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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs