REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is a UN programme designed to allow polluters to offset their carbon emissions, in theory by protecting forest in developing countries. In reality, it allows corporate interests to grab huge areas of land in the Global South in what amounts to the theft of raw material and according to Friends of the Earth, “REDD shifts responsibility for the climate crisis to the countries of the South, which do not have historical responsibility for the crisis.”
Critiques of REDD are frequently muted by NGOs, corporative lobbies, governments, carbon traders, international financial institutions and the United Nations. For example, an Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) report that addressed the UN-REDD program’s failure to engage with local communities, was rejected by the World Bank on the grounds that the REDD scheme is “a widely accepted approach.”
Many indigenous communities, from Ecuador to Kenya to Papua New Guinea, are trying to stop it. They know that assigning an economic value to their forests puts more power in the hands of corporations and causes the upward redistribution of wealth from them to the rich and powerful elites. In April 2009, around 400 indigenous representatives signed the Anchorage (Alaska) Declaration, rejecting carbon trading and forest offsets as “false solutions to climate change.”
We partnered with No REDD in Africa Network, Indigenous Environmental Network and Friends of the Earth to run petitions in support of their work in Africa and California, where a precedent setting piece legislation (AB32) was threatening to extend REDD via state-level regulatory measures.
Results: AB32 passed. REDD still supported by Kenyatta and no improvement for Sengwe People, although the WB has since accepted that it violated its own safeguards in dealings with Sengwer people evicted from their lands