Consistent with its historical position on the negotiations prior to COP 21 regarding the possibility of generating offsets credits for REDD+ actions (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), the Brazilian government disclosed, this Friday, November 27th, the Decree n. 8.576, which institutes the REDD+ National Commission, officially creating the REDD+ governance structure within the country.
Carta de Belém Group has been, since its foundation in 2009, against the REDD+ mechanism, besides pointing out its concerns regarding the opening of new forest-related market mechanisms, both in local and national law, and concerning negotiations taking place in the Convention on Climate Change.
Among other group actions, we have been following the impacts on territories, as well as thinking critically about the legal and social effects of the implementation of the “payment for environmental services” paradigm on environmental policies, which, we find, poses a threat to the constitutional protection of common resources.
Reiterating our critical stances of the general framework of REDD+ and the logic of “result-based payments”, organizations and social movements affiliated with the group point out Articles 6 and 7 of the Decree as positive, since these are absolutely clear in stating that: “payments for REDD+ results and their respective acts may not be used, directly or not, for fulfillment of mitigation commitments of other countries in face of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change”; and that said act “shall not generate offset or rights of any nature”.
Brazil’s position is consolidated on this matter by this Decree, conveying the conflict – and the illegality – of sub national actions such as the states of Acre and Mato Grosso which created state laws in order to predict and prepare for the markets. This measure frustrates the expectations of sub national governments, such as California in the United States, to record REDD+ offsets in negotiation with Acre and other Amazonian states, and addresses the concern that the Brazilian forest-related emission reduction goals would be subject to double accounting within the scope of the Convention. However, it should be pointed out that we will continue our national fight against the creation of carbon markets and questioning of “environmental reserve quotas” (CRA) provided in the National Climate Policy of 2009 and the Forestry Code of 2012. This concept of commercialization and financialization of nature is where the Carta de Belém Group employs its best efforts into criticizing and presenting alternatives.
The Group also highlights the concern over the Decree which creates the REDD+ Commission, bearing in mind the flimsy proposal of participation in the commission meetings and the fact that the Decree neither provides specific spaces of representation for the Indigenous Peoples, Traditional People and Communities, as well as the rural population, nor the right to free, early and informed consultation regarding the locations where REDD+ actions and programs may be implemented. The lack of regulation of Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization has been used as a government justification for not implementing participation rights in decision-making procedures which involve these populations.