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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Tanzania readies for Cancun climate change summit

30th November 2010

Tanzanian delegates are currently taking part in the negotiating process in Cancun, Mexico, ahead of the high level climate change summit, where the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) topic, is expected to dominate the discussions.

Information gathered about the preliminary discussions said, the civil society organisations (CSO’s) are concerned about the lack of effective communication between the government and the national REDD taskforce.

The CSOs therefore specifically urge the government to push for an environmental, human rights and scientifically sound agenda.

“It is so important that civil societies be heard in this process, and I hope that our Tanzanian delegates will take notice of our position, as we are offering advice based on learned experience," said Dr. Steven Kiruswa, Maasai Steppe Heartland Director for the African Wildlife Foundation.

The CSO’s position is calling for the prioritisation of the protection of natural forests over plantations, global targets for the reduction of deforestation and a commitment to develop guidelines for measuring, reporting and verifying environmental and social safeguards along with measuring carbon reductions.

It also calls for the protection of human rights by claiming that any agreement must get full and effective involvement of all stakeholders in the national REDD strategy development, as well as to guarantee the rights of local communities, as forest policies would have significant impacts on forest dependent people.

“CSOs, particularly those who are already working on the ground to implement REDD, recognise that there is potentially a lot at stake in Cancun in regards to REDD. Therefore, I am very happy that we have joined together to develop a position on REDD for Cancun, which we hope the meeting will consider and support,” said Pancras Ngalason, Executive Director of the Jane Goodall Institute Tanzania.

The position also states that national and regional-level monitoring of deforestation must be allowed, as this would help decentralise REDD, while ensuring sound reporting and verification systems.

In an effort to advocate for an equitable, scientifically sound and environmental international REDD agreement, a group of civil societies organisations developed a position for the REDD negotiations.

The position is being released just days before the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s sixteenth Conference of the Parties set to begin in Cancun, Mexico.

Eight CSOs have signed onto the position, including all the REDD pilot projects that are currently being implemented in the country.

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