Friday, May 28, 2010

Interim REDD+ agreement adopted at the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference yesterday

The agreement on financing and fast-start measures to protect tropical forests was approved by nearly 50 countries and is seen as an important step in the process leading up to COP 16. The partnership will be co-chaired by two representatives, one each from a developing and developed country. The United Nations and the World Bank will act as the secretariat.
Parties to the agreement also intend on establishing a voluntary (based on a survey) database of REDD+ financing, actions and results. The initial responses from the survey can be found HERE.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Illegal logging rates rise 25-fold over last year in Madagascar...

The New York Times has reported that the logging of a rare species of rosewood tree, endemic to Madagascar, has increased 25-fold over the previous year. This alarming rate of deforestation can largely be attributed to the new and shaky government, which came to power in early 2009 by way of coup, and which has been unwilling to put a plug on exports valued at $167 million last year. The rosewood trees are predominately harvested by day laborers in Madagascar's national parks, then bound for markets in China and transformed into "antiques" and instruments for export.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

3rd GCF meeting kicks off

Governor Yusuf Irwandi of Aceh welcomed delegates from around the world to Banda Aceh.

Today's meeting thus far has been an opportunity for GCF member states to update the group on their activities. The meetings are being chaired by Amazonas State (Brazil), represented by Natalie Unterstell and Bernhard Smid.

Later this afternoon, there will be updates on Brazilian (Ernesto Roessing, GCF country coordinator), Indonesia (TBD) and US (William Boyd, GCF Secretariat) federal legislation and programs and international REDD policy (John-O Niles, TFG). These updates will be followed by the first Working Group I (Standards and Criteria).

Tomorrow will be an update from Barbara Bamberger on the California rule-making process of ARB 32. This will be followed by Working Groups II (Coordination Mechanisms and Accounting Frameworks) and WG III (Needs Assessment and Finance). The meeting is scheduled to conclude with a declaration of the GCF to be used at various for a (including for example, the Paris-Oslo process), the date and location of the next GCF meeting, addition of new GCF members discussion and stakeholder involvement and an outreach strategy. The next day is scheduled for a joint meeting between GCF members and all interested stakeholders.

Monday, May 17, 2010

REDD Governors Gather in Aceh

The Governors Climate Forest Taskforce is an informal collaboration among some of the most advanced state and provinces in the world working together to make REDD happen. The governments represented on the GCF include Aceh, Papua, East Kalimantan and West Kalimantan (Indonesia), Acre, Amapa, Amazonas, Matto Grosso and Para (Brazil), California, Illinois, Wisconsin (USA), Campeche (Mexico) and Cross River State (Nigeria).

The GCF occupies a key role between project-based REDD and what is hoped in most quarters to be national accounting. In many developing countries, states and provinces provide many of the basic services for people and have a significant role in managing lands and forests.

The GCF meeting in Aceh Indonesia comes at an interesting time in many respects:
1) The UNFCCC in Copenhagen unanimously endorsed a decision requesting developing countries to build national, and where appropriate sub-national, forest monitoring systems.

2) The UNFCCC LCA chair has just announced a new comprehensive text, what may be the UNFCCC's last chance to be relevant in the long term.

3) US federal legislation has been introduced that would support some sub-national REDD programs.

4) The role of the VCS (and the voluntary market at large) have many REDD projects and proponents scratching their heads about what to do. Almost everyone thinks the VCS is the right way to go, even though not a single VCS REDD project has qualified for any part of the VCS REDD requirements.

GCF members and stakeholders have started to gather under the mountains of the Ulu Masen forests (pictured above), with prayer calls about and a gaggle of good people working at the nexus between federal and project REDD carbon accounting. Tomorrow formal talks begin on three working groups: one on project based accounting, another on nesting and state systems, and a third of needs and funding of/for GCF members. Stay tuned here for updates.

Monday, May 10, 2010

IIED Live Interview with Connie Hedergaard on May 11th

European Commissioner for Climate Action and host of the COP15 Connie Hedergaard will be delivering the International Institute for Environment and Development's 2010 Barbara Ward Lecture. Ms. Hedergaard will be highlighting current issues on climate change, and her views on what will likely be necessary for a future global agreement. There will also be opportunity for real-time Q & A. Listen to the the live webstream here on Tuesday, May 11th, 12:00 GMT.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Government submissions headed into Bonn 2010 (SB 32s)

The cards are on the table and the positions are far apart. In the document hyperlinked in the title, the fireworks are between the US submission (starts on page 79) and the joint submission from Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, and Nicaragua (86). Expect more rancor in Bonn in a few weeks. This is a critical time for the UNFCCC, the first opportunity to have a unified new text to pick up the pieces from Copenhagen. From the tone of the country positions, well, let's see...miracles do happen, but they're called miracles for a reason.

Monday, May 3, 2010

CIFOR Releases Report on how REDD Will Affect Local Communties and Indigenous Populations

The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has published a report assessing REDD's impact on local communities and indigenous populations. The report addresses forest governance and rural livelihoods issues from past experiences with REDD pilot projects from around the world. Read the full report here...

Outgoing UN Climate Chief Shoots Down Expectations of Treaty in Cancun

Yvo De Boer, in a press conference in Germany, said that while it is highly unlikely any form of climate change treaty will be had at the COP 16, hopes have refocused on creating a solid "operational architecture" that will pave the way for a treaty in the coming years. Read the full NY Times article here...