Friday, December 18, 2009

Protecting the rainforests: Are we there yet?

Protecting the rainforests: Are we there yet?
by Margaret Swink
16 Dec 2009 orests,

COPENHAGEN—Many of us who are here reading the text drafts, talking to ministers and following the negotiations were a bit surprised to read in the New York Times yesterday that we’re about to close a deal on REDD.

It’s true, negotiations have progressed, and balanced-but-far-from-completely-resolved text moved early this morning from delegates to a ministerial level, meaning that we’re moving away from technical bickering to a political fight over big issues that bureaucrats could not resolve on their own.

And what big issues!

Four key aspects of the deal have been left to ministers to negotiate, decisions that could make the difference between a REDD that protects the world’s rainforests and forest peoples rights and a REDD that fails for forests. These issues are the stickiest ones in the negotiations: how REDD will be financed, what it’s official reduction targets are, how important social and environmental safeguards will be implemented, and whether countries will make national level commitments for action.


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