducted by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) reveals that there are no laws to guarantee that indigenous peoples and local communities will benefit from the global trade of carbon credits as nations cope with carbon emissions that impact global climate change. As deforestation threatens the livelihoods of remote forested regions, governments and investors may profit while rural communities suffer.
 
“Carbon grab is sort of an offset of land grabbing,” says Alexandre Corriveau-Bourque, the lead researcher for the RRI study. He explained that  any sort of grab of a resource is based on the idea that the rights of local communities are not necessarily respected.
 
The RRI study cites countries along the Congo Basin and those in Southeast Asia and Indonesia as prime examples where national governments claim ownership rights over their forest land. Between them, these countries collectively boast the world’s largest rainforests and wealth derived from lumber and soil. 
 
“A lot of research shows that conflict over the right to use and own natural resources, especially forestry resources - it’s actually a major driver of deforestation.  So the point that this research makes is that if efforts are made to further clarify the local lands rights, it will actually be a useful tool to reduce those conflicts over land and forests,” emphasized Corriveau-Bourque
 
Deforestation and lower carbons emissions
 
The UN and the World Bank seek to address the issues of carbon grabs in the new era of carbon credit trading. As a result, the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) program was created at the 2007 climate change talks in Bali to respond to deforestation and forest degradation.
 
Corriveau-Bourque says while carbon-trading is a global issue, it is not necessarily a bad thing for communities. “It’s just that currently our research shows that the institutions are not necessarily in place to make sure that these transactions happen in an equitable manner. “ 
 
Delegates at 2013 climate talks in Warsaw agreed that REDD+ could move forward with carbon trading as long as the carbon rights of indigenous peoples were safeguarded. Corriveau-Bourque says those safeguards – which include a process for filing grievances - need to be implemented.
 
Accelerate recognition for indigenous
 
RRI now argues in the recently released report that the REDD+ initiatives have so far failed to reverse the slowdown in rights recognition for indigenous peoples.
 
REDD+’s senior officer Thais Linhares-Juvenal wrote in reply, “REDD+’s readiness has provided a positive environment for the advancement of tenure and rights by requesting developing countries to engage with indigenous peoples, local communities and civil society in REDD discussions.”

Corriveau-Bourque says more needs to be done to ensure a fair allocation of the benefits from these resources. “The trend across the world is that currently there aren’t sufficient reforms to clarify who has the rights of carbon, and the legal frameworks do not necessarily attract the necessary regulations to make sure that these things take place without abuses.”

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs