Mexico: Hopeful end to Cancun climate talks
Two long weeks of climate negotiations ended recently in Cancun, Mexico. Following on from the cautious success of the biodiversity summit in Nagoya, Japan the finale of Cancun has also given hope to environmental campaigners around the world.
Some of the most significant progress seems to have been around the eternally problematic REDD negotiations. To many REDD (reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) represents the only realistic way the global community will save the rainforests from demise by paying poor countries with rainforest to protect them.
To others including Simon Counsell, executive director of the Rainforest Foundation UK, REDD provides no more than another opportunity to badly manage huge pots of international money, and encourage even deeper corruption. There are also big questions over the policing of any such scheme that's hoping to operate in some of the last great wildernesses on earth. There is also maddening confusion over the UN's definition of what a forest is as Counsell explains: "Bizarrely, the UN's definition of "forests" includes many things that actually cause their destruction, such as plantations of oil palm and fast-growing exotic tree species, which often replace natural forest."
But not everyone agrees with this analysis. In a recent commentary for mongabay.com Doug Boucher, director of the Tropical Forest and Climate Initiative at the Union of Concerned Scientists, argues that deforestation has dropped over the past few years, that REDD is succeeding based on real case studies emerging from places like Brazil, and importantly it "can be compatible with strong economic growth and progress on social justice."
Botanic Gardens Conservation International, and many other organisations, have been cautiously celebrating since the COP10 negotiations closed in Nagoya five days ago.
After seeming to stall half way through the negotiations the finale of Nagoya ended on a high note as firm commitments have been made by the 195 participating countries and, importantly, the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) has been strengthened.