Sunday, 2 December 2012

WHO OWNS THE FOREST AND WHO BENEFITS: REDD+ CHALLENGE


Forest in Zambia
Zambia is a country with total land area of 755,000sq.KM of which 7Million hectares constitute to be gazetted forest area. The forest department has approximately 50million hectors of forest with an estimated deforestation rate of 250,000 to 300, 000 hectares per year. About 7% of land is categorized as state land and the 93% (ECZ,2008) being traditional land (under customary tenure) and leaders exercise considerable influence and control. The "plus" in REDD+ is an important addition, because it includes the role of conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancement of forest carbon stock as well. So, the challenge with REDD+ is who owns the forest and who will benefits?
Undoubtedly, deforestation contains to be a big challenge in Zambia. The uncontrolled cutting down of trees for charcoal, timber and other use for livelihood have continued to deplete the country’s forests. This is due to lack of information on the importance of trees, forests and dangers of deforestation. The high poverty and unemployment levels in the country have also contributed to the rise in the cutting down of trees as people use them for economic various activities in order to earn an income. The accumulative effects of tree and forest loss including environmental degradation have contributed to regional and global climate imbalances.

Deforestation in Zambia
REDD stands for Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation. It is an international effort through the United Nations (UN) to collect funds from developed nations to offer incentives to developing countries to protect and better manage forest land. This is critical for the global fight against climate change. Analyzing from afar on the ongoing COP 18 negotiations in Doha, Qatar that started on the 26th November - 8th December, 2012, it is evident that;
  1. REDD+ is far from effectively being implemented globally 
  2.  There is no global policy on REDD+ and it depends entirely on the commitment of each country to implement it within its own constituencies 
  3. There is high threat of fraud and corruption because of the huge money involved in the REDD+ implementation
The Zambian Government launched UN REDD+ in 2010 with the motivate to develop Zambia’s capacity to prepare for a future REDD+ mechanism, expected to provide financial incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation; and by receiving compensation for sustainable management of the resources allowing communities to be engaged in other alternative livelihoods. In addition, it was emphasised that the UN-REDD Programme in Zambia will primarily focus on building institutional and stakeholder capacities, developing an enabling policy environment as well as benefit-sharing models and adequate monitoring, reporting and verifications system. The launch was attended by more than 70 people from various organizations, NGOs, government ministries, academia, private sector, media, and civil society organizations participated. Link: UN REDD PROGRAM NEWSLETTER ISSUE # 15 Dec 2010/Jan 2011


 (Speakers at the implementation launch of Zambia's UN-REDD National Programme, from L to R: Kanni Wignaraja, United Nations Resident Coordinator; Vera Tembo, Zambian Deputy Minister of Tourism Environment and Natural Resources; Marja Ojanen, Embassy of Finland; and Lillian Kapulu, Permanent Secretary MTENR)
Therefore, what we need is a policy system that does not deprive local people or undermine their rights over their land. I have also been surprised to learn that while my government made a commitment for REDD+, they still have been giving land permits to many logging, mining and natural gas companies in the last years. This is a complete contradiction to their effort to save the earth, which makes me wonder if their commitment to REDD+ is not to save the earth but just for monetary gain. In addition the issues of corruption, I also still wonder if REDD+ can really save the forests of the world. The question is, Can REDD+ incentives really compete with what the logging, mining, oil, gas and agricultural multinational companies are offering to land owners?

1 comment:

  1. Can REDD+ incentives really compete with what the logging, mining, oil, gas and agricultural multinational companies are offering to land owners?

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