Let us introduce to you REDD+ with a few words. REDD stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. REDD gives a financial value for the carbon stored in forests, offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development. Making a step forward REDD+ includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. Let’s take a case study and analyse it a bit so we can understand how all this concept works.
Deforestation and forest degradation are the second major causes of global warming, responsible for about 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which makes the loss and depletion of forests a dominant issue for climate change. And here comes in the foreground the case of Philippines, a country so diverse in terms of biodiversity and environment. Thirty years ago 10.9 million hectares of land area were covered by forest in the Philippines. In 2003 the forest cover rate dropped to about 7.17 million hectares (24%) and yearly 100,000 ha are destroyed. From 580 recorded bird species 35% are found in the Philippines. 60% of the 167 different species of mammals and 65% species of plants are endemic. In addition, 14-17 million Indigenous People are contributors in sustainable mitigation and adaptation practices. However, the degradation of the upland environment has increased poverty and reduced earnings. The ongoing project (2012-2017) is aiming on a national REDD+ mechanism for greenhouse gas reduction and conservation of biodiversity in the Philippines. The objective is to use a national framework based on internationally recognized environmental and social standards and the implementation of corresponding measures in the country. The approach is through the project’s partners to set up a national register and structures to steer and monitor the avoidance of deforestation. Now here is a million dollar question: What all these international partners coming from powerful capitalist countries that are willing to pay for the conservation and help address the deforestation and forest degradation of these underdeveloped countries can have in return for their financial services? Maybe the right to pollute? These historically responsible for the creation of the problem propose now solutions that mainly serve their own interests by maintaining and exceeding their current levels of production, consumption and, consequently, pollution. And on top of that this mechanism deprives these underdeveloped countries their autonomy to manage their own territories.
The World Bank is implementing national readiness strategies and REDD+ demonstration projects with the aim of getting countries prepared for privatizing the carbon in their forests in order to sell on the market. Question: Who owns the forest? And how can a third party on the other side of the earth have the right to privatize something that is not private on the first place, does not belong to them, turn it into a commercial product and sell it indirectly on the country that is the actual, original, legitimate and rightful owner of that ‘’product’’? Some food for thought.
Deforestation is a very complex socio-political and also economic event and the debates over a more functionable REDD+ are based on the assumption that such a mechanism is implicit. The implementation of REDD+ must exist side by side with significant emission reductions in both developed and developing countries and it should not make us diverge from the goal that any climate policy should include: independence from fossil fuels, creation of effective ways to protect the environment, lands, forests and peoples, if we hope to curb climate change.
By Despoina Kanteler
Corbera, E. and H. Schroeder (2011) ‘Governing and implementing REDD+’, Environmental Science & Policy,
Factsheet: International Climate Initiative Projects in the Philippines.”Preparation of a National
REDD-plus Mechanism for Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Conservation of Biodiversity in the
FCPF (2011) ‘Forest Carbon Partnership Facility: Introduction’, [www.forestcarbonpartnership.org/fcp/node/12].
Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change/REDD An overview of current
discussions and main issues. Annelie Fincke March 2010.