Close “outrageous loopholes”, do not expand CDM

Statement to the pre-sessional workshop on “Forest Management Accounting” Bonn, 30 July 2010

Presented by Lim Li Lin (TWN) on behalf of CJN! members and the women and gender constituency

Distinguished delegates:

We appreciate this opportunity to share the views of some members of Climate Justice Now!, and from members of the women and gender constituency with you. We wanted to share these views at the beginning of this workshop, but regretfully we were not allowed to present. We also regret that we are not invited to attend the entire workshop.

We share the concern of many other stakeholders that methodologies and modalities for land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) accounting should not undermine the integrity of the Kyoto Protocol and its effectiveness as a legally binding instrument to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

To effectively address climate change and ensure environmental integrity, all significant emissions, including those from the land use sector must be properly accounted for and reduced in the second commitment period.  However, the current LULUCF rules and draft proposals represent a serious threat to environmental integrity and are the most outrageous of many loopholes that need to be closed in the second commitment period.

It is unacceptable that countries can simply choose not to account for emissions from forest management. In the second commitment period, Parties must not be allowed to pick and choose which segments of the land use sector they account for.

We also object to attempts to set reference levels that would allow countries to increase their emissions from LULUCF related activities considerably, instead of reducing them in line with the objectives of the Kyoto Protocol and the Convention.

We would like to reiterate our strong concern in this respect that the forest definition that is currently used for LULUCF includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. That is, it includes real, biologically diverse forests, which are an essential source of livelihood for women and their families, but it also includes monoculture tree plantations, including large-scale monoculture tree plantations that have a devastating impact on women’s livelihoods and communities in general. These plantations destroy ecosystems and subsistence agriculture, cause rural unemployment and depopulation, deplete soils and water resources and violate Indigenous Peoples’ rights. That is why we insist that the definition of “forests” is revised jointly with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) so as to exclude monoculture tree plantations. Moreover, it should be ensured that forest degradation is fully taken into account in any scheme to conserve forest.

We also insist that forest management accounting methodologies and modalities within the framework of this Rio Convention should not lead to practices that impact negatively on the objectives of the other major Rio Convention, the CBD, or on the rights and livelihoods of women, Indigenous Peoples and local communities in the North or South.

We strongly object to the proposed continuation of clean development mechanism (CDM) credits for monoculture tree plantations falsely classed as ‘afforestation and reforestation’ projects, and to proposals to increase the amount of such CDM credits for those plantations. We also object to proposals, contained in the LULUCF draft, to include forest, cropland and grazing land management, soil carbon and other ‘land use’ in the CDM.  If approved, this would provide major new carbon finance for monoculture tree and crop plantations of all types.  Annex I countries must not be allowed to “meet” or rather avoid their commitments under LULUCF or otherwise through offsetting.

Forest management accounting methodologies and modalities should not create incentives for forest management practices that are unsustainable from a social or environmental perspective. We reject any forest-related scheme that ignores or undermines the many different values forests have for women and men. Any incentive scheme that favors the carbon value of ecosystems more than other values will lead to serious negative impacts on food and water sovereignty, access to traditional medicines and seeds, and the other socio-economic, cultural, spiritual and ecological values of forests, which are of essential importance to our existence, and especially that of women.

We hope these general observations can be taken into account in your deliberations. Thank you.

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