Debate and product objectives
- Develop a proposal that promotes the strengthening of natural forests conservation, integral management for forestall conservation and governance recognizing the rights and capacities of the indigenous communities and peoples that live in and depend on the forest, in order to face climate change problems properly.
- Analyze the proposal of the Copenhagen Accord based on this proposal.
Main issues to be discussed
- Which should be the essential elements (mechanism, participation, finance and others) of an integral and sustainable forests management proposal that can overcome insufficient conceptions?
- Which are the practices, vision, and knowledge that are different to the extractive, economic and mercantilist conceptions of forests and that could be raised as contributions to climate change adaptation strategies?
The Marrakech accord under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change makes a relation between the concept of forest and a series of quantitative and morphologic parameters of vegetation, concluding that a forest may consist either of closed forest formations where trees of various storeys and undergrowth cover a high proportion of the ground or open forest. Young natural stands and all plantations which have yet to reach a crown density of 10-30 per cent or tree height of 2-5 meters are included under forest, as are areas normally forming part of the forest area which are temporarily unstocked as a result of human intervention such as harvesting or natural causes but which are expected to revert to forest; (FCCC/CP/2001/13/Add.1, Decision 11/CP.7).
Forests and Climate Change
- The regulation of the carbon cycle is one of the multiple functions of forests. The forests vegetation and soil store 50% or more of the superficial carbon in our planet and more than the double atmospheric carbon2. However, deforestation and degradation contribute with 20 % of the global GHG anthropogenic emissions . A weak forestry governance, and marginalization of communities that depend on forests, among others, are important factors that aggravate the loss and degradation of forests.
- There are around 1,500 invertebrates in an old tree, and some of these species are key to some unsolved scientific mysteries. Climate change is affecting the balance of the planet and forests have also been affected causing great damage to all living beings that inhabit them and depend on them. The protection of forests is not as simple as saving many trees, but it means to preserve a vital process that began millions of years ago.
Forests and Indigenous Peoples
Indigenous peoples have roots with the forests that go far beyond the physical conception of things. “According to the indigenous worldview, a multitude of good and evil forces incarnate in all living beings, in particular in plants and animals. These forces give us behavioral patterns that must be strictly respected. For many peoples, certain species of plants and animals were venerated and protected.” (The Pre-Columbian World, OVIEDO C. Gonzalo. 1992)
Forests and Climate Change Negotiations
- International negotiations have developed a particular interest in forests thanks to their capacity of emissions reductions, caused mainly by deforestation and degradation, and to the role they play as carbon sinks. In 2001, under the Marrakech Accord, the Land Use and Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) activities were traced but considering forests as carbon sinks only, which took into account forestation and reforestation.
- The Conference of the Parties UNFCCC held in Bali in 2007 (COP15), established formally the mechanism known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) that aims reduce emissions generating monetary values based on the capacity of the forest to store carbon. (http://www.climatefrontlines.org/es/node/170).
- There are a variety of REDD projects like the ones based on the amount of how much less carbon is sent to the atmosphere when reducing logging, and forest burning and degradation. The quantification turns into a certain amount of reduced emissions that can be certified to receive compensations from governments that are willing to pay others delegating their GHG emissions reductions. The market mechanism, which has been related with REDD several times, has had many failures like the poorly equitable distribution of funds, the particularized benefits, the complexity of certification, the fluctuation of carbon markets and as a consequence the loss in the benefits, etc. (United Nations Programme for Climate Change, regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, December, 2009, htp://www.pnuma.org/informacion/).
- According to the analysis of the Third World Network of the “Copenhagen Accord” the forest is being considered under the logics of the market for mitigation actions. Developed countries are in pursuit of a new mandate under the new Accord to create new markets based on new mechanism such as the sectoral credit and sectoral commerce in developing countries. These market mechanisms are seen as compensatory mechanisms of developed countries to undertake mitigation actions in developing countries switching their responsibilities. (Analysis on the Copenhagen Accord, 2009, The Third World Network).
- Paragraph 6 of the Accord talks about REDD plus:
- During Copenhagen, REDD was discussed in two bodies: The subsidiary body for Scientific and Technological Advise (SABSTA), and the Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA), but neither in the text of this Accord nor in the texts of these bodies certain basic issues have been considered such as the inclusion of goals to stop deforestation or specific long term financial commitments. The free, prior and informed consent of indigenous people is not mentioned either. (www.wikio.es/news).
Strong commitments are required to reduce emissions from deforestation and to stop it eventually. Such accord should: Assist communities that depend on forests providing the necessary financial aid and cooperating in monitoring and measuring deforestations transparently; Include the highest environmental and social levels, including the democratic participation and participation in the benefits of the forestall workers and communities that depend on forests. The coherence with the efforts under the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity is a key issue for the international success with a fair balance. (Proposal of the Confederación Sindical de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras de las Américas, 2009).
The proposal of paying developed countries for the carbon stored in their forests was put into consideration in the negotiation tables. These proposals have to be analyzed carefully since they involve a variety of different criteria such as plantations that store less carbon than natural forests and in fact destroy native forests. (Adequate forests to climate change, 2009, Foreign Affairs Ministry of Finland).
The measures to be assumed will have to integrate and complement ongoing processes regarding forestall governance in order to assure the rights of indigenous peoples and of communities that inhabit forests. They should also contribute to a fair distribution of benefits and promote a sustainable forest management, the conservation of biodiversity and assure environmental integrity. (Propuesta de boliviana en REDD: http://unfccc.int/files/kyoto_protocol/application/pdf/boliviaredd250409.pdf.)
We should take into account that there is no universal measure to adapt forests to climate change, so there should exist enough flexibility to undertake adaptation measures at regional and local levels. As a consequence, it is necessary to design policies applying flexible approaches that take into account the context and not only a universal mechanism. At international level, the elaboration of policies is made at an intersection point of the existent policies, especially with the ones related to forests, climate change and the conservation of biodiversity. A stronger integration of these three issues is necessary in order to promote experimenting and limit contradictory, ambiguous, or duplicated initiatives. Another important element is support to investigation since studies regarding adaptation of forests to climate change are relatively recent and only some show real proves of the success of adaptation strategies. Due to the broad diversity of forests, we urgently need more precise climate change projections at regional and local scales.
(Adecuar los bosques al cambio climático 2009, MINISTERIO DE RELACIONES EXTERIORES DE FINLANDIA).
Evaluación de los recursos forestales mundiales 2005: Hacia la ordenación forestal sostenible, Estudio FAO, Montes.
UNFCCC. “Proposal on REDD-plus financing under the G77 and China proposal on
Financial Mechanism for Meeting Financial Commitments under the Convention.” http://unfccc.int/files/kyoto_protocol/application/pdf/boliviaredd250409.pdf
President Evo Morales Ayma. “Let’s Save the Planet from Capitalism.” http://www.probolivia.net/cambio_climatico.html
Segunda Comunicación Nacional de Bolivia ante las CMNUCC http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/natc/bolnc2exsums.pdf.
Discurso de S.E. Don Evo Morales Ayma Presidente del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia en el 64º periodo de sesiones de la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas, el 23 de Septiembre de 2009.
Resolución aprobada por la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas 63/278. Día Internacional de la Madre Tierra.
CSA, Confederación Sindical de Trabajadores y trabajadoras de las Americas, 2009.