Friday, April 29, 2011

Cameroon: peoples territories being targeted for oil palm plantations



Cameroon: peoples territories being targeted for oil palm plantations

Powerful countries and corporations have targeted the African continent to become a commodity supplier for their industrial needs. This has led to intense land grabbing with industrial oil palm plantations becoming in recent years a new source of land grabbing in many African countries.

However, industrial oil palm plantations are not new in some African countries. WRM electronic book "Oil Palm in Africa: past, present and future scenarios" (http://wrm.org.uy/countries/Africa/Oil_Palm_in_Africa.pdf), gives an overview of how industrial plantations have been promoted in several African countries since colonial times:

"Wherever it grows naturally, oil palm has for centuries provided local communities with a large number of benefits such as palm oil, sauces, soap, wine, fertilizer (ashes), roofing (leaves), building material (trunk), medicines (roots). All of these traditional uses are until today very much part of the African culture in oil palm countries.

When the European powers invaded the continent, they quickly realized that they could profit from trading palm kernels and palm oil, initially from natural palm stands and soon followed by the establishment of large-scale plantations, in most cases based on either forced or slave labour and in the appropriation of communities' lands.

Independence resulted in the further entrenchment of the plantation system –encroaching on local peoples' lands- now based on state-owned enterprises with attached large industrial processing units.

World Bank and IMF-led structural adjustment policies imposed on African governments in the 90s resulted in the privatization of most of those industrial complexes and in the return of control over industrial palm oil production to foreign corporations.

During the entire process summarized above, the traditional system -based on the harvesting of fruits from natural or semi natural palm stands and their conversion into palm oil through manual techniques- managed to successfully coexist separately from the different centralized systems put in place by governments and corporations.

Over the last few years, the expansion of industrial plantations has changed its focus from edible palm oil to the production of agrofuels, mostly led by a broad array of foreign corporations eager to invest in the region"

Cameroon is no exception to the agrofuels boom. With already more than 76,500 hectares of industrial oil palm plantations, the government is planning to lease huge areas of land to set up more oil palm plantations.

The Malaysian big player in the oil palm sector Sime Darby has also set its eyes on the African continent to expand its business. The company has already been granted 220,000 hectares of land lease in Liberia for a 63 years period and it is now negotiating a 300,000 ha lease of land in Cameroon.

At an interview in the magazine The Ecologist, Samuel Nguiffo, from the Centre for Environment and Development (CED), said in reference to the Sime Darby deal that "even if they only develop on degraded forest, the deal is likely to involve farmland being taken away from local communities." He also said that "degraded natural forests are located next to villages, and are considered as traditional land and `reserve' for the future expansion of communities' farmland. But according to the State law (which prevails), the State owns part of the land, and is custodian of the rest of the land. The Malaysian company will therefore enter a deal with the State, and not with the communities, but will be taking what is still considered by the communities as their traditional land, according to their customs," he says.

Furhtermore, the US based SG Sustainable Oils (SGSO) is planning a 30,000 hectares oil palm plantation in the South West Region in an area directly adjacent to the Korup National Park and Rumpi Hills Forest Reserve, and another 40,000 ha just to the east of that plantation and adjacent to Bakossi National Park and Banyang Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary.

SGSO is affiliated with Herakles Farms (a US-based company that is a subsidiary of Herakles Capital Corp) and Sithe Global (a US-based energy company, involved in the Bujagali dam construction in Uganda and the Amaila Hydropower project in Guyana). Sithe Global is 80% owned by the Blackstone Group, one of the largest investment firms in the world. In 2004, Bruce Wrobel founded Sithe Global Power. He is also the founder of Herakles Capital Corp. These companies share the same New York City mailing address as the NGO All for Africa, also founded by Bruce Wrobel. Mr. Wrobel and others founded All for Africa, in part, to help support and fund the oil palm development of Herakles and Sithe Global. In collaboration with these two companies, All for Africa is promoting its "palm out poverty" campaign arguing that planting oil palms will reduce poverty in Africa. They claim that this oil palm development will not only be socially responsible but also environmentally sustainable.

WRM was recently contacted by a group of US researchers working in Cameroon jointly with some local organizations that are strongly concerned about this project. The researchers have sent a letter to All for Africa and Sithe Global urging them to provide full information on the project on the grounds that it may have terrible social and environmental negative impacts. The letter -among other questions- raised the following concerns:

"The oil palm plantation will displace and disrupt the social and economic situation for over 30 villages (over 3,000 people). Their culture and way of life is closely tied to these forests, which provide these villages with clean water, food, and important income-earning capabilities. Most of these villagers rely heavily on farming to feed their families and earn an income. It is unclear how local villagers will be compensated for loss of their forest and farms. Some documents suggest that villages will be resettled and/or will be allowed to remain, but will be surrounded by oil palms.

To date, SGSO has operated in an unscrupulous manner. Villagers from various villages have discovered SGSO teams demarcating land, opening transects, and planting pillars in their farmland without consent. Complaint letters concerning SGSO have been sent to government representatives.These letters described informal meetings SGSO has had with village and tribal elites who have given their support for the development without consultation from people in their villages.

The original demarcation of the plantation in fact overlapped with existing forest titles and rights, including 2,500 ha of community forest, 5,415 ha of Council Forest, 132 ha with the Bakossi National Park, and 6,000 ha with the 3 km buffer zone to Korup National Park. It was only after complaints from various individuals and organization that the planned borders were changed."

US-based researchers working in Cameroon informed us that, just a few weeks ago, the youths in one of the villages that will be directly affected by the oil palm plantation threatened a SGSO bulldozer as it entered their village to establish an oil palm nursery. Most of the village is against this development because it would mean losing their forests, and either being surrounded by oil palms or being forced to relocate. The chief of the village was approached by representatives from SGSO and agreed to give up village land to allow the plantation to proceed. He did this without consent from people in his village. There is now a tremendous amount of in-fighting in the village - and this is likely also occurring in each of the villages that will be affected by this plantation.

In addition to the social implications of this oil palm plantation, the US researchers notes that the majority of the land covered by the proposed plantation near Korup National Park is dense, mature, high canopy forest and the remaining being a mosaic of forest, agroforest, farmland, and settlements. Forest and hunter surveys have shown that this area is home to the Endangered chimpanzee and drill monkey and may be home to other highly threatened wildlife. This area might also be an important migration route for the forest elephant, which regularly uses Korup and the Rumpi Hills. This oil palm plantation will not only remove important habitat for threatened species but it will also further isolate these species inside protected areas. These protected areas will likely see increased bushmeat hunting as a result of the oil palm plantation and the conservation community will be ill-equipped to do anything about it.

Taken together, the US researchers argue that, "If this oil palm development is allowed to continue it will potentially have far reaching, long-term negative cultural and socioeconomic consequences for the affected villagers, who are being bullied into selling their forests. Additionally, the forests in South West Cameroon represent a stronghold for many kinds of endangered and endemic species. This oil palm development will destroy ecosystems and key habitat for threatened species and will be catastrophic for the wildlife inside the neighboring protected areas."

Article based on information from: WRM Publication "Oil Palm in Africa, past, present and future scenarios"; and information from "The Ecologist" magazine available at http://tinyurl.com/5rtef79 and further information received by WRM.

From World Rainforest Movement bulletin 165, April 2011, www.wrm.org.uy

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Shell Oil President Calls For Biofuel Incentives



<<yet another cry for biofuel subsidies while they continue oil and gas exploration>>

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- Shell Oil Co. President Marvin Odum gave a bullish outlook for biofuels Tuesday, [ 26 April 2011 ] saying that during the next 20 years, biofuels will likely be "the most practical solution" for reducing carbon emissions from transportation and calling for government incentives.

"The international market for biofuels is growing," said Odum, head of the U.S. subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell PLC(RDSA, RDSA.LN). "With the right policies in place, it could grow even faster."

Odum was speaking at a conference convened by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. While he also used his comments to emphasize the importance of offshore oil and onshore natural gas production, Odum said Shell is working toward a $12 billion joint venture with Brazil's largest ethanol producer for the production and supply of ethanol.

"This joint venture will be one of the largest ever," Odum said. He added it would be "just the starting point. We have considerable aspirations for growth."

Odum also told the Washington audience that changes to government incentives are needed for biofuels.

"A lot of good work has already been done in this area, whether you are talking about the U.S. or Europe or other places," he said. "There is a temptation, I think, to believe that that's enough. But that assumption would be wrong and there is much more that can be done."

Specifically, Odum said the government should support investment in advanced biofuels, ensure "regulatory certainty that encourages long-term investment," and lower or remove import tariffs "creating a level playing field" for biofuels that emit less carbon dioxide than traditional fuels when burned.

But he added, "from a practical and commercial standpoint, advanced biofuels will only emerge in material quantities in 2020 and beyond."

Odum was less bullish on other forms of renewable energy. On wind power, he said, "we don't see it growing very rapidly."

By Ryan Tracy, Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

http://www.nasdaq.com/aspx/stock-market-news-story.aspx?storyid=201104261213dowjonesdjonline000208&title=shell-oil-president-odum-calls-for-biofuel-incentives

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Is Indonesia’s Program to Stop Deforestation in Meltdown?



Posted by Robert Eshelman

April 25, 2011

Back in December, I wrote an article for Mother Jones about Indonesia's efforts to reduce its levels of deforestation and, by extension, its greenhouse gas emissions, which are the third highest in the world, trailing only the U.S. and China. This endeavor is part of a U.N. scheme called REDD — Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation — that aims to funnel billions of dollars of rich country aid to developing ones, like Indonesia, Guyana, and Brazil, that cut down millions of acres of trees a year due to logging, oil palm and acacia plantations, and biofuels production. In exchange for aid, these countries ween their economies away from forest resource extraction.

By way of the small town of Sungai Tohor, which is located in Sumatra, I showed how Indonesia is at crossroads. On one hand, it is set to receive billions of dollars from Norway and the U.S., among other countries, in exchange for imposing a moratorium on the issuance of logging permits and setting up a system for monitoring, verifying, and reporting activities in its forestry sector. On the other hand, Indonesia's government has been inextricably linked for decades to the logging industry and in more recent times palm oil and pulp/paper producers. Corruption is rampant. So, too, is illegal logging (although on the decline). How, I asked, could Indonesia turn all this around and go from being an enabler of forest destruction to a steward of the forests.

Since December, Indonesia has clearly not turned the corner on deforestation. Implementation of its REDD program has lagged, corruption continues to cast a dark shadow over the forestry sector, and communities like Sungai Tohor remain threatened by expanding mono-crop plantations of oil palm and acacia trees, which are used to make paper. In other words, little has changed beyond the government's public support for reigning in the logging sector and there's scant evidence that this will change anytime soon.

In exchange for a billion dollars in Norwegian aid, Indonesia was meant to impose a two-year moratorium on the issuance of new logging permits. The moratorium was set to take effect at the beginning of 2011. Yet, nearly five months later there is no moratorium in place and various government agencies are split on how to interpret what types of forests should be protected.

The central hang-up within the Indonesian government is whether or not industrial-scale plantations should be allowed on lands that have been partially degraded. The Indonesia government wants to boost oil palm and acacia production in order to increase GDP while at the same time reducing deforestation of natural rainforests and carbon-rich peat soils. Allowing industrial plantations on degraded land is an important concession to the oil palm and pulp/paper companies who fear a strong moratorium will cut into their profits. But conservation groups point out that even degraded lands provide important habitats and store vast amounts of carbon when developed and should be vigorously preserved.

Meanwhile, Mongabay.com reports that Wandojo Siswanto, a former member of Indonesia's climate change negotiating team and an advisor at the Ministry of Forests, was found guilty of receiving a $10,000 bribe from a telecommunications company seeking a contract with the ministry. He will serve three years in prison. Corruption within the forestry sector has been rampant. An Ernst and Young audit found that during the 1990s over $5 billion from a national reforestation fund could not be accounted for by the Ministry of Forestry.

A new report by Greenpeace highlights an emerging area of dysfunction within Indonesia's REDD program. The group documents how the recommendations of international consultancy firm McKinsey Group could lead to Indonesia implementing a REDD program that does little, if anything, to reduce amounts of deforestation. According to Greenpeace, McKinsey is promoting methods that understate the financial impacts of cutting GHG emissions due to smallholder agriculture (like Sungai Tohor's), while setting extremely high financial costs for clamping down on industrial forestry and agri-business. The firm's cost curve assumptions bias plantations over smallholder activities, which contradicts the stated goals of the U.N. program — reducing carbon emissions, while also protecting forest communities and biodiversity — that were codified at the U.N.'s latest meeting in Cancun, Mexico this past December.

As if McKinsey's relationship with Indonesia isn't enough of a cause for concern, the firm has a near monopoly on providing advise to other REDD-fund eligible countries, like Papua New Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Guyana. Greenpeace details McKinsey's work with these countries as well and shows that, like in Indonesia, it is promoting policies that cut against the aims of U.N. REDD.

This is the clearest evidence yet that the U.N. REDD is skewed by corporate influence and is doing little to change business as usual in the forestry sector and mitigate global GHG emissions. There are billions of dollars at stake in Indonesia's U.N. REDD program alone. McKinsey is virtually writing the playbook for how the program will be implemented there — and beyond.

And what of Sungai Tohor? Lafcadio Cortesi of the Rainforest Action Network told me after returning from a recent trip to the area that the logging has stopped for now as the community continues to advocate for a government-imposed halt to logging.

But chainsaws rarely sit idle for long in Indonesia.

http://www.theinvestigativefund.org/blog/1487/is_indonesia%E2%80%99s_program_to_stop_deforestation_in_meltdown_/

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Carbon emissions 'hidden' in imported goods revealed



<<As most biofuels used in the UK are imported, this does have some relevance - note that UK 'civil servants' are supposedly frustrated at the lack of transparency over carbon accounting..

And that emissions data from other countries is 'notoriously opaque'. Maybe the same applies to biofuel production?>>

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13187156

The extent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions "hidden" in imported goods is growing, according to two studies.

Official statistics do not include emissions created by making imported goods but researchers say they should.

It comes as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports 26% of global emissions come from producing goods for trade.

The Carbon Trust found such "embedded" CO2 could negate domestic carbon cuts planned in the UK up to 2025.

'Delusion'

Researchers want all nations to publish their data on embedded emissions.

Glen Peters of research group Cicero, lead authors of the PNAS report, told BBC News: "There is a degree of delusion about emissions cuts in developed nations. They are not really cuts at all if countries are simply buying in products they used to manufacture.

"We really need all countries to be developing and publishing the full extent of their emissions, whether they are produced domestically or outsourced through traded goods."

Publishing this sort of data is the first step, the next step - what to do about it - is more difficult"

The issue of embedded (or outsourced) carbon emissions has been recognised for several years, and the methodology to track emissions pathways is developing.

Cicero produced a trade-linked global database for CO2 emissions covering 113 countries and 57 economic sectors from 1990 to 2008.

It found that emissions from producing exported goods increased from 4.3Gt (gigatonnes) of CO2 in 1990 (20% of global emissions) to 7.8Gt of CO2 in 2008 (26%).

Most developed countries increased their consumption-based emissions faster than their territorial emissions - particularly from goods such cars and clothes.

Border taxes

The Carbon Trust research confirms that the UK has increased emissions since 1990 rather than decreasing them, as politicians typically claim.

What may alarm ministers even more is a projection that the radical CO2 cuts planned by government into the 2020s may be offset by ever-increasing levels of CO2 in imports.

Dr Peters said: "Publishing this sort of data is the first step. The next step - what to do about it - is more difficult.

Guy Shrubsole, Public Interest Research Centre:

For a government which wants to be the greenest ever and is committed to data transparency it's essential that the British government publishes the best data available"

"It raises questions about consumption patterns, and whether countries should consider border taxes on imports from countries with no controls on CO2 emissions… though this is controversial and will be some way down the line."

A UK think tank, the Public Interest Research Centre (Pirc), has been discovering how uncomfortable this issue is proving for rich nations.

A succession of Freedom of Information requests reveals a degree of frustration among some British civil servants that the UK insists on basing its emissions calculations solely on domestic emissions.

One piece of government correspondence reveals: "While technological efficiency has improved the CO2 impacts of our products since 1992, the rise in UK consumption has outstripped the improvements achieved.

"The government needs to be cautious about over-claiming on its achievements in decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation."

Ministers are well aware of the issue, but insist that the UK should stick to reporting domestic emissions, as these form the basis for international climate negotiations.

They also point out that emissions data from major exporters like China is notoriously opaque, and that the methodology for calculating outsourced emissions is unreliable. They say all this creates even greater pressure for the UK to persuade China to cut its own emissions.

Guy Shrubsole, from Pirc, told BBC News: "This is a cop-out. The figures aren't perfect but the problem has been recognised for several years and the calculations are getting better all the time. In the UK our emissions are up - not down.

"Of course China needs to be part of a global climate agreement. But for a government which wants to be the greenest ever and is committed to data transparency it's essential that the British government publishes the best data available right away - and then figures out what to do about it."


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Lester Brown: This will be the Arab world's next battle



This will be the Arab world's next battle

Population growth and water supply are on a collision course. Hunger is set to become the main issue

Long after the political uprisings in the Middle East have subsided, many underlying challenges that are not now in the news will remain. Prominent among these are rapid population growth, spreading water shortages, and growing food insecurity.

In some countries grain production is now falling as aquifers – underground water-bearing rocks – are depleted. After the Arab oil-export embargo of the 1970s, the Saudis realised that since they were heavily dependent on imported grain, they were vulnerable to a grain counter-embargo. Using oil-drilling technology, they tapped into an aquifer far below the desert to produce irrigated wheat. In a matter of years, Saudi Arabia was self-sufficient in its principal food staple.

But after more than 20 years of wheat self-sufficiency, the Saudis announced in January 2008 that this aquifer was largely depleted and they would be phasing out wheat production. Between 2007 and 2010, the harvest of nearly 3m tonnes dropped by more than two-thirds. At this rate the Saudis could harvest their last wheat crop in 2012 and then be totally dependent on imported grain to feed their population of nearly 30 million.

Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/22/water-the-next-arab-battle


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Dupont/Danisco second-generation cellulosic ethanol demonstration plant : Tennessee




US group has a joint-venture with Danisco developing second-generation cellulosic ethanol at a demonstration plant in Vonore Tennessee and the planned acquisition would give it full control


Full Article at:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5365fb20-6e99-11e0-a13b-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1KcqxA2F2


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1st commercial cellulosic ethanol plant being built in Italy



Mossi & Ghisolfi Starts to Build Bio-Ethanol Plant


(Corrects to 40,000 to 45,000 tons in second paragraph of story published yesterday.)

Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi began building the world's first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in northwestern Italy, the company said today.

The first stone for the 110 million-euro ($159 million) factory was laid today, Tortona, Italy-based Mossi & Ghisolfi said on the Bio Crescentino website. The refinery will produce 40,000 to 45,000 tons of ethanol a year from about 10 times that weight of a bamboo-like grass called Arundo Donax, it said.

The Crescentino project is a step toward commercializing second-generation biofuels, which aren't made from food crops, unlike conventional bio-ethanol. The plant, scheduled to open in 2012, will be 10 times the size of the largest trial facilities operating now, Novozymes A/S said in a statement.

The refinery "signals the dawn of a new green era," said Poul Ruben Andersen, marketing director of bioenergy at Bagsvaerd, Denmark-based Novozymes, which makes the enzymes needed to help create the fuel. "There is a cure for the world's addiction to fossil fuels."

Novozymes said the volume of fuel produced will amount to about 13 million gallons (50 million liters) a year.

When Arundo Donax isn't available, wheat stalks and rice husks will be used, Mossi & Ghisolfi said on the project's website. A biomass electricity plant on the same site will burn waste material to generate about 10 megawatts of electricity, according to the company.

Novozymes Chief Executive Officer Steen Riisgaard said in February that the market for cellulosic ethanol is set to ramp up from 2013, with London-based BP Plc (BP/) and Abengoa SA (ABG) of Spain planning U.S. plants by then, and refineries are also possible in Brazil and China.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.net; Gelu Sulugiuc at gsulugiuc@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net.


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-12/construction-begins-on-first-commercial-cellulosic-ethanol-plant-in-italy.html

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Germany joins with Lufthansa to sponsor jatropha trial



Further to Rainforest Rescue's email action earlier this year.
 
1.  From the Ecologist:
 



Germany joins up with Lufthansa to sponsor biofuel six times worse than fossil fuels
Campaigners are outraged over airline Lufthansa and German government funding for jatropha biofuels trial
read more...




Campaigners should support aviation industry biofuel trials
The aviation industry deserves credit for being proactive about looking for alternatives to fossil fuels, says Paul Steele from the Air Transport Action Group
read more...
 
 
2.  From Biofuels Digest:
 

Air Transport Action Group defends jatropha, sustainable biofuels process

Meghan Sapp | April 21, 2011 | 0 Comments
In Switzerland, the Air Transport Action Group is fighting back against an article in the Ecologist that claimed Germany, Lufthansa and the global airlines industry as a whole are supporting 'bad' biofuels by working to make jatropha a major feedstock for bio-based jetfuels.
The ATAG says that by working with the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels from the start and focusing on finding crops for fuel that can and will be grown responsibly since the industry does not have the luxury of reducing its GHG emissions through solar, wind and other renewable energies.
 
[Ends]
 
 

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New paper: The iLUC dilemma: How to deal with indirect land use changes when governing energy crops?



The iLUC dilemma: How to deal with indirect land use changes when governing energy crops?

Erik Gawela, Corresponding Author Contact Information, E-mail The Corresponding Author and Grit Ludwigb, E-mail The Corresponding Author

a Department of Economics, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Permoserstrasse 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany

b Department of Environmental and Planning Law, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Permoserstrasse 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany

Received 10 May 2010; 
revised 1 March 2011; 
accepted 1 March 2011. 
Available online 8 April 2011.

Abstract

Due to land use effects, bioenergy use may cause adverse effects on biodiversity, soil and water and may even fail to guarantee a GHG emissions reduction compared to fossil fuel use. Accounting methodologies and policy instruments were elaborated to prevent these effects, but there is still no sound and consensual methodology to take into account indirect land use change that substantially contributes to GHG emissions as well as a loss of biodiversity. While the iLUC hypothesis, that is the potentiality of adverse effects arising from indirect land use change related to biomass cultivation, is hardly subject to dispute, the quantification of these effects and especially their policy implications are however contentious. Hence, bioenergy policies worldwide face a dilemma: Neglecting iLUC effects that do in fact exist or taking them into account although no sound methodology is available? The article covers the current state of the discussion and also analyses the approaches developed for taking indirect land use change into account. Assessment criteria for coping with the iLUC dilemma are developed and policy recommendations are derived from that.

Highlights

► We analyze the approaches developed for including iLUC into bioenergy governance. ► We derive policy recommendations for bioenergy governance from that. ► Lowering pressure is currently the most practicable, effective and available option. ► The different models can help determine bioenergy targets and quotas.

Keywords: Land use change; Indirect land use change; Bioenergy; Biofuels policy; GHG accounting; Sustainability

Article Outline

Introduction: the iLUC hypothesis and the iLUC dilemma
Fundamental challenges of iLUC accounting
The problem of causality
The problem of measuring
The problem of remote attribution
The problem of governance
Approaches for governing iLUC-related bioenergy: an overview
Impact-related approach
Additional LUC sustainability requirements
Universal LUC requirements
International agreements
Product assignment approach
Model-based accounting
Schematic accounting
Signalling of origin
General governance approach
Lowering pressure
Information to the legislator
Current policy approaches
Assessment criteria for iLUC treatments
Assessment of the methods
Impact-related methods
Universal LUC requirements
International agreements
Product assignment methods
Model-based accounting
Schematic accounting
Signalling of origin
General governance methods
Lowering pressure
Information to the legislator
Discussion
Summary and conclusion
Acknowledgements
References



Corresponding Author Contact InformationCorresponding author. Tel.: +49 341 235 1940; fax: +49 341 235 451940.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VB0-52K1C2F-1&_user=100086&_coverDate=04%2F08%2F2011&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=gateway&_origin=gateway&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct=C000007538&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=100086&md5=ddbd5722db8cf15e4783aee475ad7d00&searchtype=a

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Poland launches Europe's first biomass trading platform



Reuters article below about 1 month old.  Also covered today in Financial Times (link only - http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/19915086-68a2-11e0-81c3-00144feab49a.html#axzz1K36Z17tl )

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/24/us-poland-polpx-biomass-idUSTRE72N3PT20110324

Poland's PolPX to add biomass, gas, coal trading

WARSAW | Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:42am EDT

(Reuters) - Polish Power Exchange (PolPX), the largest energy trading platform in Poland, said it aimed to launch Europe's first biomass trading platform and would also expand into natural gas and coal trading.

Dariusz Blizniak, deputy head of the exchange, said PolPX hoped the trading, due to start in April, would make up at least 15 percent of overall biomass sales for energy needs in Poland.

"As far as I know this is the first such venture in Europe," Blizniak said on Thursday. "We will be able to say that we met our goal when turnover on the market will make up for at least 15 percent of biomass being sold to energy companies."

Biomass at the moment is the biggest source of green energy in Poland, contributing some 56 percent of all renewable power produced in the biggest ex-communist European Union member.

The energy sector is estimated to have used 4.5 million tonnes of biomass in 2010.

PolPX estimates the market will increase to 18 million tonnes in 2017 and will be worth some 7.2 billion zlotys ($2.5 billion).

Natural gas trading, which the exchange is already working on, could be ready for launch as early as the start of 2012, Blizniak said, but a more cautious scenario would put the launch sometime in first half of 2012.

The coal market will be launched last, Blizniak added, with no date set yet.

PolPX is one of two energy trading platforms in Poland, with a rival exchange controlled by the Warsaw bourse GPW.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sugarcane cools climate



Note: this does not hold true if sugarcane displaces natural vegetation, directly or indirectly.
 
 
1.  http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-04/ci-scc041411.php
 
Public release date: 17-Apr-2011

[Contact]
 
Sugarcane cools climate

Palo Alto, CA—Brazilians are world leaders in using biofuels for gasoline. About a quarter of their automobile fuel consumption comes from sugarcane, which significantly reduces carbon dioxide emissions that otherwise would be emitted from using gasoline. Now scientists from the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology have found that sugarcane has a double benefit. Expansion of the crop in areas previously occupied by other Brazilian crops cools the local climate. It does so by reflecting sunlight back into space and by lowering the temperature of the surrounding air as the plants "exhale" cooler water. The study is published in the 2nd issue of Nature Climate Change, posted on-line April 17.
The research team,* led by Carnegie's Scott Loarie, is the first to quantify the direct effects on the climate from sugarcane expansion in areas of existing crop and pastureland of the cerrado, in central Brazil.
The researchers used data from hundreds of satellite images over 733,000 square miles—an area larger than the state of Alaska. They measured temperature, reflectivity (also called albedo), and evapotranspiration—the water loss from the soil and from plants as they exhale water vapor.
As Loarie explained: "We found that shifting from natural vegetation to crops or pasture results in local warming because the plants give off less beneficial water. But the bamboo-like sugarcane is more reflective and gives off more water—much like the natural vegetation. It's a potential win-win for the climate—using sugarcane to power vehicles reduces carbon emissions, while growing it lowers the local air temperature."
The scientists found that converting from natural vegetation to crop/pasture on average warmed the cerrado by 2.79 °F (1.55 °C), but that subsequent conversion to sugarcane, on average, cooled the surrounding air by 1.67 °F (0.93°C).
The researchers emphasize that the beneficial effects are contingent on the fact sugarcane is grown on areas previously occupied by crops or pastureland, and not in areas converted from natural vegetation. It is also important that other crops and pastureland do not move to natural vegetation areas, which would contribute to deforestation.
So far most of the thinking about ecosystem effects on climate considers only impacts from greenhouse gas emissions. But according to coauthor Greg Asner, "It's becoming increasingly clear that direct climate effects on local climate from land-use decisions constitute significant impacts that need to be considered core elements of human-caused climate change."
###

*Co-authors on the study are David Lobell of the Program for Food Security and the Environment at Stanford University, Gregory Asner and Christopher Field of Carnegie's Department of Global Ecology, and Qiaozhen Mu of the University of Montana. The work was made possible through the support of the Stanford University Global Climate and Energy Project.
The Department of Global Ecology was established in 2002 to help build the scientific foundations for a sustainable future. The department is located on the campus of Stanford University, but is an independent research organization funded by the Carnegie Institution. Its scientists conduct basic research on a wide range of large-scale environmental issues, including climate change, ocean acidification, biological invasions, and changes in biodiversity.
The Carnegie Institution for Science (www.carnegieScience.edu) has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research since 1902. It is a private, nonprofit organization with six research departments throughout the U.S. Carnegie scientists are leaders in plant biology, developmental biology, astronomy, materials science, global ecology, and Earth and planetary science.

 
2.  From http://planetark.com/enviro-news/item/61787
 
One advantage of sugarcane planting for biofuels in Brazil is that it shortens what is known as the carbon payback time.
This is a way of calculating how long it will take to get excess carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere after it is emitted, Loarie said.
"If we cut down a hectare of Amazon forest, how much carbon are we releasing into the atmosphere and how much time is it going to take before we take that carbon out of the atmosphere?" he said. "How long will it take us to make that back, to substitute fossil fuels with the renewable fuels we're going to grow?"
In places like the Amazon, he said, the carbon payback times can stretch to 60 years. But in much of Brazil, because sugarcane is such a productive form of energy, the carbon payback times are "only a couple of years," he said.
There are caveats to using sugarcane as fuel, even in Brazil. Growing sugarcane does not address questions of waning biodiversity or possible water scarcity, and would not necessarily be able to stretch across the country's central cerrado, or savanna, without irrigation.
 
 
3.  From http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20388-growing-sugarcane-could-help-cool-brazil.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news
 

Loarie says that if sugarcane is to be grown as a biofuel, it is better to convert farmland – although this leaves less land for growing food, raising prices. Timothy Searchinger of Princeton University says that might lead to more savannah being cleared for food crops, so local temperatures would rise, not fall – something Loarie also emphasises.

 
[Excerpt]
 
 

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Agricultural land prices hit record high



Agricultural land prices hit record high

Rising food prices have pushed up the price of arable land in parts of the UK, but life is tougher for livestock farmers

Agricultural land prices in Britain have hit record levels following the surge in global food prices, according to figures from Savills.
An acre of prime arable land in East Anglia is fetching up to £8,500 compared with around £3,000 in 2005, with demand driven by the dramatic increase in wheat prices over the past year. Last week, feed wheat was selling for nearly £200 a tonne, a 115% gain on the £93 a tonne price British farmers were achieving this time last year.

Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/apr/18/agricultural-land-prices-increase


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UN under pressure to denounce human rights abuses in CDM scheme



CDM Watch and FIAN


PRESS RELEASE: United Nations under Pressure to denounce Human Rights Abuses in Carbon Offsetting Scheme

 

Brussels, 18 April 2011. The United Nation's Clean Development Mechanism Executive Board has so far failed to respond to human rights abuses linked to a carbon offsetting project in Honduras that is currently pending registration. Environmental and Human Rights Groups are now demanding that the project be rejected from receiving funding under the offsetting scheme. They are also calling for an overhaul of the scheme to strip projects that violate human rights from the list of registered projects.

 

Background: The project under question has requested funding under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) an offsetting scheme set up under the United Nations' Kyoto Protocol. The project is located in the Bajo Aguan region in Honduras and intends to reduce emissions by collecting biogas from methane emissions and replacing fossil fuels utilized for heat generation in a mill of a palm oil plantation of Grupo Dinant's subsidiary Exportadora del Atlantico. In the context of the CDM it is a relatively small project, forecasting to reduce annually about 23000 tonnes carbon dioxide that could generate about 2.8 million US$ over the period February 2010 to January 2017.

 

CDM Project Developer Denounced for Human Rights Abuses

 

Last week the German public development bank DEG (Deutsche Entwicklungsgesellschaft) declared that it will not pay out an already approved loan to Grupo Dinant, the value of which Dinant owner Miguel Facussé reportedly put at $20 million USD. Following suite, also EDF Trading, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Electricité de France SA's and one of the biggest CDM investors, has pulled out from a contract to buy carbon credits from the project. These moves came as a response to findings in a recent report by a Fact-Finding Mission of several international human rights groups led by FIAN.

 

The report of the international human rights mission was submitted on 25 March 2011 to the Rapporteur for Honduras of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and confirms that 23 peasants have been killed between January 2010 and February 2011 in Bajo Aguan, Honduras. According to state attorneys, investigations of at least five of the killings are exclusively directed at private security forces contracted by a Facussé owned firm.

 

Government of United Kingdom Adheres to Approval of the Project

 

In a letter dated June 2009, the United Kingdom's CDM authority confirmed its voluntary participation in the Aguan project for EDF Trading. This step is required for the CDM project to sell its credits once registered. In March 2011, 76 organisations sent an Open Letter to the UK Government, urging them to withdraw their authorisation. In a response received on 14 April 2011, Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, rejected the demands to withdraw project authorisation based on current information available. He stated that he would ask the Honduran Government and EDF Trading for information and also ask the CDM Executive Board to investigate the case further.

 

"Based on the facts at hand we consider it unacceptable for the UK government to adhere to their approval of the project" commented Martin Wolpold-Bosien, FIAN coordinator for Central America "Chris Huhne's letter suggests that he will be guided by the Honduran government's views, yet this is a government widely considered to be illegitimate and one ultimately responsible for the impunity with which crimes like those in the Bajo Aguan land conflicts are being committed."

 

The CDM Executive Board is expected to assess the application of the Aguan project over the coming weeks with a final decision estimated at their next meeting to conclude on 3 June 2011.

 

Sustainable Development Criteria

 

The CDM Executive Board, the body that approves individual CDM projects, has stated that they have no mandate to investigate human rights abuses and that any matters related to the sustainable development of the project – one of the two official key requirements of the CDM – is determined by the government that hosts the project, in this case the de-facto government of Honduras.

 

"This places a crucial decision into the hands of a government that has obvious interests for the project to go ahead. It is therefore not surprising that so far no project has ever been rejected for non-compliance with the sustainable development criteria." said Eva Filzmoser, Programme Director of CDM Watch. She therefore commended EDF Trading's move as "a highly encouraging decision that prioritizes the protection of human rights over their economic benefits."

 

This was also echoed by the Carbon Markets & Investors Association that called in a press statement on 13 April 2011 that proven human rights abuses related to CDM projects be "rejected from the UN approval processes" and "requests all buyers, verifiers and other providers of CDM related services to immediately terminate their commercial relationship."

 

Overhaul of Carbon Offsetting Scheme Needed

 

"Reported human rights abuses related to CDM project activities have caused widespread dismay that human rights are not being taken seriously under the CDM" said Eva Filzmoser "The CDM Executive Board must take this issue seriously. If there are no rules in place that allow for the rejection of projects based on human rights abuses, it is time to change this now."

 

Environmental and Human Rights Groups are now calling on the CDM Executive Board to re-assess its mandate and find ways of preventing projects that are linked to violations of international laws from acquiring eligibility under the CDM. A stringent requirement for CDM auditors to check conformity with international human rights laws when validating projects would be an option. Moreover, the detection of non-conformities during the monitoring period, e.g. incidents that involve human rights violations, should lead to suspension of issuance and the project being stripped of CDM eligibility.

 

"Excluding carbon offset projects that fund human rights abuses from the CDM would only be a logical move given that responsible investors should not be interested in buying carbon credits from projects that violate UN conventions" Filzmoser added.

 

ENDS.

 

 

Supporting Documents for Download:

 

·         Spanish and German Versions of this Press Release.

·         Press Statement on 2011 International Mission's Preliminary Report on human rights violations in Bajo Aguán, 12 April 2011

·         Open Letter, signed by 76 Organisations to the UK Government, 4 February 2011

·         Response by UK Government, 14 April 2011

·         Letter to the CDM Executive Board, 5 January 2011

·         More information:

o    Honduras Palm Oil Plantations: Sustainable Development Facade

o    10 minute video documentary "Report from Land Occupations in Post-Coup Honduras"

 

 

About the CDM

 

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is a project-based flexible offset mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol that allows the crediting of emission reductions from greenhouse gas abatement projects in developing countries. The CDM has two purposes: it should assist developing countries in achieving sustainable development and help industrialised countries to reduce the costs of greenhouse gas abatement. Countries with a commitment under the Kyoto Protocol can use CERs to meet a part of their obligations under the Protocol. There are currently more than 2500 registered CDM projects in 58 countries, and about another 2500 projects in the project validation/registration pipeline. Based on estimates in submitted project design documents, the CDM could generate more than 2.9 billion certified emission reductions by the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012, each equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide.

 

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IT'S TIME TO OUTLAW LAND GRABBING, NOT TO MAKE IT "RESPONSIBLE"!



[STATEMENT] IT'S TIME TO OUTLAW LAND GRABBING, NOT TO MAKE IT "RESPONSIBLE"!

On 18-20 April 2011, a gathering of some 200 farmland investors, government officials and international civil servants will meet at the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC to discuss how to operationalise "responsible" large-scale land acquisitions. Over in Rome, the Committee on World Food Security, housed at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, is about to start a process of consultation on principles to regulate such deals. Social movements and civil society organisations (CSOs), on the other hand, are mobilising to stop land grabs, and undo the ones already coming into play, as a matter of utmost urgency. Why do the World Bank, UN agencies and a number of highly concerned governments insist on trying to promote these land grab deals as "responsible agricultural investments"?

Today's farmland grabs are moving fast. Contracts are getting signed, bulldozers are hitting the ground, land is being aggressively fenced off and local people are getting kicked off their territories with devastating consequences. While precise details are hard to come by, it is clear that at least 50 million hectares of good agricultural land – enough to feed 50 million families in India – have been transferred from farmers to corporations in the last few years alone, and each day more investors join the rush.[1] Some of these deals are presented as a novel way to meet food security needs of countries dependent on external markets to feed themselves, such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea or China. Others are bluntly exposed for what they really are: business deals and hot new profit opportunities. Despite the involvement of states, most of these transactions are between host governments and private corporations. Firms involved estimate that US$25 billion have already been committed globally, and boast that this figure will triple in a very near future.[2]

What is RAI?

Nervous about the potential political backlash from the current phase of land grabbing, a number of concerned governments and agencies, from Japan to the G-8, have stepped forward to suggest criteria that could make these deals acceptable. The most prominent among these is the World Bank-led Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment that Respect Rights, Livelihoods and Resources (RAI). The RAI were jointly formulated by the World Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).[3] They consist of seven principles that investors may wish to voluntarily subscribe to when conducting large-scale farmland acquisitions (see box). It is noteworthy that the RAI principles were never submitted for approval to the governing bodies of these four institutions.

RAI (or seven principles for "win-win" landgrabbing):

1. Land and resource rights: Existing rights to land and natural resources are recognised and respected.

2. Food security: Investments do not jeopardise food security, but rather strengthen it.

3. Transparency, good governance and enabling environment: Processes for accessing land and making associated investments are transparent, monitored, and ensure accountability.

4. Consultation and participation: Those materially affected are consulted and agreements from consultations are recorded and enforced.

5. Economic viability and responsible agro-enterprise investing: Projects are viable in every sense, respect the rule of law, reflect industry best practice, and result in durable shared value.

6. Social sustainability: Investments generate desirable social and distributional impacts and do not increase vulnerability.

7. Environmental sustainability: Environmental impacts are quantified and measures taken to encourage sustainable resource use, while minimising and mitigating the negative impact.

The main RAI pushers (since 2009):

EU, FAO, G8, G20, IFAD Japan, Switzerland, UNCTAD, US, World Bank

In April 2010, some 130 organisations and networks from across the world, including some of the most representative alliances of farmers, pastoralists and fisherfolk, denounced the RAI initiative. Their statement debunked RAI as a move to try to legitimise land grabbing and asserted that facilitating the long-term corporate (foreign and domestic) takeover of rural people's farmlands is completely unacceptable no matter which guidelines are followed.[4]

This statement was endorsed by many more groups and social movements from around the world following its release. Shortly after, the UN's Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food publicly criticised RAI for being "woefully inadequate" and said, "It is regrettable that, instead of rising to the challenge of developing agriculture in a way that is more socially and environmentally sustainable, we act as if accelerating the destruction of the global peasantry could be accomplished responsibly."[5]

In September 2010, the World Bank released its much anticipated report about large-scale land acquisitions. After two years of research, the Bank could not find any convincing examples of "wins" for poor communities or countries, only a long list of losses. In fact, companies and governments involved in the land deals refused to share information about their transactions with the Bank, so it relied instead on a website (farmlandgrab.org) managed by the CSO GRAIN for its data. Even though the report noted the lack of consultation behind the RAI initiative, the Bank still advocated RAI as the solution.

Despite the RAI framework's serious credibility problem, the CFS debated a motion on whether or not to endorse it in October 2010. Some governments, such as the US and Japan were in favour. Others, including South Africa, Egypt on behalf of the Near East group and China, expressed strong opposition due to lack of an appropriate consultative process. A coalition of movements and organisations released a detailed critique of the RAI framework and principles prior to the CFS meeting.[6] This catalysed rural social movements, particularly those affiliated with the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC), and other civil society groups to call on the CFS to reject RAI. In the end, the CFS did not endorse RAI, agreeing only to pursue an inclusive process to consider it.

By the end of 2010, it looked as though the high-level push for socially acceptable or "win-win" land grabbing was floundering. Social movements and other CSOs, meanwhile, continued to build popular opposition to RAI. At the World Social Forum in Dakar in February 2011, farmers' movements, and human rights, social justice and environmental organisations gathered to share experiences and consolidate their struggles against land grabbing without the distraction of this code of conduct nonsense, and launched a public appeal to reject RAI and resist land grabbing that continues to gather support.[7]

The RAI proponents, however, refuse to give up.

The CFS Bureau is currently discussing a proposal for a process of consultation on RAI.[8] An initial draft circulated for comment drew sharp criticism from social movements and CSOs. The IPC stated that it will oppose a process whose main focus is to try to alleviate the negative impacts of large-scale land acquisitions and endorse RAI. Instead, it argued, the CFS should first analyse if RAI is the adequate response to the problems on the ground and re-focus the discussion on the question of what kind of agricultural investment is needed to overcome hunger and support small-scale farmers, particularly women. The IPC further recommended that the CFS stop using the term RAI because it is heavily associated with land grabbing, not investment. But the four agencies behind RAI seem keen to push on.

The World Bank has just released the programme for this year's annual conference on land and poverty at its Washington DC headquarters.[9] RAI is at the very heart of the discussions. The Bank's main goal now is to start "operationalising" RAI by building on experiences of other "corporate social responsibility" (CSR) schemes such as the Roundtables on Responsible Soy, Sustainable Palm Oil and Sustainable Biofuels, as well as the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative.[10]

In the meantime, countries are scrambling to contain growing opposition to the global land rush. With all the talk of "win-win" outcomes ringing hollow against the reality of impacts of these deals on local communities, smallholder agricultural producers and workers, some governments, such as Argentina, Brazil and New Zealand, are responding with promises of legislation to cap or discipline foreigners' abilities to acquire domestic farmland. Others, such as Cambodia, Ethiopia and Ghana, are using legal and brute force to suppress local contestation. In the run-up to the 2012 elections in Mali, the opposition Party for National Renewal has challenged President Touré to disclose all details of land leases amounting to several hundred thousands of irrigated hectares granted in the Office du Niger. In Sudan, the most "land grabbed" country in Africa, villagers are now rising up against the government in Khartoum for having seized their lands.

What is wrong with RAI

The push for RAI is not about facilitating investment in agriculture. It is about creating an illusion that by following a set of standards, large-scale land acquisitions can proceed without disastrous consequences to peoples, communities, ecosystems and the climate. This is false and misleading. RAI is an attempt to cover up power imbalances so that the land grabbers and state authorities who make the deals can get what they want. Farmers, pastoralists and fisherfolk, after all, are not asking for their lands to be sold off or leased away!

Land grabbing forecloses vast stretches of lands and ecosystems for current and future use by peasants, indigenous peoples, fisherfolk and nomads, thus seriously jeopardising their rights to food and livelihood security. It captures whatever water resources exist on, below and around these lands, resulting in the de facto privatisation of water. The violation of international human rights law is an intrinsic part of land grabbing through forced evictions, the silencing (and worse) of critics, the introduction of non-sustainable models of land use and agriculture that destroy natural environments and deplete natural resources, the blatant denial of information, and the prevention of meaningful local participation in political decisions that affect people's lives. No set of voluntary principles will remedy these facts and realities. Nor can they be misconstrued and presented as public policy or state regulation.

Land grabs, which target 20% profit rates for investors, are all about financial speculation. This is why land grabbing is completely incompatible with ensuring food security: food production can only bring profits of 3-5%. Land grabbing simply enhances the commodification of agriculture whose sole purpose is the over-remuneration of speculative capital.

There are some who believe that promoting transparency in land acquisition deals can somehow lead to "win-win" outcomes. However, even if done "transparently," the transfer of large tracts of land, forests, coastal areas and water sources to investors is still going to deprive smallholder farmers, pastoralists, fisherfolk and other local communities from crucial, life sustaining resources for generations to come. In many countries, there is an urgent need to strengthen systems that protect land tenure of peasants and small-scale food producers, and many social movements have been fighting for recognition of their rights to land for many years. The RAI principles will make any progress on agrarian reform or land rights meaningless.

Why We Oppose the Principles for

As for the big private players themselves, RAI can only amount to another feather in their "CSR" cap, a public relations act that they can point to when convenient. In the real world, they will continue to rely on bilateral trade and investment agreements, legal loopholes, compliant states, political risk insurance schemes and support from international institutions that promote RAI, to protect their interests and save them from any financial pain or responsibility.

The problem is obvious. These agribusiness projects – from the 100,000 hectare Malibya deal in the Office du Niger, Mali, to the 320,000 hectare Beidahuang Group deal in Rio Negro, Argentina – do great harm and are profoundly illegitimate. Trying to compensate for this absence of legitimacy by getting investors to adhere to a few principles is deceitful.

Invest in food sovereignty!

RAI is out of step with the times. The whole approach to so-called agricultural development that it embodies – a greenhouse gas pumping, fossil fuel guzzling, biodiversity depleting, water privatising, soil eroding, community impoverishing, genetically modified seed-dependent production system – belongs in the 20th century rubbish heap of destructive, unsustainable development. Just as our Arab sisters and brothers have been breaking the shackles of old regimes to recover their dignity and space for self-determination, we need to break the shackles of the corporate agriculture and food system.

Rather than be codified and sanctioned, land grabbing must be immediately stopped and banned. This means that parliaments and national governments should urgently suspend all large-scale land transactions,[11] rescind the deals already signed, return the misappropriated lands to communities and outlaw land grabbing. Governments must also stop oppressing and criminalising peoples for defending their lands and release detained activists.

We reiterate the demands made repeatedly by social movements, CSOs and numerous academics to urgently implement actions agreed at the 2006 International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development – the most authoritative and consensual multilateral framework for land and natural resources – as well as the conclusions of the 2008 International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development. We equally call on the CFS to adopt the FAO Guidelines on the Governance of Land and Natural Resources which are strongly rooted in human rights law so that they can be effectively used to protect and fulfill the rights to land and natural resources of all rural and urban constituencies at national and international levels.

It is obvious to us that a broad consensus has grown over the past several years around the real solutions to hunger, the food crisis and climate chaos, namely that.

- peasant agriculture, family farming, artisanal fishing and indigenous food procurement systems that are based on ecological methods and short marketing circuits are the ways forward toward sustainable, healthy and livelihood-enhancing food systems;

- production, distribution and consumption systems must radically change to fit the carrying capacity of the earth;

- new agricultural policies that respond to the needs, proposals and direct control of small-scale food producers have to replace the current top-down, corporate-led, neoliberal regimes; and

- genuine agrarian and aquatic reform programmes have to be carried through to return land and ecosystems to local communities.[12]

This is the path to food sovereignty and justice, quite the opposite of "responsible" land grabbing. And we will continue to push and fight for it with many allies the world over.

17 April 2011

&#9642; Centro de Estudios para el Cambio en el Campo Mexicano (Study Centre for Change in the Mexican Countryside)

&#9642; FIAN International

&#9642; Focus on the Global South

&#9642; Friends of the Earth International

&#9642; Global Campaign on Agrarian Reform

&#9642; GRAIN

&#9642; La Via Campesina

&#9642; Land Research Action Network

&#9642; Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos (Social Network for Justice and Human Rights)

&#9642; World Alliance of Mobile Indigenous Peoples (WAMIP)

&#9642; World Forum of Fisher Peoples

[1] In 2010, the World Bank reported that 47 million hectares were leased or sold off worldwide in 2009 alone while the Global Land Project calculated that 63 million hectares changed hands in just 27 countries of Africa. See "New World Bank report sees growing global demand for farmland", World Bank, Washington DC, 7 September 2010, http://farmlandgrab.org/post/view/15309, and Cecilie Friis & Anette Reenberg, "Land grab in Africa: Emerging land system drivers in a teleconnected world", GLP Report No. 1, The Global Land Project, Denmark, August 2010, http://farmlandgrab.org/post/view/14816, respectively.

[2] See High Quest Partners, "Private financial sector investment in farmland and agricultural infrastructure", OECD, Paris, August 2010, http://farmlandgrab.org/post/view/16060.

[3] The four agencies have also created an internet-based knowledge platform to exchange information about RAI. See http://www.responsibleagroinvestment.org/

[4] "Stop land grabbing now! Say NO to the principles on responsible agro-enterprise investment promoted by the World Bank", available online at http://www.landaction.org/spip/spip.php?article553

[5] "Responsibly destroying the world's peasantry" by Olivier de Schutter, Brussels, 4 June 2010, http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/deschutter1/English

[6] "Why we oppose the principles for responsible agricultural investment", available at http://www.landaction.org/spip/spip.php?article570

[7] See "Dakar appeal against the land grab", which is open for endorsement by organisations until 1 June 2011: http://www.petitiononline.com/dakar/petition.html.

[8] See http://cso4cfs.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/proposal-for-consultation-process-on-rai-principles.pdf

[9] See http://go.worldbank.org/YJM5ENXKI0.

[10] For background see John Lamb, "Sustainable Commercial Agriculture, Land and Environmental (SCALE) management initiative: Achieving a global consensus on good policy and practices", World Bank, July 2009, http://farmlandgrab.org/post/view/7649.

[11] By this we mean, taking possession of and/or controlling a scale of land for commercial and/or industrial agricultural production which is disproportionate in size in comparison to the average land holding in the region.

[12] This consensus is reflected in the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter. His March 2011 report on agroecology and the right to food captures a large body of today's public opinion on how to move forward. See http://www.srfood.org/index.php/en/component/content/article/1-latest-news/1174-report-agroecology-and-the-right-to-food.

www.focusweb.org/content/its-time-outlaw-land-grabbing-not-make-it-responsible

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