A group of Indigenous and environmental organizations have published a new booklet that highlights ten of the worst REDD-type projects that affect Indigenous Peoples and local communities around the world.
REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is a massive UN programme that’s supposedly meant to help balance the climate; however, as the new booklet “No REDD Papers, Volume 1” shows, the programme is in fact paving the way for a massive land grab, not to mention human rights abuses and even more environmental destruction.
The 85-page booklet examines projects in Latin America, Africa, Asia, Oceania, the United States and Mexico. Among those projects:
- The Guaraqueçaba Climate Action Project in Brazil. Implemented by the Nature Conservancy, General Motors, American Electric Power, Society for Wildlife Research and Environmental Education, for this project armed guards are being used to intimidate and persecute the Gurani people;
- BP’s REDD-type project in Mexico. The company is using the project to help “greenwash its destruction of biodiversity and communities’ livelihoods” in and around the Gulf Of Mexico; and
- A fairly unknown plantation project in the Madre de Dios region of the Peruvian Amazon, which threatens Indigenous Peoples who live in voluntary isolation.
The booklet also highlights critical perspectives and opinions that we never hear from any proponents of REDD whether it’s a large NGO, a corporate lobby group, a government or the UN itself.
All in all, it’s an essential read for anyone that isn’t familiar with REDD – and those of us who want real climate solutions that actually respect human rights.
You can download the booklet at: www.ienearth.org/docs/noreddpapers_download.pdf
Ten of the worst REDD-type projects
Courtesy of Chris Lang from redd-monitor.org, here’s a quick overview of the ten worst REDD-type projects.
1. Chevron uses armed guards for a REDD-type project in Brazil. The Nature Conservancy, General Motors, American Electric Power, Society for Wildlife Research and Environmental Education, and Chevron (previously known as Texaco), infamous for destruction caused in Ecuadorian Amazon, have implemented the Guaraqueçaba Climate Action Project in the ancestral territory of Guarani People with uniformed armed guards called “Força Verde” or “Green Force” who intimidate and persecute local communities; jailing and shooting at people who go into forest as well as forcibly entering and searching private homes without due authorization “…[T]he project has caused devastating impacts on the local communities…”
2. An Indigenous leader was criminalized for defending his people and territory from an Australian carbon cowboy who duped the Matsés People of the Peruvian Amazon into signing a REDD-type contract for perpetuity and written in English, which grants the carbon trader total control over the Matsés People’s land, way of life, intellectual property, forests and carbon. The contract also stipulates that anyone who denounces this scam will be sued. The carbon trader has brought charges against Indigenous Matsés Leader Daniel Jimenez. National and international Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations, AIDESEP (National Organization of the Amazonian Indigenous Peoples of Peru) and COICA (Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin), demanded the expulsion of the carbon trader from Peru. The carbon trader has censored and attacked the freedom of expression and freedom of press of a journalist who covered the story for
3. Indigenous Peoples in Voluntary Isolation are threatened by REDD-type plantation projects related to the Inter-Oceanic Highway and logging concessions to be implemented near their territories in the Peruvian Amazon. Indigenous Peoples in Voluntary Isolation avoid contact with other people and societies and live in remote regions. They are highly vulnerable for a number of reasons including their lack of defenses against common diseases. Contact with others such as REDD-type project implementers in the Madre de Dios region of the Peruvian Amazon could be disastrous for the Yora People and
the Amahuaca People who live in voluntary isolation.
4. In Bolivia, BP, whose oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was the biggest environmental disaster in the history of the United States, participates in the biggest REDD-type project in the world in the Chiquitano People’s territory, which helps it to greenwash its destruction of biodiversity and communities’ livelihoods. Yet another example of the extractive industries like Dow, Rio Tinto, Shell, Statoil, BP Amoco, American Electric Power—AEP and BHB Billiton which have historically caused pollution and deforestation and are promoting REDD as a profitable opportunity to “offset” their ongoing pillaging of the planet. As noted in the New York Times, “… programs to pay for forest preservation could merely serve as a cash cow for the very people who are destroying them.”
5. In numerous places in the world, REDD-type projects and policies are being implemented in violation of the right of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). In Ecuador, the government continues to develop a REDD program despite the fact that the most representative organization of Indigenous Peoples, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, (CONAIE), has explicitly rejected the implementation of all REDD+ policies and projects in the country.
6. Despite Amnesty International’s recommendation to “stop immediately the practice of forced evictions,” as Kenya’s Mau Forest is made “ready” for a UNEP-funded REDD+ project, members of the Ogiek People continue to suffer violent evictions, and Ogiek activists are attacked for protesting land grabs. Minority Rights Group International includes the Ogiek People in their list of “Peoples Under Threat” from genocide, mass killings or violent repression and this latest wave of evictions could threaten the cultural survival of the Ogiek People.
7. Over 22,000 people were violently evicted from the Mubende and Kiboga districts in Uganda to make way for the UK-based New Forests Company to plant trees, to earn carbon credits and ultimately to sell the timber. According to the New York Times, “New Forests Company, grows forests in African countries with the purpose of selling credits from the carbon dioxide its trees soak up to polluters abroad.” The New York Times also reports “… [V]illagers described gun-toting soldiers and an 8-year-old child burning to death when his home was set ablaze by security officers. New Forests Company is 20% owned by the HSBC bank and investors in the project include the World Bank. Evicted successful farmers are reduced to becoming poorly paid plantation peons on the land they were evicted from. “Homeless and hopeless, Mr. Tushabe said he took a job with the company that pushed him out. He was promised more than $100 each month, he said, but received only about $30.”
8. Two of the biggest greenhouse polluters on the planet, oil giants Gazprom and Shell, which is infamous for the genocide of the Ogoni People and environmental destruction in Nigeria’s Niger Delta, bankroll the Rimba Raya REDD project in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. The project is also supported by the Clinton Foundation and approved by the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VSC) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA). Nnimmo Bassey, the Director of Environmental Rights Action (FoE Nigeria) and Chair of Friends of the Earth International, says, “We have suffered Shell’s destruction of communities and biodiversity as well as oil spills and gas flaring for decades. Now we can add financing REDD for greenwash and profits to the long list of Shell’s atrocities.”
9. In Papua New Guinea, “carbon cowboys” are running amok, conning and coercing communities into signing away their land rights with fake contracts. The land and power of attorney of 45,000 indigenous in East Pangia was handed over to a carbon trader. “Carbon finance and REDD have triggered a ‘gold rush’ mentality.” Scandals, scams and fraud abound.
State to state: California, USA and Chiapas, Mexico
10. The State of California is promoting subnational carbon market REDD in Chiapas, Mexico, Acre, Brazil, Aceh, Indonesia and Cross River, Nigeria. In Chiapas, Mexico, Tzeltal People of the community of Amador Hernandez denounce the California REDD project as a climate mask “to cover up the dispossession of the biodiversity of the peoples.” The community has denounced what they perceived as a land grab. A year before, the villagers said, all government medical services, including vaccinations, had been cut off; several elderly people and children died due to lack of medical attention. This neglect, they believed, was due to their refusal to capitulate to the demands of REDD. “They’re attacking our health as a way of getting access to our land,” Martinez said. The community has asked the governor of Chiapas to “suspend the state REDD+ project in the Lacandon Community Zone, as it constitutes a counterinsurgency plan that promotes conflicts between neighboring communities.”