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New climate change deal is anti-rural poor, say experts

United Kingdom
The Guardian

The plan by governments across Latin America to begin the implementation of a new scheme aimed at mitigating climate change by curbing carbon emissions from the destruction of tropical forests will harm the rural poor, according to experts.

The experts warned against adopting a “one-size-fits-all” approach and instead call for flexible, balanced solutions to the thorny issues surrounding the new mechanism.

Among the experts’ chief worries is that the wealthy and powerful could capture many of the benefits, largely at the expense of rural communities, including indigenous groups.

This was contained in a statement made available to The Guardian at the weekend by the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

The experts, who were speaking at a parley organised by Mexico’s National Forestry Commission and the Swiss government, which ended at the weekend, is the fourth in a series of country-led initiatives focusing on forest governance and decentralisation in support of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF).

The outcomes of the meeting are expected to feed into a UNFF meeting to take place in early 2011, marking the launch of the International Year of Forests.

Under REDD+ (for reducing deforestation and forest degradation), industrialised countries will provide developing nations with sizeable sums of money in exchange for verifiable storage of carbon in forests, in addition to the conservation and sustainable management of forests.  Forest destruction currently accounts for 12 to 18 per cent of yearly global carbon emissions.

A scientist with the CIFOR, Elena Petkova, said: “Good forest governance – involving transparent and inclusive relationships between governments, forests and the people who depend on them – is fundamental for ensuring that REDD+ helps forest-dependent communities move out of poverty, instead of fueling corruption and funding entrenched bureaucracies. REDD+ schemes could either flounder on governance failures or flourish under successful governance.”

The statement added that the central aim of the conference in Oaxaca was to provide science-based advice on the design and implementation of REDD+ schemes, so the schemes can capture carbon and reduce emissions effectively, while it at the same time generates significant benefits from sustainable forest management that are equitably shared.

Another CIFOR scientist, Andrew Wardell, observed: “About 40 years of public sector investment in curbing deforestation, while producing many local successes, has fallen far short of its goal. REDD+ might be our last chance to save the world’s tropical forests.

So, it’s extremely important to get it right in Latin America and elsewhere. This region holds nearly a quarter of the world’s forests, upon which millions of people depend, and over the last five years, it has accounted for 65 per cent of global net forest loss.”

The conference in Oaxaca also marks a key milestone in preparations for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP16), to be held later this year in Cancun, Mexico.

El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.


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