June 26, 2012
Rainforest in Malaysia.
Today the environmental group released a set of international safeguards to reduce the likelihood REDD+ projects result in social conflict, have adverse impacts on wildlife and forest biodiversity, fuel corruption, subsidize industrial logging of primary forests, or disenfranchise local communities. Greenpeace is seeking comment on the standards through September 2, 2012.
"Forest protection and emission reductions schemes are not going to work without guarantees that local people's rights are fully respected and that biodiversity is protected," said Susanne Breitkopf, Greenpeace International Senior Political Advisor for Forest Finance, in a press release.
"Without strong binding safeguards, we can end up with monoculture plantations instead of natural forests, or even see local communities evicted from project sites taken over by foreigners."
As a concept, REDD+ aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by paying tropical countries to protect their forests. While many of the details — including sources of finance, safeguards, and implementation protocols — are still being hammered out, a number of REDD+ projects are underway in countries ranging from Brazil to Cambodia. Some dodgy REDD+ projects, which have cheated local landowners or failed to seek approval from stakeholders, have shown that without standards, the sector could fail to move forward.
"Supporting strong, coherent safeguards really is in the interest of everyone involved, it's common sense," Breitkopf added. "We invite everyone to contribute to this effort and hope that governments and institutions who have been promoting and supporting REDD+ will adopt the final recommendations."
The Greenpeace report, titled Forests & People First [PDF] includes a comparative matrix showing the various standards that presently apply to REDD+ projects as well as the certifying bodies.