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REDD+ Kasigau Corridor Project: Lacking results and with questionable affiliations!

There are a December 2016 report written by Jutta Kill and published in parts by the European Union. The name of the Report are: “The Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project in Kenya: A crash dive for Althelia Climate Fund”. This report tells a worrying story of how a project is a possible revenue source, instead of being there for climate change use or even local development. This sort of project and funding should be used for sort of projected land titles that saves the forests or create land that the owners can earn on instead of destroying the land. Something most of the REDD+ funds and projects is about, making sure the forest and the agricultural lands are kept and saved by the use of funding from donors and project builders.

One of the first hard-hitting quotes from the report are: “In addition, several reports document how land use restrictions imposed by the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project hit pastoralists and ethnic Taita and Duruma communities particularly hard while these groups receive very few if any of the benefits the REDD+ project provides to local communities” (Jutta Kill, P: 4, 2016).

So if there are donors who seems to be positive to projects and development projects that isn’t being there for the locals, than why are they offering the monies and using the time to facilitate the project in Kenya?

The Taita Hills REDD+ Project in Kenya has been marketed by Althelia, the project developer Wildlife Works Carbon, institutional funders like the EIB and media supporting market-based environmentalism as the Fund’s signature investment. Wildlife Works Carbon has been operating the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project in south-eastern Kenya since 2005” (Jutta Kill, P: 6, 2016). So with this in mind the Althelia has offered certain amount of money on the table, as this was the signature investment, even as it have no benefit for the local communities. The Althelia had done this: “For four of the projects, the Fund’s annual reports indicate that the investment is made in the form of loans whereas for the REDD+ project in Kenya, the 2015 audited financial report mentions an investment through an ‘Emission Reductions Purchase Agreement’ (ERPA). Four of the five projects are also covered by a US$133.8m loan guarantee that USAID has extended to the Althelia Climate Fund in 2014. As of 31 December 2015, investors had disbursed €18,36m of the €101m committed” (Jutta Kill, P: 5, 2016). So the development project are funded through loans that are guaranteed by the USAID, but extended into the Althelia Climate Fund, so the two are co-operating in the direct funding of the REDD+ Kenya. So they are rubber-stamping and giving faith to the projects.

The ‘Stand for Trees’ Initiative, a brainchild of Wildlife Works and supported by USAID, has become an important source of revenue – some say, a lifeline – for many private sector REDD+ projects” (Jutta Kill, P: 17, 2016). So that the Wildlife Works that works inside this REDD+ project, that are using the funds from USAID and EIB, are complicating it more as the other revelations that should worry the ones who cares about the environment and accountability of ones running it: “The Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project’s financial lifeline came from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank, and BHP Billiton, the mining company with a record of severe environmental damage and forced displacement of communities that stretches back decades and continues to this day” (Jutta Kill, P: 18. 2016). So why would a mining company cares about an environmental project in Kenya, unless they we’re earning funds and getting profits on the project?

You can really understand the issues of the IFC and BHP Biliton involvement, when the local communities gets no benefit or contributing to the projects.

So when you have the Althelia Climate Fund, which is funded with loans from the World Bank private corporation branch IFC and the USAID loans, together in corporation of BHP Bilition, as the REDD+ Project in Kenya is in works with both Wildlife Works, as the ‘Save the Tree’ brainchild. As this was the Althelia signature project. That there are problematic forces in play when the EIB are supporting the REDD+ projects as well, either directly through loans like USAID or like IFC. Therefore, the many actors are surely paying and donating favorable loans so the owners of the fund and the ones living of it makes this the lifeline for the Wildlife Works, even as this one doesn’t have the impact on local communities.

Just as one key observation:

One of the most striking observations was how locally, people referred to Wildlife Works as “the company”. The reasons for this seemed twofold. For one part of “the community”, Wildlife Works is “the company” that instructs guards to confiscate cattle and goats; that prevents the poorest community members in the area from collecting even dry branches for firewood when “the company” itself runs a charcoal production business on the REDD+ project area; that puts up water tanks on residents’ land without even asking permission, let alone paying for the use of the land; that claims to dedicate initially 1/3 of carbon revenue sales to local community projects, but does so in a way that means benefits from these “community” projects are captured by local elites. For example, ranch shareholders who receive 1/3 of the revenue from the carbon credit sales might also sit on the “community development committees” that decide how the 50% of the profit from carbon credit sales” (Jutta Kill, P: 21, 2016).

Another insulting observation:

A carbon offset provider offering carbon credits from the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project writes on its website that “committees determine what projects to undertake, prioritizing them by need and feasibility. ‘So many people have problems with water, so water projects—water tanks, water pipelines—always come first,’ said Pascal Kizaka, a local chief and committee board member” (…) “Exploring the location of one of the “water pipelines” advertised as an activity of the Wildlife Works Carbon REDD+ project revealed that far from what was suggested by the large placard outside the building (a One Vision Center), it seemed that the Wildlife Works contribution to the “water pipelines” project had been just the guttering along the side of the building’s roof and piping to connect the gutters with a water tank constructed by others. People also commented about bore holes put in by “the company” that had never provided any water” (Jutta Kill, P: 23, 2016).

So the Company, the Wildlife Works are supposed to provide water and pipelines. Still, there aren’t any who has been provided with the water, even as the REDD+ Committee Board Member Pascal Kizaka claims, as the locals and community says otherwise. This together with the lacking proof of the help with carbon credit sales and the control of land. This whole development project seems sketchy and a lifeline for Wildlife Works instead of being there for the local Kenyan Communities. Therefore, the use of IFC and Althelia Climate Fund, seems like way of misusing Carbon Tax and Carbon trading, instead of developing the Kasigau project for the Taita and Duruma communities. That deserves better and also deserves that when people and organizations comes in that they does not earn on their misfortune, but actually comes with projects serving them. If not this is just a way of fraudulent development industry, that no republic deserves. Peace.

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Press Release: African Countries Launch AFR100 to Restore 100 Million Hectares of Land (05.12.2015)

Green-Economies-Africa-rpt

Commitments from 10 countries announced at the Global Landscapes Forum

PARIS (December 6, 2015)—African countries launched AFR100 (African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative), a pan-African, country-led effort to restore 100 million hectares (386 thousand square miles) of degraded and deforested landscapes by 2030. The AFR100 target of 100 million hectares has been endorsed by the African Union. So far 10 African countries have agreed to join AFR100 and committed at least 31.7 million hectares of land for forest landscape restoration. AFR100 partners are earmarking more than USD $1 billion in development finance and more than $540 million in private sector impact investment to support restoration activities.

The announcement was made during the Global Landscapes Forum at the Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris, where forest landscape restoration is a key ingredient of the global movement to adapt to and mitigate climate change. Commitments made through AFR100 build on significant climate pledges made by many African countries to support a binding global climate agreement.

“Restoring our landscapes brings prosperity, security and opportunity,” said Dr. Vincent Biruta, Minister of Natural Resources in Rwanda. “With forest landscape restoration we’ve seen agricultural yields rise and farmers in our rural communities diversify their livelihoods and improve their well-being. Forest landscape restoration is not just an environmental strategy, it is an economic and social development strategy as well.”

For the first time, AFR100 brings together political leadership with an ambitious package of financial and technical resources to support a large-scale forest landscape restoration effort across Africa. Nine financial partners and 10 technical assistance providers have pledged support, led by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD Agency), Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and World Resources Institute (WRI).

“The scale of these new restoration commitments is unprecedented,” said Wanjira Mathai, Chair of the Green Belt Movement and daughter of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai. “I have seen restoration in communities both large and small across Africa, but the promise of a continent-wide movement is truly inspiring. Restoring landscapes will empower and enrich rural communities while providing downstream benefits to those in cities. Everybody wins. ”

Countries that have agreed to join the AFR100 initiative include:

• Democratic Republic of Congo | 8 million hectares
• Ethiopia | 15 million hectares
• Kenya | Committed, but finalizing hectare target
• Liberia | 1 million hectares
• Madagascar | Committed, but finalizing hectare target
• Malawi | Committed, but finalizing hectare target
• Niger | 3.2 million hectares
• Rwanda | 2 million hectares
• Togo | Committed, but finalizing hectare target
• Uganda | 2.5 million hectares

AFR100 builds on the climate commitments made by African countries. So far, 13 of the INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) submitted by African countries include restoration, conservation of standing forests, or “climate-smart” agriculture. According to WRI analysis, following through on the commitments would cumulatively reduce emissions by 1.2 Gt CO2eq over the next 10 years, or 36 percent of Africa’s annual emissions and 0.25 percent of global emissions.

“Restoration is really Africa’s gift to the world,” said Dr. Andrew Steer, president and CEO, World Resources Institute. “As the world forges a climate agreement in Paris, African countries— which bear the least historic responsibility for climate change– are showing leadership with ambitious pledges to restore land. These countries are well on their way to meet the goal of restoring 100 million hectares of land, which will help sequester carbon and bring economic benefits to low-income, rural communities. These African leaders are turning their words into action and making a real contribution to respond to the global threat of climate change.”

AFR100 recognizes the benefits that forests and trees can provide in African landscapes: improved soil fertility and food security, greater availability and quality of water resources, reduced desertification, increased biodiversity, green jobs, economic growth, and increased capacity for climate change resilience and mitigation. Forest landscape restoration has the potential to improve livelihoods, especially for women. For example, 20 years ago, women in southern Niger spent an average of 2.5 hours daily collecting firewood, which was scarce in the degraded landscape. Now they prune on-farm trees saving two hours a day, time that can be spent on other income generating activities.

Commitments announced through AFR100 also support the Bonn Challenge, a global target to bring 150 million hectares of land into restoration by 2020 adopted in Germany in 2011, the New York Declaration on Forests that extends that challenge to 350 million hectares by 2030, and the African Resilient Landscapes Initiative (ARLI), an initiative to promote integrated landscape management with the goal of adapting to and mitigating climate change. With these new partners, the Bonn Challenge process has surpassed the 100 m hectare mark, on track to meet its goal well ahead of the 2020 target date.

AFR100 builds on a strong tradition of successful forest landscape restoration in Africa. In Ethiopia’s Tigray region, local communities have already restored over 1 million hectares, making the land more drought-resistant. In Niger, farmers have increased the number of on-farm trees across 5 million hectares of agricultural landscapes, improving food security for 2.5 million people. AFR100 will provide a forum for countries and communities to share knowledge and resources to achieve restoration at a greater scale.

“We know that restoration works for Africa. We’ve seen it work in countries as diverse as Malawi, Ethiopia, and Mali,” said Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of NEPAD and former Prime Minister of Niger. “But we need to scale up restoration across the whole continent- more than 700 million hectares of land in Africa have potential for restoration. AFR100 provides a platform to work together more effectively to accelerate the achievement of restoration successes to benefit tens of millions of people who are currently searching for ways to adapt to climate change and improve their well-being.”

AFR100 will help to translate ambitious commitments into action with support from private sector investors, foundations, development banks, and bilateral and multilateral funders. AFR100 will leverage a variety of financing, including grants, equity investments, loans, risk management guarantees and funds for specific interventions.

So far, AFR100 partners have set forth over USD $1 billion of development financing:

  • World Bank: USD $1 billion in investment in 14 African countries by 2030, as part of the Africa Climate Business Plan to support Africa’s climate resilient and low carbon development
  • Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is providing support for the development of the AFR100 initiative

Impact investors have already earmarked USD $546.5 million for restoration under AFR100:

  • Ecoplanet Bamboo: USD $175 million by 2020
  • Sustainable Forest Investments – Netherlands: USD $150m by 2030
  • Terra Global Capital: USD $100 million by 2030
  • Green World Ventures: USD $65 million by 2020
  • Moringa Partnership: USD $56.5 million by 2030
  • NatureVest (impact investment arm of the Nature Conservancy)
  • Permian Global

Through AFR100, we expect to trigger one of the largest investments in forest landscape restoration the world has ever seen,” said H.E. Dr. Gerd Müller, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany. “This investment is vital for empowering local communities to scale up the inspiring restoration successes we’ve seen in Africa over the last decade.”

In addition to new financing, a coalition of organizations will provide technical assistance on a wide range of activities, including the mapping of restoration opportunities, securing further financing, and implementing restoration efforts on the ground. Partners include World Resources Institute (WRI), Clinton Foundation, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), Kijani, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD Agency), The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative (LPFN), and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and The Greenbelt Movement.

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