Described by carbon market analysts as a ‘PR disaster’, the World Bank Prototype Carbon Fund’s Plantar project continues to add to the impression that ‘no carbon credits’ are good ‘carbon credits’. In a ‘Note on the Plantar PCF Project’ the World Bank recently acknowledged that allegations by the Brazilian plantations company Plantar S. A. regarding falsified signatures on the first in a series of Brazilian civil society letters outlining the problems with the companies carbon sinks project were incorrect. Whilst Brazilian groups welcomed the statement, the World Bank note provides no indication that procedures for verifying information provided by project proponents might have changed as a result.
Brazilian organizations and movements also responded to the World Bank’s proposal to rely on an FSC investigation of the Plantar project (Plantar’s plantations are also partially certified by the Forest Stewardship Council) rather than carry out its own investigation into NGO allegations about intimidation of communities in relation with the PCF project, as announced on 06 June 2003:
"We regret your resistance in wanting to discuss "questions of such broad scope", contradicting initiatives of your Bank in wanting to contribute to the debate about "sustainable development" in Brazil. We know that the slogan of the PCF is "learning by doing". In this sense, if the Plantar project intends to be an exercise in knowing better the projects that involve large-scale tree monocultures, it is of fundamental importance to understand the context of a project of this type at a local, regional, national and international level, besides understanding its social, cultural, economical and environmental implications in the country where it is being implemented. In view of the above, we have the following proposals to make:
1) That the dialogue between the World Bank and us is a direct one, without involvement of the SCS, FSC-Brasil or Plantar.
2) That a meeting is held between the World Bank and the signatories of this letter, a possibility that has been mentioned by the Bank itself in some occasions; we even accept that not all the signatories can be present at this meeting, but we do not accept at all that a conversation takes place between the Bank and only some signatories of the letters. The agenda of such a meeting would include the contents of the different letters sent by us to the Bank.
3) The World Bank should make its own evaluation of the project, independently; we alert you to the fear and inhibition that the workers and the communities feel in front of the company; this calls for field visits without the presence of the company; we are willing to accompany these visits."
The ball is now in the World Bank’s court. Demonstrating that ‘learning by doing’ is more than empty rethoric for the PCF will require a much more genuine effort to address the concerns raised by Brazilian organisations than the Bank has shown so far.
Watch the carbon shop files for a continuation of the Plantar saga.
Full text of the World Bank "Note on the Plantar PCF Project" at www.prototypecarbonfund.org
The 4th letter of Brazilian civil society groups to the PCF can be downloaded at www.sinkswatch.org and www.cdmwatch.org
By: Jutta Kill, SinksWatch, e-mail: email@example.com , http://www.sinkswatch.org