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Down to Earth No.82, September 2009

REDD concerns deepen

As Indonesia pushes ahead with plans for REDD, the World Bank and others are making ill-prepared agreements on funding projects in Indonesia. In the Bank's case this is with apparent disregard for its own policies on consulting forest-dwelling communities and on safeguarding their interests.

The World Bank is positioning itself to become one of the major funders of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries)1, through its Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and the Forest Investment Program (FIP).2

Indonesia submitted its Draft 'Readiness Planning Proposal' (R-PP)3 to the FCPF in May, prompting a storm of criticism from civil society organisations at home and internationally and calls to delay approval of the plan until major deficiencies have been sorted out. These include:

NGOs in Indonesia, the UK, US and Norway have also written to their governments calling for improvements in the FCPF approval processes before Indonesia's R-PP is passed. They have highlighted concerns including a tendency to make decisions without reference to the World Bank's safeguards and international standards, despite the need for this being spelled out in the FCPF's Charter. For example, the Charter requires that activities, including the R-PP

"comply with the World Bank's Operational Policies and Procedures, taking into account the need for effective participation of Forest-Dependent Indigenous Peoples and Forest Dwellers in decisions that may affect them, respecting their rights under national law and applicable international obligations." (Principle 3.1(d), FCPF Charter).

The key World Bank safeguards for REDD are OP4.10 on Indigenous Peoples, OP4.36 on Forests and OP4.12 on Involuntary Resettlement.5 Relevant International obligations include the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as other international instruments on human rights and the environment.6

Indonesia's R-PP was considered by the FCPF's Participants Committee7 in June, but a decision on whether or not to accept the proposal, was delayed until July. Accepting it means giving Indonesia access to USD3.6 million in FCPF funding towards ‘readiness’ activities.The next Participants Committee meeting is due in October and the NGOs have called for any decision on Indonesia's R-PP to be delayed until then at the very least. They argue that setting low standards for approving the initial plans under consideration (including Indonesia's) will signal to other countries that they will also be able to submit sub-standard Readiness Plans in future. Without proper protections for forest-dwellers, REDD is far less likely to achieve any positive result in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation, since the denial of rights is widely recognised as an underlying cause of deforestation in itself.8

REDD regulations
Indonesia's forestry minister has now passed at least three pieces of legislation relating to REDD: Ministerial regulation No 68, 2008 on REDD pilot projects, the main REDD regulation, No 30, 1 May 2009 and regulation 36, 22 May 2009,9 on revenue sharing rules for REDD (see box, next page).10 Regulation 30 was passed despite a request from the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) to make changes to accommodate indigenous peoples’ rights to own and control their traditional areas.11

The regulations are all based on Indonesia's 1999 Forestry Law, which fails to provide for indigenous ownership of forests within the 'state forest zone', an area that amounts to some 70% of Indonesia's total land area.12

Instead, the REDD legislation is aimed at ensuring that central government remains firmly in control of arrangements for - and income generated by - REDD.

Revenue-sharing for forest carbon projects in Indonesia (Regulation 36/2009)

Permit holders / forest type
IUPHHK-HA (Wood Use Licence for Natural Forest)
IUPHHK-HT (Wood Use Licence for Plantation Forest)
IUPHHK-RE (Wood Use Licence for Ecosystem Restoration Area)
IUPHHK-HTR (Wood Use Licence for People's Plantation Forest)
Hutan Rakyat (People's Forest)
Hutan Kemasyarakatan (Community Forest)
Hutan Adat (Customary Forest)
Hutan Desa (Village Forest)
KPH (Forest Management Unit)
KHDTK (Special Purpose Forest Area)
Hutan Lindung (Protection Forest)
Source: adapted from

Note: subsidiary legislation on hutan adat (customary forest) has not yet been passed. A draft regulation was recently criticised by AMAN as offering no solution to current conflicts over forests.13

Australian projects gearing up for carbon trading

Australia contributes funds to the FCPF14, but has also made its own bilateral agreements with Indonesia. These include:

As is clear in the descriptions, these agreements are very much oriented toward carbon trading. Under REDD, this means carbon credits generated by reducing emissions in forests, can be sold on international markets and purchased by companies wanting to offset their own emissions. The Australian government argues that "[w]hile financing from developed countries will play a role, ultimately carbon markets are the only mechanism capable of mobilising investment on the scale needed to support and provide incentives for REDD."16

However, the arguments against offsetting are convincing: emissions reductions need to be made in industrialised countries as well as in the developing world, if we are to have a remote chance of avoiding dangerous levels of global warming.17 Carbon trading has been rejected by many civil society organisations, including the Climate Justice Now! network, Friends of the Earth International and Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit on Climate Change, held in Anchorage in April this year.18

The Australia-Indonesia agreements also lack commitment to protect the rights and livelihoods of forest-dwellers, only offering, in the KFCP, for example, the aim to "improve livelihoods for forest-dependent communities..". The KFCP factsheet states that the project is "working closely with local communities" and is linking with existing initiatives and international agencies working in the region.

An initial 'lessons learned' document was submitted by Indonesia and Australia to the Poznan UNFCCC meeting in December 2008. This shows that the project is sticking closely to the Indonesian forestry ministry line regarding control over Indonesia's forests. The document concludes that national governments of a REDD host country must be consulted on and agree the location of demonstration activities, but that local governments and local communities only need to be consulted. It also states that "genuine and enforceable legal rights to forest carbon are fundamental to the success of a REDD demonstration activity", but then goes to say that KFCP is approaching this issue in the context of Indonesian forestry law.19 Since this law fails to protect the rights of indigenous communities, as has been repeatedly pointed out by AMAN and now highlighted by the CERD, in reality, Australia's funding for REDD means support for the continuation of an unjust forest management regime which has systematically marginalised forest communities and violated their rights to land and resources.

On top of this, cooperation with the private sector is being encouraged in this project. For example, the KFCP agreement names the world's biggest mining company BHP-Billiton, as a founding member of the agreement - though this fact is not mentioned in other KFCP documents. The agreement doesn't state how much BHP has provided towards the $100 million target, but says only that its contribution will focus on activities "aimed at avoiding further deforestation of high conservation value areas within the Indonesian part of the Heart of Borneo."20 The company, which has operated in Kalimantan, has attracted criticism for continuing to mine coal - the dirtiest fossil fuel in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.21

Central Kalimantan communities don't want REDD

A statement prepared for the Bonn UNFCCC talks in June this year, makes clear REDD is regarded as a threat to livelihoods and local resources in Central Kalimantan, rather than a means of protecting the peat swamp forests.

In a strongly-worded message, ARPAG, the People's Peat Management Alliance, calls on the UNFCCC to halt climate change negotiations which dress up resource exploitation projects as conservation and which force countries like Indonesia into a new kind of "conservation colonialism".

ARPAG, which claims 7,000 members among farming, fishing and indigenous communities in 52 villages in Central Kalimantan, points to the Indonesian Constitution and the United National Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as the basis for local people's rights to manage their traditionally-owned peatlands.

The group has been replanting peat swamp trees, rehabilitating their rattan and rubber tree gardens, grasses, traditional fish ponds and wet rice fields, and guarding 200,000 hectares of customary forests. They have also set up a 'peat school' and have entered into dialogue with local and national governments and NGO networks.

ARPAG is against the development of a 377,000 ha national park in the area on the grounds that this threatens community access to livelihood resources. It is also opposing a 360,000 ha oil palm plantation which, says ARPAG, will destroy the peat ecosystem in order to supply palm oil to industrialised countries for food products and agrofuel.22

New Indonesia REDD website

A new website,, jointly managed by the CIFOR, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia and the Indonesian Environmental Information Center (PILI) has been launched to contribute to the growing national discussion on REDD.


  1. See DTE 79, DTE 80-81 and DTE 80-81 for more background on REDD and REDD plans in Indonesia.
  2. See FIP and FCPF, Fern and DTE 76-77 for background.
  3. May 2009 version previously available online at
  4. These concerns are expressed in letters from HuMa to FCPF, June 15th, 2009; Sawit Watch and AMAN to Forestry Minister MS Kaban, May 15th, 2009; Rainforest Foundation Norway to FCPF, 14th July 2009, Rainforest Foundation UK to the UK government, 16th July, among others.
  5. Further information available on Forest Peoples Programme website and Bank Information Center
  6. Safeguarding rights in the FCPC, Presentation by Marcus Colchester, Forest Peoples Programme, Rights & Resources Initiative and Chatham House Dialogue on Forests, Governance & Climate Change, London, 8/Jul/09
  7. For a list of FCPF participants click here. Indonesia is listed as a REDD country participant.
  8. FPP, RFN and RFUK letters as above and Bank Information Center letter to Senator Leahy 13/Jul/09.
  9. English and Indonesian version available from
  10. The regulation can be viewed in Indonesian at
  11. See DTE 80-81
  12. See DTE 79, and DTE special report Forests, People & Rights, 2002.
  13. See DTE 80-81
  14. Australia has provided AUD 11.7 million to the FCPF and is contributing AUD 10 million to the Forest Investment Program, see accessed 22/Jul/09.
  15. See
  16., accessed 24/Jul/09
  17. See DTE 80-81, and Friends of the Earth publication, A Dangerous Distraction, June 2009.
  18. See DTE 80-81, the Anchorage Declaration can be accessed from
  19. See
  20. See
  21. Australia launched the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute in April this year - founding members include the Australian, Indonesian, UK government and the EU as well as mining companies BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. Many NGOs are sceptical that carbon capture and storage (CCS) can be viable and consider it a get-out for governments wanting to avoid tackling coal-generated energy companies. See Global Institute website and DTE 80-81.
  22. ARPAG: Menyelematkan Ruang Hidup Rakyat dan Ekologi Gambut, via Sarekat Hijau website at . See also and http://www.sekolahgambut.blogspot. com/.

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