News / Africa

Seeing REDD: Forest Program May Be Only Success of Climate Talks

Protesters shout during a climate change rally outside the climate change summit held in the city of Durban, South Africa, December 2, 2011.
Protesters shout during a climate change rally outside the climate change summit held in the city of Durban, South Africa, December 2, 2011.
Gabe Joselow

The headlines from the COP17 U.N. climate conference in Durban, South Africa have mostly underscored the deadlock on major initiatives.  But there has been progress on a forestry program known as REDD+. If an agreement on the program is reached it could be one of the few success stories to emerge.

The acronym stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation.

The basic theory behind the strategy is forests should be worth more when they are standing then when they are cut down.

To accomplish this goal, the REDD mechanism provides a financial value for the carbon stored in the trees.  Developed countries can then invest in standing forests in developing countries to offset their own carbon emissions.

“If you can pay local communities, provide incentives, government programs for local communities to be able to keep the forests standing and still make a good livelihood off the land, but in a way that does not require them to cut the trees down, then you have a win for biodiversity, you have a win for those local communities, and you have a win for the climate," said Rane Cortez, a REDD+ advisor for the environmental group The Nature Conservancy, who works on a REDD project in Brazil.

The Nature Conservancy began working on REDD projects in the early 1990s in Latin America.  Other projects have also cropped up in Asia and Africa.  These projects are all based on bilateral or multilateral agreements between governments and donors, and the terms of each project vary case-by-case.

But delegates at the last U.N. climate conference in Cancun, Mexico agreed to universalize the system, establishing international safeguards and accountability measures.

Nature Conservancy climate change managing director Sarene Marshall says REDD+ is one of the few things delegates at COP17 can agree on.

“There has really been near unanimity on the issue, generally speaking," said Marshall. "Countries ranging from rainforest nations to developed countries have seen how important it is to address the forest side of emissions and to protect forests for their climate benefits and other things."

But the program is not without its detractors.  A group that says it represents indigenous people around the world protested this week outside the Durban conference center, calling for a moratorium on REDD.

Indigenous Environmental Network director Tom Goldtooth says you cannot put a price on trees and earth and to create a market for nature.

“The very concept, from the indigenous perspective, it is a violation of the sacred," said Goldtooth. "What kind of people involve themselves in trading air?  How do we even translate that from the deepest of our heart, to be trading air as property?"

Among the safeguards included in the draft text establishing REDD+ are protections for indigenous people.

But members of the group do not think they can trust the governments to fairly implement the programs. Kimaiyo Towett is from the Ogiek community in Kenya's Rift Valley.

“These governments are the ones that are negotiating REDD, they are already the ones preparing the proposals, negotiating with the World Bank, sending the proposal, receiving the money," said Towett. "It is the very same government now which will get a proper excuse for removing us from the forest to pave way for this program."

REDD+ remains an experiment. Even with an agreement, the architects of the program will meet regularly to adjust the terms of the program.

And while it may not be perfect, progress on REDD+ may be the biggest achievement of COP17.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid