On last 21 September - the World Day against Monoculture Tree Plantations - the “No REDD Platform”, a coalition of environmental groups and Indigenous peoples organizations, launched a call to the international donor community to halt the diversion of forest conservation funding to REDD+-type projects and related activities, while also noting that the ´detection, documentation and rejection of the negative social and environmental impacts of REDD+ projects´ suffer from a lack of support. The letter aims to be a wakeup call to funders as well as an invitation to bridge this funding gap
The group expresses profound concern about the way funds for forest conservation and restoration, and poverty eradication, are being misdirected toward a mechanism that is inherently about commodifying and privatizing air, forests, trees and land and suffers from a large number of inherent risks and problems which cannot be remedied.
REDD+ projects are already having severe negative impacts on the environment and on economically and politically marginalized groups in society, particularly Indigenous Peoples, small farmers, other forest dependent communities, and women for who forests play a major role in sustaining their livelihoods. A sudden increase in the economic value of forest land due to the introduction of performance payments for forest conservation will definitely lead to an increased risk of conflict over land between these communities and more economically and politically influential groups that see an opportunity to profit from these payments.
Performance-based payments for forest carbon storage address only one presumed driver of forest loss: the lack of proper economic valuation of the role of forest carbon storage in overall carbon sequestration failing to address other direct and indirect drivers of forest loss including lack of recognition of the land rights of Indigenous Peoples; overconsumption of and trade in forest products; perverse incentives for mainly export-oriented activities such as subsidies for monoculture crops and industrial tree plantations; mineral, oil, gas or coal exploration and extraction activities, shrimp farming and large-scale infrastructure projects such as hydroelectric dams.
The (No REDD Platform) more than 200 organizations that already have subscribed this letter denounce that “REDD+ is a fundamentally flawed symptom of a deeper problem, not a step forward. It is a distraction that the planet – our Mother Earth - does not have time for. We should build on the many existing examples of successful forest conservation and restoration rather than investing billions of dollars in an untested, uncertain and questionable REDD+ scheme that is likely to undermine the environmental and social goals of the climate regime rather than support them.”
The letter concludes: “Addressing climate change and forest loss require measures that contribute to thorough economic, ecological and social transformation. To present all sides of the REDD+ story as part of a larger effort to build the diverse and powerful global alliances that can support the transformation that our planet and peoples need, will require the full support of the charity, gift-giving and philanthropy community.
The full letter can be read at http://noredd.makenoise.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/NOREDD-letter_21sept.pdf