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.
Tag Archives: global forest coalition
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.
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.
By Carol Dreibelbis, October 17, 2012. Source: Nourishing the Planet
Note: As 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
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 Movement, Global Justice Ecology Project, the Campaign to Stop Genetically Engineered Trees, Global 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.
This week’s Earth Segment features an interview with Global Forest Coalition Executive Director Simone Lovera.
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”  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)  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
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, 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”. 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 .
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 . 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.
 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
 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
 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
 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.
CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE (Download the 10 Page PDF by clicking here)
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.firstname.lastname@example.org
Global Justice Ecology Project is the North American Focal Point of the Global Forest Coalition