March 29, 2011

Forest Peoples Programme Criticises World Bank

A new report accuses the World Bank’s forest climate fund of sidelining indigenous peoples’ rights and failing to protect forests

Launched at the 8th meeting of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), this report reveals that the Bank is not fulfilling its promises to protect the rights of forest peoples.

With a title of Smoke and Mirrors: a critical assessment of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility by Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) and FERN – a non-governmental organisation created to keep track of the European Union’s involvement in forests – claims that the World Bank has failed to uphold its commitments on human rights and has weakened its accountability to communities and the public.

Co-author of the report, Francesco Martone, FPP policy advisor, said: “The FCPF is backsliding on its social commitments, using a smokescreen of constantly changing standards and guidance notes that pay lip service to forest peoples’ rights, governance and benefit-sharing without clear binding rules that would hold the Bank and recipient governments accountable.”

The FCPF, administered by the World Bank, is one of the main international climate initiatives set up to fund developing country schemes for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD). The report finds that while proposals for monitoring and measuring forest carbon are well-advanced, plans for activities that could actually reduce deforestation, such as clarifying and securing land rights and dealing with corruption and weak governance in the forest sector, are poor.

Kate Dooley, FERN’s policy advisor, said: “In none of the eight REDD preparation plans developed by the governments of Panama, Guyana, Peru, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Nepal and Indonesia are land rights adequately addressed or existing land conflicts acknowledged. Proposals for governance reform are often limited to setting up new institutions to oversee forest carbon trading, at the expense of legal reform, including land tenure.”

According to the report, many of the governments applying for funds have laws and national policies which are contrary to their international obligations to respect the rights of indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities.


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