Monday, 25 May 2009

Local people `should benefit' from REDD

Personal note: Does anyone want to guess where REDD money will go? One thing you can be confident about is, it won't reach local communities.


Adianto P. Simamora , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sat, 05/23/2009

The government should use the impetus of carbon trading from the forestry sector to settle long-standing problems over forest ownership, if the country is to benefit from the reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) scheme, activists have urged.

Forest Watch Indonesia (FWI) said Friday the lack of clear status of indigenous peoples and local communities managing the country's forests would become the main snag in implementing the REDD mechanism in Indonesia.

"The crucial work now is how to settle land and forest tenure problems if Indonesia is to benefit from the REDD," FWI coordinator for public campaign and policy dialogue Wirendro Sumargo told The Jakarta Post.

The government claims Indonesia has about 120 million hectares of rainforests, making it the world's third-largest forest country after Brazil and the D.R. Congo.

The 1999 forestry law stipulates all forested lands are owned by the state. The law allows local communities and indigenous people to manage the forests, but with the state in full ownership.

FWI said local communities living around forests would become the first victims if no clear regulation on their status on forest ownership was issued.

Under the REDD mechanism, carbon absorbed in protected forests through the mechanism can be traded to developed nations to help them meet emissions cut targets.

In return, forest countries receive financial incentives for projects, based on the amount of carbon absorbed in the forests.

The government has yet to determine the sharing of financial benefits from the projects.

The financing mechanism for the REDD is likely to be part of a climate protection regime to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

Yvo de Boer, Head of the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat, said the REDD would very likely be included in this December's Copenhagen climate pact.

The government has issued a ministerial decree on the REDD, paving the way for local communities, local and foreign companies, and local administrations to host REDD projects.

Permits for REDD projects will be given to people or groups with ownership certificates to manage forests.

However, most indigenous people do not have such certificates, although a study by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) confirmed they played a big role in efforts to tackle climate change through the REDD.

It said the lack of certainty would make local people vulnerable to dispossession as land values rose.

A status of (certified) tenure would "give them more leverage in relation to the government and the private sector," the report said.

"So *their status as* tenure is key."