DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, 6 December, 2011 – While the governments of countries such as Australia are busy with forest projects that promote false solutions such as carbon offsetting, the UN climate talks in Durban are failing to address the urgent problem of deforestation, said Friends of the Earth International today.

Government negotiators are expected to decide in Durban on ways to finance projects under the mechanism known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD).

According to a new report released today by Friends of the Earth International, the world’s first large scale REDD project is failing to deliver its promised benefits. [1]

Friends of the Earth International believes that the project is an ineffective solution to tackling climate change and that current REDD projects take the world further away from stopping deforestation and forest degradation.

In response to proposals being debated in Durban that will include forests in the carbon markets, Isaac Rojas, Friends of the Earth International coordinator of the Forests and Biodiversity Programme, said:

“Forest offsets are diverting attention from the real measures needed on the ground to halt deforestation. Our report shows that REDD is failing to address the drivers of deforestation and failing to respect the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. Commodifying forests for the benefit of dirty corporations in wealthy countries who are unwilling to reduce their own emissions will do nothing to solve the climate crisis. Even worse, REDD projects like the Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership are violating the rights of Indigenous Peoples and causing damaging tensions on the ground.”

Kate Horner of Friends of the Earth US said:

“With the rules currently on the table in Durban, REDD has no environmental credibility and will negatively impact the rights of communities. With these rules, REDD offset credits will also perversely incentivize loggers and road-builders. Despite the fact that the price of carbon is crashing, many countries still suffer the delusion that the carbon market could deliver significant financing for forest protection projects in developing countries. Even if there was a forest carbon market, which there isn’t, the vast majority of benefits would be captured by consultants, not those most in need,” she added.

The report released today by Friends of the Earth International exposes an Australian carbon offsetting project in the Central Kalimantan area of Indonesia. [1]

The report ‘In the REDD,’ was researched by campaigners in Friends of the Earth Indonesia and Australia who examined the Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership (KFCP), the world’s first large scale REDD pilot project, which was set up between Australia and Indonesia.

The report shows that the project does not guarantee Indigenous Peoples rights, conflicts with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, has created confusion among local groups, and faces ongoing opposition from local people.

According to the new report, the Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership fails to take into account the rights of Indigenous and local forest dependent people. It is also failing to contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as palm oil firms involved are illegally clearing land in nearby areas, which are supposed to be under a deforestation moratorium. Finally, it allows Australian companies to carry on polluting while hiding behind offset credits from the REDD scheme.

The report states that community groups repeatedly expressed concerns that their rights are not being respected and that the project will not address the relevant drivers of deforestation. In June 2011, a statement signed by 25 mantir adat (custom keepers) from the Kapuas District called for the KFCP to be stopped. They raised concerns that the site for the project was decided between the Australian and Indonesian governments without local consultation; that no written assurances that land tenure rights would be respected have been given; that the project implementation is bringing unrest and internal conflict to the community; and that they were doubtful about the promises made by the project.

Friends of the Earth International believes that:

  • Trading forests for pollution diverts attention from real measures to reduce emissions and prevent deforestation.
  • Trading forests for pollution threatens Indigenous Peoples and local communities who depend on them for survival.
  • Agreements on deforestation should be designed to stop deforestation and forest degradation and not simply to reduce or offset greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Forests must be kept out of carbon markets.

 

CONTACTS IN DURBAN

Isaac Rojas, Friends of the Earth International coordinator of the Forests and Biodiversity Programme, Tel: +27 720403445 (South African number valid only until Dec.10)

Kate Horner, Friends of the Earth US, Tel: + 27 762210491 (South African number valid only until Dec.10)

Friends of the Earth International media line: +27 791 097 223 (South African number valid only until Dec.10) or +31-6-5100 5630 (Dutch mobile) or email: media@foei.org

 

CONTACT IN INDONESIA

Teguh Surya, Friends of the Earth Indonesia / WALHI: email: teguh.surya@gmail.com

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

[1] Download The report ‘In the REDD’

A briefing on carbon trading and REDD is also available