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Earth Watch Interview: Simone Lovera of Global Forest Coalition on UN Climate Talks

Last week’s Earth Minute discussed COP-19, the UN Climate Talks in Warsaw Poland. Simone Lovera, Executive Director of Global Forest Coalition described the situation on the ground.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, KPFK, Politics, Pollution, UNFCCC, Warsaw/COP-19

Alternatives to failed forest carbon offset schemes promoted at climate talks

Note: Global Justice Ecology Project is the North American focal point for Global Forest Coalition.

-The GJEP Team

June 3, 2013. Source: Global Forest Coalition

As another round of climate talks opens today in Bonn, Germany, a coalition of human rights and forest groups have launched a manual for communities on alternatives to REDD+ and other forms of ‘green land grabbing’.

The manual, which has been produced by the Global Forest Coalition, Critical Information Collective, Biofuelwatch, the ICCA Consortium and EcoNexus highlights the risks of REDD+ projects and large-scale bioenergy production schemes for communities.  Many of these schemes have been associated with involuntary displacements of communities and other forms of so-called ‘green land grabbing’.

“REDD+ was promoted with the fairy tale that it would generate up to 30 billion USD per year in payments to countries and communities who conserve forests, but the voluntary forest carbon offset market has provided less than 1 percent of that amount  and public funding is declining” cautions Simone Lovera, executive director of the Global Forest Coalition, who will attend the upcoming talks.  “So Indigenous Peoples and local communities risk being cheated into contracts that take away their rights to control their own lands and territories in exchange for very uncertain financial rewards.” Negotiations about REDD+ funding stalled at the climate talks in December 2012.

Demand for biomass (for biofuels and for manufacturing in proposed new ‘bioeconomies’) is already increasing rapidly, and is likely to lead to yet more landgrabbing and industrial logging in forests.
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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, REDD, UNFCCC

COP18: MRV as a Trojan Horse for carbon markets?

Note: The following post appeared as a guest post on redd-monitor.  Simone Lovera is a long time friend and colleague of GJEP, and GJEP is the North American focal point for the Global Forest Coalition.

-The GJEP Team

By Chris Lang and Simone Lovera, December 4, 2012.  Source: redd-monitor

The REDD negotiations in Doha have stalled. After a week of discussions in the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice parts of the REDD text remain in brackets. The negotiations are now pushed back to the next SBSTA meeting, which will take place in June 2013.

Much of the disagreement in the negotiations is over the measurement and verification of avoided emissions from forests and the lack of secure funding. Simone Lovera of the Global Forest Coalition is in Doha for the UN’s climate negotiations. She questions the emphasis on measurement, reporting and verification in the negotiations. She wrote these notes about the current state of the REDD negotiations for a press conference organised by Friends of the Earth International.

MRV as a Trojan Horse for carbon markets? 

By Simone Lovera, Global Forest Coalition, December 2, 2012

While the spectacular conference centre where the current climate talks are held looks rather unworldly, it is important to look at the realities behind these negotiations. In Paraguay, for example, the main cause of greenhouse gas emissions is deforestation. The main driver of forest loss is agriculture and the main underlying cause is meat, meat and more meat, as deforestation is mainly caused by cattle ranching and by the production of soy as fodder for European and Chinese livestock. This deforestation is having devastating impacts on Indigenous Peoples, peasants, women and men.
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Organizations push for global ban on genetically modified trees

By Carol Dreibelbis, October 17, 2012.  Source: Nourishing the Planet

NoteAs mentioned in the article below, GJEP is a leader in the international Campaign to Stop GE Trees.  The threat of GE trees is growing, but we are determined to stop them and GE tree company ArborGen from destroying the world’s native forests.  You can support this effort by signing the petition to stop GE trees here.  Thanks for your support.

-The GJEP Team

This Nov. 11, 2008 photo released by ArborGen shows a field of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees in Sebring, Fla. South Carolina-based ArborGen has received federal approval to plant about 250,000 more trees in locations around the South for use by International Paper, MeadWestvaco and Rubicon LTD. (AP Photo/ArborGen)

Five organizations released a letter in early October 2012 to the executive secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity demanding a global ban on genetically modified (GM) trees. World Rainforest MovementGlobal Justice Ecology Project, the Campaign to Stop Genetically Engineered TreesGlobal Forest Coalition, and Biofuelwatch oppose the potentially damaging impact of GM trees on the environment and Indigenous communities.

“The forestry industry is involved in developing GM trees for use in its industrial plantations, in order to achieve trees that can grow faster, have reduced lignin content for production of paper or agrofuels, are insect or herbicide resistant, or can grow in colder temperatures,” stated Isis Alvarez of Global Forest Coalition. “This research is aimed at increasing their own profits while exacerbating the already known and very serious impacts of large scale tree plantations on local communities and biodiversity.”

According to a 2012 report by Global Justice Ecology Project, GM trees pose “significant risks” to carbon-absorbing forest ecosystems and the global climate. Trees with less lignin would be more prone to pest attacks and would rot more quickly, altering soil structure and releasing greenhouse gases more quickly. Other dangers range from increased “flammability, to invasiveness, to the potential to contaminate native forests with engineered traits.”According to the Sierra Club, “the possibility that the new genes spliced into GE trees will interfere with natural forests isn’t a hypothetical risk but a certainty.” The substitution of natural forests by GM monocultures for industrial use would also threaten biodiversity, in the same way that oil palm plantations do today. Many of these consequences would impact Indigenous communities, reducing the ecosystem services that they rely on for their livelihoods and survival.
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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering

KPFK Earth Segment Celebrates International Women’s Day with Simone Lovera of GFC

Global Justice Ecology Project partners with Margaret Prescod and the Sojourner Truth show at KPFK Pacifica in Los Angeles for weekly Earth Segments and weekly Earth Minutes.

This week’s Earth Segment features an interview with Global Forest Coalition Executive Director Simone Lovera.

Simone Lovera is the executive director of the Global Forest Coalition, a world-wide coalition of 53 NGOs and Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations from 35 different countries striving for rights-based, socially just and effective forest policies. She also works as a forest campaigner for Sobrevivencia/Friends of the Earth-Paraguay.

Prior to 2006 she worked amongst others as campaign coordinator for Friends of the Earth International. She has worked on gender policy since 2006, particularly analyzing the impacts of market-based conservation mechanisms and agrofuel expansion on women.
She is an active member of the Women’s Major Group Steering Committee for Rio+20 and she was on the Advisory Board of the Gender and Climate Change Cutting Edge Pack Report of the Institute for Development Studies.
To listen to the Earth Segment, click the link below and scroll to minute 14:30.

KPK Earth Segment March 8, 2012


Filed under Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, KPFK, Land Grabs, Media, Women

Forest Campaigners Denounce REDD as a Grimm Fairy Tale; Indigenous Communities Declare Safeguards Will Not Work


Durban, South Africa – At the inauguration of United Nations COP17, Global Forest Coalition has published a series of “Grimm REDD Fairy Tales” [1] to assist delegates in distinguishing truth from fiction regarding the controversial program of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation and enhancing forest carbon stocks (REDD+). Challenging the ability of REDD+ and other market mechanisms to address the underlying causes of the climate crisis, Global Forest Coalition charges that REDD+ could well be a collection of modern fairy tales – fabricated stories intended to lure the unwitting into a complex web of deception.

“It is very clear that the REDD Emperor has no clothes,” said Simone Lovera, Director of Global Forest Coalition. “That’s why we advise developing countries and local communities not bite the poisoned REDD apple.”

REDD is intended to facilitate the transfer of significant amounts of climate finance from developed to developing countries, to protect the world’s forests, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions from those forests. But the program has raised widespread concern due to its failure to address issues of land tenure, Indigenous Peoples’ rights, and the underlying drivers of deforestation, and its reliance on unstable carbon markets to provide financing.

A statement released on November 26 by the Indigenous Peoples’ Biocultural Climate Change Assessment Initiative (IPCCA) [2] has alerted COP17 delegates to the devastating impacts that REDD+ projects are already having on Indigenous Peoples:

“REDD+ threatens the survival of Indigenous Peoples,” the statement says. “We emphasize that the inherent risks and negative impacts cannot be addressed through safeguards or other remedial measures. We insist that all actors involved in REDD+ fully respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples, in particular, the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). We caution, however, that adherence to the principle of FPIC is not a means to solve these negative impacts and this principle should not be used to justify REDD+.”

Many governments are in favor of linking REDD+ to regulatory compliance carbon markets, by selling forest carbon credits from projects in developing countries as offsets. But, with serious doubt as to the ability of the UNFCCC to reach agreement on binding emissions reduction targets, it is clear that already faltering carbon markets will not provide any stable and equitable funding for REDD+.

Fiu Mataese Elisara of Samoa, one of the drafters of the IPCCA declaration, and chairperson of the Global Forest Coalition, said, “REDD+ is a neoliberal approach and a carbon market hypocrisy, driven by trade liberalization and privatization. It is a big lie and it needs to be exposed.”

For more information, contact:

Simone Lovera, Director, Global Forest Coalition: 072 255 6678

Fiu Mataese Elisara; Chairperson, Global Forest Coalition: 078 266 7280

Jeff Conant, Media Coordinator, Global Forest Coalition: 073 623 0619


[1] See http://www.globalforestcoalition.org

[2] See http://climate-connections.org/2011/11/26/strong-new-indigenous-statement-against-redd-reducing-emissions-from-deforestation-scheme/

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Filed under Biodiversity, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Durban/COP-17, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, REDD

European Commission Caves in to Industry Over Biofuel Rules – Global Forest Coalition Demands Precautionary Approach

Note:  GJEP is the North American Focal Point for Global Forest Coalition.

13 September, 2011–In a long-awaited announcement last week[1], the European Commission decided to entirely ignore the indirect climate impacts of agrofuels for up to seven more years. The Global Forest Coalition (GFC), a network of more than 50 NGOs and Indigenous Peoples Organisations worldwide, says the decision illustrates once more the absurdity of EU claims regarding “sustainable biofuels”.  GFC continues to call for the EU and EU member states to abolish biofuel targets and subsidies as the only way to prevent further disastrous consequences for forests, people and climate.

According to Commission minutes, the EU’s decision to ignore Indirect Land Use Change for the foreseeable future was due to ‘scientific uncertainties’.

“The EU claims to be committed to the Precautionary Principle, but this decision yet again flies in the face of precaution,” says Almuth Ernsting from Biofuelwatch, the European Focal Point of GFC. “First, they ignored all warnings when pushing through a 10% biofuel target. Now they are using scientific uncertainties as an excuse for once again caving in to the agrofuel industry. Under the precautionary principle, uncertainties over extent of harm caused by agrofuels means that targets and subsidies must be stopped – instead of giving the agrofuel industry the benefit of doubt.”

A recent study published in Environmental Research Letters concludes that “nearly 60% of Amazonian deforestation occurring between 2003 and 2020 will be attributable to ILUC [Indirect Land Use Change' associated with biofuel production”[2].  Furthermore, a recent report by a High Level Expert Panel published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, illustrates the key role that biofuels played in recent food price rises, responsible for a steep increase in the number of people going hungry worldwide [3].

GFC’s chairperson Fiu Mata’ese Elisara, an Indigenous leader from Samoa states: “We have long recognized that, so long as demand continues to grow for soya, palm oil, sugar cane and other biofuel feedstocks, ‘sustainability standards’ will fail to address the problem. The increasing demand is driven by policies from Europe and North America that favour targets and subsidies. The result is pushing agricultural frontiers further into forests, grasslands, peat lands and other natural ecosystems. It also forms a significant factor in the current food price boom, which has lead to far more people being hungry and malnourished all over the world. The only way to prevent this destruction is for EU and member states to halt the targets and subsidies. Instead, they are choosing to turn a blind eye and ignore these impacts altogether.”

The EU Renewable Energy Directive, which includes a 10% biofuel target for transport, already ‘exempted’ all agrofuels produced in installations operating by the end of 2012 from any ‘penalties’ over their indirect impacts until the end of 2017 [4].  This belies the Commissions’ claim that its decision aims to protect existing investments, rather than supporting future agrofuel production.

The Commission has indicated that it is considering an increase in existing “greenhouse gas standards” for biofuels as an alternative to addressing indirect land use change. However, Global Forest Coalition and others have dismissed this approach because it is based on a false accounting of climate impacts – made worse by the Commission’s decision to continue ignoring the indirect impacts, which account for the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels.


Simone Lovera, Global Forest Coalition+595-21-663654+595985593591

Almuth Ernsting, Biofuelwatch+44-1224-324797


[1] The Commission’s decision, with excerpts from minutes, was reported by Reuters on 8th September: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/09/08/us-eu-biofuels-idUKTRE7874NP20110908

[2] Statistical confirmation of indirect land use change in the Brazilian Amazon, Eugenio Y. Arima, Environmental Research Letters 6 (2011), 024010, http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/6/2/024010

[3] Price volatility and food security, a report by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition, July 2011, www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/hlpe/hlpe_documents/HLPE-price-volatility-and-food-security-report-July-2011.pdf

[4] Article 19(6) of the Renewable Energy Directive – Note that subsequent Guidance published by the Commission states that the term ‘installation’ applies not only to agrofuel refineries but even to palm oil, sugar cane or soya mills, which means that the ‘exemption’ would already have applied to agrofuels from most new refineries.

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change

Forest Cover: The Official Newsletter of Global Forest Coalition

CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE (Download the 10 Page PDF by clicking here)

From standing trees to boiled, bleached pulp in one day. Photo: Petermann/GJEP-GFC

Rio+20 must Recognize the Role of Civil Society

by Fiu Mataese Elisara/ Chair of the Board, Global Forest Coalition

REDD and the Feeling of Standing Barefoot in a Peatswamp By Simone Lovera, Sobrevivencia, Paraguay

San Mariano Biofuel Project Should be Rejected as CDM Project By Feny Cosico, Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (AGHAM), the Philippines

Genetically Engineered Tree Developments: GE Cold Tolerant Eucalyptus in the US By Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project; North American Focal Point, Global Forest Coalition

African Faith Leaders get Organized for Durban COP17 By Nigel Crawhall, Director of the Secretariat of the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC) and member of the Western Cape Provincial Religious Leaders Forum

Calendar of Forest-related meetings

About Forest Cover

Welcome to the thirty-eighth issue of Forest Cover, newsletter of the Global Forest Coalition (GFC). GFC is a world- wide coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and Indigenous Peoples Organizations (IPOs). GFC promotes rights-based, socially just and effective forest policies at international and national level, including through building the capacity of NGOs and IPOs in all regions to influence global forest policy.

Forest Cover is published four times a year. It features reports on important intergovernmental meetings by different NGOs and IPOs and a calendar of future meetings. The views expressed in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views of

the Global Forest Coalition, its donors or the editors.

For free subscriptions, please contact Yolanda Sikking at: Yolanda.sikking@globalforestcoalition.org

Global Justice Ecology Project is the North American Focal Point of the Global Forest Coalition


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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, UNFCCC

Forest Policy Fails to Address the Underlying Causes of Deforestation and Degradation

From Global Forest Coalition:

For Immediate Release

1 December, 2010

Forest Policy Fails to Address the Underlying Causes of Deforestation and Degradation

Excessive Demand for Wood and Land is the Major Cause of Deforestation, a New Global Forest Coalition Report Reveals

Cancun, Mexico, 1 December 2010 – A report released by the Global Forest Coalition today at the UN Climate Talks in Cancun, Mexico reveals that measures to address deforestation, like REDD (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) are likely to fail because they do not address the underlying causes of forest loss, such as excessive global demand for wood, plantation agriculture, expanding agrofuel production, and a rapid shift toward a bioenergy economy.

High demand for wood is a prominent and persistent driver of deforestation. International demand is primarily generated by industrialized countries, but domestic demand can also be high, especially in countries where wood is easily accessed. Yet there are no international policies to reduce demand for timber as a means of reducing deforestation. To the contrary, EU and US renewable energy policies currently provide massive incentives to increase wood-based bio-energy production, triggering a steep rise in demand for wood and land.
“Contrary to popular thinking, forests are dependent on the availability of land, not money,” said Simone Lovera, Executive Director of the Global Forest Coalition. “The most effective policies to conserve and restore forests are those that reduce demand for land.”

Another major underlying cause of forest loss is the spiraling demand for land for plantations and other forms of industrial agriculture. In the Mymensingh area of Bangladesh for example, plantations of rubber, acacia, eucalyptus, pineapple, and banana cause forest degradation, and adversely affect the livelihoods of the forest-dwelling Garo and Koch peoples. Cultivation of crops traded in large volumes, such as soy (for foods, animal feed, and agrofuels) require increasingly large tracts of land, leading to the destruction of large tracts of forest in places such as the Amazon.
The Global Forest Coalition’s new report, Getting to the Roots: Underlying Causes of Deforestation and Forest Degradation, and Drivers of Forest Restoration, also tells an important tale about the integral part that forests play for Indigenous and land-based peoples, both as a foundation of traditions and culture, and as a source of food, medicines and building materials. Thus Indigenous Peoples across the world are highly motivated to conserve forests and restore those damaged by others.

As Geodisio Castillo from Panama observed, “Indigenous People have always considered that land is sacred and that the health of the planet depends on its health and conservation.”

The new report from Global Forest Coalition gathers case studies from around the world to show that the vision professed by many indigenous cultures can provide important forest conservation strategies that run counter to the tendencies promoted by the United Nations, the development banks and other key policy-setting institutions.
Fiu Mataese Elisara, Chair of the Global Forest Coalition said, “There is a pressing need to completely transform the way in which efforts supposed to reduce deforestation, such as REDD, are being developed. A more effective alternative would be to stop commodifying and monetizing forests, and to look to Indigenous Peoples to lead the way on restoring forests, on the basis of their knowledge and enduring commitment to them, providing them with appropriate financial and other support as required.”

Tatiana Roja, Friends of the Earth Colombia said “REDD does not make any real changes. It does not aim to solve the reasons why agribusiness, monocultures and plantations, paramilitaries and certification processes exist in the first place, but simply places a price on everything.”

The Global Forest Coalition’s new report, Getting to the Roots: Underlying Causes of Deforestation and Forest Degradation, and Drivers of Forest Restoration can be downloaded at:
English:  www.globalforestcoalition.org/img/userpics/File/REDD/Report-Getting-to-the-roots.pdf
Spanish: www.globalforestcoalition.org/img/userpics/File/REDD/La-raiz-del-problema.pdf
French: www.globalforestcoalition.org/img/userpics/File/REDD/Report-Les-racines-du-probleme.pdf



In Cancun:

Jeff Conant: jc@globaljusticeecology.org

Tel: +;1.575.770.2829 (Cancún , Mexico mobile +52.998.165.7349)

Anne Peterman: globalecology@gmavt.net

Tel: +;1.802.578.0477 / (Cancún , Mexico mobile +52.998.167.8131)

In Europe :

Janneke Romijn: janneke.romijn@globalforestcoalition.org

Tel: +31 6 82 07 13 82


-          The report Getting to the Roots: Underlying Causes of Deforestation and Forest Degradation, and Drivers of Forest Restoration will be launched at a press conference Wednesday December 1, 12.00 – 120.30, room Luna, ground floor of the Moon Palace Expo Centre.  Spokespeople will be available for journalists.

-          The report summarizes the findings of the Global Forest Coalition’s three year global program of workshops investigating the underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation, and the incentives and other underlying causes underpinning successful forest conservation and restoration initiatives by Indigenous Peoples and local communities. These events involved over 1,750 people from 24 different countries, coming from Indigenous Peoples Organizations (IPOs), local communities, civil society organizations, government and academia. The resulting national reports are rich in detail and diversity, yet show that there is a remarkable commonality of understanding and analysis, both of the underlying causes of deforestation, and of what it really takes to conserve and restore forests.

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Global Forest Coalition Press Conference

From Global Forest Coalition

Español debajo

MEDIA ADVISORY: November 30, 2010

PRESS CONFERENCE: Global Forest Coalition Report Reveals that Excessive Demand for Wood is the Major Cause of Deforestation

What: Press conference by the Global Forest Coalition about the underlying causes of forest loss and the motivations for forest protection

When: Wednesday, 1 December 2010, 12:00 – 12:30

Where: Room 2 (Luna), Moon Palace Aztec Expo Centre, Cancun

Who: Simone Lovera, Executive Director, and other members of Global Forest Coalition

The Global Forest Coalition will launch a report about the underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation, and the real incentives for successful forest conservation and restoration by Indigenous Peoples and land-based communities.

Download the full report at:

English:  www.globalforestcoalition.org/img/userpics/File/REDD/Report-Getting-to-the-roots.pdf

Spanish: www.globalforestcoalition.org/img/userpics/File/REDD/La-raiz-del-problema.pdf

French: www.globalforestcoalition.org/img/userpics/File/REDD/Report-Les-racines-du-probleme.pdf

Contacts in Cancun:

Jeff Conant: + 52 998 165 7349


Simone Lovera: +52 998 197 0859


Aviso de Prensa

30 noviembre, 2010

Conferencia de prensa: Nuevo reporte por la Coalición Global de Bosques revela que demanda excesiva para madera es la causa mayor de la deforestación.

Que: Conferencia de prensa por la Coalición Global de Bosques sobre las causas mayors del perdido de bosques y las motivaciones reales para su proteccion.

Cuando: Miercoles, 1 diciembre 2010, 12:00 – 12:30

Donde: Sala 2 (Luna), Moon Palace, Aztec Expo Centre, Cancun

Quien: Simone Lovera, Directora ejecutiva, y otros miembros de la Coalición Global de Bosques

La Coalición Global de Bosques lanzará su nuevo reporte sobre las cuasas mayors de la deforestacion y la degradacion de bosques y las motivaciones reales para su conservacion y proteccion por pueblos indigenas y comunidades rurales.

Vean el reporte complete en internet al:

Inglés:  www.globalforestcoalition.org/img/userpics/File/REDD/Report-Getting-to-the-roots.pdf

Español: www.globalforestcoalition.org/img/userpics/File/REDD/La-raiz-del-problema.pdf

Francés: www.globalforestcoalition.org/img/userpics/File/REDD/Report-Les-racines-du-probleme.pdf

Contactos en Cancun:

Jeff Conant: + 52 998 165 7349


Simone Lovera: +52 998 197 0859


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