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

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[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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