Friday, February 5, 2010

The Green Green Grass of Home - Part II

Continuing from the previous Article, we use the “Seeing REDD” by Tom Griffiths of the Forest Peoples Programme:

1)March 2008: investment firm Canopy Capital and Global Canopy Programme (GCP) signed a preliminary agreement with the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development. Under this deal, Canopy Capital will help finance the rainforest protected area for 5 years in return for ‘ownership’ of forest ecosystem services and a claim in any future profits.

2)The new saleable asset would involve carbon values and possibly rainfall, water storage, soil conservation, biodiversity, climate buffer and watershed values.

3) Canopy Capital aims to try and establish a best-practice model, protocol and standards for global profit-driven market-based payments for forest Ecosystem Services (ESS) and to create a stepping stone to a national scheme in Guyana and ultimately a global market in environmental services.

4)At this stage, Canopy Capital is exploring options for marketing ecosystem services through an ‘Ecosystem Service Certificate’ attached to a 10-year tradable bond.

5)The company advises that interest from such bonds could help pay for the maintenance of the Iwokrama forest.

6)Canopy Capital has a commitment to measure and value forest ecosystem services and to develop a financial and legal instrument to market ecosystem services. If this is achieved and sales of services are possible, then the investment company will have a major stake in any financial returns. How benefits would be shared between Canopy Capital, Iwokrama and local communities is not clear as the CC-IIC agreement remains confidential.

1) Canopy Capital and its legal advisers admit that the deal was not adequately discussed with the implicated communities but just discussed and agreed with the Board of Iwokrama, which has one community representative.

2)The community of Fairview that has titled lands within the Reserve was not consulted directly and communities that use the reserve and have never surrendered their ancestral ownership over the area were not directly involved.

3)Asked about why the deal had been shrouded in secrecy, Canopy Capital and Iwokrama advise that for reasons of ‘commercial confidentiality’ it was not possible to broadcast the issue before the deal was done and for this reason also the agreement remains confidential.

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