Prostituting our natural forests to the higher bidder

by Juan Carlos Soriano

Over the weekend, the Secretariat circulated Non-paper No. 11 with consolidated text for the negotiations to establish a mechanism to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD). I felt that the REED discussions were sort of moving forward, the text was shorter but the number of contentious issues remained the same. The facilitator of this discussions – Tony La Viña from the Philippines – formed three drafting groups to work in closed sessions on three sets of safeguards for the REDD mechanism:

1. Stakeholder participation

2. Integrity issues related to environmental co-benefits

3. Governance

This morning at 10am the Secretariat released a revised Non-paper No. 18. And oh surprise, the provision to “include safeguards against the conversion of natural forests to forest plantations” was DELETED!

I just came out of the session on REDD and watched over 20 countries call on the chair to bring the language back in the text. When the chair asked if there was consensus on that petition the EU with support from the DR Congo and Gabon blocked it. It seems to me that the Europeans have a strong economic interest to convert the Congo basin into a big plantation, not only that, they want to get credits for it so they can reach their reduction targets. Boooo!