Forest Day in Cancun
Published 21st December 2010 - 2 comments - 3110 views -
This article focuses on Forest Day in Cancun, Mexico and was originally written on 5th December for Climate Squad.
Yes the COP16 negotiations have taken a break for the weekend, but it doesn’t mean everything has stopped, today is Forest Day 4 in Cancun. The theme for Forest Day 4 is "Time to Act", and this was brought alive to me after chatting on Friday with my friend Augusto who is from Brazil .
Augusto explained that in Brazil there are two main problems; farmers setting fire to the forest to clear land for cattle or agriculture and people felling trees for the wood. Whilst those clearing land for farming can be more easily caught as they are using the land and so better policing can resolve it, the problem of wood extraction is harder. This is because most of the people logging are people from poor communities who support themselves by selling wood to timber companies. Simply telling them to stop and starve without income simply won’t work!
Illegal wood it is a lot cheaper and easier, no need to pay taxes, follow sustainable managements plans or pay workers a fair wage. Yet stricter laws alone won’t work, they often only damage the poorest.
NGO’s like Greenpeace are trying a different approach, teaching communities how to be sustainable and alternatives methods of making income. Augusto also told me that some banks in Brazil have decided not to lend money to those involved in illegal deforestation, which shows how business and money could be part of the solution. There is also programme run by the Getulio Vargas Foundation called Friendly Cities, where cities (and also some states) which only allow the sale of wood that is FSC certified.
A lot of the solutions to deforestation brought through the UN process seem inherently unfair. Looking at the programme for Forest Day 4 you can see how much is focused on REDD+ which is a policy that basically allows developed countries nations to pay developing countries not to deforest in return for permission to emit more carbon. Emilie Novaczek from the Canadian Youth Delegation explains how unfair a lot of REDD+ is in her blog REDD – Who Benefits?
There is also a session on Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry, which is an area many youth delegates are focusing on, as there are loopholes for developed countries to hide emissions, which need to be closed. However there is also a session about indigenous peoples’ rights and a session about community-based forest enterprises. I really hope these issues are fully explored.
The issues around deforestation are confusing I don’t fully understand yet, but I can see that one solution alone isn’t enough and indigenous people, banks, communities, NGOs and governments will need to work together.
The Time to Act is NOW!
But please let that not be an excuse to make unfair, ineffective agreements.
Amazon deforestation drops, but doesn’t stop – GreenpeaceUK
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