dorset chiapas solidarity

September 27, 2012

Vía Campesina declares its opposition to REDD in the Lacandón jungle

Filed under: Lacandon/ montes azules — Tags: , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 10:25 am

Vía Campesina declares its opposition to REDD in the Lacandón jungle

By Chris Lang, 21st September 2012

Next week, the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force will meet in Chiapas, Mexico. Ahead of the meeting, Vía Campesina has written a piece declaring its opposition to REDD in the Lacandón jungle in Chiapas.

According to the GCF, the meeting will be, “a unique opportunity for information exchange and progress on the GCF’s low emission rural development and REDD-related objectives”. But there is a vast gulf between the dry technical topics on the GCF meeting agenda (such as Advancing MRV, Nesting and State-National Alignment, Stakeholder processes and Benefit-sharing, Re-framing REDD+) and the concerns and opposition to REDD raised by indigenous peoples and local communities in Chiapas.

In April 2011, after visiting Chiapas, Jeff Conant of Global Ecology Justice Project wrote that,

signs of conflict and concern were everywhere, amidst a complex web of economic development projects being imposed on campesino and indigenous communities without any semblance of free, prior, and informed consent. Among these projects is a renewed government effort to delimit Natural Protected Areas within the Lacandon Jungle, in order to generate carbon credits to be sold to California companies.

The film, “Greed for Trees in the Lacandón Jungle”, which is mentioned in Vía Campesina’s statement is available here (in Spanish).

Vía Campesina declares its opposition to REDD in the Lacandón jungle

17 September 2012. Translated by Christy Rodgers

San Cristobal de Las Casas will be the site of the upcoming Latin American governors’ meeting, where they will exchange information and progress reports concerning the Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of Forests Program (REDD), according to international movement Vía Campesina’s Chiapas office.

The Chiapas provincial government initiated the program last year in the Lacandón jungle, in order to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate climate change by stopping logging and paying inhabitants about two thousand pesos [each].

During the same dates as the planned meeting, members of the Vía Campesina movement, including farmers and specialists, will gather in San Cristobal’s Museum of Amber to share the results of the analysis they have made of the program, which they maintain is in the process of selling off the Lacandón’s forests.

What is REDD in Chiapas?

In November 2010, before the UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change, the governors of California and Chiapas signed an agreement for the sale and purchase of carbon credits in the province’s forests, which would compensate California in its battle against climate change.

The Chiapas administration chose the Lacandón forests, which are part of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve. They began carbon retention there by offering monetary compensation to protect trees and avoid felling them.

Initially, the California state government, led by Arnold Schwarzenegger, made one payment, but following the economic crisis there, further payments were suspended. The Chiapas government then used its own funds instead.

“REDD’s purpose is to create a process of appropriation, commodification, and control of the natural resources on indigenous and peasant lands,” says Vía Campesina’s Ana Valadez, a legal specialist on environmental issues.

She maintains that the Chiapas government violated inhabitants’ rights by signing an agreement with California without providing prior information to the populace.

Similarly, she explained that Lacandón inhabitants have been given weapons and training to guard the forest, and this has divided the communities and generated conflicts among them.

The documentary film “Greed for Trees in the Lacandón Jungle,” made by the San Cristobal environmental organization Other Worlds Are Possible, indicates that the Chiapas administration has launched a PR campaign to justify and build public support for the program.

It argued that the program would reduce the climate crisis, but “this is untrue, because forests absorb carbon naturally, not greenhouse gases. The program will only provide compensation using dubious verification methods that portend the privatization of forests.”



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