Indigenous communities, biodiversity in focus at Global Landscapes Forum


By Gabrielle Lipton | 20 December 2017


BONN, Germany (Landscapes News) — “We must act now,” said Robert Nasi, director general of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), kicking off the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) conference in Bonn, Germany on Tuesday, with a call to action.

GLF Bonn 2017 is not only the seventh installation of the world’s largest multi-sectoral platform focused on landscapes, which first launched in Warsaw in 2013; but it also marks the start of a new chapter for the forum, following the recent boost of an 11 million euros ($13 million) injection by the German government. GLF is now shoring up activities in anticipation of five more years of addressing landscape issues around the world, conducted in partnership with the World Bank, CIFOR, the U.N. Environment program, and the German government.

This new phase of the movement has ensured the activity can extend beyond the two-days of intense activity at the World Conference Center venue in Bonn on Dec. 19 and 20 in a concerted effort to address and combat landscape and climate change issues.

Also in its new phase, GLF aims to engage more than 1 billion people worldwide. The conference was attended on Tuesday in Bonn by more than 1,000 participants ranging from President of Mauritius Ammenah Gurib Fakim and Former President of Mexico Felipe Calderon to yogi-environmentalist and spiritual guide Sadhguru, as well as scientists, start-up entrepreneurs, leaders from non-governmental organizations, actors in the public and private sectors, and a number of students and youth. Thousands of people around the world tuned in online to watch live-stream videos of various discussions, plenaries, “TED Talk” style Landscape Talks, press conferences, and capacity-building Launchpad sessions.

The myriad items on the day’s agenda revolved around the forum’s stated five themes: landscape restoration, financing sustainable landscapes, rights and equitable development, food and livelihoods, and measuring progress toward climate change and development goals.

Stefan Schmitz, deputy director-general and commissioner of the “One World – No Hunger” Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), stated in the opening plenary, more than 70 percent of those suffering from poverty and hunger live in rural areas, and environmental degradation is largely confined to their home fronts.

“The Global Landscapes Forum creates space for innovative ideas that can then be implemented on the ground,” said Barbara Hendricks, the Federal Minister of German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). “The overarching goal is to learn from one another and take action together.”

Native Knowledge

Following on the heels of the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bonn in November, and French President Emmanuel Macron’s “One Planet” summit earlier this month, GLF has distinguished itself by including indigenous and marginalized communities in the discussion. Ideally, GLF will offer an opportunity for more space and attention in dialogues and decision-making processes to be applied on the local, regional and global levels.

Indigenous communities play a key role in finding holistic solutions to land degradation, reforestation, food security and the future of clean water sources.

“I think that’s one of the biggest contributions that indigenous organizers and young professionals are making, in every field addressing climate change and unsustainable development—that they look at everything as its complete picture,” said Janene Yazzie, co-founder and chief executive of Sixth World Solutions and member of the U.S.’s Navajo Tribal Nation. “We look at what’s affecting our air, our father sky, our mother earth.”

The forum has quickly made evident the importance of investing in indigenous communities—both financially and culturally, as the two are inextricably linked.

Roberto Borerro, programs and communications coordinator of the International Indian Treaty Council, said that indigenous groups should be viewed as partners in a unique position to offer solutions on environmental issues.

“We’re not looking for saviors,” he said. “We can save ourselves if we’re given the right tools and the opportunity to save ourselves.”

Africa in the spotlight

“As we modernize, we must support traditional knowledge systems, which are those linked to sustainable agriculture,” Fakim said.

In a keynote speech, Fakim reiterated the crucial role of indigenous communities in tackling landscape issues. However, she contextualized this specifically in terms of Africa where threats to biodiversity are graver than on any other continent. In Mauritius alone, almost 100 species have become extinct since the 17th century, she said.

Throughout African countries, as temperatures rise, so do costs for tackling ensuing changes to the continent’s ecosystems and landscapes. As such, changes to the landscape are a crucial focus for the conservation community.

Fakim made a call for increased investment in research. She said that basing policies and government agendas on fact-based information are paramount to positive change, not just in Mauritius but everywhere.

Karin Kemper, senior director for the environment and natural resources, global practice at the World Bank, advanced this notion, saying that in order for the World Bank to achieve its twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity, a combination of information, innovation and incentives are needed.

Research, technology, and finance mechanisms must be advanced in tandem, and policymaking should be incentivized to be progressive and forward thinking.


Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the Global Landscapes Forum and retrieved on 12/20/2017 and posted here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM Inc. accordingly.


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Forest tenure reform implementation in Uganda: Opportunities for the future


By 21 Rosalia Omungo | NOV 2017


The absentee landlords of Kibaale: Where are they?

In Kibaale district in Uganda, 90 percent of landlords are absent. Accordingly, a majority of those living in the community lack secure land tenure.

Perhaps because of this absenteeism, the area has attracted massive, uncontrolled immigration, and migrants have cleared swaths of forest for settlement and agriculture.

But what is driving landlord absenteeism? What are the socio-economic implications of the situation on locals and the government? A new study on land use in Kibaale has found some intriguing results, which will be discussed, among other findings, at an event on forest tenure reform in Uganda on 22 November 2017 in Kampala.

Scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) found that people continue to degrade the forest by cutting trees for agriculture, and 80 percent of forests are found on private land and owned under the Mailo land tenure system.

Solutions: What has been done in Uganda? Focus on Participatory Prospective Analysis

The study outlines the various forest tenure regimes in the area, including collaborative forest management, private forest associations and customary forest. Forest tenure issues in Uganda are exacerbated by unclear boundaries, and improved through land titles and the absence of conflicts within the community. Despite Uganda’s new constitution, adopted in the 1990s and which ignited reforms in land tenure systems, a number of challenges still act as stumbling blocks to progress.

The study used the Participatory Prospective Analysis (PPA) method, a multi-stakeholder consultative process that involves identifying the issue as well as forces of change, selecting key driving forces and formulating future scenarios. In Kibaale, they identified factors impeding the quest for reforms. PPA worked to discover key driving forces while developing scenarios for the future that could potentially help secure tenure over forests there.

Total collapse of the forests and a situation where the forest is completely green were the main scenarios selected. Among the key influencers were politicians, the implementation capacity of key stakeholders, enforcement of forest laws and policies, influx of migrants and population dynamics. Undesirable scenarios included insecure forest tenure rights due to immigration and unfair enforcement of forest laws in favor of powerful, well-connected immigrants over indigenous people.

Undesirable scenarios: Drivers of landlord absenteeism

Because of the kind of destruction taking place occasioned by migrants, the researchers mapped the pathways for potential tenure security for Kibaale by 2025. The ten-year period, from 2015 when the study began to 2025 when it is projected to end, provides ample time to monitor changes. This they did through identifying desirable and non-desirable scenarios.

Using PPA, community members were brought together and this was effective in encouraging collective reflection, and thus CIFOR and partner scientists were able to identify threats to forest tenure security. The women viewed a major threat as the potential takeover of trees that were planted by women. Communities recommended involvement as well as identifying the responsible agents they were to work with.

The strategy of Kibaale district to overcome the problem was through exploring ways to strengthen community participation.

Tenure reform implementation in Uganda – presenting results

 The research is anchored in four districts of Uganda that cover four different types of tenure regimes. Lamwo district presented a unique case – most of its forests are customary and managed by traditional institutions, therefore tenure reforms enabled traditional institutions to register forests as community forests.

 Forest tenure issues in Uganda are alleviated through clear boundaries, land title and the absence of conflicts within the community. This means an unoccupied title opens a window for land use by migrants.

 The main concerns and the key motivations for the colloquium are to assess the implementation of forest tenure reforms in Uganda, despite reforms in land tenure systems and the subsequent adoption of the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act 15 years ago.

 The colloquium will be sharing important lessons learnt and knowledge generated both at the local and national levels.

 What work has been done in Uganda? Focus on the PPA analysis

 During the implementation of forest tenure reforms in Uganda, a number of challenges were observed including tedious processes to formalize rights, community inability to protect and safeguard forest tenure rights and poverty levels among adjacent communities. Implementers were concerned about the slow manner in which reforms were taking place.

 Despite the adoption of the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act, there have been few assessments of tenure reform progress. The study examined tenure regimes and found that there were significant differences as far as clarity and fairness of rules. It is for this reason that Participatory Prospective Analysis (PPA) was adopted, which revealed that state and non-stakeholders share a common interest in protecting forests.

 Event details and agenda:

http://www.cifor.org/event/forest-tenure-reform-implementation-in-uganda-what-lessons-for-policy-and-practice/


Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the CIFOR and retrieved on 11/30/2017 and posted here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM accordingly.


 

Forests, people and data

IMG_1061
Landscape features, land use, and land cover can be identified using participatory mapping through focus group discussion such as this one in Papua, Indonesia. Photo by: Manuel Boissière/CIFOR

By KATE EVANS PUBLISHED ON JUNE 30, 2017


Participatory monitoring for REDD+ put to the test


Growing up in a village in Indonesia’s Central Java in the 1980s, Dian Ekowati went to the local Posyandu every month.

At the community primary healthcare center, her height and weight were recorded and reported to the government by local healthcare volunteers called kaders. One of those kaders was Ekowati’s mother, who volunteered there for years, receiving only a tiny stipend in exchange for her labor – just enough to pay her bus fare.

The Posyandu program was established in 1984 by then Indonesian President Suharto to promote immunization and nutrition, and to address the high child mortality rate – and it was extraordinarily successful. By 1990, there were 250,000 posts in communities throughout the archipelago, and many still operate today.

Years later, as part of a team of researchers at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Ekowati realized the Posyandu system could provide useful lessons for REDD+. The UN-backed scheme aims to motivate tropical countries like Indonesia to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, as a way to combat climate change.

Protecting forests and child health? The connection may not be obvious. But before communities can be compensated for emissions reductions, it’s necessary to measure, report and verify their activities, a process known as MRV.

With most REDD+ initiatives taking place in remote areas, and limited funding available, it’s been proposed that forest communities themselves participate in this monitoring. It’s likely to be cheaper than sending in outside experts, could increase transparency, and could make communities feel more empowered and engaged in REDD+.

But it is feasible? What are the challenges? What still needs to be worked out?

Those are some of the questions addressed by a series of 12 papers that form a new special collection in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

Together, the authors assess the feasibility of participatory monitoring (PMRV) for REDD+ from a broad range of perspectives, from social science to governance to remote sensing.

From the technical side, PMRV is definitely doable, says Martin Herold, a CIFOR associate from the University of Wageningen, and a guest editor of the collection.

He says new technologies have made it possible for communities to easily access satellite data on forest change on their mobile phones, check out what’s driving that change on the ground, and feed the information back to authorities.

The studies in the collection suggest adopting PMRV can indeed support the implementation of REDD+, and communities can contribute to monitoring both forest changes and other elements like safeguards and benefit sharing, Herold says. “There is no excuse now not to do it.”

It’s the social aspect of PMRV that still needs more work, says Manuel Boissière, a scientist from CIFOR and CIRAD who coordinated the collection.

As a whole, the studies reveal many important considerations that must be taken into account when setting up a PMRV system.

“This kind of research can help provide information about the conditions that need to be addressed in order to conduct PMRV,” Boissière says.

MOTIVATE ME

One key question is how to motivate individuals to do the work in the first place.

“Why should a community participate in MRV for REDD+?” asks Boissière. “Do they have time? Do they have the capacity, the resources, the willingness and the interest to do so? If they participate, will it threaten their daily livelihoods if their own activities are causing forest degradation?”

“Motivation is key. You cannot expect communities to participate if they don’t clearly see the interest in it for themselves.”

That’s where the Posyandu study comes in. It formed part of a broader project Boissière and his team carried out in three Indonesian provinces – West Kalimantan, Central Java and Papua.

INDONESIA
Lessons for REDD+ Participatory Measurement, Reporting, and Verification from Three Decades of Child Health Participatory Monitoring in Indonesia

“One of the interesting things about the Posyandu reporting system is that it’s happening despite very diverse access to networks,” Boissière says. “In Java, people can SMS the data, and they have 3G networks in the villages so they can send it by email.”

“In Papua, they have to take a small canoe to the capital of the district to provide the information. It’s very diverse – but it works.”

Dian Ekowati and Carola Hofstee focused on what motivated the Posyandu kaders to volunteer.

“It might seem really different, participating in health monitoring compared with environmental monitoring, but going deeper, we can see there are a lot of similarities,” she says. “Even with the Posyandu, the community didn’t get on board straight away.”

They discovered communities were very skeptical about the health centers when they were first introduced. Villagers relied on traditional healers, and didn’t believe that regularly measuring children’s height and weight was important.

It took a major promotional campaign by the government to convince people to value the centers and to volunteer. Ekowati remembers being asked to sing a jingle at school about the Posyandu: Aku Anak Sehat(‘I’m a healthy child’).

“It was all over the radio during my childhood,” she says. “The song was so massive that we even had a parody version.”

The researchers found that kaders volunteered because they felt a responsibility to their community and were convinced they were making a contribution. Some had a personal interest in childcare, or joined because they were asked to by a respected person.

In Central Java, people were motivated by religious values, and in West Kalimantan, some volunteered out of village pride – because they would be ashamed if a neighboring village had a Posyandu and they did not.

Many of those motivations could also be encouraged under a REDD+ PMRV system, Ekowati believes.

“We’re not necessarily sure that PMRV for REDD+ will work in Indonesia – it’s such a diverse country, with different levels of literacy, access to communication and transportation – but the Posyandu success gives us hope. It was just as hard in the 1980s to ask people to measure children as it is now to ask them to measure trees – so it shows that this is not impossible.”

LOCALS AND LIVELIHOODS

In another paper featured in the collection, CIFOR scientist Indah Waty Bong and colleagues set out to analyze local drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, and their relationships to community members’ livelihoods.

COMMUNITY FORESTRY
How Are Local People Driving and Affected by Forest Cover Change? Opportunities for Local Participation in REDD+ Measurement, Reporting and Verification

Remote sensing technologies can show where deforestation is occurring, and how quickly – but local people can give important insights into the reasons why it’s happening.

However, in some cases, the deforestation may be driven by the everyday livelihood activities of those same people – such as harvesting timber, or clearing trees for swidden agriculture.

That means proponents of REDD+ initiatives need to investigate and understand those connections if they are going to ask local people to participate in monitoring, Bong says.

“If you want to address a particular driver of deforestation and the majority of households in that village have it as their main livelihood, then you are talking about something that will have a big opportunity cost – and they may be less willing to be involved in monitoring.”

There is also the potential for conflict, if one group of people are asked to monitor and report on activities carried out by other members of the community. “From a project perspective that’s an ethical issue you need to think about,” Bong says.

A key finding was that the local processes behind forest cover change are dynamic, and vary both between and within communities. A driver – such as logging – might be responsible for a relatively large area of forest degradation, but only provide income for a small proportion of the community.

That means interventions and incentives can be targeted directly at those people, ensuring greater fairness and efficiency, Bong says.

WHO IS ‘THE COMMUNITY?’

Participatory MRV is in part motivated by the need to ensure the interests of local people are fairly represented in REDD+. To ask a community to participate, you need to be clear about who exactly you are talking about, Boissière says.

In another paper in the collection, CIFOR scientist Stibniati Atmadja investigated how researchers have assessed ‘community perceptions’ of REDD+.

“You can’t be everywhere at the same time – you have to sample, and then generalize to a bigger area,” she says. “So research on community perceptions involves fundamental choices about how to represent heterogeneous communities.”

That’s fine, Atmadja says, as long as authors explain what those choices were and why they made them.

“Most academic papers we looked at did not really give readers enough information to answer the simple questions: Who did you sample? What does your sample represent?

REDD+
What Is a “Community Perception” of REDD+? A Systematic Review of How Perceptions of REDD+ Have Been Elicited and Reported in the Literature

The study did not analyze websites, newsletters and advocacy material – which are disseminated more widely than academic research – but these sources are even less likely to provide information about their sampling methods, Atmadja says.

“They say, ‘we went to the field, we met with local people’ – well, which part? The easiest part to get to? Which people – those who were already disenchanted? How much can you really generalize based on those people’s perceptions?”

Both researchers and non-researchers can and should do better, she says. This matters because REDD+ initiatives tend to happen in remote areas, in forests that can be hard to reach.

“The few voices that do come out carry a lot of weight – so it’s important to be mindful of that,” Atmadja says.

NO ONE RECIPE

As a whole, the collection shows the need for embracing diversity when it comes to designing PMRV systems for REDD+.

“Even in one country, there is not one recipe for engaging local communities,” Boissière says. “People don’t have the same activities, they don’t depend in the same way on forest products, or have the same access to roads or infrastructure. You really need to develop something which is adaptive.”

It seems PMRV can work at the local level, he says, but to be successful, the next step is figuring out how to scale it up into a system that works at multiple levels of governance.

“You need to have a consistency in the kind of data that communities collect, and then come up with a way to merge it into a national system.”

Practitioners also need to acknowledge that it may not work everywhere.

“Any project or government program that wants to increase local participation in REDD+ or MRV should conduct a preliminary study looking at why they should engage this community in that place,” Boissière says.

“From there, they can understand whether it’s worth pursuing, and design something to engage with them – or whether it’s better to send a team of experts instead.”

There are many hurdles to overcome – but this comprehensive new body of detailed research lays the foundations for putting participatory MRV into practice.


For more information on this topic, please contact Manuel Boissière at m.boissiere@cgiar.org or Martin Herold at martin.herold@wur.nl or Christopher Martius at c.martius@cgiar.org. This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees, and Agroforestry. This research was supported by USAID, AUSAID, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)


 


Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the Center for International Forestry Research and retrieved on 06/30/2017 and posted at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM accordingly.


 

East Africa: An urgent need to monitor the forests

Uganda, 2008.©Center For International Forestry Research/Douglas Sheil
Source: CIFOR, 2017 – Tropical forest landscape in Uganda. Photo credit: Douglas Sheil/CIFOR

ANALYSIS by:  & : – The region looks to a new observatory to help protect its remaining forests.


Africa – East Africa is home to some of the world’s most diverse forests: Montane forests, which include some of the highest and oldest mountains in Africa; coastal forests; Miombo woodlands; tropical rain forests; and mangrove forests.

Like many forested areas across the globe, they are increasingly threatened by agricultural expansion and deforestation for fuelwood and timber purposes.

Although regional authorities, governments, NGOs and international organizations are working hard to protect these forests, without an accurate data set, there is no effective way to monitor the ecological, environmental, and social aspects of these forests.

Today, there are a number of observatories in East Africa monitoring forest activities. However, they lack precise country and regional level data that will help determine future strategies for protecting forests, reporting on countries’ obligations under the Paris Agreement, and evaluating the success of their initiatives under Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) schemes.

ALL ABOUT THE DATA

Experts from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) are now working with the Regional Center for Mapping Resources for Development (RCMRD) and the French Agricultural Research Center for International Development (CIRAD) to lay the groundwork for a new regional observatory in East Africa.

Throughout the year, scientists will be conducting a comprehensive study to gather forestry data and assess the status of forests, REDD+ activities, institutional systems and monitoring capabilities across four East African countries (Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda).

CONVERSATION: Protecting Tanzania’s Mangroves

This past February, a meeting was held in Nairobi, Kenya, with government representatives from the four countries to get the ball rolling. This new project will draw upon the experience of Observatoire des forêts d’Afrique Centrale (OFAC), a similar observatory now operating in Central Africa.

 

CIFOR scientist Paulo Cerutti, who helped establish OFAC, says the biggest advantage of having an observatory is that the information can be verified by the government.

“The data collected is more reliable because it focuses on a smaller scale, rather than on a global scale.”

Experts like Cerutti point out that global data sets, which are meant to compare larger regions, are not always effective when it comes to smaller regions because they can contain disparities.

GETTING ON THE SAME PAGE

Before the new observatory can become fully operational, all four countries need to have the same capacity and expertise level to effectively contribute to the platform. Currently, the countries have different levels of technical skills, scientific equipment and data collection methods. Even the terms used to describe the types of forests can vary across borders.

The availability of data is another key issue for experts to overcome. For example, in Uganda, information on taxes and revenues from non-timber forest products is not available because they are not formally traded. Meanwhile, in Mozambique, remote sensing data on forests is only available at the national level. In Tanzania, there is a lack of remote sensing data for forest monitoring.

The new observatory would offer the region a more compatible, streamlined data system that would unite the four countries. It would also provide a new avenue for regional collaboration.

“The Observatory will provide strong opportunities for synergies between the different focal points in each country and strengthen national capacity to monitor the forests,” says Alfred Gichu, head of the Climate Change Response Program at the Kenya Forest Service.

Countries in the region would be able to access a platform for sharing, exchanging and accessing data and information related to regional forests and REDD+. It would also provide a unified system for reporting on each country’s obligations to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Stakeholders agree that regional cooperation gives everyone an opportunity to share their experiences and challenges and to build a stronger platform for the entire region.

“The Observatory will help bring East Africa together as a collective working group to give it a voice in high-level discussions,” says Joaquim Macuácua from Mozambique’s Department of Inventory of Forest Resources.

Experts point out that the current lack of coordination is resulting in different agencies producing the same data.

“The Observatory will help avoid this duplication of efforts across the region, and even within individual countries,” says Mugisa Micheal, the executive director of Uganda’s National Forestry Authority.

NEXT STEPS

The project will be carried out through March 2018. Upon its completion, a database and website for the regional forestry observatory will be developed. This data will be made available to the public through the Observatory.

Additionally, a thorough analysis of the state of forests and REDD+ activities across the four countries will be completed.

If these above objectives are successfully met, a five-year project will then be initiated to bring the Observatory to life as part of the project’s second phase.


For more information on this topic, please contact Esther Mwangi at e.mwangi@cgiar.org or Laura Vanessa Mukhwana at l.mukhwana@cgiar.org. This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. This research was supported by the European Commission.


 

 


Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the contributors of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and was retrieved on 04/28/2017 and posted at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM accordingly.


 

 

 

Collective forest tenure reforms: Where do we go from here?

CC.NN-ROYA-241
Source: CIFOR 2017. The March 2017 – World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty provided an important forum to reflect on collective land tenure reforms. Photo credit: CIFOR

 


ANALYSIS – A scientist’s reflection on the 2017 World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty


The recent World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, held this past March in Washington D.C., provided a unique opportunity to reflect on collective land tenure reforms not only from a research point of view, but also from that of governments.

The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) organized a South-South Exchange at the Conference, as part of its Global Comparative Study on Forest Tenure Reforms. Seven government officials from Peru, Colombia, Indonesia, Nepal, Uganda and Kenya were invited to participate. These officials represented land offices from Latin America and forestry offices from Africa and Asia.

The Conference speakers and participants provided me with much room for thought on the subject of land tenure reforms, which I will outline below.

Tenure reform: Lessons from the Global South
Overall, the topic of collective tenure reforms reminded me of that simple chromatography experiment in elementary school where you put black ink on a wet coffee filter and watch the colors of the spectrum emerge and spread.

 

The black ink represents the idea of forest reforms to recognize or grant rights to communities living in or near forests. Although some developing countries began to address such issues by the early 20th century – such as Mexico, which granted land (including forest land) rights to communities after the 1910-1917 revolution – the ink hit the wet coffee filter in a few key Asian countries (i.e. Nepal and India) in the late 1970s and for most countries after 1980. Others are just beginning to consider community forest rights.

FIRST-GENERATION QUESTIONS ON REFORM: CONTENT AND EXTENT OF RIGHTS

The result today is that some countries are still grappling with first-generation questions, while others have moved on to the other colors in the spectrum, including second and third-generation challenges.

The former were exemplified at the Conference in the frustrations of those who have been working on these issues for 10 to 20 years or more, who asked, “Haven’t we come further than this by now?”

But some countries are still questioning what types of rights (content, extent, duration), if any, communities should have over forests and/or forestland.

In fact, it is notable that even in the countries that have moved into second and third -generation questions, this first question is still relevant. It concerns new geographical locations, new rights and the relationship between land and forest rights.

In Colombia, as discussed during CIFOR’s Policy Roundtable at the Conference by Andrea Olaya, Principal Advisor to Colombia’s National Land Agency, this refers to new institutions emerging from the recent peace accords, as well as the demand for land from former combatants and displaced peoples in relation to existing rights.

In Indonesia, it refers to the new “asset agrarian reform”, as stated by Pak Hadi Daryanto, Director General for Social Forestry and Environmental Partnership at the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry. These reforms resulted in the return of the first 13,000 hectares of customary land to nine indigenous communities in January of this year.

 

Ronald Salazar, Director of Agrarian Property and the Rural Cadaster Office at Peru’s Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, pointed out that the distinction between forest rights and land rights in Peru leads to separate laws and government institutions. This is not uncommon among countries, and follows a logic that people in communities may find baffling, or outright oppose. For instance, indigenous activists in Peru are now demanding that their titles recognize “territorial integrity,” covering not only agriculture and pasture but also forestlands.

This fundamental question about what rights for communities also concerns rollbacks to rights where new demands, or sometimes political and economic constituencies, threaten rights that had already been recognized, such as those behind economic reforms in Peru or Brazil.

SECOND-GENERATION QUESTIONS: TENURE SECURITY AND LIVELIHOODS

The second-generation questions are about rights protection and livelihoods. Formal rollbacks are not the only challenges to tenure security. Even after formal recognition, communities need access to justice if rights are infringed upon or eliminated.

And even secure rights are not enough to secure livelihoods. As one government official said during a private forum: “Why do we have reforms if not also to improve livelihoods?”

At the Policy Roundtable, Krishna Prasad Acharya, Director General of the Department of Forests at Nepal’s Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, said there are now 20,000 organized groups in Nepal, and forest area has increased from 39 percent to 44 percent, but more still needs to be done to support forest use and management.

At the same event, Gerardo Segura, Senior Natural Resource Specialist at the World Bank, highlighted the importance of removing barriers to communities for forest management.

“Tenure reforms take time, but are urgent”

Gerardo Segura, Senior Natural Resource Specialist at the World Bank

THIRD-GENERATION QUESTIONS: GENDER AND ELITE CAPTURE

Third-generation questions are focused on problems such as community differentiation, gendered outcomes and how to prevent elite capture at the community level – that is, assuring that livelihood improvements reach those most in need.

At the Policy Roundtable, Dr. Prasad noted that women leaders are emerging in community forestry in Nepal. Bob Kazungo, Senior Forestry Officer at Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment, spoke of the importance of affirmative action and a gendered approach.

On other panels, speakers expressed concern that reforms may be detrimental to women’s tenure rights. For example, researchers reported cases where rights were registered to men as household heads, whereas under customary systems both men and women had previously held rights.

GENDER & TENURE
Advancing equality in Uganda

 

Emilio Mugo, Director of the Forest Service at Kenya’s Ministry of Environment and Water, asked: “How do we address community leaders who, on the one hand, serve as custodians, but on the other, play the role of gatekeepers?” This question speaks to institutional strengthening as a way to fight elite capture.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

The invited officials were quick to distinguish themselves as public servants, from the politicians who define policy direction and priorities. Dr. Mary Goretti Kitutu, Ugandan State Minister for the Environment, introduced herself on the Roundtable as “the only politician here” and stressed the importance of packaging information on tenure and linking it to development, in order to reach politicians. Dr. Daryanto highlighted the importance of having the budgets necessary for implementation.

When asked by the audience how officials should “insulate themselves from politics”, Dr. Mugo reminded them, “Everything you touch in natural resources is political.” This underscores the importance of building a community of practice and coalitions for change.

“Everything you touch in natural resources is political.”

Emilio Mugo, Director of the Forest Service, Kenya’s Ministry of Environment and Water

No country has addressed all forest demands from communities, and most still face competing claims or outright opposition to the recognition of collective forest tenure rights.

On the one hand, these three generations of questions suggest that countries are at different places and thus, research for impact needs to prioritize accordingly.

On the other hand, they highlight the importance of South-South exchanges and knowledge sharing. As some countries begin to address the multi-colored spectrum of challenges, mutual learning can suggest ways to address complex issues such as tenure security, livelihoods, and gender from the beginning of reform processes, therefore increasing the potential for success.


For more information on this topic, please contact Anne Larson at a.larson@cgiar.org.

This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. This research was supported by FAO, IFAD, EC and GEF.



Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the contributors of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and was retrieved on 04/26/2017 and posted at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only.The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM accordingly.


Carbon emissions from 2015 fires in Southeast Asia greatest since 1997: New study

fire-drone
fire-drone

MEDIA ADVISORY


Carbon emissions from 2015 fires in Southeast Asia greatest since 1997: New study

28 June 2016 – A new study of the forest and peatland fires that burned across maritime Southeast Asia in 2015 has found that the carbon emissions were the largest since 1997, when an even stronger El Niño also resulted in extended drought and widespread burning.

Using a pioneering combination of regional satellite observations, on-the-ground measurements in Kalimantan, Indonesia, and the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) modeling framework, the study’s authors determined that the daily carbon emissions released by the fires in September and October 2015 were higher than those of the entire European Union (EU) over the same period.

The study, published in Scientific Reports, was carried out by a team led by Vincent Huijnen of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute and Martin J. Wooster of King’s College London and the NERC National Center for Earth Observation, and included Daniel Murdiyarso and David Gaveau from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Read about the study on Forests News here.  Access the full paper here.

In September and October 2015, dry conditions and the delayed onset of seasonal rains contributed to extensive landscape fires, with the resulting smoke strongly impacting air quality in the region and the health of millions of people.

This research team is the very first to have measured the ground-level smoke composition from active peatland burning in the region. They combined that data with satellite information to derive the first greenhouse gas emissions estimates of the 2015 fires, finding that 884 million tons of carbon dioxide was released in the region last year – 97% originating from burning in Indonesia. The corresponding carbon emissions were 289 million tons, and associated carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions 1.2 billion tons.

Satellites provided data on the heat output being radiated by the fires, as well as information on the amount of carbon monoxide present in the surrounding atmosphere. From this, the total carbon emissions were calculated by combining those measurements with the newly determined emission factors of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane measured at fires burning in October 2015 outside of Palangka Raya in Central Kalimantan province – one of the hardest-hit fire sites.

“There have been some isolated studies before where people artificially set fires in the lab to try to understand the chemical characteristics of peatland fire smoke in Indonesia. But no one had done this on natural fires, and especially not on the kind of extreme fires seen in 2015. We are the first people to do that,” said Wooster.

The results indicate that regional carbon dioxide emissions from landscape fires were 11.3 million tons per day in September and October 2015, exceeding the EU’s daily rate of 8.9 million tons. Further, 77% of the regional fire carbon emissions for the year occurred during that time – at the peak of the fires.

The scientists also compared their results to those of the 1997 El Niño-related fires in the region.

“In 1997 the drought lasted longer, the fires were more severe and a lot more forest burned. In 2015, fires mostly burned on degraded peatland covered with shrubs and wood debris,” said CIFOR scientist David Gaveau.

The study’s results have wide implications for future research, whether it is in respect to studies of landscape burning or the impacts of fire emissions on climate and public health, and they contribute to better understanding the need for fire prevention and improved landscape management.

“What is important is the applicability of a study like this in helping policy makers to use more accurate fire emission factors to design policy and act to prevent further fires and greenhouse gas emissions,” CIFOR scientist Daniel Murdiyarso said.


For more information about this article, please contact:

Contacts:
Martin J. Wooster
King’s College London and NERC National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO)
Email: martin.wooster@kcl.ac.uk

Daniel Murdiyarso
Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Bogor, Indonesia and Department of Geophysics and Meteorology, Bogor Agricultural University, Bogor, Indonesia
Email: d.murdiyarso@cgiar.org; Tel: +62-251-8622622 (Office)



Article Disclaimer: This article was published at CIFOR on 26th June 2016 and retrieved on 7th July 2016 and posted at INDESEEM for educational and information purposes only. The views, thoughts and findings in the article remains those of the authors. Please cite the original source and INDESEEM appropriately.


 

The environment gets its day in court

When an oil palm company was taken to court for lighting fires, people took notice. Aulia Erlangga
When an oil palm company was taken to court for lighting fires, people took notice. Aulia Erlangga

Written by: . Posted on: March 14, 2016


The message was clear: Don’t think you can get away with it.

In 2012 Indonesian palm oil company PT Kallista Alam sent 1000 hectares of Sumatran peat forest up in flames so they could use the land for agriculture.

The fires in Aceh’s Tripa forest threatened wildlife and human health, and sent vast quantities of carbon into the atmosphere. They were also illegal.

Although the Acehnese provincial government had issued the company a permit, the area should have been covered by Indonesia’s national moratorium on new concessions. In addition, the Tripa forests are part of the Leuser ecosystem – a globally important biodiversity hotspot, and the last area worldwide where orang-utans, tigers, elephants and rhinos coexist in the wild.

Still, companies had done worse before with few consequences.

This time, it was different.

Indonesia’s Ministry of the Environment sued Kallista Alam for the harms it had caused the environment, and in September last year, the country’s Supreme Courtupheld an earlier verdict ordering the company to pay Rp. 366 billion (US$ 27 million) in fines and compensation for the damage.

It was a precedent-setting ruling that caught the attention of researchers from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Environmental Law Institute (ELI).

The decision was potentially a game-changer, adding natural resource liability to the portfolio of tools the Indonesian government can use to address deforestation.

How widely was this tool used across the tropics, the researchers wondered.

ON THE BOOKS

In a new paper, they explore the status of natural resource liability law and its implementation in Indonesia and in other countries that struggle with deforestation.

“Environmental liability law is well established in the United States and the EU for things like oil spills and hazardous waste accidents, but is it being used for the environmental harms that tropical countries confront, such as deforestation and wildlife trafficking?” asked lead author Carol Adaire Jones from ELI, based in Washington, D.C.

Jones and colleagues looked at Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Mexico and the Philippines, and found that all but Nigeria had established a statutory right to bring cases for damage for resources in the public domain.

They were surprised to find that in two ways, the law makes it easier to sue for damage to the environment in the tropical countries than in the US and the EU.

Firstly, in the US and EU only the government has the authority to file suits. But in many of the tropical countries, civil society can also bring cases.

This provision can help move cases forward faster, says co-author John Pendergrass.

“It may not be a priority for government prosecutors, either because they’re overworked or because they’re corrupt. If civil society is allowed to bring the case, it can get around both of those issues,” he says.


“You have to be able to monitor and detect violations, identify who the responsible parties are, and document the injuries to the environment” Carol Adaire Jones


Secondly, in the US liability laws only apply to hazardous activities, such as oil spills and toxic discharges; to protected places like national parks; or to protected species, such as migratory birds and endangered wildlife.

In many of the study countries, however, the laws cover the loss of any resources in the public domain – from deforestation as in the Kallista Alam case, to wetland destruction, illegal logging, and mining pollution.

So the laws are on the books – but they’re not always implemented consistently, the authors say.

“We have to acknowledge there are issues with rule of law, sometimes due to civil war and insurgencies, other times due to corruption or weak institutions,” Jones says.

“Promoting rule of law is important, by establishing laws and regulations that are clear, strengthening institutions, and promoting accountability through transparency.”

“But it’s also a question of capacity, in terms of using data and science to successfully bring a case to court,” Jones says. “You have to be able to monitor and detect violations, identify who the responsible parties are, and document the injuries to the environment.”

LAW SCHOOL

Judges and prosecutors need environmental training, too – something that is already happening in Indonesia. The country’s Supreme Court has established a ‘Green Bench’, training and certifying judges to deal with environmental legislation.

Foresters and inspectors – the people on the ground – also need training, adds Pendergrass.

“This needs to be something that’s a regular part of what professional foresters cover,” he says.

“So they understand there’s the possibility to restore the damaged area, and how much that’s going to cost, and understand all the reasons why this is important, so that they can be the advocate for bringing the case to the court.”

And once that happens, courts also need to value the harms to the environment correctly.

Jones highlights a 2014 case in the DRC where two mining companies dumped toxic waste (including arsenic and cyanide) into a river. It killed fish, contaminated drinking water and destroyed agriculture along a 200 kilometre stretch – and the companies were fined only US$ 6000 in damages.

“It had tremendous impact on people’s livelihoods over an extended period – so obviously $6000 is not the right amount,” Jones says. “Calculating the value of harms could definitely be improved across the study countries.”

Where the money goes once it’s collected also matters, the authors say.

In the US and many other countries, fines are placed in a specialised fund used to restore the damage to the environment, but in two of the study countries, Indonesia and the Philippines, the money goes straight into the Treasury.

That means there’s a risk that in cases like Kallista Alam, the $US27 million paid by the company might not get spent on restoring the damaged ecosystem – a huge task involving not just planting, but reviving the watershed that keeps peat damp.

“If the money goes to the Treasury it can get spent on anything,” Pendergrass says.

“If it doesn’t go to restoration, then you may still have a deterrent effect, but it also looks a lot like a revenue-raising scheme for the government – and I would expect there could be backlash from the responsible parties.”

Ultimately, Jones says, the power to bring cases like these is just part of the set of tools governments can use to stop deforestation.  Good policy – the rules of the game – is a key starting point.

“But if people fail to abide by those rules, or the rules are implemented in a very inconsistent way, then you have to bring enforcement actions.

“And then liability can be a very powerful tool.”


Article Disclaimer: This article was published by Forest News an initiative of CIFOR and was retrieved and posted at INDESEEM for educational and information purposes only.The views and contents of the article remains those of the author. Please cite the original source accordingly.