Norway as key global forest carbon donor

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s surprise announcement at the Climate Summit in Bali, December 2007 to commit up to NOK 3 billion a year over the next several years for Reduced Emissions for Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) projects turned Norway into a leading global forestry donor overnight. Though handled by the Environment Ministry, Norwegian REDD initiatives are funded out of the aid budget and are, in principle, subject to the standards and limitations of other ODA projects. Our coverage has focused on development perspectives related to the Norwegian Forest and Climate Initiative.

Norway’s REDD funding – while audacious and ambitious – has from an aid perspective resulted in a number of perverse effects. Support for “new” countries like Papua New Guinea and Guyana is exacerbating the fragmentation of the Norwegian aid portfolio. Brazil, a country on the doorstep to OECD membership, is to receive massive Norwegian aid funding in exchange for reduced deforestation. Brazil becomes a major recipient of Norwegian aid, surpassing some of the poorest countries in Africa. Indeed, growing REDD funding has been instrumental in allowing Norway to exceed the long-elusive 1 per cent of GNI aid level. Meanwhile, as the overall aid budget has grown dramatically since 2007, aid to traditional recipients has remained flat.

Development Today has also focused on the sensitive matter of the rights of forest peoples whose livelihoods are linked to the forest’s survival. Norway has been an outspoken defender of indigenous people’s rights in the climate negotiations leading up to the Climate Summit in Copenhagen. This is partly a reflection of pressure from the forest peoples' advocacy group Rainforest Foundation Norway, whose proposal in September 2007 inspired the Norwegian REDD programme. However, when pushed on the issue, Norway has shown reluctance to make recognition of forest people’s rights a condition of its REDD funding. And as our coverage has shown, deep contradictions exist between the Norwegian rhetoric on forest peoples in the context of REDD, and Norway’s hard line position on indigenous peoples when it comes to commercial hydropower interests.

Here is an overview headlines:

• Stoltenberg initiates global forest climate group (Read)
• UN REDD channels Norwegian funds through corruption-tainted ministry (Read)
• Norway ‘speaks with two tongues’ on indigenous peoples’ rights (Read)
• Norway holds back Africa aid to finance climate and refugees (Read)
• Rainforest Foundation impatient with Norway’s climate spending (Read)
• Fastest growth for Rainforest Foundation, WWF (Read)
• Green Resources receives IFC, Norwegian support (Read)
• Global crises, tiny aid: Why is aid still so important? (Read)
• Forest dwellers on shaky legal ground in Indonesian REDD (Read)
• Norway seeks Nordic backing for UN forest aid (Read)
• Up to NOK 175m in NGO forest climate funding (Read)
• Solheim: indigenous people’s rights in Norwegian forest aid (Read)
• Putting reigns on logging in exchange for forest aid (Read)
• No conditionality. Minister refuses to link forest aid to forest people’s rights (Read)
• NOK 200m for UN for avoided deforestation (Read)
• Brazil to become top Norwegian aid recipient overnight (Read)
• Experts warn: massive carbon forestry aid could hurt poor (Read)
• Norway explores funding models in growing forest aid portfolio (Read)
• Green Resources AS aims for REDD market (Read)
• Tanzania forest aid to benefit Norwegian companies, agencies (Read)
• No silver bullet for combating deforestation (Read)
• Stoltenberg promises NOK 3 billion for forests (Read)
• Rainforest Foundation’s campaign misleading (Read)

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