REDD signals!

Aditya Acharya and Mahesh Poudel

Published in The Kathmandu Post. This link – http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2018-03-27/redd-signals.html

Mar 27, 2018
It was discovered that deforestation and forest land degradation contribute to 17 percent of the worldwide carbon emissions which is a major factor of the current global warming phenomenon. So, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation was seen as one of the major issues to address this phenomenon. Conceived initially as RED (reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries), the current state of REDD+ was formalized during the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bali, Indonesia in 2007. The concept is to allow the developed countries (Annex 1 countries of the UNFCCC) to offset their emissions by providing financial incentives for the projects in developing countries (non-Annex 1 countries of the UNFCCC) that reduce emissions by preventing deforestation and degradation.

The formal term now is REDD+ which is an extension of REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest land degradation); an addition of three other components, forest conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in the later. REDD is the mechanism to curb emissions and UN-REDD is the program of the United Nations (UN) that assists the participating countries for the REDD readiness. And the UN_REDD program has 64 partner countries; 28 in Africa, 19 in Asia Pacific and 17 in Latin America and the Carribean.

Corruption in the partners

The Transparency International (TI) last month (February) published the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) Report for 2017 which shows the perceived level of public sector corruptions in 180 countries around the world. Of the 64 partner countries of the UN REDD program, 57 (89%) of them have the CPI score of less than 50 out of 100, zero score being the most corrupt and 100 the cleanest. Fifty five out of those 64 (86%) have the CPI score of less than the global average score of 43.07. Only 5 (7.8%) of them have the CPI score of more than 43.07 and 4 of them are not scored. Bhutan and Chile are the least corrupt countries among those 64 countries with an equal score of 67 and Costa Rica is the second one with a score of 59. Can we really be optimistic about the success of the mechanism that works among the most corrupt countries of the world? Is carbon finance fair and effective? The TI writes – “Sadly, many of the world’s most densely forested countries have a poor track record for corruption. In the current global economy, trees are worth a lot more cut down than they are in the ground, and politicians have been known to accept bribes – sometimes huge – to grant companies access to forest zones that should be protected.

Safeguards

There are seven safeguards which were adopted at COP 16 in 2010 in Cancun, Mexico (hence called Cancun safeguards) keeping in mind the potential risks that might arise during the REDD implementation, which also includes ‘Transparent and effective national forest governance structures, taking into account national legislation and sovereignty’. Just to remind, these countries are corrupt not because they don’t have good laws and policies but because the corrupt bureaucracy, the politicians as well as people there easily outsmart them. If the safeguards would really work, those countries should never be so corrupt. Yes, if the countries fail to meet the safeguards, they will not be paid. That is fine. But what about the billions of dollars already invested in REDD readiness then? Will that all be ‘water poured in the sand’?

There are so many complex, technical aspects included that even a well-educated person cannot completely understand. And the indigenous people of those countries, where the literacy percentage is also very low, are expected to fully trust the corrupt bureaucracy in their countries to deliver them the benefits of keeping the forests safe!

What should be done?

It is not that no works should be done in those countries fearing corruption but alternative ways of reducing the emissions should be sought. One confusing thing is – how the REDD benefits the environment when the developed countries can emit the same amount of GHGs as sequestered by the developing countries under REDD mechanism, just by paying them money!? This is not to mean that the developing countries should be allowed to deforest or degrade the forest land but that the developed countries should not be allowed to emit as much carbon as they want just by paying money. Is it the money or the reduction in GHG emissions that actually matters for developing countries? Why can’t the developing countries pressurize the developed ones to reduce as much carbon emissions as they sequester rather than asking for the payments? That way, the changing climate will have double benefits.

Either money that is going to the developing countries should be invested in the developed countries itself reducing emissions to an amount that developing ones are likely to sequester or corruption in the developing countries should be highly reduced. Otherwise, there are no green signals for REDD.

 The Kathmandu Post - REDD Signals

Epaper link – http://epaper.ekantipur.com/the-kathmandu-post/2018-03-27/6

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Ice skating, skiing > all for the first time

Two weeks ago, I went for ice skating for the first time. Needless to say, I fall down many times before I became able to balance myself and stand up still with those skates.

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Ice skating in Joensuu areena, with batchmates

[The title of the video is written so only for fun]

Yesterday, I went for cross country skiing for the first time, with batchmates Balazs, Simon, Jose (Pepe) and Prakash dai. [Let’s say ‘our Latolankatu gang’ :)] It so happened that, the day we planned to go for skiing coincided with the years coldest day on record: -18 degrees.

 

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And today, we were only two of us – Balazs and me – interested to go. But the temperature was even lower than yesterday, -22 degrees, and our plan was to ski for a longer time than yesterday!! After a certain point, I decided to take a shorter path to go back while Balazs chose a longer one. I was quite worried if I would get lost in the middle of the forest in freezing cold but I realized that we were meeting local skiers quite often and I thought that I would ask them if I felt that I got lost. And I let Balazs go… ! 🙂 Yes, I had a map on my mobile phone, but the sad part is that I could not take my hands out of the gloves for more than 1-2 minutes. And I could not do that frequently (the -22 degrees cold!)

My hands were nearly cold burnt (or I felt so) by the time I got back home. And Balazs was a so regretting later, that he decided to take the longer way :).

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The difference in ice skating and skiing I experienced is that – balancing the body is harder in skating and moving forward is harder in cross country skiing.

[Photos and videos by – Aditya, Balazs, Simon, Pepe and Prakash]

That Footpath University!

I was rambling in the streets of Kathmandu when a stray dog started leading my way one day.

I got confused. “Did he know that I was like him; nothing to do, nowhere to go?”

I decided to follow him. Yes, I said I decided to follow a stray dog. Because I was like him.

After some five minutes, the dog stopped, turned his head back, raised his eyes up to mine, blinked once and resumed his journey again. Maybe he was glad that he found a partner! I kept following him.

Sometime later, a next dog from the verandah of a house barked towards him. There was no reason. As soon as he saw, he started barking.

“Why should he bark towards a being same as him? Son of a bitch! (Pardon me here; I really meant to offend him but how was a dog offended when he was said a son of a bitch. He was the son of a bitch indeed) Maybe he should have learnt this elitist manner from his owner” I thought. “Just because he is sitting on a sofa inside a house, he thinks he is superior? Otherwise, why should that elite dog bark without any reason?”

I wished I could understand their language and know what that elite dog barked for! But my partner did not care. He did his dog-business at one of the corners of the gate and moved. And I loved that.

He always became the leader and me, the follower. I would advance for a short time when he stopped for his dog-business but he would leave me behind in no time. It went on like that until he saw some other dogs playing on a ground, and twisted his move towards them.

Oh, I had thought that he was just wandering, nowhere to go. Like me. But he had an aim? An aim to reach to his companions?

He moved towards them and they discussed something I did not understand.

Did you really have an aim?” I wished to ask.

Has he headed here? Has he really aimed this location or just because he meets someone to get engaged with, he’s stopping here? Is that why he did not argue with that elite dog who barked at him? Because he knows that he wouldn’t reach his destination in time if he started debating with each of the dogs that bark at him?” Again, I wished I could understand and speak their language.

Will I ever find some place/people to get engaged with? Like this dog?

I just leant against a wall and watched them with a blank mind for a long time. None of them cared my presence.

Being ignored by somebody who you think cares you is the worst feeling.

Some swallows flew over my head. I shifted my gaze towards them. My eyes swooped with them in the sky for a long time.

I heard some giggles. I turned around. On the other side of the road, just beyond the footpath, there was a park, The Fiction Park. A couple was laying down facing towards the sky. She raised her hand and pointed towards the sky. He did the same. I looked up to see what it was. There was only a moon in the deep blue sky, smiling. Maybe because the moon also heard their plans she was smiling. I smiled with the moon for some time. But I could not stop from bursting into laughter for long. The couple stood up and moved away.

I heard a faint, flute melody far away. But that faded in no time. Maybe, the gust of the wind that just passed away brought it!

I turned towards the swooping swallows. But they also had already flown out of sight.

“Oh, where am I going?” I got confused.

“Ah, I was following him. The dog. Where would a derelict go!”  But now, the dog had met his companions. When he met his companions, why would he give a damn care to me! He did not even turn back to look at me now. I expected that he, at least, turned towards me once, and felt sorry that he was no longer my friend.

I was alone. Left alone even by a stray dog!

Nobody cares a derelict. Not even stray dogs!

There was no point in staying there. There was no point in leaving the place either because I had nowhere to go. But I did not feel like staying in the place where I was being ignored even by stray dogs. I moved. Moved towards a place I found yesterday, nearby a temple, where I could sleep comfortably and could even get something to eat if the prayers were kind enough like the day before.

Representative photo; from Rajana’s blog

But, to my great surprise, the dog came following me. I became speechless. Even if I had something to say, he would not understand. This time, he only followed me. If I stopped, he would stop and look up at my eyes and down to the ground as if he was looking for something around. I kept leading and he kept following me until we reached my destination this time. There was nobody. I lay down. I saw the moon again. I recalled the couple’s plans and laughed again. The dog sat beside my feet.

Sometime later, in the evening, I got two loaves of bread from a prayer. I gave one to the dog and ate one. Had I not given him a single piece, he would have neither demanded, nor protested. I just felt like giving a whole. I didn’t know why. That was all for our dinner that day. And we slept.

Early in the morning, the dog got up. I got up. He looked at me as if he was ready.

Does he want to go for a morning walk?

He had already reached quite far when he turned back and looked at me. “Aren’t you coming?”

I began to follow.

“Hey! Jungey, wait!” I heard like someone calling me. I turned back. There was a fat man jogging hastily.

“How did this man know my name? I don’t think I have seen him before. I don’t even know who named me Jungey. Who is this man actually?” I stood still, confused and waited for him.

But to my disbelief, the man jogged past me even without looking at me once. “What the hell is going on here? I am cent percent sure that he called my name and even waved at me to stop. Is he sane?”

But he left me behind and kept jogging. He reached to the dog, who I was following, picked him up and held in his arms, patted and spoke in a quite scolding voice, walking, “Why did you leave home, you rascal?”

There was nobody to lead my way.

एउटा नुनिलाे कविता !

जबजब तरकारीमा नुन लाग्दैन

सम्झन्छु हजुरबाकाे यहि भान्छाकाेठा

तर अाश्चर्य,

ठ्याक्कै त्यहि बेला थाहा चाहिँ कसरी हुन्छ हजुरबालार्इ

कि नातीले बिलिनाे तरकारी खाँदै छ भनेर ?

पठार्इदिनलार्इ प्रत्येक पटक

मेरा अाँखामा नुन !??

Kitchen home

A short Tall-inn tour

[Hover over the album to see all photos]

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That was a very short tour. We had only two days. So we decided to spend one afternoon in Helsinki and the other day in Tallinn, the Estonian Capital.

There were other three batchmates; two from Nepal and one from Vietnam. Altogether we were four.

We boarded the early train to Helsinki on Saturday, 13.10.2018, from Joensuu. Thinking we could talk to each other easily during the travel, we reserved the face-to-face seats. When we reached inside our coach/cabin, the seats were face-to-face seats, but two of them were on the left side of the aisle facing forward and two on the right facing backwards. 😂 We did not notice how the seats were arranged, but only looked for the face-to-face seats!! And that was that.

In Helsinki, we met a colleague of one of our friends, who has been living there for many years. He guided us to the most worth visiting places in Helsinki. All thanks to him we did not need to spend much time finding the sites we had planned to visit.

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@ The Amos Rex museum in Helsinki; with Tom

In the evening, we boarded a ship from the port of Helsinki. After spending half an hour inside the cabin, I thought of going out and watching the Baltic sea. Envisioning the Titanic scene in mind – hair fluttering in the wind – I went towards the back of the ship. But as soon as I stepped out of the door, the wind nearly blew me away!!😂  Anyway, the first experience with the ship also became memorable.

The next day, in Tallinn, our main aim was exploring The Old Town; a UNESCO world heritage site. We collected the town map from the Port of Tallinn and started our journey.

In the afternoon, while we were sitting near a park and trying to figure a route to a museum (or church, I forget), a quinquagenarian lady came nearby and informed us that we could find beautiful girls in Tallinn :). She also asked where we came from and some other things. We did not care about her presence that much, so she moved away. But later, when we were ready to move, we saw her sitting on a bench nearby. I just went to her and asked about the specific area that beautiful girls could be found (actual intention in asking was not on finding such area). She told that it was quite far and we had to go by bus/metro. She showed the bus/metro route in our map and told that she could take us up to the station if we gave her some beer. Now we knew the story behind her information on beautiful girls.

In the afternoon, we had to go to the McDonald’s and eat something before using their restroom because we could not find public restrooms. Later we found one in the Tammsaare park which cheated us. We inserted the coin but it neither let us open the door nor returned our coin. 😂 (Maybe that was not functional. But we did not know)

The WC that cheated us!

And in the evening, we returned to the port of Tallinn and back to the port of Helsinki. We caught our night bus from Kamppi.

But the story hasn’t ended. A guy was sitting in one of our seats and claiming it as his seat. Because I was sure that was our seat, I asked if he was on the right bus. And he got angry with me. I never knew that asking somebody if they were on the right bus was that rude :). Later, he himself admitted his mistake and went to his seat.

I fall asleep. In my dreams, I was travelling towards Helsinki, not Joensuu!! 😉