The World Bank And REDD

The World Bank wants to play a leading role in promoting and shaping REDD. It has already set up several very large Climate Investment Funds (CIF), which are supposed to support the development of clean technologies and other initiatives addressing climate change. Its main mechanism for promoting REDD is a scheme called the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). The FCPF intends to assist developing countries in their efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. This is supposed to be done in two ways:

1. The Readiness Mechanism is aimed at building capacity for REDD. It assists 37 countries developing tropical and sub-tropical countries in preparing themselves to participate in a future, large-scale, system of positive incentives for REDD. What the program concretely does is

a) To support countries in making an estimate of their national forest carbon stocks and the sources of carbon emissions from forest.

b) To assist the countries in defining what is called a reference scenario. This means that in order to be able to estimate how much carbon emission was reduced in a particular year or how much can be reduced in the future, we need to know how much the emission actually is before the REDD projects starts. The Readiness Mechanism offers these countries technical assistance in calculating and comparing the costs of different possible REDD initiatives, and based on that to design their own REDD strategy that takes into account the countries priorities and constraints.

2. The Carbon Finance Mechanism. A few countries that will have successfully participated in the Readiness Mechanism will be invited to be part of pilot programs which are testing a system of positive incentives for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. In other words, the system will offer rewards for reducing deforestation and forest degradation, with the hope that the respective governments will respond positively and take concrete measures to reduce deforestation and forest degradation. If they are able to reduce the emissions below the level of the reference scenario they will receive compensation payments.

These two mechanisms are supposed to lead to the establishment of a much larger system of positive incentives and financing of for REDD in the future. The World Bank itself writes on its web-site that they hope to develop a realistic and cost-effective large new instrument for tackling deforestation, to help safeguard the Earth's climate, reduce poverty, manage freshwater resources, and protect biodiversity. The World Banks Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) has however been heavily criticized for failing to consult properly with forest peoples, thereby ignoring its own internal safeguard policies according to which the need for effective participation of forest dependent indigenous peoples and forest dwellers should be taken into account in decisions that may affect them, their rights under national law and applicable international obligations should be respected. At present, the World Bank is I the process of designing the Forest Investment Programme (FIP). The FIP hopes to receive between US$1 billion and US$2 billion of funding for a activities promoting and supporting sustainable forest management and afforestation activities, including REDD. Many environmental and human rights groups however fear that unless the World Bank commits to a rights-based and people-centered approach to forest conservation there are real dangers that FIP funds will end up being used for supporting conventional large scale plantation and logging operations. As with the FCPF before, these groups have also raised concerns regarding the need for timely consultation with forest peoples and civil society about the design, governance and operation of the FIP. Indigenous peoples have pressed the Bank for effective participation in the design of the mechanism The World Bank has publicly announced that it will establish a permanent consultation mechanism for forest peoples under the FIP. It is however unclear whether any consultation will actually have an influence on the basic design, since there is so little time left until this huge forest fund is supposed to start operating.

 

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