onsdag 17. juni 2009

Session 5: Wrap-up and conclusions by panelists

The panelists were asked two questions: What is to you, the single most important lesson learned from this conference? And secondly: what would be your main message to the nations meeting in Copenhagen in December. Here are their answers:

Daniel Nepstad:
Today is a brilliant example of that the approach to REDD programs need to be politically viable. We need to emphasize as much the monitoring, measurement, reporting, and verification of social performance as we do of carbon performance. What we see in the Amazon today is the development of state level REDD programs and those are very much determined by the political reality. Can you move your zoning program into the world of law? That is entirely a political process. Some of the cost estimates for REDD begin to melt away when it becomes more a question of what is political viable to put into place. If you can institute a REDD program that channel tremendous benefits to forest peoples, and that is not compensating the drivers of deforestation – if you can pull that off as government there should be funds flowing into your government, if you do the opposite, there has to be a mechanism preventing that going forward.

The main message for Copenhagen is that REDD is never going to be perfect, nor is any international mechanism. It is possible though to build in mechanisms that ensures that people with rightful claims on resources and land will not be pried away from those resources. We can not oversubscribe REDD, there has to be a certain amount of space so that countries can develop REDD programs that are responsive to their own realities, but very sensitive to and strengthening ancestral and traditional claims on natural resources.

Marina Silva:
Concerning what I have learnt here, for me it was very interesting to verify – and I think someone managed to say that in one sentence – that we cannot think of forests as a mere carbon stock, but that we must think of them in terms of the sum total of their important contributions to protecting ecosystems, biodiversity, water etc. Thus, the lesson learnt is that we cannot once more make the same mistake of seeing things only as an opportunity in an economic or monetary sense; it is possible to have a value which is not necessarily monetarized, and this should also count – even though the monetary value is important.

Another message, which I believe is important for Copenhagen, is the question of commitment – intergenerational commitment. And in order to have intergenerational commitment, it is fundamentally important that we think about changing the development model so that it includes development at all levels, making use of all necessary means, including using REDD as a way of guaranteeing, or stimulating, this change in developing countries. It is very difficult for developed countries to change their energy system from fossil to renewable, but it is also very difficult for developing countries to change their development model. But this investment needs to be done, and part of the work that needs to be done in order to merit support has already been done by local populations, by traditional populations. So we need to see how we can account for, how we can give value to, the destruction that wasn’t done. We speak of avoided deforestation, but there is also a destruction which did not happen, and these populations are worthy – because of their history of non-destruction and worthy because of their continued non-destruction. And it is more or less this that I wanted to say.

As for Copenhagen, we need to leave from there with commitments to reducing our high emissions, and for all countries, including developing countries, to reduce their expectations for future emissions. Brazil may grow x, x, x percent, but this growth cannot be to the detriment of forests, cannot be to the detriment of our biodiversity.

Sandra Moniaga:
I sense the strong feeling of the importance of indigenous peoples and local communities in guarding the forest. I do acknowledge that there are communities involved in cutting down the trees, but mainly that is for survival, because there is no alternatives, but it should not stop them from being perceived as the guardian of the forest. I am sure that if their rights are secured and they receive all the benefits, they will manage sustainably.

My message for Copenhagen: there is no doubt that we have to respect and recognize the rights of indigenous peoples and other local communities – but importantly also to include them at all levels in the process. We also have to ensure the availability of all necessary conditionalities, for example the recognition of their land tenure, their land rights, but also the diversity of resource management systems. In the instance of Indonesia, but also other countries, good governance is important.. What is also needed is to have clear and creative ways in providing the rewards to the local people. Copenhagen should be a momentum, supporting a change of the development paradigm. I’d rather have no REDD if the basic conditionalities are not there.

Victoria Tauli-Corpus:
This is the last opportunity for the world to reform the forest governance and to ensure that the governance system really protects the forest as well as the rights of the stewards of the forest including indigenous peoples.

The message I have for Copenhagen is that the industrialized countries should make deep cuts in their emissions and provide adequate financial contributions to the developing countries, so that they will be able to pursue a green low carbon economy. And further: regard that contribution as something they are owing to the world, not because they are kind. They have already occupied the largest atmospheric space today. It is time for them to give the poorest and most countries and peoples a chance to live lives of dignity and wellbeing.

Arild Angelsen:
The single most important issue, to cite a well-known persons these days: “Yes, we can” – and we have a lot of experience to build on for doing that.

I have a message to three forms of decision-makers: the first one is to the decision makers in the rich countries, including my own – and that is that Norway and other countries will have no credibility if we do not clean up in our own backyard. And whatever we do to pay for REDD through offsets or funds should be in addition to what we are doing ourselves.
For the policy- or decision-makers in developing countries: a lot of what we talked about today is not about receiving a check from the rich countries, but is primarily about your responsibility in terms of governance and political reforms.
To the NGOs and the Civil Society I would say that you should be willing to take some risks to avoid the much larger climate risk. One cannot afford to be ideological. Have a pragmatic approach when it comes to markets. A market is not intrinsically good or bad. It can be amazingly effective to give right signals to people, to give incentives to mobilizing funds. But you are also very likely to get a lot of carbon cowboys/cowgirls that are in the market just to take money and have no concern whatsoever about the environment. So we need to have the safeguards and regulate the market. There are also a couple of dilemmas that you should face. Focusing on the problems of REDD, it can fire back on what you have as a solution or what you think is good – be careful on that. There is also the question of overloading the mechanism. Keep things sensibly simple – that is the challenge we all face to achieve what we want. So, take some risks in order to avoid the even bigger risk!

Frances Seymor:
We need more discussion on the potential and appropriate role of international agreements, international institutions and agreements in leveraging fundamental reforms at the national level and below. We have experienced using money and conditionality to try to leverage fundamental reform – and it was called structural adjustment. So I really think that we have to pause and think about what are realistic expectations, to think about how to translate Lars’s inspiring vision into the political realities that we face between political and national and below. It is a fundamental and fraught debate that we really need time to have.

I will call upon all parties to make the leap of faith to reach an agreement, so that we can get started and learn. But I would underline that good proposals need to be underpinned by good procedures. So I would urge negotiators to pay special attention to building in mechanisms for managing the trade-offs, managing the risks and enabling mid-course corrections as we proceed on that learning process.

Kenn Mondiai:
The main lesson that I learned, is that my brothers and sisters that are here with us from the tropical countries, the Rainforest Foundation and all the other partners that have been supporting us in the work that we are doing in our own countries – is going in the right direction.
In Copenhagen there should not be any distinction between people coming from developed or developing countries. If we are going to be serious in addressing the global climate question, we should look at the issues in the context of the survival of the human race.

Lars Løvold:
The main lesson learnt from the conference: to be honest, it was actually Dan’s tree experiment reducing rainfall by a third and after three years the big trees started dying. We all know that we actually depend on having the Amazon there. It is very easy to see the future dramatic consequences of the sort of the marginal situation of the survival of the Amazon forest; we know that is being cut up.

As for REDD and decision-makers: make REDD function so that will be in harmony with the principles of participation and transparency and in a way which is in accordance with international obligations already assumed: Which means to respect biodiversity and people’s individual and collective rights.

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