Norway Heralds REDD as “Biggest Success” of Durban Climate Change Talks

Source : Carbon Positive – December 13 2011

Norway’s Environment and International Development Minister, Erik Solheim, has stated that REDD is the biggest success story in the global climate change negotiations.

He also called for countries to be “more daring” in their efforts to cut emissions and slow global warming.

At COP17, delegates from nearly 200 nations agreed a modest deal on steps to curb soaring carbon pollution. REDD was central to these discussions following its formal placement on the agenda at the Indonesian UNFCCC negotiations.

Solheim believes that the new way of permitting REDD and foreign assistance is through placing governments of developing countries in the driving seat and delivering compensation based on results, with minimum interference on how they spend the allocated funds.

Norway has pledged up to US$2.8 billion in bilateral and multilateral funding under REDD according to a report published in November 2011 from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Heinrich Boll Stiftung. It has also made bilateral funding commitments, most notable to Brazil, Indonesia and Guyana.

Non-governmental groups have openly criticised the REDD rulings, especially within the realm of local community protection, citing that they were created by unscrupulous investors seeking to profit from the UN-backed scheme.

Roman Czebiniak of Greenpeace commented: “Rather than providing guidance on how to best meet the Cancun objective to slow, halt and reverse deforestation in a socially responsible way, the decisions adopted in Durban increased the environmental and social risks associated with REDD.”

Norway has taken the lead in supporting forest protection in developing countries since 2007, following its annual pledge of US$500 million to REDD. Financial commitments such as this are “critical for forest communities to mobilize and sustain political will and in-country capacity for REDD+ activities over other national priorities,” according to a recent REDD related policy brief form ODI.

Other states have joined Norway in their support for REDD, including the United States and Australia, who have each pledged nearly $4 billion to help initiate pilot projects spanning Asia, Australia and Africa.

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