Activists in Durban declaration, flay REDD+ scheme in Africa

Bassey

Renown Nigerian environmentalist and co-coordinator of the No REDD in Africa Network, Nnimmo Bassey addressing civil society groups in South Africa, recently

AMID current deforestation rate in Nigeria estimated at 3.7 per cent, which is one of the highest in the world, activists from the civil society alternative space have called for the cancellation of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) programme in Africa, saying that the scheme promotes monoculture plantations and genetically modified trees and violates human rights.

The activists under the No REDD in Africa Network (NRAN) at the World Forestry Congress held in Durban, South Africa said in statement, loggers and the United Nations want to grab African forests for REDD+, “Hands off Africa! Loggers go home! No REDD!” According to them, REDD+ is a carbon offset mechanism that is a false solution to climate change and the pillar of the green economy, the privatization of nature and the upcoming Paris Accord of the UN climate convention.

All forms of REDD amount to two things: licensing polluters to keep polluting and grabbing lands and other resources from forest and peasant communities.

REDD+ started as land grab, in Africa it is becoming a continent grab and if not checked it will turn into a planet grab,” Nnimmo Bassey, renown Nigerian environmentalist and co-coordinator of the No REDD in Africa Network.  “Stop the disastrous REDD+ experiment!” demand the No REDD in Africa Network, the Global Alliance against REDD and over 65 organizations from all over the world, who signed the Durban Declaration on REDD.

At the World Forestry Congress, NRAN warns that “REDD is on course to result in grossly oppressive and exploitative systematic and structural changes which include a historic takeover of land tenure and water tenure, carbon colonialism, carbon slavery and a new form of violence against women

Bassey said: “REDD offers a perfect space for polluters to keep polluting while claiming they are champions of climate action. This mechanism is a platform for the violation of individual rights, as well as collective rights of communities while offering polluters/carbon speculators and governments that serve them the freedom to continue in this officially endorsed misbehaviour.”

A report by NRAN highlights the seriousness of the threat of the carbon trading Pandora box being opened by the REDD and REDD-type projects and shows clearly that what is in the offing is not just land or water grab but a continental grab. “We see that this is not just another scramble for Africa, but a vicious grabbing of the continent, with those selling out demanding to be applauded for doing this.”

The report warns that “REDD is on course to result in grossly oppressive and exploitative systematic and structural changes which include a historic takeover of land tenure and water tenure, carbon colonialism, carbon slavery and a new form of violence against women.

REDD constitutes a new offensive against the peoples of Africa especially farmers, pastoralists, hunter-gatherers and Indigenous Peoples. However, over a billion dollars in voluntary REDD funding may be partly used to try and neutralize opposition. “REDD is a clever mechanism whose name sells what it cannot deliver.

Everyone desires and end to deforestation and no one approves of forest degradation. REDD uses the fact of the critical role forests place in the ecological balance of the Earth to sell the concept while at the same time giving climate criminals the opening to enclose the Commons, abridge community rights and gamble away our future through African carbon stock markets such as the through the African Carbon Exchange (ACX) in Kenya and the African Carbon Credit Exchange (ACCE) in Zambia.”



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