Smoke and mirrors: A critical assessment of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility
Kate Dooley, Tom Griffiths, Francesco Martone and Saskia Ozinga
FERN and Forest Peoples Programme (February 2011) | ISBN: 978-1-906607-15-9

In December 2007 the World Bank launched its Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) to act as a catalyst to promote public and private investment in REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). This report finds that the FCPF fails to fulfil its social and environmental commitments, while national REDD Readiness Preparation Proposals (R-PPs) lack sufficient plans for policy and legal reforms that would uphold forest peoples’ rights, improve forest governance and reduce deforestation. The R-PPs analyzed in the report appear to lack effective measures to clarify and strengthen land tenure rights, do not support free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) and side-step much needed legal and policy reforms. Based on a critical review of FCPF documents and analyses of eight of the fifteen national R-PPs, submitted to the FCPF as of January 2011, the key findings of this review are:

  • It is unclear whether specific FCPF safeguard measures are mandatory requirements or are optional at different stages of the REDD process. Rather than strengthening and implementing the Bank’s safeguards, the FCPF has created a dense set of guidelines that overlook serious weaknesses in national legal frameworks, especially relating to respect for customary rights, FPIC and related land demarcation and titling procedures.
  • Most R-PPs rely on biased analyses of the causes of deforestation that blame indigenous peoples and local communities for forest loss and damage, without justification.
  • National consultations on draft R-PPs have been either non-existent or inadequate, and core observations and proposals of forest peoples are being disregarded or only given superficial treatment, in particular recommendations relating to land and territorial rights.
  • All the R-PPs reaffirm state ownership over forest lands and most focus on valuation and monitoring of forest carbon to the exclusion of livelihood, biodiversity and cultural values.
  • Though R-PPs acknowledge the need for governance reforms, most confine this to the establishment of new government institutions to oversee REDD and related forest and climate programmes.
  • R-PPs reviewed show a narrow focus on carbon measurement an monitoring, while they lack a detailed analysis of the drivers of deforestation and governance failures, and don’t address key rights and livelihood issues that should be dealt with in forest and climate initiatives.

This review concludes that with key causes of forest loss not being sufficiently addressed, failing consultation processes, a focus on measuring carbon at the cost of improving governance and a ‘race to the bottom’ in terms of safeguards, it is difficult to see how the national plans emerging from the FCPF funded R-PPs will contribute to reducing forest loss and ensuring respect for human rights. Download the report [pdf] …