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September 20, 2018

Kenya cited in new push to stop REDD

Some of the houses belonging to Sengwer people at Kamoyokwo village at Embobut forest burnt by KFS guards last year.
Some of the houses belonging to Sengwer people at Kamoyokwo village at Embobut forest burnt by KFS guards last year.

 

LAST year’s eviction of the Sengwer community from Embobut forest has been cited in Paris in a new attempt at stopping a United Nations-led carbon market mechanism.

The group of Indigenous People organisations said the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (Redd) scheme will render indigenous people’s “extinct”.

Redd is voluntary system that allows industrialised countries to offset their emissions by paying governments or forest owners in developing countries for keeping their forests instead of cutting them down.

Tom Goldtooth, director of Indigenous Environmental Network, said this privatises the air and uses forests in the global south as sponges for industrialised countries’ pollution, instead of cutting emissions at source.

“Redd and all its variants are unjust mechanisms designed to usher in a new phase of colonisation of the African continent. The Redd mechanism is a scam and the polluters know that they are buying the ‘right’ to pollute,” he said.

However, the draft deal released yesterday explicitly recognises Redd as a key scheme through which climate funds will be channeled. In Kenya, the Kasigau ranch in Taita Taveta earns at least Sh80 million every year for protecting trees.

The No Redd in Africa Network claimed that in 2013 and 2014 the Government of Kenya violently evicted the Sengwer people from Embobut Forest, forcing them “into extinction” so as to use the forest for the carbon scheme.

They also claimed Redd could create incentives for deforestation because governments and corporations are supposed to demonstrate that they were planning to log or clear certain areas of forest. “It is thus in their interest to be able to maintain high levels of planned deforestation,” the network claimed.

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