May 7, 2014. Source: Friends of the Earth
Photo: Center for Constitutional Rights
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Today a global alliance of civil society organizations known as the Treaty Alliance representing more than 500 groups call on UN Human Rights Council members to support an initiative in June that would begin a process towards creating an international treaty to address corporate human rights violations. 
The Treaty Alliance gathers global networks and alliances including CETIM, Dismantle Corporate Power Campaign, ESCR-Net, FIAN, FIDH, Franciscans International, Friends of the Earth International, Transnational Institute and OMAL, among others, which collectively represent more than 500 groups world-wide who are determined to stop corporate human rights violations.
The Treaty Alliance is coordinating civil society actions in over 20 countries with the aim of ensuring that U.N. Human Rights Council (‘HRC’) member States support a HRC resolution at the 26th Session of the HRC in June. The aim of this UN initiative is to strengthen international law to ensure legal accountability for corporate human rights violations, as well as remedies and justice for affected people. Continue reading
Note: Today , March 21st, has been declared the “International Day of Forests” by the United Nations, to celebrate the “value” of standing forests. But what type of “value” is the UN really celebrating? Wally Menne of the Timberwatch Coalition in South Africa provides a deeper look at the United Nations’ increasingly pro-corporate agenda.
-The GJEP Team
By Wally Menne, March 21, 2014
Natural peatland forest in Sungai Sembilang Nature Conservation Park in South Sumatra. Photo: Kemal Jufri / Greenpeace
On 21st March, the International Day of Mourning for Millions of Hectares of Destroyed and Stolen Forests, we should weep in solidarity with the millions of displaced, dispossessed and now poverty stricken, formerly forest dependent local communities and indigenous peoples around the world.
In a message, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlights the value of the world’s remaining forests to nearly 1.6 billion people worldwide who “depend on forests for their livelihood, food, fuel, shelter and medicine”.
The value of forests for their climate change mitigation and adaptation services is acknowledged too, but nothing is said about the ongoing corporate driven land grabbing; and the complete destruction of forests through logging and land use change, that has occurred over the past 60 years at least.
Praise is poured onto the timber and paper industries: “Round wood production, wood processing and the pulp and paper industries account for nearly 1 per cent of global gross domestic product”. But at what cost to forests, rivers and forest dependent people comes this mere “1 per cent”? Continue reading
By Stephen Leahy, November 15, 2013. Source: Inter-Press Service
The Japanese government blames the shutdown of its 50 nuclear reactors as the reason why it must revise its target. Credit: Bigstock
WARSAW, Nov 15 2013 (IPS) - Japan announced Friday that it will renege on its carbon emissions pledge, likely ending any hope global warming can be kept to 2.0 degrees C.
The shocking announcement comes on the fifth day of the U.N. climate talks in Warsaw known as COP19, where more than 190 nations have agreed to a 2.0 C target and are trying to close the carbon emission gap to get there.
“It’s like a slap in the face of those suffering from the impacts of climate change such as the Philippines.” — Wael Hmaidan
Japan will increase that gap three to four percent with its new 2020 reduction target, according to the Climate Action Tracker (CAT). It amounts to a three-percent increase compared to a 1990 baseline. Japan’s 2009 Copenhagen Accord pledge was a 25 percent reduction by 2020.
“Japan is taking us in the opposite direction,” Marion Vieweg of Climate Analytics, a German climate research organisation, told IPS here in Warsaw.
“Their revision shows the bottom up approach is not working if countries can simply drop their pledges at any time,” Vieweg said.
Note: Watch the video here
-The GJEP Team
September 27, 2013. Source: RT
In his dramatic speech in New York, Bolivian President Evo Morales called for the UN to be moved out of the US and for Barack Obama to be tried for crimes against humanity. Speaking to RT, Morales explained his controversial proposals.
In his most controversial demand, Morales said that Obama should face an international trial with human rights watchdogs among the judges. The Bolivian president accused his US counterpart of instigating conflicts in the Middle East to make the region more volatile and to increase the US’s grip on the natural resources it abounds in. He gave Libya as an example of a country where “they arranged for the president to be killed, and they usurped Libya’s oil.”
“Now they are funding the rebels that fight against presidents who don’t support capitalism or imperialism,” Morales told Eva Golinger of RT’s Spanish sister channel, Actualidad. “And where a coup d’état is impossible, they seek to divide the people in order to weaken the nation – a provocation designed to trigger an intervention by peacekeeping forces, NATO, the UN Security Council. But the intervention itself is meant to get hold of oil resources and gain geopolitical control, rather than enforce respect for human rights.”
Mapuche step up struggle for land and water
July 30, 2013. Source: World War 4 Report
Photo: Caroline/Intercontinental Cry
Indigenous communities in Arauco province in Chile’s central Biobío region have announced plans for a march on Aug. 2 to protest a proposal before the National Congress to extend Forestry Decree 701 for another 20 years. Community residents, who belong to the Mapuche group, Chile’s largest ethnicity, say the forestry laws have allowed timber companies to take over traditional Mapuche lands starting in 1974 under the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. The most important of these companies are Arauco (Celulosa Arauco y Constitución), largely owned by the Angelini family, and Forestal Mininco, controlled by the Matte family. According to Mapuche activists, there is little chance that the forestry proposal will be defeated, since many of the congressional candidates from Mapuche areas in the upcoming Nov. 17 elections are being financed by these two powerful families. (El Cuidadano, Chile, July 27)
Mapuche groups have been using militant protests and land occupations since the 1990s in their push to regain the territories they claim. On July 24 the Mapuche Territorial Alliance’s blog announced a new series of land occupations that the group said the media were ignoring. The blog reported that various communities in Cautín province in the southern region of La Araucanía had taken possession of estates since the weekend of July 19 near Temuco, the regional capital, and in the area of the construction for a new Quepe airport. On July 24 the autonomous community of Temucuicui—which was subject to a violent police raid in July 2012—announced plans to occupy the La Romana and Montenegro estates and several nearby areas under the control of timber companies. (Alianza Territorial Mapuche blog, July 24)
Mapuche activists are also targeting salmon farming in Mapuche areas. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has suspended the importation of salmon produced in Chile by the Norwegian multinational Marine Harvest; on June 5 the US agency found traces of crystal violet, a fungicide with carcinogenic effects, in a batch of the company’s salmon farmed in Chile. Economy, Development and Tourism Minister Félix de Vicente insisted on July 23 that this was “an isolated unique case.“ Marine Harvest facilities “have not used this product for a couple of years, therefore, it should not be a cause for concern,“ he said. But Mapuche activists want the government to investigate the extent to which crystal violet and other dangerous chemicals may have been used in the salmon farming operations and whether the chemicals have polluted water Mapuche farmers use for irrigation.
Note: Jeff Conant is a good friend and former Communications Director for Global Justice Ecology Project.
-The GJEP Team
By Jeff Conant, June 17, 2013. Source: Friends of the Earth
In Sofala province, Mozambique, a group of initiatives collectively known as the N’hambita Pilot Project have been promoted as a flagship program for the protection of forests and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The United Nations cites it as a model example; well-known retailers in Europe have purchased credits that claim to offset their carbon footprint through the scheme; the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) — the group that certifies many Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) projects — says it meets their Gold Level standard for project design. The European commission has funded it to the tune of 1.5 million euros. But does the N’hambita project live up to its reputation?
Today a group of NGOs in Europe, including Friends of the Earth France and FERN in the UK, have issued a report called “Carbon Discredited: The offset project that couldn’t count its own trees,” that charges that the N’hambita Forest Carbon Offset Pilot Project, run by the company Envirotrade, and initially funded by European Commission (EC), has failed to deliver most of its climate change, development, and financial objectives.
The findings are particularly relevant to concerns about climate policy as viewed from the US, as the N’hambita project is the flagship example of a case where developing countries — in this case, the EU — seek to offset their industrial emissions by purchasing carbon credits from a tropical forest protection scheme. California is seeking to do much the same through its pending REDD+ offsets agreements with Chiapas, Mexico and Acre, Brazil. Whether the N’hambita project is deemed to be a success or failure is important not merely because of the public money the European Commission poured into the project, or because of the immediate impact on the people and forests of Sofala province, but because it will have a long-lasting influence on developed countries’ approaches to carbon offsetting and international support for forest protection.
May 22, 2013. Source: Global Forest Coalition
Photo: The New York Times
On the occasion of International Day for Biodiversity and the start of UN talks on a possible sustainable development goal (SDG) on agriculture , a coalition of environmental NGOs has published a briefing paper to raise awareness of the negative impacts of rapidly expanding industrial livestock farming and large-scale cattle ranching on the world’s forests and biodiversity. Industrial animal agriculture cuts across multiple sectors, affecting land use, water, food security, public health, and climate change. But too often these intersections are overlooked.
The paper,  launched today by Brighter Green  and the Global Forest Coalition , highlights the reality that large-scale cattle ranching and production of feed and fodder for the industrial livestock industry are by far the main causes of forest loss in Latin America, and play significant roles in biodiversity loss in other continents. The global livestock sector is also one of the main contributors to global warming, responsible for no less than 18% of world-wide greenhouse gas emissions.
The paper also features short case studies of how communities from Chad to Indonesia to Argentina are feeling the effects of industrial livestock production on forests, livelihoods, and their land. Continue reading
Note: Global Justice Ecology Project is a signatory to this letter, calling on the UN to take real steps toward addressing deforestation, and opposing false solutions like REDD+, biofuels, and monocultures plantations, which can lead to increased deforestation and human rights abuses against forest peoples.
-The GJEP Team
March 21, 2013. Source: World Rainforest Movement
On the occasion of March 21st, proclaimed by the UN General Assembly as International Day of the Forests (1), the World Rainforest Movement (WRM) and more than 300 signatories call on the General Assembly and UN Institutions and Initiatives related to forest issues to use the new initiative to address the underlying drivers of deforestation.
The letter is motivated by the fact that in spite of several UN initiatives aimed at calling attention for forests at the international level, the process of deforestation -affecting especially tropical forests- continues and the proposed solutions have not slowed down tropical forest loss worldwide – on the contrary.
“The proposals discussed at UN-level, by the FAO, CBD, UNFCCC and UNFF, to solve the forest crisis, for example REDD+ (2), are false solutions because they do not address the underlying drivers of deforestation and strengthen a false idea of sustainability. This is why deforestation has increased in many countries, rather than decreased”, declares Winnie Overbeek, International Coordinator of the WRM.
Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Green Economy, Illegal logging, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, UNFCCC