– Brazil accused of blocking progress
By Neil Marks in Cancun, Mexico
Negotiations on forest protection, or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, or REDD Plus, was seen as one of the brightest hopes for a breakthrough at the UN climate talks here, but there are fears that a deal could be in trouble.
This as the UN climate chief Christiana Figueres pushed for agreement on REDD and other key issues.
“In Cancun, I see Parties continuing to work hard together to deliver a successful, balanced outcome that must be the next significant step in the world’s long road towards a full solution to the climate challenge,” she said.
REDD was seen as part of that “balanced package” but many organizations said the negotiations were at a deadlock. Brazil is being accused of blocking progress.
“From day one, Brazil has opposed any legal obligations that would establish an international system to monitor, report and verify implementation of the REDD+ safeguards,” said Rosalind Reeve from the organisation Global Witness.
“This is essential to ensure protection of rights and forests.”
Global Witness said it was disappointed that Brazil has failed to show more flexibility and leadership on this issue “which now seems to be a sticking point in reaching agreement on REDD.”
“Several countries have made proposals that would strengthen the protection of rights and natural forests, but these are not reflected in the new draft REDD agreement,” said Nils Hermann Ranum of Rainforest Foundation Norway.
“We are disappointed that the Chair has failed to include them since they are critical to achieving long term reduction in deforestation.”
Major world leaders, including President Bharrat Jagdeo, have been clamouring for a REDD deal to be part of a Cancun outcome.
“We all accept – most of us reluctantly – that we cannot secure a global, legally binding climate agreement here,” President Bharrat Jagdeo said. “But what we can secure are decisions to make progress across a number of areas that advance our work towards such an agreement.”
Among the areas he cited for progress to be made is addressing deforestation and forest degradation.
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for global action to protect forests, saying the time to do so is now.
“Developing countries are willing to lead. Let’s hope they receive appropriate financial support,” Mr Ban said at a forum organized by the non-profit organization Avoided Deforestation Partners.
“An agreement on forests is very much within reach here in Cancún,” said Avoided Deforestation Partners founder Jeffrey Horowitz.
REDD was not the only issue that has not yet seen finality as the talks move into the final day, and the UN climate chief urged compromise in finding a deal.
“All countries are free to decide to participate and to join in finding the essential middle ground that will deliver success,” said Figueres at a midday press conference.
“I see a willingness of Parties to move positions. I see active and open exchange in the ministerial consultations, including how to reach political conciliation on anchoring mitigation proposals that have been made in 2010, clarity on the Kyoto Protocol, establishment of a fund for long-term finance, and decisions to implement action on forests, technology transfer and adaptation,” she pointed out.
But the UN climate chief said more needs to be done.
“I call on all sides to redouble their efforts and use creative ways to reach solutions, to travel the last mile to a successful outcome.”
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