Green growth in Myanmar: an emerging democracy’s vision for future development

“Change is coming to Myanmar — the Southeast Asian country formerly known as Burma — at a rapid pace. With a burgeoning influx of outside interests looking to tap into Myanmar’s newly accessible resource wealth, the government faces some challenging choices: how to achieve its stated objective of green growth, while balancing the needs of foreign investors, preserving the environment and maintaining rural development.” –  Aaron Russell, of CIFOR, reflects on Myanmar’s aspirations for ‘Green Growth’, following his attendance at the Green Economy Green Growth Forum organized by GEGG Myanmar Association on November 14, 2012 at the Myanmar International Convention Center. Click here to read more of what Aaron has to say.

RECOFTC  was one of the participants in the forum, and Dr. Tint Lwin Thaung held a well attended parallel session on ‘Forests and People for Sustainability and Equity’ for the forum.

REDD+ developers hesitant to talk carbon to local communities, experts say

This article was originally posted on CIFOR Forests Blog on 2 December, 2011 by Leony Aurora.

DURBAN, South Africa (2 December, 2011)_Many REDD+ developers are hesitant to inform local communities about the global forest carbon scheme to avoid raising expectations that could not be fulfilled if long-term financing fails to materialise, experts said.

The tendency from developers to hold off on carbon information is understandable considering the “stuttering” of a decision on whether there will be REDD+ financing in the future, said Jim Stephenson, Program Officer at the Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC) at an event held as part of the UN climate summit in Durban.

Still, “if you don’t mention REDD+, how can you carry out full FPIC activity?” he said, referring to free, prior and informed consent from local communities.

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It’s Official: Local People Hold the key

The growing prominence of REDD in the negotiations has made CIFOR’s annual Forest Day an increasingly important draw for negotiators and assorted dignitaries. On Sunday, Forest Day 3 glorified in the presence of four Nobel prize winners, no less, and a recorded address from Bill Clinton.

The opening plenary addresses were very promising. I was delighted, in particular, with Gro Harlem Brundtland’s analysis. Some of her comments were very familiar:
“Unlocking the potential of forests to climate change mitigation is a major opportunity for leadership at COP15.”
“Involving local people is a moral and formal obligation, and the ONLY WAY TO MAKE REDD+ WORK.”

Perhaps she’s been reading our materials.

Wangari Maathai at Forest Day 3

Or perhaps (and I am seeing encouraging evidence of this at COP15), RECOFTC’s message is becoming mainstream.

Less surprising, but equally satisfying, was Elinor Ostrom’s testimony. I would specifically like to draw attention to her language on the issue of trust. The promise of local peoples’ contribution to monitoring forest resources in the long term, and thus to the generation of information required for REDD to be a credible mitigation strategy, requires trust between them, their representatives, and their governments over a long time horizon. And this trust must work both ways.

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