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Isaac Rojas, coordinator of the Forests and Biodiversity Program of Friends of the Earth International spoke with Real World Radio in Durban about the risks implied by the mechanism known as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation).
The interview came on the heels of a recent press release issued by Friends of the Earth International that says the United Nations Climate negotiations (COP 17) in South Africa reflect the governments failure “to address the urgent problem of deforestation”.
Far from that they continue to fund REDD projects that pose a threat to indigenous peoples and local communities who depend on forests to survive.
“Forests must be kept out of carbon markets”, concludes FoEI. Isaac Rojas told Real World Radio that the REDD mechanism has become a nightmare for many local communities that have been unable to access their own food resources and meet their basic needs.
He explained that forests included in these mechanisms end up being victims of “the ones promoting these projects”, while communities are left unable to interact with these ecosystems.
The Forest program coordinator said that the people who participate in these projects seek to be forgiven. He mentioned examples: “there are companies like Shell but also mining corporations BHP Billiton, Disney, transnational conservationist groups like WWF, Conservation International or The Nature Conservancy”.
Rojas said that this business involves different private actors “that doom our planet” and that only try to “wash their image”. “There is also the governments that sell themselves to the best bidder”.
Rojas explained that the funding of REDD projects, which are already widely spread in Africa, Latin America and Asia, is being discussed in Durban. “All this has a negative impact on the communities today”. He warned about a process of “commodification of forests”.
“REDD leads us to neoliberalism that we, as Friends of the Earth, reject and it is also linked to green economy, which is basically a new structural adjustment plan. We were victims of these plans in Latin America in the 80s, with terrible results for agriculture”.