Informing NGOs, MEPs,
EU–Malaysia: VPA negotiations to start
Minister for Plantation Industries, Mr Peter Chin, and Commissioners Louis
Michel and Stavros Dimas,
responsible for Development and Environment respectively, agreed on 25
September 2006 to start formal negotiations towards a voluntary partnership
agreement (VPA) to control illegal logging. Environmental and social NGOs in
both Europe and
In this context it is possible for a VPA to make a difference, but only if it starts with a countrywide, honest and open consultation process in which all stakeholders can take part. Malaysian NGOs have proposed such a process.4 The ball now lies in the government’s court.
1 See joint NGO statement available at: http://www.fern.org/media/documents/document_3760_3761.pdf
2 Forest Law Enforcement and Governance, Report 36638-GLB0, September 2006.
3 Volume 16, no. 2, 2006.
4 See: Forest Governance in
Europe’s money to move
October 2006, three European export credit agencies (ECAs)
are expected to decide whether or not to finance one of the world’s
most controversial infrastructure projects. The Ilisu
Dam proposal is a decades-old plan to build a hydroelectric power plant on
the River Tigris in the Kurdish region of South-east Anatolia in
1 European Parliament, Report on
2 For a comprehensive
assessment of the project in the context of Turkish accession see:
FERN/European ECA Reform Campaign, The Ilisu Dam Project: Europe’s money would move
EU institutions reach DCI agreement
After many months of difficult negotiations (see FW nos. 90, 104, 106), agreement was reached on 20 September 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission concerning the Development Co-operation Instrument (DCI) – a legal instrument which is to underpin EC co-operation with developing countries. The European Parliament’s Development Committee has succeeded in incorporating binding commitments that now provide a solid basis for ensuring that future EC aid focuses on tackling poverty within the context of sustainable development. The agreement will be formally adopted in the coming weeks and take effect early in 2007.
New book exposes flaws of carbon trading
A new book, Carbon Trading: Critical conversations on climate change, privatisation and power,1 published this week by Sweden’s Dag Hammarskjold Foundation together with the international Durban Group for Climate Justice and the UK-based NGO The Corner House, exposes how carbon trading dispossesses local people in the South of their lands and futures without resulting in significant progress toward alternative energy systems either in the South or North.
The book analyses the history of carbon trading and the lessons that should have been learned from US pollution trading models; explains the differences and similarities between emissions trading and carbon ‘offset’ trading; includes eight case studies of carbon ‘offset’ projects gone wrong; explains the wider-reaching problems with carbon ‘offsets’ which go beyond individual project disasters; and ends with a chapter outlining many of the tried, tested and functioning alternatives to carbon trading.
Although, at 360 pages long, it is certainly not a quick read, the book captures the reader’s attention by presenting the analysis as a conversation between two people with different views on the merits or otherwise of carbon trading.
1 Printed copies will be available from November; contact email@example.com. Download available at: www. sinkswatch.org
second phase of negotiations for the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the EU and ACP countries has kicked off,
resistance to the EPAs seems to be growing in a
number of ACP countries. The Nigeria Trade Network has warned that opening up
markets would threaten jobs and undermine regional integration, stating:
‘we owe ourselves the responsibility not to sell the future of
tomorrow’s generations, for it is better to delay the negotiations than
to sign a bad deal and call on the EU to drop the reciprocity of the
agreement.’ New research in
What all these objections seem to agree on is that the EPA path should at least allow ACP countries to continue to earn revenue from taxes, should prioritise regional integration, and should allow ACP countries not to open up their markets when this will have clear negative social and economic impacts. If the EU heeds its own EPA sustainability impact assessments (SIAs), it should take account of these concerns and suggestions, as the SIAs clearly highlight the weakness of consultation processes to date.
NEWS IN BRIEF
WB report: From
the recent press release announcing the World Bank’s new report on
illegal logging, it appears that the Bank has taken note of CIFOR’s report Justice
in the Forest,1 since the World
Bank’s Gerhard Dieterle is quoted as saying:
‘Illegal logging can be “need-based” for subsistence, or
“greed-based” for profit. Unfortunately, forest crimes often go
without punishment and, in the few instances where there are prosecutions,
the poor are often targeted.
A relatively ‘new’ candidate for a VPA
1 See: Open letter to the Liberian Government at www.fern.org
2 Letter dated 25 May 2006 from the Panel of Experts on Liberia addressed to the Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1521 (2003).
report: A new FERN publication – The
Ilisu Dam Project: Europe’s money would move
October: Seminars on advocacy in
October: Seminars on advocacy in
6 November: Parliamentary
Hearing on Illegal Logging.
(no date yet): CPET Meeting.