“The death of the jungle is the end of our life.

Mother Earth is not for sale- love and defend her: Forest Carbon in Chiapas, Mexico
Martha Pskowski Division III, May 2013 Hampshire College, School of Critical Social Inquiry Amherst, Massachusetts


Table of Contents
Acknowledgments Acronyms Glossary of Spanish Terms List of Interviews List of Figures
Introduction Part 1: Carbon Conflict in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas Part 2: REDD+: “Taking the jungle out of the forest” Part 3: The Political Ecology of REDD+ and Resistance in Chiapas, Mexico Part 4: Chapter Outline Chapter 1 REDD+: Win Win or Green Grab? Introduction Part 1: Key Concepts in REDD+ Policy Proposals Part 2: REDD+ Rationale in Environmental Economics Part 3: A Political Ecology Analysis of REDD+ Part 4: “Perhaps the weirdest of all the undertakings of our ancestors”: Problems in the Commodification of Forest Carbon Conclusion Chapter 2: “What We Need is a New Way to Value Forests”: Building REDD+ Introduction 39 Part 1: The Uneven Geography of Climate Change: Development, Equity and Responsibility in a Warming World 40 Part 2: Fits and Starts: The Kyoto Protocol and the Forestry Logjam Part 3: “The Novel Concept” of REDD+ Part 4: Who will realize the “Unrealized Potential” of REDD+? Part 5: REDD+ Readiness in Mexico Part 6: REDD+, Forest and Climate Policy in Chiapas Conclusion Chapter 3: Debated Development in Mexico and Chiapas Introduction Part 1: Mexican Economic Development Part 2: Chiapas and the Lacandon Rainforest: “A Land to Sow Dreams” Part 3: The State of the Selva Lacandona in a Green Economy Era Conclusion 73 75 82 102 107 42 45 47 54 63 72 9 10 17 20 25 37 1 2 3 6 iv v vii vii ix

iii Chapter 4: “Globalicemos la lucha; Globalicemos la esperanza”: Resisting the Commodification of Nature Introduction Part 2: Resisting REDD+ in the UNFCCC Conclusion: Taking Stock of International Protests against REDD+ Chapter 5: ¡La Madre Tierra no está en Venta! Resisting Green Neoliberalism in Chiapas Introduction Part 1: The Case Against REDD+ in Chiapas 132 134 109 122 127 Part 1: Origins of REDD+ Resistance in Peasants, Indigenous and Climate Justice Organizations 110

Part 2: Roots of Organizing in the Selva and Resistance to Neoliberal Natures and the Green Economy in Chiapas 139 Part 3: Resisting REDD+ in Chiapas Conclusion: Ambiguities, Challenges and Questions for REDD+ Resistance 144 153 158 164

Conclusions: Where to out of “Neoliberalism’s Dead End”? Bibliography


On April 30, 2013, the day of my committee final meeting, I learned that Juan Vazquez, an adherent to the Zapatista's Other Campaign from San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas, had been assassinated in his home. I had heard members of this community speak in January in San Cristóbal. In mid-March, the night I was up late finishing my chapter on resistance in Chiapas, I learned that Geronimo sol Ajcot had been murdered in the Sololá region in Guatemala, which I had visited in January. Geronimo was a member of the National Indigenous and Campesino Coordination, affiliated with Via Campesina. As unfortunate as the news of these murders is, it reminds me of the stakes of this issue. These are but two of the countless people killed in recent years in peasant or indigenous struggles for land, autonomy and justice. The specter of climate change and the Northern preoccupation to assign responsibility in the jungles of Latin America could fuel only fuel more death and suffering. Though in moments I have felt anxiety about my rejection of REDD+, in this context that I re-affirm it. This work does not hold all the answers. But it holds many questions that are urgently important as climate policies and profit schemes parachute into the difficult history of Chiapas and Latin America. In that spirit I hope to honor the contributions of so many people who made this project possible and open the door for further conversation and action, whether or not we always come to the same conclusions. I am immensely grateful to everyone who has contributed to my multifarious education as a scholar and activist. En Chiapas, milas gracias a la banda de la Casa Feliz, a los grupos socio-ambientales, a todos mis subjectos de entrevistas y a los medios libres. To the Mayan Medicine Museum for the exhibit that started all this, and to Hallie for taking my interest seriously. To my teachers over the years at Hampshire and Sandy Spring for instilling a deep curiosity and moral imperative to my work. At Hampshire, to Betsy, Helen and the many others who have contributed to an incredibly rich undergraduate experience and those who work tirelessly to keep the vision of places like Hampshire alive. To the Sander Theones grant and offices that funded my fieldwork. To academics at other institutions who have been so gracious with time and resources. To my family for always being there and indulging my pursuits, from the Sleep Outs to the Zapatistas. To Sarah for the invaluable translation work. To Cat, my trusty research assistant! To the artists whose work brings me back from the analytical abyss when I most need it. To my friends in the Pioneer Valley and beyond for bringing so much inspiration and joy into my life. To all the amazing activists and organizers I have had the honor to work with for inspiring me that we have a world worth fighting for. And to those who I am lucky enough to count as both friends and compañeros. This project is dedicated to Juan, Geronimo, and the others who have lost their life working for a more just world. Entre ganar y perder—preferimos luchar. Martha May 2013


AD: Avoided deforestation AMBIO: San Cristobal-based cooperative NGO managing forest carbon projects ATALC: Latin America and Caribbean Friends of the Earth ARIC-UU: Rural Association of Collective Interest—Union of Unions CARB: California Air Resources Board CDM: Clean Development Mechanism CER: Certified Emissions Reductions CFM: Community Forest Management CI: Conservation International CJN!: Climate Justice Now CLOC-VC: Latin American Coordinating Body- Via Campesina COICA: Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin COMPITCH: Council of Organisations of Traditional Indigenous Doctors and Midwives of Chiapas CONAFOR: National Forestry Commission CONANP: The National Commission of Natural Protected Areas COP: Conference of the Parties CRfN: Coalition of Rainforest Nations CTC-REDD+: Mexico's REDD+ Task Force ECOSUR: College of the Southern Border in Chiapas EUETS: European Union Emissions Trading System EZLN: Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional (Zaptista Army of National Liberation) FANAR: Fund for Agricultural Entities without Regularization FCPF: Forest Carbon Partnership Fund FDI: Foreign Direct Investment FPIC: Free, prior and informed consent GCF: Governor's Climate and Forest Taskforce GJEP: Global Justice Ecology Project GDP: Gross Domestic Product G77: Group of 77 IEN: Indigenous Environmental Network IFIs: International financial institutions IMF: International Monetary Fund IPs: Indigenous Peoples IPCC: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

vi IPFCC: Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change ISI: Import Substitution Industrialization JBG: Boards of Good Government of the Zapatistas (Juntas de Buen Gobierno) MOVIAC: Movement of Alternatives against Environmental Impacts and Climate Change MRV: Monitoring, reporting and verification of REDD projects NAFTA: North American Free Trade Agreement NAM: Non-Aligned Movement NGO: Non-governmental organization NIEO: New International Economic Order PACCCH: Chiapas Program Against Climate Change PES: Payments for Environmental Services PNG: Paupau New Guinea PRI: Partido Institucional Revolucionario PROARBOL: Mexican PES program for forests PSA-CABSA: Payments for Biodiversity, Carbon Fixation and Agroforestry in Mexico PSAH: Payments for Hydrological Services in Mexico RIMBA: Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve RED: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation REDD: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation REDD+: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, also includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in reducing emissions. ROW: REDD+ Offsets Working Group SEMARNAT: Environmental and Natural Resources Bureau UNCSD: United Nations Convention on Sustainable Development UNDRIP: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples UNEP: United Nations Environment Program UNFCCC: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNORCA: National Union of Regional Autonomous Campesino Organizations UN-REDD: United Nations REDD implementation program USAID: U.S. Agency on International Development VCO: Voluntary Carbon Offset WTO: World Trade Organization


Glossary of Spanish Terms
Campesino: defined as “peasant farmer” in English. Not necessarily indigenous but generally so in the Selva region in Chiapas. Comunidad Lacandona: The Lacandon Community. Refers to the 66 families of the Caribe indigenous people who were given a large expanse of land in the Lacandon Rainforest in 1972. Comunero: Land titleholder in a community. Ejido: The form of communal property ownership established after the Mexican Revolution during land reform. Ejidatario: member of an ejido La Selva Lacandona: The Lacandon Rainforest. La brecha Lacandona: The Lacandon Breech or Schism, referring to the gradual dispossession of indigenous communities through the creation of the Lacandon Community and the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve. Latifundio: A large plantation, often given during the colonial period. Employs peasants from surrounding area for agricultural production.


List of Interviews:
1. Ana Valadez, COMPITCH/Via Campesina, January 9th 2013 2. Bruce Ferguson, ECOSUR, January 9th 2013 3. Lorena Soto-Pinto, ECOSUR, January 11th 2013 4. Peter Rosset, Via Campesina, January 14th 2013 5. Gustavo Castro-Soto, Otros Mundos, January 15th 2013 6. Felicia Line, PACCCH, January 15th 2013

Jesús Andrade, UNORCA, January 16th 2013

8. Elsa Esquivel, AMBIO, January 17th 2013 9. Claudia Ramos-Guillén, Otros Mundos, January 24th 2013 10. Alejandro Ruiz Guzman, Na Bolom, January 24th 2013 11. Tamra Gilbertson, Carbon Trade Watch, March 8th 2013 12. Roman Czebiniak, Greenpeace International, March 6th 2013


List of Figures and Images
Cover page Photo Source: Martha Pskowski Chapter 1 Figure 1.1 UN-REDD Diagram indicating “triple win” benefits of REDD+ Figure 1.2 UN-REDD Poster “Growth” Figure 1.3 Examples of the “carbon infrastructure” required for national REDD+ Figure 1.4 UN-REDD Poster “Engagement” Chapter 2 Figure 2.1 Countries participating in REDD+ Figure 2.2 GCF Member States 50 54 53 Figure 2.4 Communities and Ejidos Participating in Scolel'Té 1997-2009 Chapter 3 Figure 3.1 Economic Regions of Chiapas Figure 3.2 Physio-geographical regions of Chiapas Figure 3.3 Indigenous Languages in Chiapas Figure 3.4 Map of communities within the Lacadon Community 1972 Figure 3.5 Map of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve Figure 3.6 Ecological Reserves in the Lacandon Region Figure 3.7 Poverty Indices in the Lacandon Rainforest 1992 and 1994 Figure 3.8 Military, Political and Paramilitary EZLN installations 84 84 85 89 91 93 95 96 97 Figure 3.10 Roads into the Selva before 1994 Figure 3.11 Roads into the Selva after 1994 Figure 3.12 Map of REDD communities Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Figure 5.1 Political Genealogy- Selva Lacandona Figure 5.2 Exhibit at the Mayan Medicine Museum Linking REDD+ and Biopiracy Figure 5.3 March Against REDD+ September 2012 Figure 5.4 No-REDD Poster September 2012 Figure 5.5 Speakers at REDDeldia Forum 139 142 151 151 153 98 99 103 68 10 17 29 33

Figure 2.3 Diagram demonstrating potential linkage between REDD+ and Green Economy

Figure 3.9 Map showing military bases superimposed on percentage indigenous population



Part 1: Carbon Conflict in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas
On September 26, 2012, Eufemia Landa Sanchez, an indigenous woman from the region of Marques de Comillas, Chiapas, entered the central courtyard of the Casa Mazariegos Convention Center in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, the former colonial seat of the region. Representatives from around the world had assembled to discuss policies to reduce carbon emissions at the state level through the Governors Climate and Forest Taskforce (GCF). Sanchez and other people of her community had come from their home in the Lacandon rainforest where these policies are being implemented. They had been turned away the previous day from speaking to the assorted governors, bureaucrats, academics and NGO staff at the conference. But today they decided they would speak anyway. Seizing attention, Sanchez read a statement the participants:
Why don’t they consult us? Why do the wealthy want to impose their will by force? The jungles are sacred, and they exist to serve the people, as God gave them to us. We do not go to your countries and tell you what to do with your lives and your lands. We ask that you respect our lives and our lands, and go back where you came from, merchants of life. REDDeldia (2012a).

Eufemia and the rest of the group exited after she read the statement. After the commotion, the conference continued as planned. Government and non-profit leaders were assembled from six countries and many of the eighteen member states and provinces of the GCF. Chiapas Governor Juan Sabines had spoken at the opening press conference. For Sabines, this was an opportunity to showcase plans for Chiapas to sell carbon credits to California's new carbon market. The representatives from the California's Air Resources Board, whose former governor Arnold Schwarzeggener had initiated the GCF, could not attend. Instead they sent video-recorded remarks, stating, “We are still very eager to hear the results of your meeting… …particularly the work… …in the REDD+ process” (GCF 2012). Meanwhile an anti-REDD+ protest began outside, with people marching and holding signs with proclamations such as, “Understand, Sabines, the jungle is not for sale,” and “The forests are not merchandise.” Three alternative forums took place in opposition to REDD+, where speakers from

2 indigenous communities and civil society organizations voiced their concerns with the program (Via Campesina 2012, Maderas del Pueblo 2012). They warned of the seizure of indigenous land at the hands of carbon brokers, the loss of government services if communities resisted and the major profits governments and companies stood to gain (REDDeldía 2012a). Chiapas is a fault line where the logic of an international policy proposal comes into conflict with local understandings of land, culture, and development. The conflict over REDD+ goes far beyond the technical complexities of the program. As Ana Valadez of the Mayan Medicine collective COMPITCH told me in January 2013, “Here the history that has taken place for REDD to arrive is a history of death, it is a history of campesino displacement, and assassinations, a history of war” (Valadez 2013).

Part 2: REDD+: “Taking the jungle out of the forest”
(Peluso and Vandergeest 2011, 595) Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, known by the acronym REDD+,1 is a mechanism to mitigate climate change by preventing deforestation, which causes 20 percent of carbon emissions worldwide (Humphreys 2010). REDD+ facilitates investment from the global North to make forest conservation in the global South viable as an alternative to the extractive industries driving deforestation. Both the types of projects and finance could take a number of different forms, and influential delegations in UN climate negotiations are pushing to create a global market to trade carbon offsets from forest conservation projects. Global North countries would pay forested countries in the global South to conserve forests that would be cut down otherwise and buy the right to pollute instead of lowering their greenhouse gas emissions domestically. REDD+ is a method of expanding participation in climate mitigation amongst developing countries under the Kyoto Protocols (referred to as Annex 2-- those historically responsible for a small amount of greenhouse gas

1 2

The “+” represents the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and improvement of forest carbon stocks in reducing emissions (UN-REDD “FAQs”). This however, is not to be confused with the traditional land access customs of indigenous communities, which

Pskowski3 emissions) and provides opportunities for offsetting for developed countries (Annex 1-- those that are currently committed to reductions under Kyoto). UN-REDD, the UN entity leading REDD+ “readiness” programs, has 46 partner countries and as of July 2012 had disbursed US$117.6 million in funding for REDD+ (UN-REDD). REDD+ readiness engages an alphabet soup of international institutions, funders, NGOs and local partners. For the time being, programs are dependent on direct fund transfers but are building up to an eventual REDD+ carbon market. This is the “phased approach” to REDD+. The World Bank's Prototype Forest Carbon Fund (PFCF) provides significant funding to the countries that UN-REDD approves to begin developing REDD+ programs. The Chiapas-California REDD+ partnership and the GCF are subnational projects external to UN-REDD that are moving ahead in the absence of an international market. Advocates of the GCF promote it as an opportunity to capture the financial, development and environmental benefits of REDD+. Yet throughout UN negotiations over REDD+, and experiences with REDD+ projects in Chiapas and other places such as Panama, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Papua New Guinea, civil society actors have raised fundamental criticisms of the program (Lang 2013, Forest Peoples Programme 2012, Greenpeace Australia Pacific 2010).

Part 3: The Political Ecology of REDD+ and Resistance in Chiapas, Mexico
I had come to Chiapas in January 2012 to study Spanish and learn about the political situation while on a field study from Hampshire College. As a climate and environmental activist in the US I had followed international climate policy but chosen to act on more local issues. The trip to Chiapas was a chance to inform my perspectives internationally. Visiting the Mayan Medicine Museum in San Cristóbal de las Casas, I saw an exhibit vividly denouncing REDD+. I had followed REDD+ in climate negotiations but I had not heard the story being told in the exhibit: dislocation, bribery and theft. The

4 exhibit linked the new REDD+ projects to the long history of international interests exploiting the natural resources of the Lacandon rainforest in Chiapas and impoverishing the indigenous population. Shortly thereafter, I met a staff member of a major conservation NGO on vacation in Chiapas. I brought up my budding interest in REDD+. “Oh, REDD+?” he said, “Yeah, we don't touch that in Chiapas. Too complicated. But we have projects in other parts of the country.” Quickly I became intrigued by the story of REDD+ in Chiapas. Were its critics justified? I decided to write my Division III at Hampshire on the topic. As I began my research in fall 2012, I followed the GCF conference, and the launch of the California carbon market. With California explicitly promoting their REDD+ projects as pioneers for the country, I knew it was an important moment to question REDD+. The conflicting messages of REDD+ promoters and critics led me to several research questions. Are the problems with REDD+ in Chiapas endemic to the state, or are there fundamental problems with the program? Is REDD+ one necessary step in the massive undertaking of mitigating climate change or it is the privatization of the rainforest and a new face of neoliberalism in Chiapas? Could it be both? Is resistance to REDD+ “undermin[ing] critical efforts to do what must be done to avert climate change in the here and now” (Hanhel 2012, 158)? Or is this resistance crucial to reach more just climate policies? Returning in January 2013 to Chiapas with funding from Hampshire, I conducted interviews with NGOs, governmental and civil society representatives. After months of reading on the subject I knew I was firmly on the side of the critics. The information available to date about REDD+ in Chiapas is sparse enough to raise concerns of accountability; yet its critics are not short on material. During interviews, often a subject would warn me, “You know, I don't know that much about REDD+...” and proceed to talk for upwards of an hour. The difficulty I had in documenting the existing projects only made the concerns of REDD+ critics seem more urgent. To me as an activist the logical next question was what is to be done to stop REDD+? With officials being evasive about REDD+ and projects

Pskowski5 developing quickly, a public uproar may be the only way to really get to the bottom of it. Through a combination of theoretical literature and historical documents on Chiapas I first pieced together the whys of resisting REDD+ in Chiapas and then interviews allowed me to understand the hows. The short history of REDD+ belies the long history this policy encounters in the jungle of Chiapas, Mexico. Implementing REDD+ in Chiapas is the product of specific economic, political and geographical conditions. In this thesis I identify four political and historical processes that have led to REDD+ being implemented to Chiapas that will affect its success in meeting its goals: (1) the neoliberalization of environmental governance, (2) the increased political will for a market-based mechanism to decrease carbon emissions from deforestation, (3) the development of capitalism in developing countries and rural areas and (4) the contested cultural and territorial inheritance of the Lacandon jungle. The fierce debate over REDD+ in Chiapas reflects the conflicts and contradictions that remain unresolved in each of these themes, which I explain before attempting to propose alternatives for the Lacandon jungle. Lastly, I describe the organizing efforts against REDD+ in Chiapas and internationally to assess their successes and challenges and glean lessons for other resistance to neoliberal natures. I use political ecology and critical geography to conduct a normative analysis of REDD+ grounded in its material conditions, rather than within an ideological discourse. These disciplines help me understand how the “ideal-typical” vision of REDD+ will change due to local conditions and reactions. Political ecology foregrounds social and political dynamics in analysis of ecological issues and examines “variables acting at a number of scales…with local decisions influenced by regional policies, which are in turn directed by global politics and economics” (Robbins 2010, 20). It allows me to assess REDD+ not as a value-neutral policy proposal, but in terms of political power, historical factors and ecological conditions. Critical geography uses sociological, ethnographic and economic methods to conduct concrete, place-based analysis. I draw theories and findings for this work from

6 previous studies of neoliberal environmental governance and civil society resistance. Because research on REDD+ is limited in many cases it is necessary to extrapolate studies of similar programs to REDD+. As REDD+ is still an evolving political issue, many of my research questions I could best answer by talking directly to stakeholders in Chiapas. My interviews in January 2013 supplemented my literature research. I conducted ten semi-structured informal interviews in Chiapas with NGO staff, academics, social movement members and one government official. The interviewees were split between REDD+ critics and people involved in developing REDD+ projects in Chiapas, which allowed me to learn both sides of the story. I started out with an initial list of contacts compiled with the help of friends from my first trip to Chiapas and from other academics who study forest carbon projects in the state. From that list, I also asked my subjects to suggest other people to interview. While I had a predetermined list of questions, I also modified my questions based on the knowledge and experiences of each interview subject. A list of these interviews is included.

Part 4: Chapter Outline
In Chapter 1 I explain the rationale of REDD+ in environmental economics and how it relates to previous experiences in markets for eco-system services. I situate REDD+ as part of broader tendencies toward marketization and commodification in environmental governance, and discuss the implications of these tendencies for marginalized communities. This chapter argues that the commodification of forest carbon in REDD+ will further alienate rural communities from their means of production, in favor of an international market in forest carbon that does not have proven benefits for rural communities. REDD+ constructs forest conservation as valuable only as an object of international trade rather than recognizing the inherent values of forests. Chapter 1 closes using Polanyi's concept of the “double movement” to situate the reforms to REDD+ and the resistance movement as forms of social struggle to check the ravages of unrestrained capitalism. The theoretical basis for this chapter is

Pskowski7 the normative frameworks for equity and access in carbon forestry that have been developed in works such as Osborne (2010 and 2011), Corbera (2012), Corbera and Brown (2007, 2008, 2010), Corbera, Kosoy and Brown (2008), and Corbera and Schroeder (2011) and research on the unequal global impacts of market-based environmental governance in Corson (2012), McAfee (1999 and 2012), Bumpus and Liverman (2008), and Fairhead at el (2012). Chapter 2 discusses how two major trends in the UN climate negotiations converged in the REDD+ proposal, leading to its hybrid nature. The first being the idea of “common but differentiated responsibilities” for developing and developed nations in the negotiations and the second the increased political will for a market-based policy to address deforestation and carbon emissions as part of what the UN now calls the Green Economy. I explain how these two policy drivers both influenced the development of REDD+ and can explain some of the contradictions within the program. This chapter also describes the governmental and non-governmental infrastructure that has formed in Mexico and Chiapas to support REDD+ projects. Using studies of previous forest carbon programs in Chiapas and Mexico, this chapter introduces some of the tensions between stated goals and outcomes that REDD+ and similar programs create. With this general background on REDD+ in the state, in Mexico and internationally, I transition to a discussion of economic and political development in the region. In Chapter 3 I discuss the path of capitalist development in Mexico and Chiapas, particularly its rural areas, and the contested cultural and territorial inheritance of the Lacandon jungle. I argue that while there is much continuity between previous historical periods in Chiapas and Mexico and the current day, the onslaught of the Green Economy represents a distinct stage in rural development that requires new analysis. Furthermore I argue that REDD+ repeats crucial mistakes in previous rural development and conservation projects in Chiapas that will threaten the policy’s success and legitimacy. Mexico was in many ways a prototype of neoliberal economic development strategies in the late 20th century and I discuss the impacts of these reforms on Mexico and Chiapas specifically. I

8 also show how the Lacandon Rainforest, where REDD+ is being implemented, has been a site of exploitation of resources and people in the development process. I discuss how the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve and other environmental programs have been part and parcel of broader strategies for control by political and economic interests. The new financial and political pressures and opportunities articulated through the Green Economy and green grabbing in Chiapas must be understood in this historical context but also pose important questions of equity and development moving forward. In the final two chapters I describe the organizing efforts against REDD+ in Chiapas and internationally to understand alternatives to REDD+ and to glean lessons for other resistance to neoliberal natures. Based on the historical and political context presented in Chapters 1 through 3, I conclude that REDD+ in Chiapas will not be adequately reformed and rather alternative responses to the climate and environmental crises must be pursued. Social movements are promoting approaches that account for questions of equity, justice and historical responsibility and provide a path forward from the REDD+ and Green Economy policy context. Chapter 4 discusses the role of transnational networks in spreading critical analysis of REDD+ and the strategies of indigenous peoples and peasants to gain agency in international climate negotiations. This chapter provides a chronology of the resistance to REDD+ in the COPs. I refer to analysis of social movements against capitalism from Karl Polanyi, McAfee and Shapiro (2010), and Perreault (2005 and 2006). The fifth and final chapter is a narrative of the resistance to REDD+ in Chiapas and my analysis of the directions it may take. I describe the efforts from 2011 on to challenge REDD+ in the state, up to spring 2013. As REDD+ is still an active political issue, this chapter does not conclude the story and I speculate what may come next in Chiapas and in carbon markets more broadly. I conclude with reflections on the prospects for alternatives in Chiapas and internationally.


Chapter 1: REDD+: Win-Win or Green Grab?
REDD+ is promoted as a “win-win-win” for the environment, rural development and the economy (GCF 2012). REDD+'s proponents claim that using international financial mechanisms will not only reduce carbon emissions but also improve rural livelihoods and catalyze investment in conservation, as evidenced in Figure 1.1 from the UN-REDD program. This chapter juxtaposes the intended form of REDD+ with its material outcomes to understand the differences in opinion between REDD+ proponents and critics. I argue that REDD+ was created as a market and that this market basis has unintended consequences, which the theoretical basis of the program in environmental economics cannot account for. To do so I use literature on the neoliberalization of nature to add an analysis of political power in the program. This chapter begins by explaining key concepts in different REDD+ proposals to argue that despite its current ambiguous form, REDD+ was envisioned as a carbon market. Then I introduce the theoretical basis of REDD+ in environmental economics and explain how this framework fails to explain the contradictions and problems inherent in REDD+. In the field of environmental economics, REDD+ is a rational policy solution to the problems of deforestation and carbon emissions. REDD+ creates a framework for emissions reductions to take place where it is most cost-efficient, deemed the desirable outcome in neoclassical economics. Rather an analysis of REDD+ must consider how various actors and stakeholders will interact in the context of unequal political power, knowledge and access to the program. REDD+ is not an inevitable, logical policy; the political will for market-based conservation and environmental management has played an important role in REDD+’s rise to prominence.


Figure 1.1 UN-REDD Diagram indicating the “triple win” benefits of REDD+ as opposed to a business as usual scenario. Source: UN-REDD The second half of this chapter discusses the contradictions that frequently result between the stated goals and outcomes of market-based environmental governance. I discuss the origins of these policies in neoliberalism. The literature on nature and neoliberalism identifies patterns of accumulation by dispossession and “green grabbing” as two major tendencies in capitalist development in the natural world. I find that REDD+ may repeat patterns including the contradiction between pro-development goals and market efficiency, an unsubstantiated rhetoric of community involvement and the intensive re-regulation necessary to create environmental markets. I also discuss Karl Polanyi’s concept of the “fictive commodity” and how problems emerge from the commodification of forest carbon. I close this chapter using Polanyi's concept of the “double movement” to situate the reforms to REDD+ and the resistance movement as forms of social struggle to check the ravages of unrestrained capitalism.

Part 1: Key Concepts in REDD+ Policy Proposals
There are numerous proposals for REDD+ within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and important elements are still being negotiated. Remaining questions critical to understanding the economic and political form REDD+ will take include the financing structure, scope, and the institutions in each nation to oversee implementation. The REDD+ readiness stage is already underway, with 42 countries developing strategies for technical and institutional elements of REDD+.

Pskowski11 The technical questions of REDD+, such as how to monitor and quantify carbon storage, are complex and contentious in academic and policy circles. While I will describe the technical critiques of REDD+ in general terms, analysis of these issues in Chiapas is outside the scope of this research. In this chapter I explain several key elements of REDD+ including requirements for securing verified emissions reductions credits, financing mechanisms and the creation of forest carbon property rights. A variety of projects in Chiapas, not solely from the UN, have been called “REDD+”. For the purposes of this study, I use the term REDD+ to refer to projects both inside and outside the official UN process in Mexico. I also sometimes refer more generally to “forest carbon” projects to acknowledge the longer experience in Chiapas, dating to the 1990s, with offsetting carbon emissions through forest conservation or propagation (Osborne 2011). The administrations of Juan Sabines and Manuel Velasco in Chiapas have promoted REDD+ both inside and outside the UN framework as a centerpiece of environmental policy in Chiapas. I use a wide definition for REDD+ in Chiapas because of the lack of public information and education on REDD+ and the use of REDD+ as a political project in the state government. My use of the term “REDD+” reflects the public understanding of “REDD+” that encompasses UN-derived projects, the GCF programs, and other forest carbon initiatives. The activities currently covered under REDD+ go beyond deforestation and forest degradation, and now include the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in reducing emissions (UN-REDD 2012a). The “+” was added in 2009 to represent the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and improvement of forest carbon stocks in reducing emissions (UN-REDD 2012b). Over the course of REDD+ negotiations several requirements have been determined that projects must meet in order to qualify for verified emissions reductions credits. The first is additionality. REDD+ is a form of climate change mitigation through avoided deforestation (AD), meaning that it rewards countries for reducing deforestation and therefore preventing the carbon

12 emissions that would have resulted from deforestation. To establish their net carbon emissions reductions AD initiatives must prove that otherwise deforestation would have taken place to prove additionality. The baselines of forest cover and rates of deforestation for each country determine the amount of REDD+ credits the country will be eligible to claim. The method of determining baselines has been contentious because a country with a low or negative rate of deforestation is eligible for fewer REDD+ credits (Pistorius 2012). REDD+ projects must also prove that leakage, which refers to deforestation shifting to another area instead of halting completely, will not occur. A major criticism of subnational REDD+ projects is that they cannot assure leakage does not occur. National-level REDD+ avoids leakage by setting national targets for avoided deforestation (Greenpeace International 2012). REDD+ projects must prove that the emissions reductions from avoided deforestation meet the UN definition of permanence, a 25-year time span (Greenpeace International 2012). Another important topic of negotiations has been the systems for monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV). MRV ensures the claimed carbon emissions reductions are taking place. Monitoring of carbon stocks is a highly technical process but there are efforts to engage local communities in MRV. Developing countries have sought financial and technological transfers for MRV, one of the most costly aspects of REDD+ (Carbon Finance Online 2012). Indigenous and forest-dependent communities have also been the focus of many debates in the COPs. These issues include how to ensure free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) from indigenous communities, how to control REDD+ activities in countries lacking forest governance, how to prohibit land grabbing or appropriation, and how to ensure customary rights of indigenous peoples and local communities are protected (Pistorius 2012). Indigenous people who saw clear problems with the REDD+ concept were engaged in the debate early on. In Bali in 2007, the International Forum of

Pskowski13 Indigenous Peoples on Climate Change, the indigenous caucus to the UNFCCC, issued its first statement to the UNFCCC on REDD+: “REDD+ will not benefit Indigenous Peoples, but in fact, it will result in more violations of Indigenous People’s Rights… … Under REDD+, States and Carbon Traders will take more control over our forests” (Boas 2011, 64). In Chapter 4 I discuss their interventions in depth. Whether or not REDD+ credits will enter a carbon market, REDD+ requires the creation of property rights for carbon stored in forests. The right to own, sell or trade the carbon stored in forests has to be attributed to individuals, governments or companies before any of these actions can take place. Carbon rights are a relatively new form of property rights, which are considered essential to the success or failure of projects in conservation and development (Larson et al 2008). There is not necessarily a straightforward relationship between land ownership and resource ownership, so the attribution of carbon rights cannot be assumed (Corbera, Brown and Adger 2007). Property rights can either be communal, private or public, and are commonly understood as a “bundle of sticks,” including the rights to use the property, to manage, to sell, to exclude, and/or to inherit. It is also possible that different rights are distributed to different parties.2 In addition, choosing to sell forest carbon credits will restrict property rights on the same land. REDD+ contracts indicate specific conditions that must be maintained to sell verified credits from the property. For example, the right to determine management practices for the land will be relinquished to international regulatory bodies. Holding the property right to forest carbon is not the only requisite to sell it on a market and international standards will determine the conditions for sell-able credits (Corbera and Brown 2008). Additionally, forest carbon property rights will differ depending on the existing property regime in each location. In Mexico, the formation of carbon property rights must coincide with the ejido system of land ownership. The creation of the ejido system was the seminal event of agrarian reform in
This however, is not to be confused with the traditional land access customs of indigenous communities, which will be discussed in later chapters.

14 Mexico at the end of the Mexican Revolution. An ejido is “a community-based system of land tenure in which the government protected privately held parcels and communal lands within the community from the market” (Barry quoted in Peluoso and Watts 2011, 159-160). In Chapter 2 I discuss further how REDD+ in Chiapas is handling the question of property rights. The UNFCCC has not made a binding decision on how REDD+ will be financed but most proposals currently advocate trading in REDD+ carbon credits. Civil society has pushed for a version of REDD+ that would not be fully integrated with carbon markets, through the introduction of safeguards, pro-poor measures and community participation to REDD+. This process has dramatically altered and elaborated the original proposal. Geographer David Harvey refers to neoliberalism as a “utopian project” of market rule, and I describe the “utopian vision” of REDD+ based on the original policy proposal (Harvey 2005). Various proposals for REDD+ envision it as a carbon market, a market-proxy, or a Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) program of direct payments without trading. What financial mechanisms REDD+ uses will have direct implications for the distribution of benefits and the viability of projects in different locations. Market proxies are public programs that are not directly integrated with markets, but are run in accordance with principles of market efficiency and competitiveness (Castree 2008). In the case of REDD+, this could mean selecting projects based on how efficiently they can generate carbon credits, instead of their social development or community participation potential. PES assign a monetary value to the functions which ecosystems serve for humans, such as: “storage of carbon by soils, vegetation and oceans, habitats for plants, animals and micro-organisms, filtering of fresh water and even the aesthetic or spiritual significance of landscapes” (McAfee 2012, 105). Governments, NGOs, or corporations can either monetize these as direct PES payments to resource managers, or commodify them to sell on a market. Policy-makers and legislators developed the PES concept, along with “natural capital”, in the 1980s as a tool to conceptualize the environmental resources of nations, and more fully calculate the benefits and costs of different policies (McAfee 2012, 111). Biodiversity is

Pskowski15 another recent terrain for Ecosystem Services valuation, through the “TEEB” initiative (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity), an international scientific effort to price the value of biodiversity globally. Atmospheric ES is the fastest growing segment of the ES field. The intended financing mechanism in the original REDD+ proposal was integration with global carbon markets. Two different groups advocated the first REDD+ proposals. The first was a group of American and Brazilian scientists who in 2003 put together a proposal for “compensated reduction” of deforestation. This proposal, published in a 2005 Climatic Change article, clearly advocates for a reliance on markets to incentivize reducing deforestation-- “There is still time for scientists and policy makers to seize what is surely among the greatest opportunities for the global environment today – international carbon emissions trading for the protection of tropical forests – before the gains of the Kyoto Protocol go up in smoke” (Santilli et al 2005, 7). While this group provided the scientific basis of REDD+, the first champion of REDD+ was a charismatic UN delegate, Papua New Guinea's Ambassador of Environment and Climate Change Kevin Conrad. The Coalition of Rainforest Nations (CfRN) proposed a program called “RED” in 2005. Costa Rica and Papua New Guinea led the CfRN and Conrad was its most vocal advocate. Their proposal was a market-based approach in which developing countries could create carbon credits by avoiding deforestation and sell the credits to developed countries in a global carbon trading scheme (Humphreys 2008, 434). A profile of Conrad, American-born and educated at the Columbia Business School, recounts his version of the events that inspired REDD+:
'The [PNG] prime minister and I were walking along the beach,' recalls Conrad. 'He said, “The World Bank is offering our country a $70 million loan to stop our logging. The problem is I’m making a couple of hundred million a year from logging. Kevin, you understand we want to keep our forests.” 'Conrad answered, 'Well sir, what we need is a different way to value trees.' Lytal (2008).

CfRN has remained a major proponent of REDD+, though many other actors have joined the process since the 2005 proposal. Conrad, who PNG replaced as the envoy in favor of a PNG resident, remains the director of CfRN from its New York City headquarters (Waima 2011). Economists Joseph

16 Stiglitz and Nicolas Stern (famous for his market-oriented “Stern Report” on climate change, which encourages avoided deforestation like REDD+) serve as advisers to CfRN (Coalition for Rainforest Nations 2013, Humphreys 2008). The original architects of “RED,” Conrad and the CfRN, appear to have based the policy proposal in neoclassical economics in order to make conservation economically competitive with extractive industries. Both the original scientific backers and the political proponents of an avoided deforestation mechanism envisioned it as a global market. Language on the UN-REDD website echoes the marketorientation:
It’s about making the private sector part of the solution by providing the kinds of market signals, mechanisms and incentives to encourage investments that manage and conserve the world’s nature-based resources rather than mining them. So it is about making money and conserving the planet too and if REDD can be structured right, the money will be made not just by carbon traders, but also by developing countries and communities for providing the forest-based carbon storage service. UN-REDD (2012a), emphasis added by author.

Figure 1.2 shows the benefits that the UN espouses to REDD+. Several existing carbon markets allow offsets of emissions, and REDD+ brings avoided deforestation credits into the fold for offsetting. There is no common definition of a carbon offset, but generally, it is the ability to purchase a certain amount of carbon emissions reductions or avoided emissions in order to meet voluntary or mandatory carbon emissions targets. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocols is an important predecessor to REDD+. Negotiators designed the CDM to facilitate private sector investment in climate change mitigation, and NGOs, often international, frequently mediate the process at the local level. The projects approved for CDM credits include industrial gas reduction, methane capture, renewable energy, energy efficiency, fuel switch, and certain forms of forestry (Bumpus and Liverman 2008, 129). Not all cap and trade programs or REDD+ proposals allow offsetting or the sale of REDD+ credits. The main proposed alternative framework would be more similar to previous experiences in

Pskowski17 PES, which offer direct payments for preservation of ecological resources. Some indigenous groups advocate for REDD+ without offset trading in which developed nations would create a public fund of direct aid from developed nations, instead of relying on markets to finance projects (Zwick 2012). Brazil has supported this approach, yet more recently acquiesced to trading (Parker et al 2009). Critics of these proposals warn that foreign aid cannot be secured for the long time periods which are necessary for carbon sequestration projects, and that markets will provide more consistent funds (Humphreys 2008). While some direct fund REDD+ proposals remain, recent negotiations indicate a

lack of political will for these alternatives. Figure 1.2 UN-REDD Poster. Source: un-redd.org.

Part 2: REDD+ Rationale in Environmental Economics

18 REDD+ employs methods of environmental economics to value and manage natural resources. Humphreys writes that the REDD+/AD (avoided deforestation) proposal is “an approach to forest and carbon sink conservation that fits comfortably into the logic of environmental economics and neoliberalism” (Humphreys 2008, 437). This section explains the rationale of REDD+ in environmental economics and neoclassical economic theory. This can be understood as the ideal vision of REDD+. Economists are concerned with maximizing social welfare and argue that private property is necessary to achieve this under most conditions. Economists assume that most tangible goods are scarce and that trade will most efficiently allocate these scarce goods. Neo-classical economics assumes that clear property rights, perfect information and zero transaction costs are the norm and therefore state regulation interferes with the pursuit of individual utility. However, environmental economists recognize that generally people have imperfect information and face transaction costs for economic relations and often property rights are not clear. Environmental economics builds on the assumptions of neoclassical economics to find ways to correct market failures that result in environmental problems. Environmental economics addresses “externalities”-- costs or benefits that are not accounted for in market prices and therefore are viewed as “external” to the market economy. When externalities are present markets will not efficiently allocate resources because benefits or burdens will be felt outside the market. When a negative externality like pollution is produced as part of a market exchange, the market will produce more than the social welfare maximizing amount of that good. There also can be positive externalities, which are benefits to people that the market does not account for. Much of environmental economics aims to “internalize the externalities,” or account for positive and negative externalities in market exchanges, in order to increase social welfare and achieve more efficient use of resources. These factors require the involvement of state regulation and definition of property rights.

Pskowski19 The Tragedy of the Commons is another economic concept that rationalizes REDD+. Garret Hardin, an American ecologist, introduced this concept in a Science magazine article in 1968 and it has been highly influential since. The Tragedy of the Commons states that when there is an open access resource—a resource that everyone has access to and does not need to pay to use—then individuals will use the resource as long as it is personally advantageous even if it causes over-exploitation for the group as a whole. The classic example is a town common that people graze sheep on. If everyone continues to bring more sheep, the resource will become marginally less useful with each additional sheep. However, as long as people continue to benefit—individually-- from bringing sheep they will do so and threaten the long-term viability of the resource—an impact felt by the whole community of resource users. To mitigate the Tragedy of the Commons Hardin favored regulations to reduce human population and then the creation of property rights to stop the exploitation of common pool resources. The concepts of externalities and Tragedy of the Commons come together in REDD+ to address carbon emissions as an externality and climate change as a Tragedy of the Commons. Climate change can be considered a Tragedy of the Commons because transaction costs have been too high to coordinate global action to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions and define atmospheric property rights. The ability to emit greenhouse gases has been an open access resource and individuals are free to emit greenhouse gases and will do so in their own self-interest. The cumulative impact of everyone doing this has disastrous results in climate change and environmental pollution. Cap and trade and other forms of carbon trading are forms of government regulation to create property rights to the atmosphere so that the overall level of allowable emissions can be set and regulated. A government (public), companies (private) or some sort of communal group could own these property rights (Corbera et al 2010). Within this context the carbon emissions from deforestation have been externalities. While companies or individuals have been able to benefit economically from deforestation, they do not have

20 to pay the price of the carbon they emit into the atmosphere, which will have societal costs through climate change. Because there is no market for carbon the current economic configuration will underproduce the resource. REDD+ intervenes to allow for that carbon to be traded. Fitting into a global carbon cap, REDD+ would be a method of efficiently reducing carbon emissions. To make these interventions efficient comparative advantage states that carbon reduction should take place where it is least costly. Comparative advantage means that some people and/or countries have an advantage in efficiently producing certain goods. Because forest carbon is a finite resource, or scarce, and some countries are more efficient at creating credits for forest carbon, then a market should be created to facilitate trade in forest carbon credits. Trade allows each country to produce what they are able to produce most efficiently and sell it where there is demand. In the case of REDD+, Mexico can reduce carbon emissions from deforestation more efficiently than the state of California. To summarize the environmental economics argument for REDD+, to the extent that markets exist to trade in greenhouse gas emissions and REDD+ projects can be proved to reduce emissions, then trading in carbon credits from REDD+ will be the most economically efficient outcome. Environmental economics provides an explanation for REDD+ based in individual rationality and economic optimization. This approach, however, does not account for the complex political and historical conditions of Chiapas or the international political economy driving market-based policies. Environmental economics is insufficient to explain or resolve the debates and difficulties facing REDD+ and therefore I use other theoretic frameworks to complicate this picture.

Part 3: A Political Ecology Analysis of REDD+
REDD+ is one prominent example of the broader trend toward market-based environmental management. The UN recently applied the framework of “Green Economy” to unify many of these policies, though some exist outside the UN’s idea of the Green Economy and most pre-date it. However, the prominence of Green Economy language and promotion in recent UN summits makes it a

Pskowski21 worthwhile frame to use. REDD+ and other Green Economy initiatives share several common strategies. These programs create markets in environmental benefits and burdens so that pollution and emissions will be distributed where it is most economical. They also rely on technological advances, frequently capital intensive, to adapt or mitigate environmental and climate impacts, in place of using ecological systems or local knowledge. While these policies do not generally devolve complete control to markets, they favor running public programs under market principles in the name of economic efficiency (Pskowski 2013). I discuss the Green Economy framework further in Chapter 2. While the UN presents the Green Economy as a politically neutral framework, scholars and social movement activists critique it in the context of certain political, economic and historical trends. They warn that the optimistic promises of the UN Green Economy may have pernicious implications when the assumptions of a market policy—equal information, no transactions costs and perfect competition—do not exist, which is usually the case. Accumulation by Dispossession In environmental economics the allocation of property rights for forest carbon and selling forest carbon credits is considered a necessary step to achieve an efficient allocation of resources. However, certain heterodox economists and critical geographers see the marketization of forests as part of the process of “accumulation by dispossession,” which is politically charged and connotes an injustice. These scholars do not see a program like REDD+ as incidental to a capitalist system but in fact necessary to it. Political economist Massimo De Angelis introduced this concept in a 2001 article in The Commoner (De Angelis 2001). David Harvey, an American geographer, further developed the theme in his 2003 book The New Imperialism (Harvey 2003). This framework argues that appropriation is not just necessary to the formation of capitalism, but also to its survival of crises of overaccumulation. Marx's primitive accumulations were the “enclosures,” or the original dislocation of the peasant population from their land. Separated from their means of production, people were left with only their labor power and forced to work for wages in the capitalist system.

22 Accumulation by dispossession is necessary to resolve the crises of overaccumulation inherent to capitalism. Overaccumulation is the surplus of capital with no immediate profitable outlet. Capitalism relies on constant growth, which makes overaccumulation untenable in the system. Accumulation by dispossession refers to the actions that open new terrain for investment of overaccumulated capital to resolve these crises. These processes can be territorial expansions or the privatization of previously public goods and services within capitalist countries. Harvey writes that opening up new territories to capitalism “is very helpful to the stabilization of the system precisely because it opens up demand for both investment goods and consumer goods elsewhere” (Harvey 2003, 139). Even when demand is stagnant, these new frontiers of capitalism can lower the costs of inputs (land, labor, raw materials) and therefore relieve overaccumulation in the system. Harvey argues that,
The primary vehicle for accumulation by dispossession, therefore, has been the forcing open of markets throughout the world by institutional pressures exercised through the IMF and the WTO, backed by the power of the United States (and to a lesser extent Europe) to deny access to its own vast market to those countries that refuse to dismantle their protections Harvey (2003), 181.

Harvey identifies four processes essential to accumulation by dispossession: “privatization,” “financialization,” “the management and manipulation of crises,” and “state redistributions” that favor business interests (cited in Fairhead et al 2012, 243). The expansion of extractive industries in the global South, privatizing public housing in the global North, and structural adjustment packages are several examples of accumulation by dispossession. Collectively, these processes underpin neoliberalism, a political and economic ideology. Neoliberalism is an approach to politics, culture and economics preferring the free market as the major organizing force of society. The generally accepted characteristics of neoliberalism, strongly shaped by Harvey's work, are: o Privatization: “the assignment of clear private property rights to social or environmental

phenomena that were previously state-owned, unowned, or communally owned” (Castree 2008, 142) o Marketization: “the assignment of prices to phenomena that were previously shielded from

market exchange or for various reasons unpriced. These prices are set by markets” (Castree 2008, 142)

Pskowski23 o State roll-back or deregulation: “the 'rollback' of state 'interference' in numerous areas of

social and environmental life so that (i) state regulation is 'light touch;' and (ii) more and more actors become self-governing within centrally prescribed frameworks and rules” (Castree 2008, 142). o Market-friendly re-regulation: “the deployment of state policies to facilitate privatization and

marketization of ever-wider spheres of social and environmental life” (Castree 2008, 142). o Use of market proxies in the residual governmental sector: attempts to run public services in

the style of the private sector, with “efficiency” and “competition” imperatives. o The strong encouragement of 'flanking mechanisms' in civil society: the encouragement of

civil society groups, in fact encouraging the notion of “civil society” as a distinct entity, to provide services that the state could, or previously did, provide to the public (Harvey 2005). o The creation of 'self-sufficient' individuals and communities: encouraging and reinforcing

through policy the notion that individuals should provide for their own needs. These tendencies are general, and I build on the scholarship on neoliberal environments that assesses their specific material manifestations. Critical geography is a tool to understand “actually existing neoliberalism” (Brenner and Theodore 2002). I use the term “neoliberalization” intentionally to denote the ongoing construction of neoliberalism, and to avoid the politically paralyzing narratives of domination and finality, which characterize many accounts of neoliberalism (Gibson-Graham 2006). “Neoliberalization” represents the diverse processes taking placing across scales and geographies, constrained by existing institutions, as opposed to the coherent, unified entity that “neoliberalism” evokes. “Green Grabs”: “Green” Accumulation by Dispossession Land grabs, or large-scale appropriations of land, have received extensive scholarly and political attention in recent years. As processes of accumulation by dispossession, large-scale projects

24 in agriculture, resource extraction, and industrial development in the global South appropriate land from small holders, who are considered unproductive in the capitalist system because they do not produce extensively for the market. “Green grabbing” is a new term to refer to the appropriation of land and resources for environmental ends (Fairhead el al. 2012). Projects such as biofuels, ecotourism, and carbon forestry are considered aspects of this recent wrinkle in the long-term processes of accumulation by dispossession. Guardian columnist John Vidal first used the green grab term in 2011, and a 2012 edition of the Journal of Peasant Studies was dedicated to the theme (Vidal 2011, Fairhead et al 2012). Anthropologists and ecologists James Fairhead, Melissa Leach and Ian Scoones authored an article in this volume titled “Green grabs- a new appropriation of nature?” that provides a theoretical basis for this recently-coined phenomena. Fairhead et al discuss how these processes are distinct from land grabs generally and from historical patterns of capitalist accumulation: “While grabbing for green ends does not always involve the wholesale alienation of land from existing claimants, it does involve the restructuring of rules and authority over the access, use and management of resources, in related labor relations, and in humanecological relationships that may have profoundly alienating effects” (Fairhead et al 2012, 239). Green grabs are distinguished from land grabs that purport environmental benefits because the primary driver of a green grab is an environmental agenda, whereas land grabs may claim environmental benefits but are not premised on these claims. Green grabs echo historical processes of accumulation and Fairhead et al. argue they “[operate] often virtually through novel legal and market mechanisms, suggesting new methodological and analytical challenges, as well as new dilemmas for action” (Fairhead et al 2012, 254). The literature on neoliberal natures and agrarian studies informs the green grabs concept. In Chapter 3 I discuss whether REDD+ and Green Economy projects in Chiapas represent a green grab. Literature on the neoliberalization of nature provides evidence of the political and social implications of market-based environmental governance


Part 4: “Perhaps the weirdest of all the undertakings of our ancestors”: Problems in the Commodification of Forest Carbon
(Polanyi 2001, 187) The commodification process in REDD+, typical of neoliberalism, leads to lower social development benefits, ambiguity between private and state action and complex regulatory frameworks. This reality is starkly different from the language of poverty reduction, community participation and “local initiative” that typifies rhetoric of market environmentalism. The results of commodification of forest carbon are creating resistance in Chiapas. One of the many steps necessary to creating a trade in forest carbon is to attribute the property right of forest carbon to a certain owner. Forest carbon is a relatively new form of property right. Are judgments of REDD+ programs as privatization or commodification justified? Do all REDD+ programs entail the privatization of forest carbon, or the forest more generally? Again, privatization is “the assignment of clear private property rights to social or environmental phenomena that were previously state-owned, unowned, or communally owned” (Castree 2008, 142). Commodification is, “the creation of an economic good, through the application of mechanisms to appropriate and standardize a class of goods or services, enabling them to be sold at a price determined through market exchange” (Bakker 2010, 103). A commodity is distinguished as created for trade-value instead of usevalue. At one end of the spectrum, if REDD+ credits do not become tradeable forest carbon would not be treated as a commodity. These proposals still conceptualize carbon emissions reductions as an economic exchange between the global North and South and therefore represent a market proxy in the public sector, where market principles guide the structure of public policy. The growing UN consensus is for tradeable credits. These credits are public in the sense that international bodies like the UNFCCC and individual nations will determine reference levels and

26 targets and then initiate nation-to-nation trade.3 These processes technically do not require privatization, but the linkage to carbon markets entails a necessary marketization, or “assignment of prices to phenomena that were previously shielded from market exchange or for various reasons unpriced” (Castree 2008, 142). The dangers of marketization in REDD+ are those that have faced other carbon trading programs: speculation, fraud, and low prices due to high carbon caps and sale of offsets (Gilbertson and Reyes 2009). REDD+ credits represent commodification when they are bought and sold because in this case the value of the credit is derived from its utility in trade, not in use. A REDD+ credit sold on a market is only valuable so long as Annex 1 countries continue to produce more goods per unit of production, more efficient pollution so to speak, and a comparative advantage exists for emissions reductions in non-Annex 1 countries. More specifically, California would only purchase REDD+ credits from Mexico as long as it is cheaper to conserve in Mexico than reduce emissions in California. McAfee writes that these trade-based environmental policies in fact cement North-South economic inequality (McAfee 2012). REDD+ markets will only function so long as the global South is economically subordinated to the North. This affirms equity-based critiques of REDD+ as a process of commodification. The logic of market REDD+ states that forest conservation, instead of having inherent value, is only valuable in the context of demand from Annex 1 nations for carbon offsets. Groups opposed to REDD+ find this logic deeply troubling (REDDeldia, Cabello and Gilbertson 2012). One of Austrian political economist Karl Polanyi's key theoretical contributions was the “fictive commodity.” He defines these as commodities that are not actually produced for the purpose of sale and trade but are treated as such. His primary examples are land and human labor, which clearly exist independently of markets, but as commodities are subsumed to market logic. Polanyi writes that, “To


This is different from voluntary REDD+-type projects in the private VCO carbon sector.

Pskowski27 allow the market mechanism to be the sole director of the fate of human beings and their natural environment, indeed even of the amount and use of purchasing power, would result in the demolition of society” (Polanyi 2001, 76). Polanyi was not opposed to all commodities, but those that were destructive to social well being he described as “fictive” and worthy of social backlash. Forest carbon is an outgrowth of Polanyi's discussion of land as a fictive commodity. He writes, “What we call land is an element of nature inextricably interwoven with man's institutions. To isolate it and form a market for it was perhaps the weirdest of all the undertakings of our ancestors” (Polanyi 2001, 187). While Polanyi anticipated continued privatization, the commodification of carbon is an enclosure wholly original to the neoliberal era. REDD+ is the most recent step in a long process of commodifying different aspects and services of land. Forest carbon is a fictive commodity because, as a naturally occurring aspect of ecology, it is not produced for the purpose of exchange. There are precedents to REDD+ that demonstrate the variety of economic forms it could take that do not necessarily represent commodification. Kosoy and Corbera (2010) write that within the broader category of PES, some programs function to subsidize environmental stewardship, while others are actual markets that “are dependent on other existing commodities” (Kosoy and Corbera 2010, 1229). They use CDM credits as an example of the latter, in which development is driven, among other factors, “by price trends of carbon credits in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme which in turn are driven by changes in energy demand levels and the cost of coal, oil and gas” (Kosoy and Corbera 2010, 1229). REDD+ credits are subject to numerous market forces, including other commodity prices and the restrictions of trade agreements, not just the demand for carbon offsets. Therefore, the level of investment and the prices obtained for REDD+ credits are not only based on the subjective value of carbon storage but broader objective economic conditions. During the economic downturn beginning in 2008, prices of credits in carbon markets dropped significantly (Osborne 2010). If demand is high for carbon storage, this will spur conservation, but forces could easily turn in the

28 other direction. REDD+ is already competing with commodity crop production, such as soy plantations in Argentina (Corbera 2013). Market dynamics can result in distorting the original purpose of REDD+- to reduce deforestation. If REDD+ does represent commodification, how does this process take place? How is a standing forest turned into a tradeable good on an international market? To treat forest carbon as a commodity requires the three main processes that Kosoy and Corbera (2010) identify for the creation of PES fictive commodities:
First, it involves narrowing down an ecological function to the level of an ecosystem service, hence separating the latter from the whole ecosystem. Second, it assigns a single exchange-value to this service and, third, it links ‘providers’ and ‘consumers’ of these services in market or market-like exchanges. Kosoy and Corbera (2010) 1229.

Technical discussions on REDD+ address the practical question of how to measure the carbon stored in trees. These discussions include MRV and inclusion of co-benefits. There have been efforts to include biodiversity and social development “co-benefits” to REDD+ projects, yet the basic structure isolates carbon as the valuable aspect of forest ecology. This carbon fundamentalism has also opened the door for tree plantation projects to apply for REDD+ credits because the official definition of “forest” does not distinguish from tree plantations. Tree plantations sequester carbon but a recently planted tree plantation is not ecologically, socially, or culturally equivalent to a standing old-growth forest. Polanyi's argument against the fictive commodity echoes the social and economic problems in forest carbon commodification. For the purpose of trade, REDD+ isolates and quantifies ecological attributes that were not produced for trade. The myriad values, services, and significances of forests are subsumed to a market mediated by global economic forces. This approach inherently threatens the wellbeing of forest-dependent communities (McAfee 2012). Re-regulation or Deregulation? The Inconvenient Truth of Market Environmentalism An implicit assumption of market-based environmentalism is that using markets instead of

Pskowski29 direct state regulation and management reduces the role of the state in favor of the efficiency and innovative power of markets. However, the evidence on previous efforts at natural commodification demonstrate that for a carbon market to function effectively and achieve emissions reductions, regulations are needed to make the ability to emit carbon, currently an open access resource, sufficiently scarce. Beyond the creation of property rights, many institutions are required to measure carbon stocks, facilitate carbon trading and verify the provision of REDD+ credits (Porrúa, Corbera and Brown 2007). Market policies like REDD+ are still very dependent on the state, creating a complex inter-play between state, private and NGO actors, which looks far different from traditional conceptions of a market. This raises questions of policy accountability and the efficacy of markets over more straightforward regulation. Previous studies of the neoliberalization of nature found that increasing market control of environmental management does not necessarily mean a withdrawal of the state and in fact often requires extensive re-regulation (Castree 2010b). As stated before, there is a growing consensus for a “phased” approach to REDD+, which will use some direct funds leading up to an international market program (Parker et al 2009). The World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and UNREDD are the primary multilateral bodies facilitating and financing pilot REDD+ projects. In Mexico there is an extensive infrastructure to facilitate REDD+ in the country, which I describe in Chapter 2. Figure 1.3 shows the extensive regulation necessary to trade forest carbon. REDD+ in Chiapas has not yet been integrated to a carbon market, but the state is anticipating selling credits to the California market and is working closely with market-oriented conservation organizations such as Conservation International (La Jornada 2010a). While neoliberal theory states that using market forces is more efficient that state intervention, extensive government regulation is in fact necessary to launch and maintain market-based programs like REDD+. Institutions and hardware for monitoring forest cover, forest and land fires, and carbon. Institutions to identify potential buyers and/or international funds, negotiate transactions, concentrate and distribute resources.

30 Programs to reduce accidental fires, in places where this is a problem. Programs to improve tenure security in forested areas. Programs for intensification of agriculture in non-forested areas, and to encourage off-farm employment in forested areas. Pilot programs of incentives for deforestation reduction. Globally financed monitoring and evaluation to encourage rapid learning at the domestic and international level. Figure 1.3 Examples of elements of the “carbon infrastructure” required for national approaches to reduce emissions from deforestation. Source: Porrúa, Corbera and Brown (2007). Indigenous peoples organizations in particular have criticized UN-REDD and the FCPF for their “top-down participatory approach” and “likely marginalization of regional and local stakeholders” (Corbera and Schroeder 2011, 93). The Forest Peoples Programme argues that the World Bank's role “would increase Bank involvement in forests at a time when the Bank has yet to introduce strong safeguard policies to protect the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities” (Humphreys 2008, 439). Relying on international institutions that have contested histories in Chiapas, the extensive governmental and non-governmental infrastructure of REDD+ will pose challenges for inclusivity and local participation. The extensive re-regulation in neoliberal environmental policies contradicts the antiinterventionist rhetoric of neoliberal theory. Geographer Becky Mansfield writes about the reregulation necessary to implement market-based management of North Pacific fisheries (Mansfield 2004 a, b). Oceans, like the atmosphere, have been open access resources and suffered from overexploitation. Setting fishing quotas and other measures to restrict the right to fish can be compared to pollution or carbon emission permits. Like the atmosphere, oceans are also disputed territory that does not clearly belong to one nation-state in many cases. Mansfield argues that the extensive regulation needed to implement market-oriented regulation of North Pacific fisheries counteracted the supposed benefits of a market-based policy in reducing government involvement. She writes,
If regulators can design myriad rules to protect the competitive market, the crab industry, and Steller sea lions, then they can also design rules to manage the fishery without turning toward a neoliberal, market-based model that both justifies and works toward enclosing the world's oceans as a resource to which access is restricted to a chosen few. Mansfield 2004(a) 579.

Correlating this argument to REDD+, setting limits on deforestation and enforcing them could have the

Pskowski31 same result of a market-based policy without the negative impacts of privatization and commodification. The Double-Edged Sword of Community in Neoliberalism: Good Stewards, Bad Indians and Helpful NGOs REDD+ literature is rife with references to the involvement of local people and indigenous communities. The people who live in forests are necessary actors to realize forest carbon commodification and to respect land tenure rights and Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)4 local landholders must voluntarily join the program. The UN-REDD program states that it is “imperative” to involve indigenous people and other forest-dependent peoples (UN-REDD). Trade journals like Ecosystem Marketplace provide updates, alongside more conventional market analysis like finance, technology, and standards on “The Human Dimension” of ES, frequently highlighting indigenous peoples (Ecosystem Marketplace). These inclusions are integral to the notion that PES can be a “winwin-win” for ecology, people, and profits. But who is the “community” and who has access to the material benefits? Are the existing participation mechanisms sufficient to shape the programs or do they simply allow for tinkering? The rhetoric of community participation and individual action in REDD+ obscures some of the potential negative impacts for local people and the ways that this populist rhetoric can be turned against local stakeholders. Geographer Thomas Perrault studies the relation of indigenous movements to the state in the struggles for environmental resources. Writing about indigenous participation in state re-structuring in Bolivia, Perrault argues that the recent focus on multiculturalism and inclusion and “newly institutionalized forms of political participation.... ...have provided a veneer of democratization” (Pearrault 2005, 280). He refers to this as the “double-edged nature of neoliberal multiculturalism... … [which offers] both opportunity and peril” (Perrault 2005, 279). The language and concrete provisions


A right guaranteed indigenous communities under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

32 for inclusion of forest-dependent peoples in REDD+ could either be good governance and responsive policy-making, or create a false sense of agency that could weaken opposition. Experiences with REDD+ indicate that the involvement of indigenous peoples and civil society is insufficient. Civil society groups have argued that their participation has come too late in the process, or can only reform certain aspects of the program (Castro-Soto 2013). Cabello and Gilbertson write that within the UN process, “voices against REDD+ mechanisms are also actively marginalized and silenced” and cite examples of anti-REDD+ activists being ejected from UN negotiations (Cabello and Gilbertson 2012, 174). In an institutional analysis of indigenous peoples in the climate negotiations, Heidi Schroeder found that while they have made important gains, their agency is “indirect and weak” and they are “being consulted and invited to provide input or feedback”, rather than shaping decisions (Schroeder 2010, 328). The participatory rhetoric of REDD+ has yet to yield significant outcomes for indigenous peoples. I discuss these dynamics in depth in Chapter 4. Generally, the participation of local communities is mediated through either national or international NGOs. As in the CDM, the private sector and international NGOs are the main actors to manage, broker, and facilitate carbon credit transactions. The prevalence of NGOs in REDD+ reflects the encouragement under neoliberalism for civil society to take on roles formerly filled by the state. It is considered “efficient” and favorable to downsize the state apparatus and delegate responsibility to NGOs and private finance. NGOs are integral to national REDD+ planning and implementation at the local level. NGOs also provide core functions in communicating and analyzing forest carbon markets internationally. For example, the NGO Forest Trends was created by “leaders from conservation organizations, forest products firms, research groups, multilateral development banks, private investment funds and philanthropic foundations,” and as an umbrella for the subsidiaries Ecosystem Marketplace and Katoomba Group (Forest Trends). The Katoomba Group represents the close inter-relations between conservation NGOs, private finance, international development, and environmental markets in

Pskowski33 REDD+. It boasts sponsors including Conservation International, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Ford Foundation, the World Bank, and UNEP (The Katoomba Group). In REDD+ more decision-making is devolved from the state to international NGOs and multilateral development institutions. Civil society actors now must not only lobby state institutions to reform REDD+ but also these private and non-profit entities that have varying levels of transparency and access (Corbera and Schroeder 2011, 92-93).

Figure 1.4 UN-REDD Poster. Source: www.un-redd.org. When local people are directly involved in projects does their involvement increase local autonomy or benefits? In REDD+ local actors are deemed the appropriate, and voluntary, agents of

34 environmental governance, who will learn and perform the appropriate labor for AD carbon sequestration. In other words, they will “be a 'green custodian'- if disciplined in the way that new green markets define” (Fairhead et al 2012, 251). This can involve a drastic change in lifestyle that is not necessarily beneficial. As Tracy Osborne documented in her study of AMBIO's forest carbon projects in Chiapas, peasants receiving payments worked between 43 and 100 labor days (the communities' measurement of labor, as opposed to hours) per year. This work load required a significant re-ordering of peasants' labor patterns in these communities because generally such long-term investments are not prioritized in their highly unstable political and economic context (Osborne 2011, 877). Fairhead et al warn that the language of inclusiveness and environmental stewardship shared across Green Economy projects “also produces its own exclusions, in which some people come to be defined as against nature” (Fairhead et al 2012, 251). This plays into political and historical dynamics in Chiapas, where certain indigenous groups are regarded by the state and conservation organizations to be “better” environmental stewards than others (Maderas del Pueblo 2002). The state and conservation practitioners in Chiapas consider the Lacandon community as better environmental stewards than other indigenous groups in the area (Maderas del Pueblo 2002). It is the Lacandon Community that was awarded the first state REDD+ project under the Sabines administration, reinforcing the notion of “good” and “bad” local stewards of the environment. REDD+ promoters laud its empowering potential for local community, yet this individualization of environmental responsibility is a double-edged sword. There are also policy proposals to use community forest management (CFM) as a starting point for REDD+. CFM is “the management of forest resources and services by self-defined communities under shared rules or collective right” (Larson et al 2008, 4). Mexico has extensive experience in community forestry. Scholars identify overlap in the conditions for successful CFM projects and REDD+ projects, including secure property rights, and strong governance at multiple scales (Larson et al 2008). Communal rights to forest carbon could yield benefits for forest-dwelling communities.

Pskowski35 While CFM has useful lessons for REDD+, the rhetoric of local participation and “community” can obscure the larger political economy of market environmental policies, in which crucial decisionmaking is not necessarily in the community’s hands. In the example of North Pacific fisheries, Mansfield discusses how the government allowed cooperatives to decide how to allocate a certain amount of fishing quotas. This strategy of distributing fishing quotas to “cooperatives” created a false sense of community involvement and democracy. The “community” invoked in this policy was, “the community of firms, rather than, for example, the wider set of groups or individuals within the Alaska coastal region that might have an interest in how this fishery operates” (Mansfield 2004(a) 577). This example warns that government officials or market forces will still be able to set the conditions of a “community” based process. In the Lacandon REDD+ project, only the ejidatarios (offical head of the ejido) received payments even though many community members contribute to forest conservation. It was at the ejidatarios' discretion whether to share these benefits more equitably (Greenpeace 2012). In all projects, local actors selling REDD+ credits are still bound to international market forces and regulatory decision-making. While local development benefits may exist, the rhetoric of participation in UN proceedings must be viewed in the context of pre-existing political and economic inequities and the restrictions imposed by government enforcement. REDD+ Safeguards, Reforms, and Resistance as a “Double Movement” Polanyi's seminal work The Great Transformation is a historical account of the development of capitalism. Building on Marx, Polanyi identifies how capitalist markets gradually attempt to enter all realms of human existence. Polanyi's “double movement” is the countervailing process in which people and social organizations fight to protest the areas of life they want to preserve from market forces. He writes, “Social history in the nineteenth century was thus the result of a double movement: the extension of the market organization in respect to genuine commodities was accompanied by its restriction in respect to fictitious ones” (Polanyi 2001, 79).

36 Fictive commodities are a political-economic critique of the commodification of nature, but opposition to the commodification of nature also has cultural origins. Anthropologist Arturo Escobar writes about the responses of global South social movements to the international governance of biodiversity through intellectual property rights and biotechnology. He writes that the views of indigenous groups opposed to intellectual property rights and biotechnology “[contest] the most cherished constructs of modernity, such as positivist science, the market and individual property” (Escobar 1998, 60). Global South social movements that critique market-oriented or internationally managed biodiversity projects do so in “defense of an entire life project, not only of 'resources' or biodiversity” (Escobar 1998, 61). Escobar warns that no unified cultural model of nature applies to all indigenous groups or social movements but one commonly accepted notion is that they “do not rely on a nature-society dichotomy” (Escobar 1999, 61). The opposition statement of REDDeldia from the GCF conference echoed this cultural opposition to forest carbon commodification: “It is not part of our culture to put a price on the land or the mountains or the rivers or the other gifts that Mother Nature by God's generosity gave to the people” (REDDeldia 2012, 3). The commodification of nature creates contradictions both culturally and in political economy. Scholars of other resistance movements against neoliberal reforms, such as the water and gas wars in Bolivia in the early 2000s and the privatization of the North Atlantic fisheries, also invoke the double movement (Perreault 2005, 2006 and Mansfield 2004 a and b). Adam Bumpus and Diana Liverman attribute the initial criticism of the VCO markets in the U.K., and the move to increase regulation, to the need to “regulate the unchecked commodification of fictitious commodities” (Bumpus and Liverman 2008, 146). Kathleen McAfee and Elizabeth Shapiro (2010) assessed the role of social movements in the series of reforms that changed the Mexican PES system from a strict market basis to a program inclusive of social development goals. They document the interventions and opposition of civil society to the PES program, “espous[ing] an understanding of the nature-society relationship quite at odds with that implied by neoliberal environmentalism” (McAfee and Shapiro

Pskowski37 2010, 581). As a result of these interventions they identify the PES system created as “hybrid neoliberalism” in that it, “combines market norms with antipoverty goals and government rule making and institution building” (McAfee and Shapiro 2010, 586). Since the original policy proposal in 2005, the UNFCCC has adopted many reforms and safeguards to REDD+. As the REDD Offsets Working Group (ROW) for California acknowledges in their recommendations, “Environmental and social safeguards have moved in recent years from the periphery to the center of the debate on REDD+” (ROW 2013b). These reforms include participation mechanisms for local communities, reducing illegal logging, acknowledgment of traditional uses of the forest, and advocating for a fund, as opposed to a market-based program (Parker et al 2009). Many civil society groups, including those composed of forest-dependent peoples who are directly impacted by REDD+, have worked hard for these reforms. Other groups have taken firm “No REDD+” stances, and do not engage in debate of REDD+ reforms (Castro Soto 2013, Rosset 2013). Both REDD+ opposition and REDD+ reform can be understood as manifestations of the double movement. The strategic implications of this dichotomy will be discussed in Chapter 4. Fairhead et al warn that the “pervasiveness of green market logics and valuations of nature... … make it easy to dismiss peasant resistance as individual, isolated opposition: not as valid social mobilization” (Fairhead et al 2012, 253). Instead of an anachronistic “hold out” to the inevitable rollout of these policies, I use the double movement as an intentional reading of REDD+ resistance as a collective and historically informed response to policies of commodification. Clearly, the conflict over REDD+ represents deep-seated tensions and contradictions. Situated within the neoliberalization of nature and green grabbing, REDD+ resistance is a “valid social mobilization” deserving of analysis (Fairhead et al 2012, 253).

REDD+ policy provides an economic “fix” to the chronic struggles to ensure finance and

38 political support for forest conservation. Environmental economics, the origin of the proposal, does not provide the theoretical tools for understanding the many challenges in developing REDD+ and the vocal local and international opposition. I have used the concepts of green grabbing and the neoliberalization of nature to introduce questions of political power. The supposed benefits of commodifying forest carbon--- allowing it to be bought and traded and therefore increase its value—are mitigated by a number of contradictions and risks for local communities. The neoliberalization of nature demonstrates the contradictions in REDD+-- between economic “efficiency” and anti-poverty goals, between the roles of state regulation and private implementation and between “community participation” and international drivers. The supposed “win-win-win” of REDD+ is necessarily subsumed to a market imperative and creates a risk of dispossession for local communities. These are not issues unique to REDD+; rather they represent the inherent problems with fictive commodities and market-driven conservation. REDD+ is not a politically neutral proposal and entrenches a market logic that poses risks for local communities. This chapter has provided a theoretical framework from which to view REDD+. In the next chapter I discuss more specifically how market logic for conservation met with calls for “common but differentiated responsibilities” of countries in the UNFCCC and resulted in REDD+.


Chapter 2: “What We Need is a New Way to Value Forests”: Building REDD+
The REDD+ process reached its 10-year point in March 2013. In this time period RED has morphed into REDD+ and attracted an array of supporters and critics. The process in Mexico is much more recent but already contentious. In many cases REDD+'s original proponents continue to advocate for it. This chapter discusses why the REDD+ proposal emerged in the UN, its precedents in forestry policy, and the REDD+ development processes in Mexico and Chiapas to date. REDD+ marks an important milestone for two narratives in the international effort against climate change: first, the chronically contentious question of “common but differentiated responsibilities” (CBDR) and secondly, increasing political will for market-based mechanisms-- what the UN now calls the Green Economy. I trace many of the international debates over REDD+ to these dual pressures. CBDR refers to the historical responsibility of industrial countries for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions, and the necessity of adopting climate change policies that do not hinder development in countries that are historically low polluters. REDD+ is a mechanism for developing countries to participate in the UNFCCC and to secure the support of developed nations seeking options for offsetting and therefore has been considered a significant step forward in meeting CBDR. Over time the UN and other international institutions have moved toward market-based environmental governance, most recently dubbed the “Green Economy” platform. It is divided into three pillars: “economic development, social development and environmental protection” (UNCSD 2012). All these programs promote the private or state ownership of nature rather than communal systems. These two policy drivers encounter each other in REDD+; one redistributive, one “efficiency” oriented, one historically situated, the other focused on future returns. This chapter chronologically charts the rise of REDD+ in the UNFCCC from the original proposal in 2003. I also discuss precedents in international forestry governance. I discuss how the

40 Green Economy framework and CBDR solidified during this same time period. I argue that these two policy drivers create a tension between the potential of REDD+ to maximize either economic efficiency in creating offsets or redistribution of resources. Moving to the example of Mexico, I describe the REDD+ architecture and infrastructure in the country. I end the chapter describing the REDD+ projects in Chiapas, including the California GCF program. I discuss the local conditions in Chiapas and Mexico that require modifications of the international policy, such as the ejido system. Previous forest carbon offsetting and PES programs are discussed for their contribution to REDD+ in Chiapas and Mexico.

Part 1: The Uneven Geography of Climate Change: Development, Equity and Responsibility in a Warming World
David Humphreys (2008) argues that global forest politics since the early 1990s represent another iteration of longstanding debates over economic development particularly demands from developing countries for redistributive policies to address global inequities. The Group of 77, the developing nations UN caucus, and the Non-Aligned Movement attempted to use the natural resources of their member nations as leverage in bargaining with developed nations for financial and technological transfers, debt relief or forgiveness, and improved terms of trade (Humphreys 2008). The developmentalism debates of the 1960s and 1970s eventually unraveled in favor of the Northern economies. Developing nations were ultimately unsuccessful because while making convincing moral arguments, they did not have enough to offer economically to developed nations. Developing countries have since largely adopted paths of intensive foreign direct investment and export-oriented economic development, heightened by neoliberal politics. Humphreys writes that in the 1990s the concept of sustainable development and increased global concern over environmental degradation had, “given a new lease of life to the concerns the G77 voiced in the 1970s” (Humphreys 2008, 436). REDD+ continues this process. The first convening of the UN Environmental Program (UNEP) in Stockholm, Sweden in 1972 was the first global

Pskowski41 environmental summit. The issues of climate change and global environmental degradation were gaining political and popular attention in the 1980s. Interested in pursuing environmental and development goals jointly, the UN formed the Bruntland Commission and charged it with developing cooperation between nations to develop “sustainably” together. The Commission published its report 1987 and its definition of sustainable development became widely adopted in the UNCSD and other international bodies: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Humphreys 2008). UNEP and the World Meteorological Organization convened the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988. The IPCC is a team of scientists from around the world tasked with, “[preparing] a comprehensive review and recommendations with respect to the state of knowledge of the science of climate change; social and economic impacts of climate change, and possible response strategies and elements for inclusion in a possible future international convention on climate” (IPCC). In 1990, the First Assessment demonstrated the necessity of a political platform to address the problem of climate change. Heeding this call, the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, brought together political representatives, members of civil society and NGOs on an unprecedented scale to discuss the global ecological crisis. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD) were created in 1992. The global North was pushing for a global forests convention but had to contend with rebutting demands from the global South for a comprehensive package that also addressed their economic concerns. In Rio Malaysia led the G77 in arguing to link forest conservation with global South demands such as debt relief and improved terms of trade. The G77 introduced the concepts of “compensation for opportunity cost foregone” and “common but differentiated responsibilities” in these negotiations and would not accept global forests policies that ignored global

42 inequities. In Rio, this led to an impasse and a non-binding agreement, known as the Forest Principles (Humphreys 2008). The forest stocks and other ecological resources of the G77 allowed for increased bargaining power in policy debates compared to the 1970s. The UNFCCC, UNSCD and UNCBD have been sites of these disputes as they took on global environmental challenges since Rio. The UNFCCC, the political platform for climate change, negotiated recommendations for emissions reductions at the national level. Its signatory nations agreed further action was necessary beyond these recommendations and in 1995 the Conference of the Parties (COP) process began in Berlin. Public consciousness about the problem of climate change rose steadily during these years, especially outside the United States. The COP process includes provisions for civil society participation, and the 1992 Rio summit was considered to “set the standard for NGO engagement in multilateral processes” (UN-NGLS). The COPs adopted the concept of CBDR in Article 3 of the convening document:
The Parties should protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Accordingly, the developed country Parties should take the lead in combating climate change and the adverse effects thereof. UNFCCC 2013(a).

CBDR was adopted but remained largely ceremonial in the 1990s. However, it provided an important negotiating point for developing nations. Beginning in 1992, the concepts of sustainable development and CBDR became integral, and contentious, aspects of global environmental negotiations. The discourse of sustainable development today has shifted to that of the “Green Economy”, which holds many of the same characteristics.

Part 2: Fits and Starts: The Kyoto Protocol and the Forestry Logjam
After Rio failed to reach a comprehensive decision on forests the issue was fragmented amongst the Rio conventions. The subsequent Intergovernmental Panel on Forests in 1995, the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests which replaced it in 1997, and the UN Forum on Forests which followed in 2001, all faced conflicts between developed and developing nations over finance and

Pskowski43 technology. These trends have permeated other environmental negotiations on biodiversity and now on climate change with REDD+ (Humphreys 2008). These conventions have a limited mandate and have fallen short in stemming deforestation (Pistorius 2012, 3). In 1997 the seminal document of the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocols, was formally adopted at COP 3. The Protocols “operationalized” the Framework, and set binding emissions reduction targets for developed countries (Annex 1), which were agreed to hold the primary responsibility for historical greenhouse gas emissions. Thirty-seven countries and the European community ratified the Protocols, while the United States Congress notoriously struck it down, in a major blow to future political progress on climate change. The US President, Bill Clinton, had been in support of the Protocols, but denial of anthropogenic climate change was strong on the US right. The US has also stressed the importance of action among developing countries such as India and China, despite their relatively low historical contributions to climate change. The Protocols did not go into effect until 2005 after several more rounds of negotiations. Kyoto was in effect through the year 2012, and was extended to 2020 at COP18 that year. The Post-Kyoto treaty will apply to both Annex 1 and Annex 2 countries. The primary focus under Kyoto is national emissions reductions; however, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Joint Implementation (JI), and emissions trading provide additional means of meeting the targets. These three mechanisms have been the locus of action in the developing world. The CDM allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to generate certified emission reduction credits (CERs) that represent one ton of carbon dioxide. These credits are sellable and tradable once they are verified to meet the CDM requirements (in brief, “real, measurable, and verifiable emissions reductions that are additional to what would have happened without the program”) (CDM-UNFCCC). The CDM is aimed at stimulating development in the Global South and providing alternative methods for Northern countries to meet their targets. In this chapter I discuss CDM projects in Mexico that are precedents for REDD+.

44 Negotiators had disagreed over the proper role of forests in the CDM, but eventually decided to allow afforestation/reforestation (A/R) projects in developing countries. But avoided deforestation was not included in the CDM because of technical issues. The negotiations in fact almost broke down over these questions, including how to prevent leakage, create effecting accounting and monitoring, and ensure that projects were permanent and additional to what would have happened anyway (Pistorius 2012). A/R CDM has proven to be a very small percentage of the over 6,000 CDM projects to date. In a 2009 article, Thomas et al count only four A/R projects and attribute this scarcity to financial constraints and limitations in the knowledge and skills of practitioners (Thomas et al 2009). Other reasons for the limited application of A/R CDM include the high transactions costs due to high labor demands, the rigorous monitoring requirements, and the liability that buyers take on to ensure carbon remains sequestered (Pistorius 2012, 2). Some of these carbon forestry projects could be instructive for REDD+ projects. Writing about why there are so few A/R CDM projects, Thomas et al find that successful A/R CDM projects tend to have initial funding sources, and the involvement of large organizations with technical expertise, take place on private land, and direct revenues back to local communities (Thomas et al 2010). Other actors view the CDM, which approves credits on a project-toproject basis, to be in conflict with REDD+, which relies on binding plans implemented at a national level, and do not think lessons are directly transferable (Pistorius 2012). Since the advent of the CDM in the 1990s, many other carbon markets have formed at state, regional, and national levels. The largest is the E.U. Emissions Trading Scheme (EUETS), launched in 2005. It covers about 40 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the EU but has been plagued by low carbon prices (EEIS 2012). There is some fungibility between the CDM and EU ETS. Other major carbon trading schemes are the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) of New England and the recently launched California Cap and Trade Program. REDD+ in Chiapas project is being considered for inclusion as a creditable offsetting project in the California system.

Pskowski45 The CDM was an attempt at recognizing the CBDR principle and providing “sustainable development” for the global South. However, it failed to achieve the scale some negotiators had hoped and projects suffered accountability problems (Corbera and Jover 2012). In the realm of forests, the CDM played a relatively minor role and deforestation remained as a major driver of climate change.

Part 3: “The Novel Concept” of REDD+
In March 2003 a group of scientists and anthropologists from Brazil and the US, including Marcio Santilli, Steve Schwartzman currently of Environmental Defense Fund and Daniel Nepstad of the Amazon Institute proposed in their words, “'the novel concept of 'compensated reduction', whereby countries that elect to reduce national level deforestation to below a previously determined historical level would receive post facto compensation, and commit to stabilize or further reduce deforestation in the future” (Santilli et al 2005, 1). This was the beginning of REDD+. This proposal was presented at COP9 in 2003 and the Coalition for Rainforest Nations (CfRN) made a similar proposal, both based in a global trade in forest carbon emission credits (Santilli et al 2005, Humphreys 2008). At the time the proposal was known as “RED” for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation. RED was seen to be a solution for the struggle to establish CBDR under Kyoto for developing and developed nations. Pistorius writes that RED was “the grease that could lubricate the negotiations on a future climate agreement under the convention because the voluntary participation and the ‘positive incentives’ would provide options for developing countries to meaningfully participate in a future climate regime without impairing their ability to develop” (Pistorius 2012, 3). RED was also considered to have many co-benefits for livelihoods and biodiversity, creating the narrative of RED as a “win-win-win” option. With RED (to become REDD+) the historical grievances of developing nations over global economic inequities and the historical responsibility of developed nations for climate change and environmental degradation had a new platform. The forest stock and carbon storage potential of

46 developing countries under an AD policy arguably had greater international political weight than the arguments of developing nations during the 1990s debates. REDD+ could signify a turning point towards greater financial and technological transfers from developed countries, in the interest of contributing toward global climate mitigation. However, UNFCCC proceedings of recent years have demonstrated the continued difficulty in advocating for redistributive policies. The UNFCCC convened two expert workshops after COP11 to develop pertinent technical and political aspects of the program, with particular attention to establishing its scope. Scientists, NGOs and CfRN members advocated for the inclusion of forest degradation because of its significant contribution to emissions as a precursor to deforestation, leading to the addition of the second “D.” It was also necessary to shift the metrics from monitoring land use changes to monitoring carbon stocks. COP13 in Bali adopted this decision officially. There was also major debate over funding, with some actors such as the United States advocating for REDD+’s inclusion in the carbon market and others like Brazil lobbying for a common international fund that would give money to fund forest conservation but not create carbon credits (Pistorius 2012). To summarize the financing options discussed in Chapter 1, REDD+ is conceived of as either a global market or a bilateral or multilateral assistance fund. A global market would allow developing nations to sell carbon credits from avoided deforestation to developed nations that needed to lower net emission reductions under the Kyoto Protocol. Advocates of this approach include the World Bank and countries like the United Kingdom. The UK Department for International Development in 2007 said, “The challenge... is to change the economic incentives facing the government: to make it more rewarding to preserve forests than to cut them down. In the end, the only way we are going to do that is through a global carbon trading scheme” (quoted in Humphreys 2008, 434). The proposal of a global fund for REDD+, which is most consistent with the historical demands of the G77, has largely been bypassed for a market mechanism. Nations such as Bolivia and Ecuador see REDD+ as an opportunity for financial transfer for conservation and have advocated for a fund-based REDD+. Ecuador's

Pskowski47 President Rafael Correa has garnered attention by asking for $350 million dollars per year in international assistance to not drill for oil in Amazonian oil fields. Correa said, “Ecuador doesn't ask for charity but does ask that the international community share in the sacrifice” (quoted in Humphreys 2008, 434). Following these workshops that ran between 2005 and 2007 and the creation of the Bali Action Plan in 2007, the readiness and pilot activities stage began. The expectation at this point was that the Bali Action Plan provided an adequate road map for international adoption at COP 15 in 2009 (Pistorius 2012). Recognizing the technical limitations in many countries to implement REDD+, the Bali Action Plan encouraged pilot activities and support for capacity and technical development. The World Bank’s Forest Carbon Facility and the UN-REDD program were both established shortly after Bali to aid beneficiary countries (Humphreys 2008). These institutions began accepting proposals for funding and support to start national REDD+ programs. At this time the debate split into two general streams: “a scientific expert discourse on the technical issues and another dominated by NGOs on how unintended negative impacts can be avoided through safeguards” (Pistorius 2012, 4). In 2008 in Poznan, several developing nations had a strong coalition opposing a market-based REDD+ scheme, but by the Copenhagen summit this coalition was eroded. A few weeks before Copenhagen, Brazil conceded to a position allowing carbon credits, weakening the anti-market lobby (Long, Roberts and Dehm 2010).

Part 4: Who will realize the “Unrealized Potential” of REDD+?
At COP15 in 2009 in Copenhagen nations failed to reach a binding treaty and without secured funding, REDD+ was stalled. The Copenhagen Accord, a non-binding agreement that US President Barack Obama brokered between the most powerful nations, refers to “the crucial role of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation”. However, negotiators had worked on a “decision text” on REDD+, a much more detailed document, that outlined targets and social and environmental

48 safeguards. The Accord did not address these questions (Daviet 2010). After Copenhagen it was clear the funding component of REDD+ relied on a binding treaty. Copenhagen did not come through on this front and many nations turned toward developing their national REDD+ programs and the proceedings of the Conference on Biological Diversity (CBD), which had a mandate to hold regional expert workshops on environmental safeguards. Many nations were already developing REDD+ strategies with bilateral and multilateral support (Pistorius 2012). As the first decade of the 21st century passed with little progress on a new treaty, tensions with civil society groups increased. Copenhagen was the peak of discontent with the UN process among many civil society participants. A statement from the group “Climate Justice Now!” garnered upwards of 115 organizational signatories, denouncing a “fraudulent” process, the “complete betrayal of impoverished nations and island states,” and the preferential treatment of corporate interests (Climate Justice Now! 2009). In the absence of a REDD+ regime the voluntary carbon market (VCO), which preceded the CDM but shares similar principles, was growing. In the VCO market individuals and companies purchase carbon credits voluntarily. Adam Bumpus and Diana Liverman (2008) write that the VCO market fills a, “perceived gap in the market for carbon,” specifically among nations that did not agree to Kyoto, or set low carbon reduction targets, by allowing voluntary carbon credit purchases (Bumpus and Liverman 2008, 132-33). The market began with partnerships between market-oriented NGOs and large corporations. The World Bank, a public institution, provides investment through its Prototype Carbon Fund to this private market. The Bank sees its role to be “catalyzing markets for climate protection and sustainable development” (Bumpus and Liverman 2008, 133). This for of voluntary action was also progressing in the forestry sector. The Forest Stewardship Council emphasizes a non-state market-based approach to forest conservation and the Bali Action Plan

Pskowski49 from the UNFCCC Conference of Parties in 2007 also “emphasizes voluntary rather than legally binding commitments,” and creates space for market trading in AD (Humphreys 2008, 435). COP16 in Cancún, Mexico generated more guidance for countries in the REDD+ “readiness” stage. The Cancún agreement also has a list of social and environmental safeguards for REDD+ including the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples. The agreement requested that countries develop an information system to track the implementation of safeguards for REDD+ but was ambiguous on what information would be tracked and to what institutions it would be reported (Austin 2010). After Copenhagen and Cancún, alternative governance structures developed REDD+ including the Informal Working Group on Interim Finance for REDD, and its successor, the REDD Partnership. Hundreds of local pilot projects started without clear international oversight (Pistorius 2012). Some of these projects sell credits on the voluntary carbon market and have received financing from nations such as Norway and non-profit or commercial interests, like the Nature Conservancy. These pilot projects demonstrate the increasingly complex questions of REDD+ governance and the interplay between national and subnational activities. It is commonly accepted that a “phased approach” will be necessary for the rollout of REDD+, as many nations need significant time to prepare for it. Many different issues must be addressed in the “readiness” stage, such as land tenure, property rights, and the drivers and underlying causes of deforestation (Pistorius 2012 5). Figure 2.1 shows the countries involved in UN-REDD planning.


Figure 2.1: Countries’ Participation in UN-REDD. Source: UN-REDD (2013). The UN-REDD website lists the three stages in the “phased approach” as:
Phase 1: Developing a REDD+ strategy supported by grants. Phase 2: Implementing a REDD+ strategy, supported by (a) grants or other financial support for capability building, and enabling policies and measures and (b) payments for emission reductions measured by proxies. Phase 3: Continued implementation of REDD+ strategy in the context of low-carbon development, payments for verified emission reductions and removals. UN-REDD (2013).

In layman’s terms, the three phases represent a gradual transition from grant funding (similar to the common fund) to direct payment for verified emissions reductions. In the interim while carbon accounting methods are still being developed, some payments may be made by proxies rather than verified reductions. These proxies are more rough estimates. The phased approach demonstrates the tension between market efficiency in REDD+ and encouraging participation among nations with limited infrastructure that are not historically high polluters- CBDR. If a full-fledged REDD+ credit market were to launch today, most countries simply would not have the technological or financial capacity to take advantage of it. The phased approach acknowledges these limitations and aims to foster development of REDD+ infrastructure in less-developed countries so that they can take part in market REDD+. REDD+ is preserved as a market, but some provisions are made to level the playing field.

Pskowski51 Neither COP17 in Durban, South Africa in 2011 nor COP18 in Doha, Qatar in 2012 achieved significant progress on a global treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocols. In Doha in 2012, the year the Protocols expired, the COP agreed to extend the Protocols to 2020 and to have a replacement for Kyoto by 2015. Also in Doha a group of indigenous leaders organized by the Coordinator of the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) endorsed REDD+ “with or without carbon markets,” a disappointment to actors opposed to markets (Zwick 2012). Developed nations for the first time ratified a text that acknowledged their responsibility to compensate less developed nations for damages from climate change, their first formal commitment to a differentiated role (Harrabin 2012). Negotiators could not agree on aspects of financing and verification, and the negotiations ended stalled in a row between Norway and Brazil over Norway's requirement of an international monitoring system (Carbon Finance 2012). The Rio +20 Summit, in June 2012, marked the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit. In regards to forests at Rio+20, there are general commitments toward “sustainable forest management,” and REDD+ is “noted” in the final document, which indicates it has not been formally adopted. While there were no official decisions on REDD+, many side events at Rio+20 focused on aspects of REDD+ development in the pilot stage. The outcome of Rio+20 was “The Future We Want,” a 53-page nonbinding document. The objectives of this document will be actualized through “Sustainable Development Goals” to be crafted by a team of 30 experts, with no accountability mechanisms. The Natural Capital Declaration was also launched at Rio+20, calling for integration of natural capital considerations to financial products and services (Pskowski 2013). While there is strong political will for avoided deforestation policies like REDD+, Northern countries have not followed through with nearly all the financing required, which has been estimated at $10 billion a year for an effective AD scheme (Humphreys 2008, 437). This is true also for climate mitigation and adaptation funds generally. Shortly before the Doha climate talks began in November

52 2012, the World Resources Institute issued a report on “fast start” climate finance pledges, finding that developed nations had fallen short of the pledge made by Copenhagen in 2009 to fund $30 billion in climate finance by 2012 (Polycard et al 2012). In the absence of a strong international regime for REDD+, subnational programs have developed, along with voluntary forest carbon projects on a REDD+ model. The Governors Climate and Forest Taskforce is an example of the multilateral and multi-stakeholder efforts to propel REDD+ forward in the absence of a global treaty. California Governor Arnold Schwarzzenegger founded the GCF in November 2008, along with eight subnational governments, and committed to exploring REDD+ for offsets under California’s global warming bill, AB32. The GCF now includes eighteen member governments, illustrated in Figure 2.2,5 mostly in Latin America and Indonesia (California Climate Change Portal).

Figure 2.2 GCF Member States, with Thousands of Square Kilometers noted. Source: GCF Taskforce Database (2013). Rio+20 demonstrated the political influence the Green Economy framework had attracted. While no common definition exists, the Green Economy clearly recycles many ideas of the sustainable
Aceh, Papua, Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, West Kalimantan (Indonesia), Amazonas, Acre, Pará, Mato Grosso, Amapá, Tocantins (Brazil), Catalonia (Spain), Cross River (Nigeria), Madres De Dios (Peru), California, Illinois (US), Campeche, Chiapas (Mexico) (Governor's Climate and Forest Taskforce).

Pskowski53 development paradigm. Generally the Green Economy represents “a low-carbon economy, resource efficiency, green investments, technological innovation and more recycling, green jobs, poverty eradication and social inclusion” (Brand 2012, 29). Added to the equation since the sustainable development days is the 2008 financial crisis, which resulted in large amounts of overaccumulated capital. Financial capital has turned to agriculture, agro-fuels, soil and environmental conservation as new investment sectors as a result (Brand 2012). Also since the 1990s the role of international NGOs and corporations has increased in global environmental politics (Corson 2012). Critics argue that the contradictions of and problems with sustainable development have not been resolved in the Green Economy frame. Ulrich Brand wrote in 2012,
Looking back, it becomes clear that the concept of sustainable development was a political strategy of global environment and resource management, of ecological modernization and – at least at the beginning – an attempt to reconcile environmental problems with those of development. It was, right after 1989, part of a prevailing optimism that global problems could be solved cooperatively. However, sustainable development has failed because of the absence of relevant socio-economic actors needed to significantly push this strategy. Brand (2012) 28.

Among the contradictions of sustainable development that the Green Economy repeats is that economic growth must continue in the traditional measure of GDP, and that economic growth on this model is desirable and necessary. Additionally, the Green Economy trusts in existing financial and political institutions, such as the World Bank, which is taking a major role in climate and REDD+ finance. The Green Economy does not consider the conflicts of interests or perverse incentives that may exist for these institutions to promote “green” growth. Gender and other social perspectives are not generally included in the Green Economy paradigm. Brand argues finally that political will still is insufficient to promote these goals, as occurred with sustainable development (Brand 2012). Institutions are intentionally linking REDD+ to the Green Economy. UN-REDD published a policy brief titled “REDD+ and a Green Economy: Opportunities for a mutually supportive relationship” that outlines the synergies between the concepts. These include the potential of REDD+


Figure 2.3 Diagram demonstrating linkage potential between REDD+ and the Green Economy Source: Sukhdev et al (2011). to be a source of investment for green growth, especially from the private sector. The brief also explains how REDD+ can foster a shift from investment in “physical capital” to “natural capital” that is, “more likely to deliver better and lasting results for equity, jobs and growth as a whole” (UN-REDD 2012, 2). Figure 2.3 is from this brief, and illustrates the reciprocal relationship between REDD+ and the Green Economy. The potential for REDD+ to leverage financial assistance and transfers from the global North to South is still significant. However, most of the debates in UN negotiations, notably over financing mechanisms and monitoring requirements, have come out in favor of Northern nations. Once again, the political power of nations in the global South, even with their bargaining chip of tropical rainforests, has not been sufficient to overcome the political power of Northern nations. The added factor of India, China and other large developing nations who have pursued their own negotiating strategy has not aided the efforts of forested nations like Brazil to negotiate a favorable REDD+ policy. The integration of REDD+ with the Green Economy is another step away from a redistributive policy.

Part 5: REDD+ Readiness in Mexico
Currently, Mexico is developing its national strategy for REDD+ (ENAREDD+)6 and deploying pilot projects around the country. The World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and

La Estrategia Nacional REDD+

Pskowski55 other international bodies of REDD+ development support this work. Chiapas has been one of several states where REDD+ development has focused thus far, as it has a high proportion of forest cover. Mexico is taking a “territorial” approach to REDD+ in which projects will be dispersed throughout institutions such as the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR)7 and the Rural Sustainable Development Commission rather than centralized in one government body. CONAFOR is a subagency of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT).8 It is also a “nested” approach, in which sub-national, state planning fits into the national plan. In this section I introduce the architecture of REDD+ in Mexico, including institutions, financing, and legal and technical questions. The REDD+ projects in Chiapas in some cases operate outside this national framework, but are influenced by the national political process to shape REDD+. The challenges and complexities in developing Mexico's national REDD+ plan, especially in ensuring broad participation among stakeholders, have implications for how REDD+ will manifest in Chiapas. Experiences in national PES and the Clean Development Mechanism indicate that these governance structures pose barriers to participation for both civil society and organizations seeking to develop projects. Forest carbon marketing in Mexico has been contentious within and between state bodies, NGOs and civil society. REDD+, playing out on an international stage, will repeat many of these struggles (McAfee and Shapiro 2010). In 2010 Mexico had 33 percent forest cover, or 64.8 million hectares. Deforestation is declining in Mexico with an FAO study finding a reduction from a rate of 354,000 hectares a year (ha/year) in 2000 to 155,000 ha/year in 2010. Mexico's Forest Resource Assessment found a reduction from a rate of 408,000 ha/year in 2000 to 187,000 ha/year in 2010. These both represent a reduction in deforestation of 55 percent (The REDD+ Desk 2013c). Deforestation rates vary in magnitude in different parts of the country. The biggest drivers of deforestation nationwide are land use change for


Comision Nacional Forestal Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales

56 agriculture and livestock activities. Other major drivers are tourism, mining, bioenergy (or biofuels) and urban growth (The REDD+ Desk). In Mexico's overall greenhouse gas emissions profile, land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) represent the fourth biggest source, generating on average 80 megatons of CO2 a year from 1990 to 2006. The UN defines LULUCF as a, “greenhouse gas inventory sector that covers emissions and removals of greenhouse gases resulting from direct human-induced land use, land-use change and forestry activities” (UNFCCC). Land use changes from forests to croplands and grasslands were the most significant source of these emissions from 1990 to 2000 (The REDD+ Desk 2013c). Mexico has been an active proponent of and participant in trading mechanisms and Payments for Ecosystem Services internationally and nationally. Prior to REDD+, Mexico was an active participant in the ratification of the UNFCCC in 1993 and the Kyoto Protocols in 2000 and advocated internationally for the inclusion of forest carbon trading in climate change mitigation activities, through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and the Activities Implemented Jointly mechanism (AIJ) (Corbera and Brown 2008). After Kyoto was ratified Mexico advocated for an approach that would maximize investment options for the energy and forestry sectors and later advocated with Bolivia to include avoided deforestation in the CDM (Corbera and Brown 2008). Nationally, Mexico began a system of PES in 2003, including specific payments for forest carbon (Corbera and Brown 2008). The REDD Desk, a collaborative database, reports 28 REDD+ activities at the national level and 18 at the subnational level in Mexico. This figure also includes initiatives like the GCF that may or may not fit into a national REDD+ strategy in the future. The REDD Desk is a collaboration between the Global Canopy Programme and the Forum on Readiness for REDD, represented by the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM). It receives funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Climate and Land Use Alliance (The REDD Desk 2012). The current activities of REDD+ development in Mexico are termed “early action” and administered by CONAFOR in Chiapas, Jalisco and the Yucatan Peninsula. These activities are not considered full REDD+ projects and rather

Pskowski57 assess certain technical, social and environmental aspects of REDD+ (The REDD Desk). These projects encompass the range of activities that can fall under REDD+: deforestation, degradation, forest enhancement and sustainable forest management. For example, the REDD+ project in the Jose Maria Morelos Territory in the Mayan Area of Quintana Roo, Mexico (a state in the Yucatan Peninsula) works with communities and ejidos to “characterize deforestation and forest degradation and understand the causes” and to establish a baseline of carbon stocks. The Ford Foundation funds this project (The REDD Desk “Jose Maria Morelos”). Experiences in CDM and National PES Mexico has actively pursued the development of AIJ and CDM projects and national systems in PES, making it a country with significant experience in market-based mitigation activities. Institutions such as CONAFOR, which administered CDM and PES in Mexico, are now involved in REDD+ development. CDM and PES projects in Mexico have also demonstrated the tension between constructing market-based mechanisms and remaining committed to social development or anti-poverty goals. These experiences demonstrate the interest in market-based conservation in Mexico, yet a hesitance to relinquish regulatory power to international bodies (McAfee and Shapiro 2010). Mexico had four projects in the Activities Implemented Jointly (AIJ) mechanism, which transitioned to become the CDM in 2002 (Corbera and Brown 2008). In the over 6,000 accredited CDM projects, Mexico follows China, India and Brazil (CDM-UNFCCC). As the country with the fourth most CDM projects worldwide, as of June 2011 Mexico had 127 registered CDM projects and another 55 in the process of validation or registration. At this time there were 92 projects in methane avoidance in Mexico, followed by sixteen landfill gas initiatives and nine wind energy projects (Cobera and Jover 2012). Assessing the performance of Mexico's CDM projects, Corbera and Jover found that additionality of projects was often questionable and public participation was “limited” (Corbera and Jover 2012, 51). They warn that, “Host country governments may favor a ‘soft’ regulatory approach in order to capture foreign direct investment and facilitate projects’ development regardless of their local

58 development implications” (Corbera and Jover 2012, 51). They recommend increased international regulation to ensure public participation and the deliverance of multiple benefits at the local level (Corbera and Jover 2012). These recommendations are prescient for REDD+ in Mexico. Some academics and NGOs in Mexico advocated for the inclusion of avoided deforestation in the CDM, seeing it as an opportunity to expand their portfolios of activities, while others opposed the concept of offsetting something that they viewed would happen anyway. Corbera and Brown (2008) found that Mexican NGOs had difficulty in participating fully in the design and implementation of CDM projects in carbon forestry because of their “lack of resources to identify, design and develop projects” (Corbera and Brown 2008, 1968). Those who were successful in CDM carbon forestry projects worked with international NGOs who had the necessary technical aptitude. Corbera and Brown also found that the ejido system of communal land ownership led to “higher investment uncertainty and higher project management costs.” This is possibly due to the participatory processes built into the ejido system and the small size of properties (Corbera and Brown 2008, 1968). Realizing equitable local participation in REDD+ projects will require effort above and beyond previous international forest carbon projects in Mexico. Mexico has extensive experience in PES nationally in the Payments for Biodiversity, Carbon Fixation and Agroforestry system (PSA-CABSA), created in 2004. This built on the previous program in Payments for Hydrological Services (PSAH), both managed by CONAFOR. PSA-CABSA has three components: carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation and the conversion of agriculture and pasture to agroforestry. The program was developed with significant participation of NGOs and rural civil society organizations. Surprisingly, the projects are not compatible with the CDM (Corbera and Brown 2008). Corbera and Brown (2008) attribute the incompatibility to CONAFOR's lack of expertise in international climate change policy, the inability to involve knowledgeable professionals in drafting program rules, an “interest in accommodating a diversity of interests” including peasants organizations and “[CONAFOR's] mandate to benefit as many rural communities and farmers as possible” (Corbera

Pskowski59 and Brown 2008, 1973). This experience shows the difficulty in integrating an increasingly complex matrix of international and national incentive programs for conservation and mitigation. Kathleen McAfee and Elizabeth Shapiro (2010) reached similar conclusions in their analysis of the national PES system, arguing that the tension between the program's market orientation and the pro-poor and pro-social development reforms represents a “contradiction at the heart of the project of neoliberalization of nature” (McAfee and Shapiro 2010, 580). They argue the construction of PES along market lines requires a separation of nature and society, which “proves impossible in practice” because the practices and values people associate with the natural world cannot be reduced to the market price neoliberal PES systems require (McAfee and Shapiro 2010, 580). Rural organizations successfully pushed reforms to the PES program which prioritized poverty reduction alongside conservation. These reforms were necessary to gain popular support for the programs and advance national goals yet created conflict with international bodies such as the World Bank. In an assessment of the program, World Bank advisers wrote that targeting poverty reduction, “risks undermining [the] primary objective of generating valuable ecosystem services” (World Bank 2006, 13). CONAFOR consolidated PSA-CABSA, PSAH and several other programs under the umbrella of PROARBOL in 2006. The oversight committee for PROARBOL is much less diverse, with less representation from rural organizations and civil society than the previous PES programs (McAfee and Shapiro 2010). Both McAfee and Shapiro (2010) and Corbera and Brown (2008) found a tendency for Mexican national PES programs to create conflicts between national and international interests in forest conservation and climate mitigation, and between social development and conservation. Based on experiences in national PES, CDM and voluntary carbon markets, the contradictions and conflicts that market-based emissions reduction mechanisms tend to create are likely to continue in REDD+. These mechanisms encompass local, national and international actors who attempt to coalesce around common, yet differentiated, goals. Experiences with CDM and national PES systems show that major barriers exist to full participation and benefits sharing for local communities and organizations.

60 Initial experiences with REDD+ at the state level indicate similar contradictions. A report commissioned by the Governor’s Climate and Forest Taskforce found that:
To date, environmental and social safeguards have been incorporated into REDD+ projects, but establishing these kinds of safeguards may represent a potential Achilles’ heel for development of jurisdictional REDD+, as states attempt to implement dozens of performance criteria across entire jurisdictions. EPRI (2012) 4-9.

As jurisdictional REDD+ develops alongside UN-REDD and other national or state-level forestry policies it will be increasingly difficult both to ensure that safeguards are being followed and verified and to attribute reductions in deforestation to any particular program or funding source. Mexico is attempting to streamline its forestry, REDD+ and other natural resource policies but the continued presence of voluntary carbon offsetting projects and the desire from states like Chiapas to progress with subnational REDD+ indicate this is easier said than done. REDD+ Architecture in Mexico REDD+ in Mexico is being streamlined into existing state environmental institutions, in the intersecting sectors of environmental protection, climate change, and sustainable development. SEMARNAT and its sub-agency CONAFOR are involved in REDD+ pilot projects and planning. REDD+ is also integrated with the National Development Plan (PND)9 and the National Climate Change Strategy.10 The Interministerial Climate Change Commission (CICC)11 and the Interministerial Rural Sustainable Development Commission (CIDRS)12 are two bodies that coordinate policy including REDD+. Non-governmental and educational institutions are involved in research and pilot REDD+ projects. These include the College of Postgraduates (ColPos), the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and the College of the Southern Border (ECOSUR)13. Researchers at ECOSUR, which has a campus in San Cristóbal, have been involved in AMBIO's projects since their inception. The states of Chiapas and Jalisco and the three states of the Yucatan Peninsula have taken

9 10 11 12

Plan Nacional de Desarrollo Estrategia Nacional de Cambio Climático Comisión Intersecretarial de Cambio Climático Comisión Intersecretarial para el Desarrollo Rural Sustentable El Colegio de la Frontera Sur

Pskowski61 active roles in REDD+ development (CONAFOR 2010b, the REDD+ Desk 2013c). Multilateral, bilateral and domestic bodies are financing REDD+ in Mexico. At the multilateral level, the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) accepted Mexico's proposal in 2008 and approved US $3.6 million for REDD+ readiness. REDD+ in Mexico is receiving additional funding from the EU's Latin American Investment Facility (US $0.28 million) and the UN Development Program (UNDP). Mexico is also a pilot country for the Forest Investment Program (EPRI 2012). Other funders include the French Development Agency, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). CONAFOR is contributing money to projects, as well as state-level budget disbursements (The REDD Desk). Legal and Technical Questions The UNFCCC negotiations set many standards for the technical aspects of REDD+, yet each nation must determine how these standards will be met and fit within the national context. These include the allocation of carbon rights, the baseline levels of forest cover, participation mechanisms and MRV systems. Mexico's eligibility for REDD+ credits depends on the baselines set for forest cover and deforestation in the country. Mexico's reference level will be based on historical data and assessments of deforestation and forest degradation risk. The historical data will be based on remote-sensing initiatives and communitybased monitoring approaches. Mexico is also exploring integrating these systems with existing social and environmental information systems (CONAFOR 2010a). Compared to some other countries, Mexico is relatively advanced in its MRV capabilities based on its experience with other environmental inventories such as the national PES system. Mexico plans to implement an MRV system using a combination of remote sensing and ground based forest inventory methods. The Norwegian government is providing US $15 million in funding for MRV activities (UN-REDD 2010).

62 The REDD+ readiness process thus far in Mexico has included participation from diverse stakeholders. The REDD+ Task Force14 (CTC-REDD+) is an independent technical advisory committee and includes stakeholders from government agencies, NGOs, academia, indigenous groups and financing institutions. National-level meetings and consultations take place in Mexico City, which makes it difficult for groups from civil society in other parts of the country to participate (The REDD Desk). As in UNFCCC proceedings, participation mechanisms exist yet there are major barriers for many local level actors to participate (Schroeder 2010). The consultation bodies that are likely to be involved in the implementation stages to ensure proper consultation and implementation include Advisory Councils for Sustainable Development, the National Commission for Indigenous Development's Technical Consultation Body and the National Forest Council (CONAFOR, 2010a). One particular challenge ing Mexico will be developing a REDD+ framework that integrates the communal ejido system of land ownership. According to state figures, the forest lands of Mexico are 70 to 80 percent in the social sector- either ejidos or communities (that have different management rules); 15 percent in the private sector; and five percent in the public sector—owned by the state (Robles 2011). Ejidos typically have an area of forest and pasture that community members set apart and manage collectively. Decisions about management of collective resources are made in monthly community assemblies (Corbera, Brown and Adger 2007). Early experiences with ejidos being sold for REDD+-type carbon in the state of Quintana Roo in the Yucatan Peninsula have created concerns that ejidatarios (community members with access to an ejido) do not understand or have full access to the benefits of the projects (Martínez-Reyes 2012). José Martinez-Reyes wrote that one of Mexico's wealthiest businessmen, former Banamex bank owner Roberto Hernandez is buying ejido rights from individuals in the Zona Maya for a conservation trust and PES. Martínez-Reyes writes, “I have been told by local Maya farmers that by using third party groups, Hernandez disingenuously convinces local rural folks to sell their land rights by promising thousands of pesos, taking advantage of their difficult

Comité Técnico Consultivo REDD+

Pskowski63 economic situation. He also simultaneously lures agrarian government officials into approving such transactions” (Martínez-Reyes 2012). Major changes in land ownership regulations took place in 1992, when the President instituted agrarian reforms to the ejidos. From this point on ejidos could be leased for 99-year periods with a community assembly vote. The Program for Certification of Rights to Ejido Lands (PROCEDE) was established in 1992 to improve transparency on land tenure for the reforms. Existing ejidos and communal land had to be surveyed by PROCEDE but as of 2011, only 78.4 percent of ejido lands had been surveyed and 43.8 percent of communal lands. Uncertified lands are at risk to decrease in value because they have less clarity of land tenure (Robles 2011). Especially in Chiapas, state officials have struggled with reaching high levels of compliance with PROCEDE (Osborne 2010). The changes to agrarian laws and PROCEDE are discussed further in Chapter 3. A study funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation and the World Bank makes a number of comments on equity in forest carbon rights in Mexico: (1) Associating carbon rights solely with lands certified under PROCEDE may be a risk because most indigenous lands have not been certified, (2) REDD+ is more likely to be successful where federal and state law is applied “thoroughly and without hindrance” (Robles 2011, 4), (3) collective agreements among local landowners would allow investment in larger forest areas and thus reduce transaction costs, and (4) the lower participation rates in ejido management among women and younger generations raises questions about the equity of working through the ejido (Robles 2011). While ejidos are the cornerstone of communal land ownership and a legacy of the Mexican Revolution, they are not inherently just mechanisms for distributing REDD+ benefits. As with Mansfield's work on fishing cooperatives, the benefits of “community” involvement through the ejidos may be over-stated. Particularly in regards to gender, further research is needed on the differentiated benefits of PES within ejidos.

Part 6: REDD+, Forest and Climate Policy in Chiapas
Chiapas is one of the most biodiverse and ecologically rich states in Mexico. Forests cover

64 660,100 hectares or 30 percent of the state territory and rainforests cover 706,600 hectares or 35 percent. Forest, rainforest and mangrove ecosystems are home to 205 species of mammals, 565 species of birds, 224 species of reptiles and more than 1,200 species of butterflies. The annual rate of deforestation between 1993 and 2007 was 0.86 percent, a total loss of 499,722 hectares. Along with forest degradation, the state calculates that this loss contributed 16,182,080 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, representing 57 percent of the total emissions profile of the state. The regions of Fronteriza, La Selva, La Sierra and Los Altos lost 21 percent of their forest cover and face the greatest risks for future deforestation. Additionally, Chiapas is one of the most vulnerable parts of Mexico to the impacts of climate change, partially because of the dangers of flooding in the mountainous areas of the state. In recent years flooding has dislocated many communities (PACCCH). The Chiapas State Program against Climate Change15 (PACCCH) is charged with implementing the climate change law. REDD+ is a focal point of their efforts. PACCCH writes that REDD+ cannot be seen solely as a mechanism to reduce carbon emissions and instead must be created to promote sustainable development and biodiversity conservation: “We believe that success will depend not only in the total tonnage of carbon that is mitigated, but also importantly in the increase in indicators of quality of life, biodiversity and other ecosystem services”16 (PACCCH 2013). PACCCH is involved in pilot projects contributing toward the state and national REDD+ strategies and also the Governor's Climate and Forest Taskforce (GCF). Though in a budget crisis, the state is still actively pursuing REDD+ as a centerpiece of state climate and environmental policy (PACCCH 2013). REDD+ builds on relatively extensive experience in Chiapas with forest carbon projects, and employs much of the same language and goals. As in Mexico nationally, lessons from other PES and forest carbon initiatives give an indication of how REDD+ will develop in the state. Confusion between project-based, state-level and national-level initiatives currently mars

15 16

Programa de accion ante el cambio climatico del estado de Chiapas Author's translation.

Pskowski65 REDD+ in Chiapas. When discussing “REDD+” in Chiapas I refer to the GCF project, the forest carbon offsetting projects pre-dating the REDD+ framework, and the “early action” projects of state/national REDD+. I refer to these different projects in Chiapas under the title of “REDD+” to mirror public perception of REDD+. At the time of writing, “REDD+” in its complete form does not exist in Chiapas because the Lacandon project is not considered to meet all requirements of a UN REDD+ project and “Early action” projects contributing toward the national REDD+ framework are only assessing certain elements such as MRV technology. However, Governors Sabines and Velasco both have shaped public opinion by referring to these projects as REDD+. For the purposes of this study I define REDD+ as a mechanism that facilitates the transfer of financial resources to fund forest conservation or reforestation for the purposes of carbon storage. The existing forest carbon projects in Chiapas can be differentiated by their funding sources, the organizations involved in implementation and their relation to UN REDD+: unrelated, subnational, or national. Governor Juan Sabines of Chiapas took advantage of the political moment of the Cancún climate negotiations in December 2010 to showcase the state’s budding plans for REDD+. On November 1, 2010, California, Chiapas and Acre had signed a Memorandum of Understanding through the Governor’s Climate and Forest Taskforce to implement REDD in Chiapas and Acre to sell to the California carbon market. In December Sabines signed the agreement to begin REDD+ payments to the Lacandon Community (EPRI 2012). The GCF hosted a side event to the Cancún climate summit that representatives from various member states attended. Juan Sabines was the only Mexican governor who attended and he met with California representatives. He said Chiapas joined the GCF, “at the invitation of California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to join his green revolution,” and to indicate the state's commitment to stopping climate change and transitioning out of the fossil fuel economy (La Jornada 2010b). Sabines was busy in Cancún. He also appeared in a press conference with the President of Conservation International to announce the new Climate Change Law in Chiapas (La Jornada 2010a). This law sets the ambitious goal of reducing deforestation to zero in the state, which is

66 not currently linked to a state timeline or plan to execute it (EPRI 2012). The Governor’s Climate and Forest Taskforce has placed emphasis on the REDD+ projects in Chiapas because California is the only jurisdiction in the world actively considering recognizing carbon offsets generated from REDD+ programs (EPRI 2012). There are currently no GCF members creating verified carbon credits from REDD+ projects and this is expected to still be three to five years away. A 2012 report commissioned by the GCF on its projects reached relatively discouraging conclusions. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) contracted the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM International) and its staff member Daniel Nepstad (a major REDD+ proponent and an author of the original Santilli et al paper, 2005) to write the report on the progress of GCF projects. In reference to Chiapas specifically the report finds that “the state is still missing essential components necessary to generate compliance grade emissions reductions from a jurisdictional REDD+ program” (EPRI 2012, 3-29). In the “Principle Findings” section on GCF initiatives generally two bullet points stand out as particularly concerning:
• A second effect of this project-based focus has been a general lack of progress in designing comprehensive programs to systematically redirect or slow the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. • Few programs have been able to attract public or private financing, and state/provincial political support for REDD+ is rapidly flagging. Very little of the “fast-track” international REDD+ finance is available to state and provincial programs. ERPI (2012) xiv.

Despite these setbacks the GCF actively is promoting their projects as models for future investment in REDD+. The EPRI (2012) report states that “An important target audience of this analysis includes electric companies who may face carbon emissions constraints in the future and may seek to develop or purchase emissions reduction offsets as part of state, regional or national climate change mitigation programs” (EPRI 2012, 1-4). The role of EPRI in funding the report also indicates the commercial interest in developing subnational REDD+. The report's introduction clearly states, “This publication is a corporate document” and comparable academic or public research is unavailable (EPRI 2012, iii). The official body to discuss REDD+ in Chiapas is the Technical REDD+ Advisory Committee

Pskowski67 (CTC REDD+). Formally established in 2011 it brings together local NGOs, academics, and federal government representatives to provide guidance for the REDD+ development process (EPRI 2012). Organizations on CTC REDD+ include Pronatura Sur, AMBIO, CONAFOR, ECOSUR, Na Bolom, Conservation International (CI) and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). These are either state institutions or established non-profits with experience in carbon forestry or conservation in cooperation with the government. Some restrict their activities to Chiapas, but CI and EDF are international organizations. Chiapas aims to release a state REDD+ strategy during 2013 and contribute toward a regional REDD+ strategy to be released by 2015. These efforts are aligned with the national vision and strategy documents for REDD+ (GCF). The REDD+ Offsets Working Group (ROW) is a governance body formed in 2011 to advance the efforts of the GCF to create state-level REDD+ offsets for the California market. Many of the same stakeholders overlap on ROW, in addition to representatives from Acre, Brazil, the other state that is partnering with California. While ROW works closely with the California, Chiapas and Acre governments it is a private body that is framed around “recommendations” for REDD+ in California, not assessing whether REDD+ should be included in the first place. The Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA), a partnership between ClimateWorks Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation funds ROW (ROW 2013). Its members include long-time REDD+ promoters Daniel Nepstad, Steve Schwartzman, and Rosa Maria Vidal (ROW 2013). Stacked with pro-market REDD+ practitioners and ambiguously related to the state, ROW is a clear example of neoliberalized environmental governance. At the end of January 2013, the REDD Offsets Working Group (ROW) recommended to the state of California to accept REDD+ credits and released their general recommendations, which included safeguards, monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) and enforcement. This “expert”working working group seemed deeply out of touch with the criticisms of REDD+ in Chiapas. A lead member, Steve Schwartzman said, “[REDD+] creates a pathway for California to collaborate

68 with some of the jurisdictions (such as Acre, Chiapas) that have done the most to reduce emissions globally through allowing crediting in California’s carbon market for reducing emissions from deforestation” (Carbon Market News Service 2013). This opened a comment period on the recommendations in California. Safeguards are lacking in Chiapas REDD+. The state’s climate change legislation does not require the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) of indigenous people for the implementation of REDD+ activities on their lands, though a draft federal law does require FPIC (EPRI 2012). While the Climate Change Law includes the creation of a State Environmental Advisory Council (CCAE) to advise the state on climate change policy, this has not yet occurred (EPRI 2012).

Figure 2.4 Communities and Ejidos Participating in Scolel'Té 1997-2009. Source: AMBIO (2009). The oldest and best documented of existing forest carbon projects in Chiapas is the Scolel'Té project, which in the Tzeltal and Tojolabal Mayan languages means, ‘the tree that grows' (Osborne

Pskowski69 2011). The San Cristóbal-based cooperative NGO AMBIO runs the project. Established in 1997, the project works with small landholders in Northern and Central Chiapas, generating carbon credits for the voluntary market. Scolel'Té has received accolades in the industry for its accomplishments as a model of carbon forestry (Osborne 2010). However, several academics have published research critical of its claimed social development benefits and its impacts on land use and livelihoods (Osborne 2010, 2011, Corbera, Brown and Adger 2007, Corbera, Kosoy and Brown 2008). The contested implications of the Scolel'Té project carry over into REDD+, as AMBIO is part of the REDD+ Working Group in the state. The Scolel'Té project was created in the mid-1990s, originally with coffee farmers who began to grow carbon-sequestering trees as a form of subsidy for their shade-grown coffee operations. A doctoral student, Richard Tipper, worked closely with the coffee cooperative Pajal YaKac' Tic to develop the program and it was launched as an income-generating project in 1997. Now the project involves 700 families in more than 50 communities in Chiapas and Oaxaca. In Chiapas, the project has spread from coffee producers in the highlands into the low-lying jungle areas of the Lacandon (Osborne 2011). Figure 2.4 illustrates the dispersed participation in Scolel'Té between the Southern highlands and the low-lying rainforest area more to the North and East. Political ecologist Tracy Osborne writes that as the project transitioned to focus on marketing credits “the initial emphasis on local development shifted to meeting the efficiency requirements of the carbon market” (Osborne 2011, 864). Social scientists Esteve Corbera, Katrina Brown and Neil Adger (2007), taking an institutional approach, found that as the project shifted away from a development focus, fewer women attended project meetings and their suggestions were not prioritized (Corbera, Brown and Adger 2007). Osborne (2010 and 2011) and Corbera, Brown and Adger (2007) found that participation in the project required significant labor time for members and often a re-ordering of labor priorities. Osborne found that 80 percent of active carbon offset producers and all of the inactive or former participants she interviewed complained that the payments were insufficient for the amount of labor required (Osborne 2011, 875-76). Osborne also found that carbon activities often conflicted with

70 the labor required to cultivate corn for subsistence. Many people prioritized growing corn, but others had to cease growing corn because of labor constraints. Osborne found that the participants in Scolel'Té who were satisfied with the payments and requirements generally viewed it as a supplementary income source. This was more likely to be the case for highland coffee producers, who found that the carbon payments supported their income from coffee production. The communities that joined the project more recently in the Lacandon rainforest area participated because they lacked economic alternatives to traditional agricultural crops like corn, which are no longer viable due to neoliberal agricultural reforms such as PROCEDE and productive reconversion, in which farmers are incentivized to switch from subsistence to commodity crop production. Many participants who Osborne interviewed in the Lacandon region indicated that they had decided to plant carbon-sequestering trees because they could no longer sell corn on the local market. Many people participated in the program as a way to secure their landholding to keep land invaders out, which points to a larger contradiction within forest carbon projects. The Scolel'Té project is based on four 25-year rotations for timber, per the IPCC definition of “permanence.” However, for campesinos in the Lacandon who have to contend with land invasions, fires, pests and extreme weather, land access is highly insecure. To commit to a project with such a long time-scale is perhaps not in their best interest. Obsorne attributes the high level of attrition from the program (approximately half the original carbon producers in her research area) to this discontinuity with their day-to-day needs (Osborne 2011, 879-80). The other significant REDD-type project in Chiapas is the partnership with Acre and California to develop subnational REDD+ credits to sell in California's carbon market. The Chiapas government has been paying members of the Lacandon Community for forest conservation and calling it “REDD” though it does not meet all standards. California has not definitively approved REDD+ credits for the market, so no funding has flowed to Chiapas. Chiapas footed the bill for this pilot project, estimated at US $3.25 million (Castro-Soto 2012). This included payments of 2,000 pesos ($150-160) to

Pskowski71 landholders on a monthly basis for forest conservation. Communities in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve were offered payments for forest conservation. However, other indigenous groups in the area were excluded. In the case of the village Amador Hernandez, community members found their medical services cut off and attributed this to their resistance to REDD+ (Global Justice Ecology Project 2011a). The new Chiapas state administration, which entered office in December 2012, has discontinued the payments due to the state's budget crisis (Personal communication 2013). In February the Velasco administration started to reveal more of their environmental plans. Velasco announced a “Crusade against Climate Change” on February 13, 2013, and re-affirmed the administration's commitment to REDD+, saying the administration would release a Vision Statement (PACCCH 2013). Several other, less publicized and documented, REDD+ or forest carbon projects are underway in Chiapas: (1) The Environmental Defense Fund, a US-based international conservation NGO, is collaborating with AMBIO on a pilot to build capacity for REDD+ in ejidos and communities. (2) AMBIO also has a project of carbon payments for carbon storage in the ejido Reforma Agraria of the Marques de Comillas region. (3) The Biosphere Selva de Ocote (Ocote Rainforest) project was established in 2009 with the involvement of AMBIO, USAID and CONANP. (4) Na Bolom and two other NGOs, Ecologic and Reforestamos Mexico, are involved in a pilot project in Ocosingo. (5) The Sepultura Project has been generating voluntary forest carbon credit since 2008 through Conservation International, Starbucks and ProNatura-Sur (Greenpeace International 2012). (6) The EPRI report refers to a program paying the Naha community in the Lacandon to compensate conservation and improve the local capacity to monitor, conserve and restore forest ecosystems (EPRI 2012). (7) AMBIO, the Nature Conservancy and CONAFOR are also developing plans to implement REDD+ in the Sierra Madre region of Chiapas. A closed-door meeting in October 2012 has not resulted in further information being shared publicly (Morales 2012). This array of REDD+-type projects demonstrates the complex web of NGOs, government

72 agencies and international funders that constitute REDD+ currently. While platforms such as the REDD-Desk attempt to aggregate information about REDD+, it is still unclear in Chiapas the exact scale of these projects to date. Improved information access is over-due and will be necessary if REDD+ is to be effective and gain legitimacy.

REDD+ is a vehicle of multiple narratives in the UN climate negotiations. To simply write it off as a “market policy” overlooks the redistributive potential of a mechanism that transfers resources from global North to South. However, the goals of creating a global trade in REDD+ credits and redistributing global resources are not necessarily compatible. Previous experiences in PES and CDM as well as the REDD+ development process to date demonstrate that market efficiency will often override the potential development or anti-poverty aspirations of a policy. Despite its trials and tribulations, REDD+ is one of the few international climate policies with political traction. Many actors in the international policy landscape have pinned their hopes on REDD+ for a diversity of reasons. REDD+ will be hard pressed to both fulfill CBDR and reduce poverty in developing nations and meet the efficiency demands of a global trade in carbon credits. The development of REDD+ in Mexico and Chiapas is based on international standards but reflects how REDD+ is necessarily shaped specifically in each location. Especially as subnational REDD+ moves forward, ambiguities arise over the proper governing bodies and regulations. Though Mexico has been a particularly active country in market valuation of nature, land ownership in Mexico also provides particular challenges to implementing REDD+. The international framework and the GCF are not the sole reasons REDD+ has taken on in Mexico and Chiapas. Specific historical and political conditions make these “logical” locations to implement REDD+. The following chapter discusses these determinants in Mexico and Chiapas.


Chapter 3: Debated Development in Mexico and Chiapas
Scholars of deforestation in the Lacandon and Central America, such as Karen O'Brien, Ivette Perfecto and John Vandermeer, consistently attribute the failures of the region’s conservation efforts to a lack of attention to social and political issues. Many conservation policies in Mexico have ignored social issues and underlying causes of environmental problems, leading to shortsighted or piecemeal programs. Political ecologists Vandermeer and Perfecto suggest, “The rain forest conservationist must join the political movement to change [the Mexican political system].” Faber argues for “[a] new social order that raises the standard of living for all citizens.” Weinberg suggests nothing short of a “revolutionary environmentalism… …a view that sees profound social and political transformation as both a principle instrument and an inevitable result of preserving wild areas and restoring the ecology” (Quoted in O’Brien 1998, 177-178). But how can we bring these lofty aspirations down to the rainforest floor? Perfecto, Vandermeer and Wright (2009) suggest that, “The problem of conservation must deal with a long history of the interaction between local peoples, their landscapes, and the project of European political, economic and cultural dominance” (Perfecto, Vandermeer and Wright 2009, 8081). This chapter provides an introduction to this “long history” in Chiapas and Mexico in order to identify what contradictions conservation and social development policies must address. I identify three main trends in the political economy of development in Mexico and Chiapas that lend important insights to the motivations for participation in REDD+ and the skepticism and distrust of the program: (1) The Mexican economy has become export-oriented and opened to foreign trade and investment, leading to deep inequality across the country and a greater impact of and reliance on international markets among campesinos; this creates a need for economic development that many

74 hope REDD+ will fill; (2) land in the Lacandon Rainforest of Chiapas has historically been used as a “safety value” for political pressures elsewhere in the state. Sealing off the Lacandon through REDD+ negates the demands for redistribution of many campesinos; and (3) conservation in the Lancandon Rainforest has historically been used as a counter-insurgency strategy against the Zapatista uprising and other restive social groups. These factors combine to create the politically explosive context of REDD+ in Chiapas. Any alternative proposal would need to adequately address each of them, a task that I explain would be very difficult to accomplish. Aside from the historical patterns that REDD+ repeats, I argue that REDD+ is one part of a new stage in agrarian development in Chiapas, which I call green grabbing, based on Fairhead et al’s definition (Fairhead et al 2012). This relates to the criticisms of REDD+ coming from social movements, who see it to be embedded in a broader political economic project. REDD+, along with ecotourism, biofuels, sustainable rural cities and productive reconversion, represents an alarming trend toward “green” appropriation of rural resources in Chiapas. This new turn deserves further analysis. The first section of this chapter discusses the Mexican path of economic development, which has largely been toward exports and economic liberalization to encourage foreign trade and investment. These policies, indicative of neoliberalism, have led to deep inequality both within and between regions of the country. Agrarian states like Chiapas have lagged behind the industrialized North and within agrarian areas campesinos have become more reliant on international markets; these are the conditions that make REDD+ seem a viable development option for both individuals and states (Osborne 2011). The second part of this chapter discusses the political economy of the Lacandon Rainforest region and the competing pressures between land reform, extractive industries and conservation. Historian Jan de Vos has described the Lacandon Rainforest as “una tierra para sembrar sueños” —a land to sow dreams. This refers to a popular imagining of the rainforest as the resource-rich frontier of the state. During agrarian reform the large commercial estates of Chiapas were often left intact. The

Pskowski75 land the government gave to peasants, including within the rainforest, was not well suited to productive agriculture. There are many unresolved land claims and attempts at settlement in the area. These political uses of the region came in conflict with an increasing pressure in the late 20th century to conserve the rainforest. The creation of the Lacandon Community and the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve in the 1970s further heightened tensions over land. The government has treated the Lacandones as the proper stewards of the environment and pushed other indigenous groups off their land. Sealing-off the Lacandon through REDD+ is another blow to the demands for redistribution of many campesinos. The second section continues to discuss the increased militarization in the Selva since the early 1990s emergence of insurgent social movements in the region and how conservationists colluded in the efforts. The economic and political situation for indigenous peoples in the Selva was a major cause of the Zapatista uprising. The Zapatistas “came out of the rainforest” on January 1st, 1994, directly invoking the new North American Free Trade Agreement, a neoliberal trade policy, as a threat to their survival as indigenous people. The military has encroached into Zapatista-controlled areas of Chiapas as the government attempts to stamp out the rebellion. The government has expanded roads and other infrastructure into the rainforest in an attempt to suppress the Zapatistas and win government allegiance. Pre-existing conservation efforts, through NGOs like Conservation International have played into the government counter-insurgency efforts. Large conservation groups have worked with the government to displace settlements in the rainforest (CAPISE 2002). These same government entities and NGOs are now developing REDD+ and must contend with their questionable inheritance. This chapter ends by discussing the salience of the “green grab” concept as a new stage in rural change in Chiapas in order to understand the complex array of state and commercial programs.

Part 1: Mexican Economic Development
Today Mexico is the twelfth largest economy in the world in terms of purchasing power parity,

76 with a total GDP of US $1.153 trillion according to 2011 estimates (World Bank 2013). It is considered an upper middle-income country, with a GNI income per capita of US $9,420 in 2011 (World Bank 2013). 51.3% of the population lives below the national poverty line in 2011 data. In addition to high poverty rates, income inequality in the country is stark. In 2008 (the most recent data available) 38.7% of the wealth in the country was held by the richest 10% of the population and the poorest 10% of the population only held 1.8% of the wealth (World Bank 2013). In 2008, Mexico had a GINI score, which shows income inequality, of 48.3 (World Bank 2013). A zero score would be perfect income equality and 100 would be complete inequality. This placed Mexico as 25th in world rankings of income equality; roughly half of the most unequal countries are in Latin America (World Bank 2013). The four main stages of economic history in Mexico are Spanish colonization, the Porfirio dictatorship, the development state of the 1930s-1970s and the neoliberal free trade model of the late twentieth century. Mesoamerica is a “cradle of civilization” and was also one of the earliest locations of advanced agriculture and crop genetic diversity. Chiapas was part of the Mayan empire, which stretched south into Guatemala. Mesoamerica was densely populated: as Mexican anthropologist Guillermo Bonfil writes, “The entire habitable area was in fact occupied at some point in the precolonial period... …It is only after the European invasion and the installation of the colonial regime that the country becomes 'unknown territory' whose contours and secrets need to be 'discovered'” (Bonfil 1994, 8). The Spanish were the colonial rulers of Mexico from the 16th century until 1810. Even after Spanish colonial rule was overthrown in 1810, the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz, 1884-1910, and the economic power of the US and Britain slowed the processes of democratization and internal economic development. The US and Britain were deeply involved in the economy after independence and during the Porfirato, as Díaz’s 35-year dictatorship was known. Economic development was focused on maintaining low-cost production of agricultural commodities, minerals and other raw materials for export (Perfecto, Vandermeer and Wright 2009). Agriculture, mining and the railroads were important

Pskowski77 early economic bases. Economic development mainly benefited external commercial interests and the Mexican elite. For example in Chiapas, Germans and other European families owned the large coffee plantations that dotted the southern lowlands. A product like coffee would be grown in Mexico but exported for processing and sale, minimizing the local economic benefits. The Porfirato spanned from 1884 to 1911 when Diaz was overthrown in the Mexican Revolution. The country stabilized fiscally and began attracting new foreign investment during this period. Despite nominal economic growth in the country the vast majority of Mexicans remained impoverished. The Porfirato term exacerbated inequalities in land distribution and wealth through political corruption and the latifundio system, large land grants that military and political leaders received as political favors. They relied on local peasant labor to operate them as farms. The Mexican oil industry also became an important driver of economic growth during the Porfirato (Osborne 2010). Increasing social unrest led to the Mexican Revolution, which lasted from 1910 to 1917. It took years to restore order after the social upheaval of the Revolution. Land redistribution through the ejido system of communal land ownership was an enormous undertaking that gradually improved the conditions of the poor, though unevenly around the country. These small landholdings, like many other Latin American agrarian reform projects, were granted in marginal areas when possible and did not always challenge the economic power of latifundios (de Janvry 1981). However, by granting communal rights to land to the peasant population, ejidos fundamentally democratized land ownership. The Revolution’s calls for “Tierra y libertad” (Land and liberty) were not completely realized, but resonate throughout Mexican history since. Beginning in the 1930s, the Mexican government adopted economic policies of import substitution industrialization (ISI), or developmentalism, its Latin American name. ISI involved the protection and promotion of domestic industries through high tariffs and subsidies. The 1930s-1970s became known as the “Mexican Miracle” because of steady growth rates. The Revolutionary

78 Institutional Party17 (PRI) came to power in 1929 and would continue to rule for this entire period (until Vincente Fox’s election in 2000). “Episodic pay-offs to restive groups” did redistribute wealth to some extent, but in general the benefits of growth remained concentrated (Harvey 2005, 99). Mexico was one of many developing countries that adopted the ISI or developmentalism strategy in this period. ISI was borne from new theories about the global economy and economic growth that appeared during the 1960s. Economist Andre Gunder Frank pioneered the dependency school, which understood global class relations as a legacy of the colonial period, and described global economic relations as divided between “center” and “periphery” nations. The periphery, or developing nations, were dependent on the center for capital investment and manufactured goods, while the center was able to use international financial and economic organizations to structure the global economy in its own interests. This analysis yielded two paths: “delinking” and the demand for a New International Economic Order (NIEO). ISI represents delinking or emphasizing internal growth of the economy instead of competing with the center (Humphreys 2008). Delinking proved difficult to achieve and the NIEO began an alternative approach in the 1970s, promoted in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the new UN caucus of developing nations, the G77 (Group of 77). Both organizations still exist. Mexico is an observer in the Non-Aligned Movement and was a founder of the G77, leaving in 1994 when it joined the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The NAM and G77 called for a macro-level restructuring of the global economy that would allow for developing countries to produce for the provision of internal needs instead of for export, which would improve global equity. Members of the NEIO used the natural resources of their countries as leverage in bargaining with developed countries. In exchange for developed countries' continued access to national resources, the NEIO demanded debt relief or forgiveness, financial and technology transfers and a reversal of declining terms of trade.


Partido Revolucionario Institucional

Pskowski79 While there was a strong moral argument for these changes, the NIEO was unable to compete with the economic power of developed countries that still had comparative advantage in trade due to infrastructure, terms of trade and other historical factors (Humphreys 2008). Growth peaked in Mexico under ISI in the late 1960s, after which the global economy began to decline. To compensate, in the 1970s the Echverría and Portillo administrations in Mexico pursued more public spending and brought failing enterprises into the public sector (Harvey 2005). Mexico was also going through an oil boom and developing the industry required large capital investments. Interest rates were low and the Mexican government decided to borrow from international capital markets to fund oil expansion and protect public investments. In the decade between 1972 and 1982, foreign debt increased eight-fold (Harvey 2005, 99) In 1981, US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker raised the interest rates on all US loans to a staggering 21percent. This came to be known as the “Volcker Shock” and its impacts resonated worldwide. The US entered a recession, depressing prices for Mexican goods, including oil. Mexico's revenues fell and its debt became prohibitively expensive to service—Mexico did not have enough national income to pay off the interest on existing debts. Mexico declared bankruptcy in August 1982. With the peso devalued, President Portillo decided to nationalize the banks. However, his successor De la Madrid turned towards appeasing business and the increasingly unified forces of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the US Treasury. This trifecta offered to bail out Mexico on certain conditions. Mexico agreed to budgetary austerity, privatization, reorganizing the financial system, opening markets to foreign investment, lowering tariffs and reducing labor regulations. ISI was reversed; now the Mexican market actively encouraged imports and did not protect domestic industries. De la Madrid joined the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade), the precursor to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Adopted in 1984 Mexico's bailout program would become known as the first package of neoliberal structural reforms, policies that became ubiquitous and coercive in future

80 years (Harvey 2005). Mexican anthropologist Bonfil Batalla wrote in 1996, “The end of the 'miracle' has made evident, for anyone who ever doubted it, the profound tendency toward inequality that has been implicit in the plan for national development” (Bonfil 1994, 155). The effects were wrenching. From 1983-88 per capita income fell at five percent per year, the real value of wages fell between 40 and 50 percent, inflation went over 100 percent and public services were slashed (Harvey 2005, 100). These impacts did not go unchallenged; labor struggles in the late 1980s were violently broken, often by troops (Harvey 2005). De la Madrid's successor Salinas followed a neoliberal model and focused on opening Mexico to foreign direct investment (FDI) and continuing privatization. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect in 1994, and accelerated the maquiladora program on the Northern border to expand industrialization, among other liberalizations. In the maquiladora program, foreign investors take advantage of exemptions in labor and trade regulations in “special economic zones” to operate factories near the border, mostly employing female migrants. Corn also flooded the Mexican market from the US, which enjoys superior production conditions, depressing wages and impoverishing Mexican corn farmers. Lower import barriers forced many peasant farmers off their land and into cities in search of employment. In 1995, the Federal Reserve again raised interest rates, igniting the “Tequila Crisis.” The peso devalued, and Mexico could not continue paying off debts. Once again, the US stepped in with a bailout package and many assets were made available for foreign purchase. Emerging from the crisis, the concentration of wealth in the upper class had increased. Foreign capital now owned 24 out of 30 major banks (Harvey 2005, 103). Mexico continued to sign Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and is now one of the most open economies in the world. One of the most important reforms of the early 1990s was the 1992 Agrarian Law. Salinas allowed the privatization and foreign ownership of communal ejido lands that formerly had to remain

Pskowski81 in community ownership. Ejidatarios (holders of ejidos) were allowed to sell, rent, sharecrop or mortgage their land, and did not have to actively work it to hold title anymore (Harvey 1998). This was an important reduction in barriers between the peasant population and international markets. The first phase of privatization was to begin a process of surveying and titling land, called the Program for Certification of Ejidal Rights and Titling of Urban House Lots- PROCEDE (Osborne 2010). Political ecologist Tracy Osborne discusses the implicit logic of the reforms: ejidos were “a drag on the economy,” too small to support families and “a key factor contributing to the national crisis in agriculture” (Osborne 2010, 103-104). As a result of the liberalization policies campesinos for the most part have not been able to complete with the influx of US corn to the market. Average tons of yield in Mexico at the time were 1.7 tons per hectare compared with 6.9 tons per hectare in the US (Osborne 2010, 54). This was possible because of high agricultural subsidies and chemical inputs in the US and different climates. As a result many campesinos left their lands to find wage labor, including in the US, or sought alternatives methods of making money from their lands—including carbon forestry (Osborne 2010). Severe impacts were felt during the 2007 Tortilla Crisis, when the price of corn on the international market soared, and tortilla prices in Mexico tripled or quadrupled. Prices for this staple food became prohibitive for many Mexicans and Mexico's new President Felipe Calderón went against neoliberal doctrine and set a price cap (Roig-Franzia 2007). Mexico was a proving ground for the suite of policies and commitments that have come to be known as structural adjustment and neoliberalism in developing countries. Its experience demonstrates the unequal impacts of these policies. Mexico is now highly vulnerable to international financial fluctuations, such as the 2008 financial crisis, when GDP plunged 6.2 percent. The population is now 72 percent urban and very dependent on food imports (CIA World Factbook). While it is the twelfth largest economy in the world, it is highly unequal and per capita purchasing power parity (PPP) is 88th in the world (CIA World Factbook). Levels of poverty and income inequality are worse in the

82 Southern Mexican states compared to Central and Northern Mexico. Opening the Mexican economy to international trade and privatizing previously communal resources such as the ejidos have intensified pressure for agrarian communities to devote their resources toward export industries or to abandon their lands altogether. This economic transition in Mexico has increased income inequality and depressed wages (Osborne 2010). These political and economic changes are taking place at the same time as increased attention to environmental problems and global climate change. Responses such as carbon forestry and REDD+ fit comfortably within a neoliberal logic and are being promoted as development tools in rural Mexico. Political ecologist Tracy Osborne found that campesinos taking part in carbon forestry were directly motivated by their inability to survive off coffee or corn production after liberalization (Osborne 2010). Global environmental politics and neoliberal economic rationales converge to create the REDD+ rush. The simple construction of REDD+ as a boon for rural communities ignores the overdetermined nature of campesinos’ and indigenous peoples’ economic choices in Mexico today. Promoting REDD+ as a solution to the problems neoliberalism has wrought is not only ironic, it in fact risks further impoverishing and marginalizing rural communities that have a dire need to improve their economic conditions. Further integrating these communities to unstable international commodity markets, whether or not they are “green” or “saving the planet”, could have disastrous results.

Part 2: Chiapas and the Lacandon Rainforest: “A Land to Sow Dreams”
REDD+ in Chiapas started in the Lacandon Rainforest (Selva Lacandona). Territorial and political control over the Selva region has been contested throughout the history of Chiapas as natural resource exploitation and conservation projects competed with local needs. In the 1990s the Zapatista uprising challenged state power. Opposition to REDD+ is not simply an outcome of “environmental scarcity,” too few resources and too many people, in the Selva or disrespect of the local people for the conservation of natural resources. Critics of REDD+ identify three main problems with the REDD+

Pskowski83 projects based on the history of the Lacandon: (1) The preference toward the Lacandon Community over other indigenous peoples; (2) The complicity between the government, big NGOs and the military to implement conservation and; (3) The perpetuation of a style of conservation that leaves agrarian conflicts unresolved and discounts the conservation practices of indigenous peoples. For REDD+ to be successful in Chiapas, these concerns will have to be addressed. REDD+ also represents an emerging “green” development program in the state. Projects including biofuels and sustainable rural cities also typify this trend. The infusion of international finance and political legitimacy from environmental politics give this trend powerful leverage in the state. In this section I analyze REDD+ as one project in a Green Economy transition in Chiapas that risks grabbing more than saving the environment. Chiapas is culturally diverse and represents the continued presence of indigenous groups in Mexico. Nationwide 30 percent of the population is primarily or entirely indigenous, and 60 percent of the population is mestizo though many of these people also claim indigenous blood. Almost six percent of the population speaks an indigenous language, a metric commonly used to determine the size of indigenous populations (CIA World Factbook). In Chiapas, the concentration is even greater. According to government estimates, 27 percent of the population speaks an indigenous language and


Figure 3.1 Economic Regions of Chiapas. Source: INEGI.

Figure 3.2 Physio-geographic regions of Chiapas. Source: de Vos 2002. 1. Pacific coastal plains, 2. Sierra Madre of Chiapas, 3. Alto Grijalva Depression, 4. Highlands, 5. Lacandon Mountains, 6. Northern Mountains, 7. Gulf Plains.

Pskowski85 among these speakers, 14 percent do not speak Spanish (INEGI). The major indigenous groups of Chiapas are the Tzotzil, Tzetzal, Chol, Zoque, and Tojolabal. Figure 3.3 shows the number of speakers of each language. Most are descendants from the Mayans who once inhabited the area. In Chiapas relations with the state government vary greatly from group to group and the government has historically attempted to create divisions between ethnic groups (Osborne 2010). Across Mexico, social and economic inequity largely falls along lines of ethnicity. Indigenous people suffer disproportionately from hunger, lack of access to education, and poverty. This is the case in Chiapas where indigenous communities are oftentimes very remote and isolated from government services. The population in Chiapas is now almost 50-50 rural-urban (INGEI 2010).18 The indigenous population is concentrated in five of the nine main economic regions: Los Altos, Selva, Norte, Fronteriza, and Sierra (Schmal 2012). Figure 3.1 shows the economic regions of Chiapas and Figure 3.2 shows the biophysical regions of the state, including the Lacandon Rainforest. In the Selva region where REDD+ projects are being piloted, the population is predominately Lancandon,Chol, Tzeltal, Tzotzil or Tojolobal. The municipalities of the Selva region have some of the lowest social development indicators in the state. Language Number of Speakers Percent of State Population Tzeltal 461 236 9.60percent Tzotzil 417 462 8.70percent Chol 191 947 4.00percent Zoque 53 839 1.10percent Total 1 124 484 23.44percent Total (including other indigenous 27.00percent languages) Figure 3.3 Indigenous Languages in Chiapas (Adapted from INEGI 2010) Many people in the rural municipalities are campesinos, or peasant farmers, who work in subsistence agriculture and sell surplus on the market. Statewide, nine percent of the population works


Nationally, 78 percent of the population is urban and 22 percent rural (INEGI).

86 in “primary” occupations that include agriculture, fishing and ranching (INEGI 2010). The proportion is much higher in rural municipalities, where access to land is of primary importance in improving living standards. Mexico is considered to have a relatively successful agrarian reform program in comparison to other Latin American countries (de Janvry 1981). However, the story of land access in the Selva region shows how inequities are pervasive. Only people with land title will have access to take part in REDD+. There are 120 ongoing land conflicts in Chiapas according to a 2012 report, but REDD+ is going forward ahead of the resolution of these conflicts (Greenpeace International 2012). Over the decades following the Revolution, Mexico shifted from the exploitative latifundio system in which peasants worked on large commercial estates, to a patchwork of small, communally owned ejidos that could not be sold to private interests. Agrarian reform was a complex and variegated process that did not reach all parts of the country equally, and did not completely expropriate large, commercial landlords. It is common to hear that “the Revolution never reached Chiapas,” because the peasantry of the state never took up arms against their dueños (bosses). In Chiapas, the reforms did not happen quickly and in many places never materialized, but were still significant (Bobrow-Strain 2001). The government took a “convenient” approach toward agrarian reform in Chiapas by opening lands in the Lacandon region for settlement and leaving private plantations intact elsewhere. The major landholders in Chiapas were German and Mexican elites who owned giant coffee and rubber plantations. The 1930 census found them to hold over 4 million hectares, with four percent of landowners holding 67 percent of the arable land. By 1990 this total had dropped to under 2 million, or 25 percent of the land. The ejido and communally owned sector rose from roughly 100,000 hectares to over 4 million in this time period (Bobrow-Strain 2001, 168). While this aggregate transition is significant, landowners retained political power to a greater extent than in many other states. Aaron Bobrow-Strain writes that, “The struggle between land-owners, peasants, and agricultural workers that raged through the 1930s resulted in a contradictory mixture of continued land-owner political-

Pskowski87 economic dominance and significant land redistribution” (Bobrow-Strain 2001, 170). Within Chiapas, the Selva Lancandona has been highly inaccessible for much of the state's history and therefore imagined as a frontier for either commercial or communal interests. The Selva was largely the terrain of extractive industries, but land reform began to open up the area for settlers. In the 1940s President Alemán, starting the trend of using the Lacandon as an outlet for agrarian demands, encouraged impoverished peasants from the highlands to colonize land in the lowland rain forest of Eastern Chiapas. This land was agriculturally inferior to the highlands due to the poor quality of the soil. Cattle ranchers frequently moved onto the land after settlers had exhausted it in agriculture. Official requests for land allotments often sat dormant for years in the state bureaucracy, driving people toward land invasions as a direct means of acquiring land. The transition from agriculture to cattle ranching greatly decreased demand for peasant labor. Many peasants worked in debt peonage for agriculturalists, which allowed them to live on the land in exchange for labor. Cattle ranchers needed far fewer workers and evicted thousands of peasants from usufruct plots in order to turn them into pasture. In the 1930s, the government had authorized the creation of guardias blancas (white guards), private gunmen employed by landowners to control peasant unrest and demands for land. The white guards terrorized the peasants who dared to resist this displacement. Resistance continued and the state government reacted violently. Even the corporatist peasant's organization, the National Peasant Confederation19 (CNC), joined the effort to throw peasants off seized land. Agrarian reform in Chiapas was a process in which, “landed elites began to rebuild relations of domination along new axes- exploiting indigenous communities through monopolies over the commercialization of agricultural produce” (Bobrow-Strain 2001, 173-74). By the 1980s most of the Selva land had been claimed (Bobrow-Strain 2001). Concurrently, international and national attention was mounting about the issue of

Confederación Nacional Campesina

88 deforestation, including in the “Mayan rainforest” of which the Lacandon is a part. In the Selva Lacandona, more campesinos were moving into the region to farm. The decreasing productivity of agriculture due to withdrawal of government subsidies for smaller agriculturalists made techniques like slash and burn necessary for indigenous campesinos to make a living off the land. Conservationists and government officials blamed the settlers and their farming practices for deforestation. Logging was also increasing in the rainforest, and with it came new roads to access remote land. In the 1970s, the government began exploration for oil reserves (O'Brien 1998). The desires of settlers began to conflict with the interests of conservationists in the 1970s, as international alarm over deforestation increased. Since then the narrative of whom and what causes deforestation has been highly contested in Chiapas (O'Brien 1998). This leads to one of the major criticisms of REDD+ in the Lacandon that I address in this chapter-- the preference toward the Lacandon Community over other indigenous peoples. Conservationists and anthropologists such as Frans Blom and Gertrude Duby publicized the plight of nature and the Lacandon tribe in light of external pressures to an international audience. Both residents of San Cristóbal, Swiss-born Gertrude Duby and her Danish husband Frans Blom had come to Chiapas to study the Lacandon tribe and eventually became their champions. Defining the “original” inhabitants as opposed to the “invaders” was central to the growing debate on how to preserve the forest. In the 1700s, after the Spanish had decimated much of the original population of the Selva, an indigenous group from the state of Campeche came to the rainforest to escape colonial rule. The Spanish viewed them to be a “kind and peaceable” people and allowed them to stay (Maderas del Pueblo 2002). Conservationists and the government referred to this group as the “Lacandones” but other indigenous groups use “Caribes” because of their Caribbean heritage. The government and researchers in the area have treated the Caribes as the “original” inhabitants and consistently marginalized the other tribes that are probably more closely descended

Pskowski89 from the original Mayan inhabitants of the Selva (Maderas del Pueblo 2002). Duby and Blom took a particular interest in the case of the Lacandones and successfully rallied international support for their cause. Gertrude considered herself the “protector” of the Lacandones (Maderas del Pueblo 2002). She was a friend of the Chiapas governor Manuel Velasco Suarez and President Echeverria in the 1970s. In 1972, the Mexican government decreed 614,210 hectares in the rainforest to the 66 Lacandon households. The “Comunidad Lacandona” (Lacandon Community) was formed, securing the land in the hands of a tribe known for its responsible management of the forest. The Caribes were erroneously referred to as the inhabitants of the area since “time immemorial” in the decree (Maderas del Pueblo 2002). Figure 3.4 shows the land given to them.

Figure 3.4 Map of the communities that were within the Lacandon Community defined in 1972 but without property rights. Source: de Vos (2002).

90 The decree ignored some 1,500 Tzeltal, Chol, Tzotzil, and Tojolobal families living in the area. Twenty-three ejidos suddenly became illegal squatters (O’Brien 1998). In addition to the ejidos there were more than thirty other communities that had already presented requests for their territories to be recognized (often requests took many years to be recognized) and more than twenty communities that had pending requests for expansion of their territories (CAPISE 2002a). In 1975 the government relocated thirteen ejidos to the planned community of Palestina and the remaining ten were relocated to Frontera Corozal. Their settlements in the Selva were burned and thousands of people were displaced (CAPISE 2002a). Some communities resisted this displacement and formed political groups such as la Quiptic ta Lecubtesel. In 1977 hundreds of families decided to return to their previous land. Repression against these communities increased with guardias blancas and federal military interventions (CAPISE 2002a). In 1976 some Tzeltal and Chol Mayans claiming to be the original inhabitants gained access to land as part of the Lacandon Community (Osborne 2010). The Lacandon Forestry Company20 (COFOLASA), a state-owned operation, replaced the private timber companies. Logging rights were granted to exploit mahogany and cedar for 10 years with payments going to the Lacandon community members. Only legally tenured communities would receive these logging contracts. The relationship between the Lacandones, the government and logging companies coalesced around these development projects, often to the exclusion of other indigenous groups (Maderas del Pueblo 2002). Despite the creation of the Comunidad Lacandona and COFOLASA, deforestation was still considered a problem in the Selva and conservationists worldwide were ringing alarms about tropical deforestation. Estimates vary, but political ecologist Karen O'Brien found that by 1979, eleven percent of the rainforest had been destroyed (O'Brien 1998, 48). In 1977 President Portillo created the

Compañia Forestal de la Lacandona, SA

Pskowski91 321,200-hectare Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve21 (REBIMA), as part of the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Project, which seeks to conserve land in balance with the needs of local communities. Figure 3.5 shows the REBIMA. Biospheres are designed to have three zones: the core area, the buffer and the transition area. The core area is not meant to be subject to any human activity, while the buffer is intended for managed use, and the transition zone is subject to negotiated usage. This model

Figure 3.5 Map of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (dotted) super-imposed on the Lacandon Community Zone. Source: de Vos 2002.

Reserva de la Biósfera Montes Azules

92 was never fully implemented in Montes Azules, perhaps because the concept was still being developed or because of jurisdictional confusion. In the process of creating REBIMA even more indigenous communities found their land rights taken away. Resistance increased among communities and more independent organizations emerged including the Union of Unions22 (CAPISE 2002). The government made some concessions to demands for land and recognition of territories in the Lacandon. Between 1986 and 1989 as a result of their political struggles, 26 communities were regularized with territories inside the Lacandon Zone and REBIMA, with some restrictions on their land use because of environmental protections (CAPISE 2002). The protection areas around the Reserve were never fully established and between 1978 and 1992, thousands of colonizers continued to enter the forest, logging and oil exploration continued, and the military expanded its reach (O'Brien 1998, 158). Institutional conflicts and a lack of financial resources chronically plagued the Reserve. By the late 1980s, international pressure to preserve rainforests, partially due to global warming, was increasing and international NGOs were becoming more involved in conserving tropical forests. Conservation International (CI) became the foremost international entity involved in preserving the Selva (O'Brien 1998, 162). A series of new ecological reserves were created in the 1990s that covered thousands more hectares of land. During this time the government was also developing eco-tourism in the area (O’Brien 1998, 167). Figure 3.6 shows the various ecological reserves.


La Unión de Uniones


Figure 3.6 Ecological Reserves in the Lacandon Region (Source: Osborne 2010). The land decrees of the 1970s in the Selva were political decisions. With many people pushing for land settlements, Karen O’Brien writes, “The Comunidad Lacandona was conceived as a means for securing state control over forest resources in the Selva Lacandona.” It was preferable to deal with 350 Lacandones, who had traditionally acquiesced to government plans, than the thousands of other indigenous people in the region (O’Brien 1998, 77). The interests of the government and the military aligned with international conservation groups that were pushing for the conservation of the rainforest (CAPISE 2002b). Conservation organizations became complicit in broader political and military strategies. Rather than resolve the agrarian conflicts in the Selva the government chose the conservation path and used the military to suppress continued demands for land (Maderas del Pueblo 2002). President Salinas poured more fuel on the fire when he reformed the Agrarian Law in 1992. This liberalization of the ejido made peasant communities more vulnerable to the pressures of foreign business interests and created divisions within communities (Osborne 2010). The PROCEDE program of land titling that came on the heels of the reform has had very low adoption rates in Chiapas: as of 2003 only 27.6 percent of the social sector (ejidos and communal land) in Chiapas had been certified. Few ejidos have participated because of ongoing land disputes, the influence of the Zapatistas and a general distrust of state authorities (Osborne 2010). One fourth of the 2,110 ejidos in Chiapas were

94 struck from the list to be surveyed because they were in the Zapatista aligned “zone of conflict”; the Lacandon Rainforest was within this zone (Osborne 2010). Carbon forestry and REDD+ create new pressures to enter into land titling through PROCEDE, as some programs require participating communities to enter PROCEDE (Osborne 2010). In the early hours of January 1, 1994, the day the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) seized seven cities in Chiapas. The world woke up to an uprising in a forgotten corner of Southern Mexico, with masked indigenous men and women declaring war on Mexico. That day Subcommander Marcos, the man who would come to represent the movement to the world, read the EZLN’s first communication to the world. It was called “The First Declaration of the Lacandon Rainforest”:
We are a product of 500 years of struggle: first against slavery, then during the War of Independence against Spain led by insurgents, then to avoid being absorbed by North American imperialism, then to promulgate our constitution and expel the French empire from our soil, and later the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz that denied us the just application of the Reform laws and the people rebelled. Leaders like Villa and Zapata emerged, poor men just like us. We have been denied the most elemental preparation so they can use us as cannon fodder and pillage the wealth of our country. They don't care that we have nothing, absolutely nothing, not even a roof over our heads, no land, no work, no health care, no food nor education. Nor are we able to freely and democratically elect our political representatives, nor is there independence from foreigners, nor is there peace, nor justice for our children and ourselves. But today, we say enough is enough. Marcos et al (1995).

The Zapatista demands were explicit: “work, land, housing, food, health care, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice and peace.” The Lacandon rainforest was one of the poorest parts of Mexico. Figure 3.7 shows the discrepancy between the municipalities that make up the Lacandon with the rest of the state and nation in 1992 and 1994.


Figure 3.7 Poverty Indices in the Lacandon Rainforest 1992 and 1994 (Source: Harvey 1998). While the stated demands of the uprising could be true for many parts of the country, why did the Zapatistas emerge from the Selva Lacandona? Karen O'Brien posits that the state never followed up the creation of settlements in the Selva as a safety valve for land demands with the social services and infrastructure needed to develop them. While it was politically advantageous to distribute land in the Selva, settlers were more or less left to their own devices (O'Brien 1998). The many causes of the uprising have been debated and written about extensively. Neil Harvey in particular has written about the origins in peasant organizing in preceding decades in the Selva (Harvey 1998). It is clear that the promises of development and redistribution that came along with land reform were never truly realized, and the expanse of ecological preserves in the region only heightened conflicts over territory and resources. Figure 3.8 shows the main Zapatista-aligned communities in the Selva region, essentially surrounding and bordering the protected areas.


Figure 3.8 Military, Political and paramiltary EZLN installations 1994-2000. Source: de Vos 2002. While land has been a central demand of the Zapatistas, their relation to environmental conservation has been unclear, a theme I will return to in Chapter 5 (O'Brien 1998, 179). Materially, the uprising has had four main implications for the rainforest. The first was increased militarization in the forms of checkpoints and military bases throughout the region as low-intensity warfare was carried out (O'Brien 1998, 140). In 1995, while the conflict between the Zapatistas and the army was at its


Figure 3.9 Map showing location of military installations super-imposed with percentage of indigenous population. Source: CAPISE (2002b). height there were more than 200 federal military installations in the region and within the Lacandon Zone and REBIMA more than 50 installations and approximately 30,000 members of the armed forces (CAPISE 2002a). Figure 3.9 illustrates the disproportionate location of these installations in indigenous areas where the Zapatistas are based. Secondly, the uprising spurred the construction of new roads and development projects in the region, as the government attempted to win over supporters from the Zapatista cause (O'Brien 1998). Roads also facilitated the movement of troops. Figures 3.10 and 3.11 show the development of roads in the Selva before and after 1994. Thirdly, not only did the Zapatistas claim control over large parcels of their land. Their actions emboldened other campesinos to take land from private owners. A Conservation International report observed, “The Tzeltal Maya

98 invaders appear to be taking advantage of the political unrest in the region instigated by the armed rebellion of the EZLN... ... destroying more than 200 acres of Lacandon Maya forest... … Over the past year, the Tzeltal have taken over another 2,000 hectares” (quoted in O'Brien 1998, 150). Lastly, the militarization of the region between 1994 and 1999 pushed people further into the preserved areas as refugees (CAPISE 2002a). Since the Zapatista uprising the Chiapas government has carried out an ongoing counterinsurgency strategy against the Zapatistas. The Zapatistas are concentrated in areas of ecological significance, so conservation has colluded with the counter-insurgency. In the government’s ongoing efforts to win supporters in areas of Zapatista influence, they must prove the superiority of government conservation over social movement strategies. A CAPISE report identified three main strategies of counter-insurgency in the Selva: (1) co-opt public leaders and leaders of the different social organizations, (2) offer aid and public services to encourage desertion from the Zapatistas, and (3) encourage the growth of various clientelist political parties to fuel division between communities, families and organizations (CAPISE 2002a). The government has taken a more active approach to

Figure 3.10 Roads into the Selva before 1994. Source: de Vos (2002).


Figure 3.11 Roads into the Selva after 1994. Source: de Vos (2002). conservation since the uprising, often against the interests of the rebels. Previously conservation was mostly on paper, with little state enforcement. For example the REBIMBA, created in 1978, did not have an actual management plan until 2000. In 1998 following a series of wildfires the state created the National Program of Reforestation (PRONARE) and enlisted the military to plant trees. PRONARE, however, has been accused of surveilling Zapatista communities (Osborne 2010). Displacements have also continued in Montes Azules. In 2000 the wildfires precipitated the government to pressure untitled communities to relocate, many of them Zapatista. The communities resisted these pressures, partly through the international communications networks of the Zapatistas. In 2003 the government adopted a strategy of “voluntary relocation” coordinated with the environmental

100 agency SEMARNAT. However, questions remain how “voluntary” it really is. Between June 2003 and 2005, nine communities were relocated. Paramilitaries are a continued threat. In recent years Nuevo San Rafael (2004), San Manuel and Buen Samaritano (2007), and Laguna el Suspiro, and Laguna San Pedro (2010) have all been removed from their territories (Mision Civil 2013). In October 2004, the EZLN decided to relocate the eight Zapatista communities23 located within Montes Azules. These communities were located in the southern part of the Reserve and were under the jurisdiction of one of their five hubs of governance, the Good Government Board (JBG) of Hacia la Esperanza (Toward Hope). The decision was part of a “reconcentration” of Zapatista communities to be better served by the JBGs and to preserve the Selva. The General Command of the EZLN explained that these communities had settled in the Lacandon due to previous displacement and that they were consulted:
...We moved them to fulfill our position on the protection of natural resources. But don't think that this is the same federal government's intentions; they just want to get rid of the people in the area so no one hinders their plans to deliver resources to neoliberal companies... ...During the time that [the communities] have been in this terrible situation, far from their original lands, they have worked to enforce our laws for the care of the forests. However, the federal government, with the help of multinationals seeking to seize the wealth of the Lacandon jungle, has threatened, again and again, to violently 24 evict all villages in the area, including the Zapatistas. (Bellinghausen 2004, author’s translation)

Two of the communities declined to be relocated and the EZLN respected this decision (Maderas del Pueblos 2008). Scholar Kate Ervine has written a detailed account of how the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor spurred disputes between the Lacandon Community and other indigenous peoples in the Desempeño region of the Lacandon rainforest in the mid-2000s. A series of negotiations between the Lacandon Community and other indigenous communities granted all but four communities land title.

Nuevo San Isidro, Primero de Enero, 8 de Octubre, Santa Cruz, Nuevo Limar, 12 de Diciembre y Agua Dulce. "de una movida que decidimos luego de conversar con los compas dentro de Montes Azules, para que entendieran bien la situación. Lo planeamos junto con ellos. Los movemos para cumplir lo que pensamos de los recursos naturales que no deben dañarse. Pero no creemos que esta sea la misma intención del gobierno federal, que sólo quiere sacar a los que están allí para que nadie estorbe sus planes de entregarlos a las compañías del neoliberalismo... ...Durante el tiempo en el que han estado en esta terrible situación, lejos de sus tierras originales, se han esforzado por cumplir nuestras leyes que mandatan el cuidado de los bosques. No obstante, el gobierno federal, de la mano de las trasnacionales que pretenden apoderarse de las riquezas de la Selva Lacandona, han amenazado, una y otra vez, con desalojar violentamente a todos los poblados de esa zona, incluyendo a los zapatistas.”

Pskowski101 When these four communities resisted relocation they faced violent backlash. Four people were killed in Viejo Velasco in November 2006. While the causes of these conflicts were complex, it is clear the imperative of defining property rights for the Biological Corridor drove the communities to seek retribution (Ervine 2011). Ervine writes that “by requiring clear ownership rights over those resources 'to be' commodified, the project itself intensified the need to 'resolve' pre-existing disputes” (Ervine 2011, page 74). Starting in the early 1990s Conservation International (CI) became a major player in the conservation of the Lacandon rainforest. CI in Chiapas has a reputation for conservation practices that do not consider the social conditions on the ground and that even encourage the displacement of communities. The Center for Political Analysis and Political and Economic Research (CAPISE) in Chiapas wrote the report “Conservation International the Trojan Horse” documenting the history of CI in the state. CI's focus in the Lacandon Rainforest in the 1990s was to identify land invasions through surveillance programs (CAPISE 2002b). The CAPISE report includes quotes from CI's Director Ignacio March describing how they provide information from their surveillance systems to the Lacandones so they can demand the removal of untitled communities from Montes Azules (CAPISE 2002b). CI was also one of the “principle pressures” on the government to relocate communities out of Montes Azules (CAPISE 2002b, 21). In addition to surveillance, one of CI's main projects in Chiapas in the 1990s was the “Population and Environment” project with USAID that aimed to combat “overpopulation” in Montes Azules (CAPISE 2002b). This again demonstrates an approach to conservation that merely skims the surface without interrogating the root causes of environmental degradation. While CI has started more socially conscious programs in the intervening years, generally within the frame of sustainable development, their association with REDD+ confirms the fears of critics that “fortress-style” conservation will return. CI is on the REDD+ working group in Chiapas. If

102 anything their role in the state has increased. It was the CI President who joined Governor Juan Sabines in signing the Climate Change Law for Chiapas in 2010 (La Jornada 2010a).

Part 3: The State of the Selva Lacandona in a Green Economy Era
Embarking on REDD+ the Chiapas government has already repeated three mistakes of past conservation efforts: (1) near-exclusive partnerships with the Lacandon Community over other indigenous groups; (2) strategies of surveillance and criminalization with the policia ecologico in conjunction with NGOs such as Conservation International; and (3) promoting a conservation style that excludes local users of forest resources and ignores existing land conflicts. However, I argue that beyond repeating past mistakes, REDD+ represents one aspect of a concerning new trend in green grabbing in Chiapas. Choosing to implement the first state REDD+ project in Montes Azules and making payments to the Lacandones reinforces efforts to demarcate the conservation area and preference the rights of the Lacandones over other indigenous groups who live in the region. Figure 3.10 shows the location of REDD+ projects within the Selva. Protesters in a 2012 demonstration against REDD+ in San Cristóbal held signs saying “No a la brecha Lacandona,” linking REDD+ to these historical struggles (REDDeldia). A May 2012 report of a human rights mission to the Selva by a number of Chiapas civil society organizations documented the current precarity of untitled communities. It also stated that the implementation of REDD+ will require the “unification of the [Lacandon] breach in the zone of Las Cañadas and continue with the Lacandon Breach (the delimitation of the Lacandon Zone)” (Misión Civil 2012, 16).25

Translation by the author. Original: “Para poder delimitar la zona a comercializar es necesario unir la brecha en la zona de las cañadas, y continuar con la llamada Brecha Lacandona (la delimitación de la Zona Lacandona).”



Figure 3.12 Map of the Lacandon Community (red line), REBIMA (grey), and REDD communities. Source: Greenpeace (2012). As of January 2010 there were only seven communities remaining in the Montes Azules/Lacandon Community Zone anticipating relocation or dislocation. Three of these communities, Salvador Allende, Ranchería Corozal and San Gregorio, signed an agreement with the leaders of the Lacandon Community in August 2011 to add their 2,300-hectare territory to the Lacandon Community Zone. They presented this agreement to the agrarian administration and it was denied-- “categorically.” CONANP, the agrarian administration, wrote in the statement that “The only activities permitted in the Biosphere Reserve are (in this order) 'tourism, scientific and technological research, and the controlled, not destructive, use of resources” (Misión Civil 2012, 12).26

Translation by the author. Original: “las únicas actividades permitidas” en la reserva de la biosfera son (en este orden) “turismo, investigación científica y tecnológica, y aprovechamiento controlado en las que, sin proceder al desmonte, se aprovechen la Selva y sus recursos naturales”.


104 Silvia Ribiero, researcher with ETC Group and columnist at that Mexican daily paper La Jornada, wrote an article critical of REDD+ in which she claims, “With the satellite technologies that the projects require and the convergence with global genetic sequencing projects of species, REDD+ brings, in addition to a greater surveillance of communities, the advance of new forms of biopiracy” (Castro Soto 2012 8, author's translation). The REDD+ program has already created a 42-person ecological police force of indigenous peoples (Policia ecológico) in the Lacandon community that has the ability to detain people for deforestation (Castro-Soto 2012). Fairhead et al’s define green grabs as land grabs that purport environmental benefits as the main driver of land appropriation (Fairhead et al 2012). They qualify this definition, saying that a green grab does not necessarily involve wholesale seizure or appropriation of land but may, “involve the restructuring of rules and authority over the access, use and management of resources, in related labor relations, and in human-ecological relationships that may have profoundly alienating effects” (Fairhead et al 2012, 239). This qualifier is important in Mexico, where communal land rights provide some level of protection from land grabs. To circumvent these restrictions businesses and the state can use novel methods to extract profits from land, even if they cannot gain complete title to the land. This can include creating government incentives for participation in commercial programs such as the introduction of GMO corn. REDD+ creates the risk of a green grab both when land is taken away outright and when communities find their access and livelihoods restricted by a REDD+ program. The green grab concept increases in relevance in Chiapas when REDD+ is considered alongside the “avalanche” of other rural development programs (Rosset 2013). In this context green grabbing appears to be an important change in the drivers of agrarian accumulation in Chiapas. Jesus Andrade of the peasant union UNORCA explained in a January 2013 interview how his group had come to understanding the web that REDD+ is a part of. I quote at length to show the systematic nature of his analysis:

We think and believe that 1,200,000 hectares of protected natural lands are susceptible to REDD… …That makes up approximately 13-15% of the state territory; Chiapas has 7.3 million hectares of land. So we start thinking wow this is quite significant… That is one part of it; another part of the false solution is bio-fuels. In Chiapas… …the figures I have found are between 70,000~100,000 hectares that have been designated for the growth of bio-fuels. … …The other issue is genetically modified seeds and crops. In Chiapas the commercial liberation of genetically modified soy was approved for 30,000 hectares…..It’s a package, its not just REDD… … There are more than one million hectares designated towards mining, so if you add these up we are talking about approximately 2.5 million hectares that are being designated to these neoliberal initiatives, and towards false climate change solutions. That is to say that in Chiapas almost 30% of the land is handed over to capital, and not just national capital, there is going to be an international repercussion. Andrade (2013). Emphasis added by author.

While mining would not be considered a Green Economy initiative, this explanation gets at the heart of what many academic analyses of REDD+ or forest carbon miss. In short, when looking at policies that affect local peasant and indigenous communities, look just at REDD+ misses the forest for the trees. The projects that alongside REDD+ may create green grabbing in Chiapas are sustainable rural cities, biofuels, productive reconversion and ecotourism. Discussing each of these in depth is beyond the scope of this work. These projects represent new linkages between commercial and state interests. As the anti-REDD+ organization REDDeldia wrote in 2012, “The businesses have their counter-parts in politicians”27 (REDDeldia 2012). While less of a current concern another precedent for REDD+ is bioprospecting-- or biopiracy as its critics call it. Chiapas was the site of a major project for pharmaceutical companies and research institutes to patent and privatize the use of certain plants and organisms from the rainforest to use for research or profit, without adequately consulting or compensating local communities. Organized by ECOSUR and the University of Georgia in 1998, the International Cooperative Biodiversity Group (ICBG-Maya) was a project in the Altos region of Chiapas to develop pharmaceuticals and conduct research on the sustainable use of entho-botanical and biodiversity knowledge. Sustainable Rural Cities (SRCs) are a program of the Chiapas government, initiated after a particularly bad season of floods in 2007. The government announced they would be relocating communities that were susceptible to flooding into new SRCs, which would provide all the amenities of modern living and more centralized provision of government services. These “cities” built in the

“Los negocios económicos tienen su contraparte en los políticos.”

106 rural areas of Chiapas have been harshly criticized for the low-grade housing and the lack of employment when people are dislocated. Critics view them as a means to create a more willing labor force for state or commercial projects and creating reliance on the government for employment and social services (Komen Ilel 2011). Jatropha and African palm are being grown for biofuels in Chiapas. This requires convincing farmers to transition from traditional food crops to biofuels, in a process called “productive reconversion.” Biofuels are considered a “green” solution to the energy crisis but pose dangers for local food sovereignty and have questionable net environmental impacts. Also under current definition, these biofuel plantations may be eligible for REDD+ credits. Biofuel production is expanding especially in the region around Tapachula on the Southern coast of Chiapas (Marotta and CouteMarotta 2013). Reporting in January 2013, Marotta and Coute-Marotta documented a case of a farmer who burned his African palm planation when he found he would not be able to continue growing subsistence food crops. He was then arrested for breaking a carbon credit contract for the plantation— which he had not been aware was in effect (Marotta and Coute-Marotta 2013). Ecotourism is another form of “green” development that disregards the needs of local populations. There are several existing ecotourism destinations in the Lacandon and the state government is actively pursuing expansion. In sum these projects make the traditional lifestyles of campesinos in Chiapas increasingly untenable and push indigenous and peasant communities toward livelihoods that are directly reliant on government or commercial interests. The civil society group the Abejas (Bees) of Acteal denounced this suite of government programs:
They do not explain much what this means, but we understand that now they do not want us to sow our cornfields (milpa), and our other ancestral foods any longer. They tell us that it is better for us to sow African (oil) palm and pine nuts, the reason they give us for this is to prevent fires. But what we see is that with the corn and beans we nourish ourselves; with oil palms and pine nuts they plan to produce biofuels to feed the cars and trucks. Do cars have more right to the food of Mother Earth than we do? Komen Ilel (2011).

In this new Green Economy articulation of development in Chiapas, REDD+ is one of several programs that purport environmental benefits yet really subsidize the consumption patterns of the

Pskowski107 global North. While biofuels have a lower carbon impact than fossil fuels, and forests under REDD+ do sequester carbon, these are more opportunities for profit rather than environmental protection. REDD+ is implicated in this new pattern of green grabbing in Chiapas.

The neoliberal path of economic development in Chiapas has rendered rural populations increasingly dependent on commodity production and international markets. The gradual decimation of peasant agriculture, through trade liberalization and dwindling state support, has forced campesinos to migrate, transition to commodity crop production or seek new forms of income. In this context, REDD+ is not a coincidental policy and in fact comes at a moment of desperation for many rural communities. Communities that may have previously practiced subsistence agriculture are turning to novel forms of income-generation, including PES. Throughout economic development in Mexico, international and national elites have increased their influence through ownership and political economic policy. REDD+ is another step toward rural development dictated by national and international elites and commodity markets. What is unique about REDD+ and other Green Economy policies is the political will and international financial support the “green” narrative leverages. Understanding historical precedents for the situation is important. It is also crucial to challenge the advance of these policies because of the international attention and support they have already and will continue to receive. Specifically in Chiapas, REDD+ will have to contend with the troubled history of “conservation” in the region or the failures of previous conservation efforts and the dispossession of communities is likely to repeat. REDD+ perpetuates the misleading notion that conservation and land redistribution must be diametrically opposed. REDD+ falls into the historical pattern of conservation that colludes with government counter-insurgency efforts and alienates social movements that are also advocating for ecological responsibility. The pressures for social and environmental change in Chiapas

108 must find common ground if either is to progress (O'Brien 1998). However, the government has clearly articulated a vision for the Selva that is more attentive to the needs of large conservation NGOs and physical and natural capital than the unresolved grievances of local indigenous peoples. Now in the context of the Green Economy and international environmental rhetoric the potential for the government to leverage international finance and political will towards these projects is concerning. The deeply unequal distribution of political power in Chiapas is likely to be weighted further against indigenous communities that resist these programs due to the international interest in developing carbon offsetting and other Green Economy programs. Rather than look to the government for an alternative proposal or to reform REDD+, the remainder of this piece turns to the work of social movements to seek new directions out of the entrenched socio-political situation in Chiapas and for environmental politics more generally.


Chapter 4: “Globalicemos la lucha; Globalicemos la esperanza”: Resisting the Commodification of Nature
“Globalize the struggle; Globalize hope” Via Campesina slogan.

The remainder of this work concerns the ongoing efforts of social movements, globally and in Chiapas, to challenge REDD+. This reflects both my personal interests as an activist and my doubts in the efforts to reform REDD+ or provide policy alternatives. Reforms focus on technical aspects rather than questioning the underlying assumptions of the REDD+ model. As Gustavo Castro Soto, of Otros Mundos in Chiapas, said in an interview, “When speaking of reforms, one speaks of how to gloss it over, how to make it pretty, when ultimately there is no questioning of the mechanism in and of itself” (Castro Soto 2013). I argue REDD+ is not an effective policy mechanism to either decrease deforestation or mitigate climate change. Especially in Chiapas there is a lack of legitimacy for this policy among local populations. For these reasons I see the work of social movements, rather than new REDD+ proposals or international negotiations, as the most valid site to construct alternative visions. Furthermore, the resistance to REDD+ is minimally documented. Many lessons from these experiences could be applied to other Green Economy policies or neoliberal natures. The chapter discusses the efforts internationally and transnationally to resist REDD+. I focus on two global social movements-- the global peasants movement and the climate justice movement-that provided the basis for opposition to REDD+ in the UN climate summits. I discuss the differential bases for REDD+ resistance and how diverse actors came together on this policy issue. Moving chronologically through the COPs, I then discuss the more dispersed, localized organizing strategies that followed the frustrations of the COP process. Throughout this narrative I discuss the difficulties in resisting REDD+ and the tensions that social movement groups face. I conclude the chapter speculating what may be effective strategies moving forward, and how REDD+ fits into the larger

110 frame of Green Economy. These are fundamental problems to existing REDD+ programs, for example in Chiapas, which lead me to argue it cannot be reformed to accomplish its stated goals. The doubts are too great as to whether REDD+ programs actually provide emissions reductions, whether the rights of indigenous peoples will be respected in the process and whether local development benefits will accrue. While there are many suggestions for addressing technical aspects of REDD+, they do not question the implicit logic of the mechanism-- that the location of emissions reductions should be based on comparative advantage and that developing countries and forest-dwelling peoples should be primary actors of climate change mitigation. Despite the disadvantageous political development of REDD+, Southern nations, Mexico included, are pursuing the policy as an opportunity to increase funding for conservation, to contribute toward global climate action and to further their own national conservation objectives. Even nations that formerly advocated strongly for a fund-based REDD+ are now supporting a market approach (Long, Roberts and Dehm 2010). In the face of the evidence against REDD+ and the continued political will to implement it, I turn to the experiences of global social movements in resisting REDD+ to understand where critics may go from here. In Chapter 5 I will discuss alternative strategies to REDD+.

Part 1: Origins of REDD+ Resistance in Peasants, Indigenous and Climate Justice Organizations
The “green grabbing” and the neoliberalization of nature have received significant academic attention, yet the many counter-movements that resist these processes remain largely unexamined. REDD+ is facing civil society opposition in Latin America, Africa and the Pacific. This section discusses REDD+ resistance as an extension of several different political currents. At the intersection of indigenous politics, market environmentalism and the agrarian question, REDD+ resistance both treads on old political ground and opens new paths. This section uses several frames with which to

Pskowski111 view REDD+ resistance: as an iteration of Polanyi's “double movement” against integration into market economies; an indigenous movement of cultural politics; and an ecologically based movement against neoliberalism. What is new about resistance to REDD+ and other programs of market environmentalism? How do we understand the scale of this action, in local struggles, international forums and moving between? Lastly, if we are sympathetic to these struggles, what are their prospects? This section does not aim to prescribe or predict but rather document the predecessors, drivers and aspirations of resistance to REDD+ for those who are sympathetic to the struggle. I discuss the international precedents to REDD+ resistance in this section, paying particular attention to the roles of peasants and indigenous peoples organizations and the climate justice movement. I provide a narrative of mounting criticisms to REDD+ in the UN climate negotiations and the evolution of protest as pilot REDD+ projects began. I also discuss how transnational networks have shared information and analysis of REDD+ and other Green Economy programs. These networks directly inform the resistance to REDD+ in Chiapas, which is the subject of Chapter 5. The inherently limited and simplifying distinction of “local” and “global” resistance divides this chapter and Chapter 5. However, resistance to REDD+ is necessarily grounded in both scales and actors on each level inform each other. Describing the resistance to REDD+ in Chiapas as a “local” issue overlooks the international basis of carbon markets and climate politics. Geographer Erik Swyndegouw's concept of “glocalization” fits REDD+ well: state administration is shifted down to the local level, and simultaneously shifts out to transnational corporations, NGOs, and multilateral or bilateral agencies (Swyndegouw 1997). Climate mitigation is “glocalized” under REDD+-- diffused to the local level of forest communities yet mediated through international agencies, NGOs and other carbon market actors. Indigenous peoples and peasants have also historically used organizing methods that “jump scale” to gain agency on local issues through international networks (Schroeder 2010). Karl Polanyi's concept of the “double movement” speaks to the historical precedents of REDD+ resistance. Polanyi writes that social organizations historically have fought against the creation of

112 “fictive commodities,” or those commodities such as land and human labor that were not in fact created for the purpose of trade. Land is one of Polanyi's primary examples of a fictive commodity. He writes, “The counter-movement consisted in checking the action of the market in respect to the factors of production, labor and land” (Polanyi 2001, 137). This created the foundation of interventionism-protecting the things that social organizations refused to give up to market forces. REDD+ can be seen as a new attempt to commodify land as discussed in Chapter 1. REDD+ resistance therefore is an expression of the “double movement” of social organizations pushing back against the introduction of new markets. The resistance to REDD+ at an international level can be understood as an outgrowth of two historical social movements, indigenous peoples and peasants organizing transnationally to address environmental and territorial issues, and the climate justice movement approaching the climate crisis from anti-capitalist and environmental justice perspectives. These movements converged on the issue of REDD+ between 2007 and 2009, when the proposal quickly became a UN centerpiece. These two groupings are generalized and represent a wide array of political stances. They share a common strategy of overcoming marginalization through transnational action. These diverse networks and organizations coming together on the issue of REDD+ agree on major critiques of the program yet have chosen different methods to act on it. There is not one single, unified “anti-REDD+” movement. While many of these organizations stress political action outside the framework of national electoral politics, the UNFCCC process and market-based environmental policies like REDD+ show the continued relevance of the state (Schroeder 2010). Organizations that share a critique of REDD+ hold a wide diversity of stances on engagement with state politics and institutions (Long, Roberts and Dehm 2010). Many groups have worked to reform REDD+, while others reject it entirely. Academic research on REDD+ resistance is limited but Heike Schroeder of the University of East Anglia has written about the agency of indigenous peoples in the UNFCCC and Stephanie Long, Ellen Roberts and Julia Dehm, members of Friends of the Earth in Australia, have written about the evolution of climate

Pskowski113 justice politics through the example of REDD+ (Schroeder 2010, Long, Roberts and Dehm 2010). Many critical climate justice and indigenous peoples organizations share an analysis of REDD+ as one of many market-based programs in the UN’s Green Economy strategy. Groups such as Via Campesina, Indigenous Environmental Network, and Global Justice Ecology Project, all discussed in this chapter or Chapter 5, have pointed out the focus on market programs in UN climate policy (CLOCVC 2010, Lang 2009, Global Justice Ecology Project 2011b). While market-based mechanisms have been prominent in the UNFCCC since its inception, observers mark a shift in the past two decades in which the market has become the de facto arbiter of environmental problems. Climate justice and indigenous peoples groups do not resist REDD+ in isolation and rather stress a systemic anti-capitalist critique of the Green Economy. Socio-environmental groups in Chiapas, while not exclusively using the Green Economy critique, share the analysis that REDD+ is just one of many market-based programs that must be resisted collectively (Rosset 2013, Andrade 2013, Castro-Soto 2013). The Green Economy critique shows how diverse groups have found common cause in climate politics. For example, indigenous peoples concerned about new forms of land grabbing, European anticapitalists denouncing the role of international financial institutions, and environmental justice groups in the global North calling out the continuation of urban pollution due to carbon offsetting have united in climate justice organizing (Building Bridge Collective 2010, Lang 2012a, Lang 2009b). History of Indigenous Peoples in the UNFCCC REDD+ has become a focal point of indigenous participation in the UNFCCC and has also revealed limitations for them in the Framework (Schroeder 2010). In the UNFCCC, indigenous people, like other non-state actors, do not have a formal role in the negotiations. They may apply for “observer status,” be a member of a “constituency” such as the Indigenous Peoples Organization, be a member of a national delegation, or participate unofficially in events outside the conference center. Civil society representatives at the COPs now out-number the official delegates, and large numbers of “side” or

114 “parallel” events take place during the conferences (Schroeder 2010). While avenues exist for indigenous peoples' participation, the UNFCCC process is still based in the framework of national sovereignty. Small island nations such as the Maldives and Tuvalu have received sustained attention in the COPs, but indigenous communities that face equally grave threats from climate change must work through their national delegations if they are to pursue formal channels (Schroeder 2010, 326). This is a barrier to access, because many indigenous communities face internal racism and political and economic marginalization in their countries. Indigenous peoples built coalitions throughout the 1980s and 1990s in UN institutions, leading eventually to the formation of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations. The official UNFCCC caucus of indigenous peoples is the Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IPFCC). The UN adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2007, which includes the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) with respect to human rights in any UN programs. Binding national level commitments in the UNFCCC can contradict the protections for indigenous peoples under UNDRIP and this conflict has not been resolved as REDD-readiness progresses. For this reason indigenous people have organized transnationally in the UNFCCC to influence policy. Outside the official negotiations, civil society groups, such as the Indigenous Environmental Network, also mobilize with allies from around the world. Indigenous peoples are also major actors in networks like Climate Justice Now! Keck and Sikkink call this the 'boomerang pattern,' in which, “local actors acquire national agency by way of acquiring international agency” (cited in Schroeder 2010, 326). In the UNFCCC, as in other international political spaces, indigenous peoples have chosen to bypass their national governments on many issues. They derive their agency not through the state but through indirect and transnational means. While these strategies have yielded important gains one analyst described their agency still to be “indirect and weak” and “being consulted and invited to provide input or feedback”, rather than shaping decisions (Schroeder 2010, 328).

Pskowski115 Transnational Peasant Organizing in Latin America Peasant organizations in Latin America have a long and rich history. Indigenous peoples are a major constituency in peasant organizations so the two categories are not mutually exclusive and some groups do not fit neatly into one or the other. Throughout much of the twentieth century Latin American peasant organizations were created to serve the interests of urban-based political parties. Across Latin America as governments implemented sweeping economic and agrarian reforms, they provided preferential treatment and benefits to peasants organizations in order to gain political support. These relationships also served to co-opt or limit the agency and revolutionary potential of rural organizations (de Janvry 1981). These corporatist and clientelistic relationships did not provide the basis for structural change of the conditions of the peasantry but secured some transfer of resources from the state. The PRI party in Mexico closely controlled many peasant organizations in exchange for political favors. During the advent of neoliberal structural adjustment policies in the 1980s, states became more limited in the services and resources they provided to social organizations. Conditions for peasant farmers in Latin America deteriorated (Martinez-Torres and Rosset 2010, 152). These organizations gradually faded from relevance, or changed form. New peasants organizations formed that were intentionally autonomous from political parties, the church and NGOs. While some elements of clientelism remained, these organizations seek more radical societal changes. Social movements in Mexico today are conscious of the previous tendencies of cooptation and clientelism. This creates a sharp distinction between social movements and NGOs or state-sponsored organizations and an awareness of the importance of the base membership. Martinez-Torres and Rosset, both scholars and activists in Chiapas, provide a summary of the differences between a social movement and an NGO. Leaders in social movements are accountable to the base membership and decisions are democratic, if not completely consensus-based. The Zapatistas describe this as “de

116 abajo,” from below. While social movements may engage in governing institutions like the UNFCCC, they are grounded in local struggles. They generally have little funding and few staff relative to the large membership base. Social movements are able to mobilize many people for actions and protests (Martinez-Torres and Rosset 2010). On the other hand NGOs are accountable to funders and Boards of Directors and sometimes a smaller membership. They are funded by external sources and are more project-oriented and driven by “deliverables”. Their ability to mobilize large numbers is limited. Ana Valadez notes that groups which are only in international spaces “will get lost” without a local base (Valadez 2013). In environmental and peasant movements, the notoriety of NGOs like Conservation International contributes to a general distrust of big Northern NGOs. Martinez-Torres and Rosset refer to the ways colonial relationships can also emerge within coalitions that include both Northern NGOs and Southern social movements (Martinez-Torres and Rosset 2010). The division between NGOs and social movements is not always clear or complete, but social movements carefully avoid institutionalization. Jesus Andrade, a leader in the peasant union UNORCA, which is a member of Via Campesina in Mexico, described how this divide limits the potential of their work--“NGOs have a lot of money and they do things, but they do not build movements of resistance... … It is a shame because we could combine forces; the issue is that NGOs want to be above the movements. We say no, this is our work. We have dedicated our lives to these movements” (Andrade 2013). UNORCA stands for the National Union of Regional Autonomous Campesino Organizations.28 The history of peasant organizing in Chiapas reflects the tension between leadership and base membership. Social historian Neil Harvey’s book provides a historical narrative of the process of organizing over several decades that led to the Zapatista uprising. Harvey writes, “In Chiapas one of the principal sources of ambiguity within peasant movements has been the relationship between leaders


La Unión Nacional de Organizaciones Regionales Campesinas Autónomas

Pskowski117 and base” (Harvey 1998, 68). Discussing more traditionally hierarchically organized peasants movements, Harvey writes that for leaders to successfully remain accountable to the base membership the grassroots groups have to create local-level “free spaces for member participation, effective channels for exchanging information among members... …active participation of members in decision making, and implementation of agreements and decentralization of responsibilities” (Harvey 1998, 68). The Zapatistas and Via Campesina are among contemporary groups trying to forge a new style of organizing that avoids strictly hierarchical leadership and the clientelism of their predecessors. Via Campesina adopts this strategy internationally, but the organizational style of local or national groups still retains previous forms in many cases. At the international level, to maintain their commitment to the base membership, Via Campesina's leaders are and will always be peasants. They work with nonpeasants in specific technical capacities, but are careful that these people not be interpreted as spokespersons or leaders of the movement (Valadez 2013). The tension between base and leadership is evident within the Zapatistas, who have been criticized that their spokesperson, Subcomandante Marcos, is a white Mexican professor speaking for an indigenous movement (Conant 2010). As globalization and neoliberal economics continued to spread in the 1980s and 1990s, new peasant organizations identified international institutions and transnational corporations as the drivers of the policies that were affecting them locally. This political analysis required organization beyond the national level. Maria Elena Martinez-Torres and Peter Rosset write, “If your real enemy is beyond your national borders and is also the real enemy of your peers in other countries, then you must join forces with these peers to fight your common enemy” (Martinez-Torres and Rosset 2010, 153). The 1980s was a decade of unprecedented civil society networking in Latin America, including amongst peasants organizations. Some of the predecessors to Via Campesina included Latin American Coordination of Rural Organizations29 or CLOC and other members of the 500 Years of Indian Resistance Campaign that started in anticipation of the anniversary of Columbus' arrival in 1942. In

The Coordinadora Latinoamericana de Organizaciones del Campo

118 1991-1992 Latin American rural organizations decided to organize together against the neoliberal model and formed CLOC. The coalition included groups that had not always worked together in the past, including landless people, farmers, farm workers and indigenous peoples. At the same time networks were forming in India, Europe and North America. In 1992 in Nicaragua a congress of rural organizations from the Americas, the Caribbean and Europe decided to create Via Campesina as a coordinating body for peasant organizations around the world. In 1993 Via Campesina held its First International Conference in Belgium, agreeing on a general framework to advance the rights and interests of family farmers (Martinez-Torres and Rosset 2010). Throughout its existence, Via Campesina has made a space for peasants in global and national policy-making. Rather than letting their perspectives be represented by NGOs, or not be represented at all, Via Campesina is a grassroots, peasant-led organization. Its central goal has come to be defending peasant livelihoods through food sovereignty. It is made up of member organizations in each country, totaling 148 member organizations in 69 countries in 2010. Martinez-Torres and Rosset estimate it represents 500 million rural families worldwide (Martinez-Torres and Rosset 2010, 165). While Via Campesina is not the only transnational coalition or network engaged in the REDD+ debate, it is emblematic of organizing strategies that cross borders and amplify the analysis of grassroots members. The Climate Justice Movement Civil society organizations entered into alliances with indigenous peoples in the emerging climate justice movement. The term climate justice was popularized in the 2007 Bali conference with the formation of the Climate Justice Now! network (Long, Roberts and Dehm 2010). The movement grew out of environmental justice movements and the alter-globalization movement of the 1990s2000s. The environmental justice movement struggles against the disproportionate impacts of pollution and extractive industries on low-income people and communities of color. US organizations coined the term, but organizations have taken similar approaches elsewhere. The alter-globalization

Pskowski119 movement was an international network of activists targeting international financial institutions (IFIs) to protest their unjust loan, debt and finance policies in the developing world, most visibly through mobilizations at major summits such at the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle in 1999. The climate justice movement is distinguished from the alter-globalization movement because in many cases members have chosen to engage in the international process of the UNFCCC whereas alterglobalization activists explicitly rejected international trade organizations (Long, Roberts and Dehm 2010). Long, Roberts and Dehm, members of the international network Friends of the Earth, write:
The climate justice movement’s analysis of the climate crisis is based on recognition that climate change is not simply anthropogenic, in that it is caused by an undifferentiated humanity, but that climate change is the product of specific modes of capitalistic production and distribution (Abramsky & de Angelis 2009: 1-14). Climate change reflects global discrepancies in power and access to resources globally between the majority and minority worlds... ...Such an analysis informs the movement’s position that the countries of the minority world need to take primary responsibility for immediately and drastically cutting their greenhouse gas emissions, [calling] for mitigation and adaptation funding and technology transfers as well as calls for reparations of ‘climate debt’ Long Roberts and Dehm (2010) 224-225.

The alter-globalization movement of the 1990s-2000s spread the transnational organizing strategies that indigenous peoples and peasant organizations had used since the 1980s to influence political change. The Zapatista uprising also precipitated these strategies, calling for “changing the world without taking power” and new methods of organizing, such as their encuentros (encounters) which gathered thousands of activists from around the world in Chiapas to share ideas and collaborate (Graeber 2009). These strategies stem from an analysis similar to that of Via Campesina of the importance of transnational organizing to counter international institutions and political-economic paradigms. The alter-globalization movement declined from its height in the early 2000s due to a number of factors, including the resurgence of global militarization after September 11, 2001 (Building Bridges Collective 2010). The rising concern over climate change in subsequent years reinvigorated some of this international collaboration and former spokespersons of alter-globalization, such as Naomi Klein, have called for climate justice to be the next front of this struggle (Stephenson 2012). While unified to some degree in their analysis of climate change, climate justice groups hold a

120 wide diversity of views on states and institutions. As the COPs yielded increasingly limited outcomes, this sometimes became a point of tension, with many more groups deciding to take an oppositional stance to the UN process. In other cases, climate justice groups have rallied behind global South nations that reflect their analysis. The case of Bolivia stands out. President Evo Morales hosted the Cochabamaba Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in April 2010, where the 35,000 participants developed a people's platform on climate change. However, groups with an antistate critique have pointed out the limitations of the Bolivian position and ongoing environmental racism problems in Bolivia (Building Bridges Collective 2010). Precedents for REDD+ in Transnational Organizing Through the case of indigenous peoples organizations in Ecuador, Geographer Thomas Perreault describes how neoliberal policies have shifted the playing field for many “local” issues to international forums. This shift means “indigenous organizations are strengthened not only through their ability to 'scale up' beyond the local, but also through the reification of place, and its insertion, via network relations, into national and global discourses, practices, and socio-political configurations” (Perrault 2003, 83-84). Scholars on indigenous movements in Latin America have often focused on high-profile political uprisings at the national level and have overlooked the “quotidian processes of local development, social mobilization, and the politics of place” (Pearreault 2003, 63). Local struggles over international climate policy are not restricted to their geographical confines. Transnational organizing connects these local struggles to go “glocal.” Previous alliances between indigenous groups and Northern environmental NGOs demonstrate both the advantages and limitations of joining forces across North-South borders against ecological destruction. In the 1980s international attention to the problems of deforestation and loss of biodiversity created an opening for expanded conservation activities. Indigenous groups in the Amazon, such as the Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), framed their struggle for land rights and self-determination as an environmental struggle, but were

Pskowski121 wary of conservation schemes they saw to be extensions of colonialism. They created alliances with Northern NGOs, such as Oxfam and Conservation International, which could then benefit by deploying the image of the “noble savage” or “victimized ecological native” in their campaigns (Pieck 2006, 309310). These alliances increased political will for conservation and also began to reconcile the different understandings of conservation held by Northern NGOs and global South indigenous peoples. COICA presented a letter “To the community of concerned environmentalists” outlining their grievances with conservation practices that only focused on tropical plants and animals and not the people living in the rainforest. They convened the Iquitos Summit in May 1990 and forged a declaration stating the signatories' support for indigenous rights to territory and affirming the importance of indigenous peoples' environmental knowledge and their proposals for environmental management (Pieck 2006, 316). The Declaration was formalized in 1995 into the Coalition for Amazonian Peoples and their Environment, with a coordinating office in Washington, DC, renamed in 1999 as the Amazon Alliance. But in the mid to late 1990s as North American funding and public attention decreased toward the plight of tropical forests and their peoples, the larger NGOs including Conservation International and the World Wildlife Fund all but withdrew from the Alliance, leaving smaller, human rights-focused NGOs. Anthropologist Sonja Pieck writes that organizations reduced their attention to people-centered conservation for three main reasons- (1) “ideological polarization between large, well-endowed conservation organizations on the one hand, and smaller environmental campaign and human rights organizations on the other” (2) “financial polarization between these same groups, magnified by the scarcity of monies available for environmental causes (relative to the financial abundance of the early and mid-1990s” (3) “a reduction in media coverage of rainforest issues, including deforestation and indigenous struggles; and, consequently, reduced symbolic power available to indigenous peoples to exert effective moral leverage” (Pieck 2006, 318).
The bigger

NGOs reverted back to an environmental mission strictly divided from “development

122 work” which was deemed inefficient and slow, unlike “real” conservation (Pieck 2006, 319). An additional aspect of this withdrawal was the increased political agency of indigenous peoples, who were speaking for themselves and making demands. Less than a decade after the Iquitos Declaration, researchers and practitioners were now more likely to describe indigenous peoples as “difficult” or “capricious.” Pieck writes that this exposed the difference between what was “perceived to be a quiescent indigenous population” and the “contemporary, politicized movement” indigenous peoples had created (Pieck 2006, 319). The political space that conservation NGOs, human rights campaigners and indigenous peoples occupied together dissolved by the end of the 1990s. Pieck concludes her account of the Amazon Alliance saying, “While existing transnational networks have allowed for much needed gains for indigenous groups in the Amazon, indigenous groups may need to find new allies in the North and South that go beyond the environmental community” (Pieck 2006, 323). Clearly, transnational alliances are neither inherently helpful nor equitable.

Part 2: Resisting REDD+ in the UNFCCC
Since as early as 2007, NGOs and indigenous groups have voiced concerns with the REDD+ proposals in the UNFCCC. What started as calls to include safeguards and co-benefits has become outright opposition for many groups. Demands in the COPs have shifted from “No rights, No REDD!” to, “Rights before REDD!” and most recently calls for a moratorium on REDD+ projects (Long, Roberts and Dehm 2010). As REDD+ remains in limbo, NGOs, civil society and indigenous groups still take a variety of positions and can be broadly divided in three camps: those who always considered the REDD+ mechanisms a false solution, those who initially were open to using REDD+ and have gradually lost hope in the mechanism, and those who entered the debates in favor of REDD+ and remain engaged. Generally, large conservation NGOs fall in the latter category and have favored pushing for safeguards and co-benefits to REDD+ without questioning the mechanism. The middle ground represents both indigenous peoples groups and NGOs that see some benefits to REDD+, or are taking a “harm reduction” approach in trying to reform the proposal in the UNFCCC. The category of

Pskowski123 groups that have maintained ideological opposition to REDD+ is comprised of indigenous or peasant organizations and climate justice groups, generally with anti-capitalist or anti-colonial critiques (Durban Group for Climate Justice 2011, Lang 2010). 2005-2008: Civil Society Engagement, With Reservations Prior to REDD+'s rise to prominence in the UNFCCC, at COP11 in 2005 in Montreal, the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) released the Tiohtiá:ke Declaration which directs criticism toward the CDM. It states, “The modalities and procedures for activities under the Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) do not respect and guarantee our right to lands, territories, and self-determination. CDM and Sinks projects do not contribute to climate change mitigation and sustainable development” (IIPFCC 2005). At COP13 in Bali in 2007, the network Climate Justice Now! (or CJN!) was formed. Many groups had previously been part of the Climate Action Network, but sought a more radical space. Member groups include Carbon Trade Watch, the Transnational Institute, Focus on the Global South, Friends of the Earth International, Gender CC– Women for Climate Justice, Global Forest Coalition, Global Justice Ecology Project, Via Campesina, members of the Durban Group for Climate Justice, the Indigenous Environmental Network, Third World Network and the World Rainforest Movement. CJN! became the unifying coalition to mobilize large numbers to attend future summits (CJN! 2007). The IIPFCC added an agenda item to the Bali negotiations, voicing “profound concern” about REDD+ based on the human rights violations and impacts on indigenous territories of other “market based mechanisms, [like] carbon trading, agrofuels and the Clean Development Mechanism” (IIPFCC 2007). COP14 in Poznan, Poland in 2008 was the first international summit where civil society, particularly indigenous peoples, had documented protests against REDD+. In Poznan civil society concern focused on the omission of any reference to the rights of indigenous peoples in the REDD+ document. The Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), based in Bemidji, MN, held a protest under the theme of “No rights, no REDD+!” (Lang 2008). The International Indigenous Peoples’ Forum on

124 Climate Change walked out of the negotiations because of the resistance of Australia, New Zealand and Canada' to including the UNDRIP in the REDD+ document. Afterward it issued a demand “for an immediate suspension of all REDD+ initiatives and carbon market schemes. Cut emissions at sourceNo REDD” (Lang 2009a). While the IEN represents indigenous peoples in North America who are not directly impacted by REDD+ projects, Executive Director Tom Goldtooth said in a 2009 interview with the online publication REDD-Monitor,
Coming to the COP here in Poznan was part of our strategy to help support our indigenous brothers and sisters in forested areas in the Global South, who are really getting pressured and surrounded by the brokers of REDD+... ...They asked me to come and help them, stand by them, because they are getting tremendous pressure to not speak out against REDD+, to be open-minded on it and to participate in it, even though in their hearts they feel it is not right and is manipulative because of the big money being offered... ...For Indigenous Peoples from the forested areas, it’s really hard for them to find money to get to these meetings (Lang 2009 b).

Goldtooth also describes how the consultation process of REDD+ can be coercive, and how the efforts to pit indigenous communities against each other is reminiscent of the struggles North American indigenous peoples have faced. This shows how early on, some indigenous people saw resistance to REDD+ as a front of struggle internationally, whether or not their communities were specifically impacted by REDD+ projects. 2009-2012: Deflated Hopes; Questioning the COPs By Copenhagen the coalition of nations promoting a fund-based REDD+ was eroded, especially when a few weeks before Copenhagen Brazil conceded to a position allowing carbon credits (Long, Roberts and Dehm 2010). No formal agreement on REDD+ was achieved at COP15, the Copenhagen summit in December 2009, but REDD+ received more mentions than any other climate mitigation strategy in the Copenhagen Accord (Daviet 2011). A reference to following the UNDRIP was added to the text, due to the work of indigenous peoples, though it is still “noted” rather than binding (Roberts, Long and Dehm 2010). Climate justice groups harshly criticized the Copenhagen Accord and Copenhagen became a “watershed” moment for the climate justice movement. Climate justice and indigenous groups denounced the Copenhagen Accord, which US President Obama negotiated in the

Pskowski125 eleventh hour, as fraudulent and undemocratic (Climate Justice Now! 2009). Climate justice groups focused on more general critiques of the unfolding undemocratic process of the summit. The statement of the Climate Justice Now! network after the conference was signed by over 100 organizations worldwide and stated a clear rejection of the COP system:
While Copenhagen has been a disaster for just and equitable climate solutions, it has been an inspiring watershed moment in the battle for climate justice. The governments of the elite have no solutions to offer, but the climate justice movement has provided strong vision and clear alternatives. Copenhagen will be remembered as an historic 30 event for global social movements. It will be remembered, along with Seattle and Cancún, as a critical moment when the diverse agendas of many social movements coalesced and became stronger, asking in one voice for system change, not climate change. Climate Justice Now! (2009).

Following Copenhagen, Bolivian President Evo Morales held the People's Summit on Climate Change in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The Durban Climate Justice No REDD+! Statement had gathered many signatories leading up to the summit (Durban Group for Climate Justice 2010). Despite this, a REDD-type proposal was originally included in the draft text prepared by the forests working group moderator for Cochabamba. The climate justice collective Building Bridges, mostly made up of European activists, attributes this inclusion to the position of the Bolivian government as a “global flagship for REDD+ schemes” (Building Bridges Collective 2010, 31-32). Debates within the working group eventually struck REDD+ from the record, and the final declaration from Cochabamba was clear:
We condemn market mechanisms such as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and its versions + and + +, which are violating the sovereignty of peoples and their right to prior free and informed consent as well as the sovereignty of national States, the customs of Peoples, and the Rights of Nature. World People's Conference (2010).

Roberts, Long and Dehm write that after Cochabamba, the term REDD+ for the climate justice movement “no longer refers to a range of forest climate mitigation strategies, but... ...has become synonymous with the inclusion of avoided deforestation in international carbon trading markets.” Inclusion of forest carbon in a binding agreement would need to be in terms other than REDD+ to


This is in reference to the “Battle of Seattle” in 1999 that shut down the World Trade Organization summit and the 2003 WTO summit in Cancún, Mexico that also faced major civil society mobilizations.

126 satisfy the movement (Roberts, Long and Dehm 2010, 237). COP16 was held in Cancún, Mexico in December 2010. The governments of Mexico and Chiapas saw in the Cancún summit an opportunity to showcase their leadership in climate change politics. Taking place in a tropical country, the summit had a significant focus on REDD+ and forests, with a REDD+ event featuring World Bank then-President Robert Zoellick. Cancún was also the site of a 2003 WTO summit at which alter-globalization activists mobilized thousands in protest. 20,000 federal troops and helicopter and naval patrols had policed the WTO summit in 2003 (New York Times 2003). Civil society organizations entered the COP in Cancún expecting a similar military presence. COP16 was an important moment for Chiapas social and environmental organizations to learn about REDD+, as Chiapas had signed the Memorandum of Understanding with California and Acre just one month before. Taking place in a strong base of Via Campesina and other peasant organizations, and responding to the injustice of the Copenhagen Accord, civil society mobilization was large despite intense policing (Lang 2010). Via Campesina organized caravans of farmers from across Mexico, crossing 17 states and involving around 13,000 people. The National Assembly of Environmentally Affected Peoples, the Movement for National Liberation, the Mexican Electricians Union (SME) and hundreds of villages contributed to planning the caravans with Via Campesina (Walker-Leigh 2011).. Their march in opposition to the summit had the consigna (motto) of “¡Cochabamba, sí! REDD+ no!” that Peter Rosset described as, “the two extremes- the real solutions and the false solutions” (Rosset 2013). After Cancún a number of social movements issued statements denouncing REDD+: Via Campesina, the World Rainforest Movement, and Indigenous Environmental Network. The plurinational31 government of Bolivia denounced the outcomes of COP16, and President Evo Morales spoke at Via Campesina's forum. Via Campesina categorized REDD+ along with geoengineering and the CDM as, “False and dangerous solutions that the neoliberal system implements.” The IEN

“Plurinational” signifies the diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds of Bolivians.

Pskowski127 statement made clear their rejection of the COPs: “Mass-based movement building is our only hope to overturn the climate apartheid we now face” (Lang 2010). The World Rainforest Movement, based in Uruguay, circulated a statement from the Women's Caucus, “Position on Women and REDD+”, which denounced REDD+ for contributing to a global appropriation of land from communities and indigenous peoples, which would particularly affect women (World Rainforest Movement 2010). For climate justice groups, the environmental summits of 2011 and 2012, first COP17 in Durban in Nov-Dec 2011, then Rio+20 in July 2012 and then COP18 in Doha, Qatar, were less spaces to negotiate or reform REDD+, and more repeated opportunities to denounce the program and mobilize grassroots activists. In Durban in 2011, the Global Alliance of Indigenous People and Local Communities against REDD+ and for Life called for a moratorium on REDD+ (Carbon Trade Watch 2011). Hosting COP18 in Doha ruled out major climate justice mobilization, due to the repressive police presence and the geographical distance from the hubs of climate justice organizing. Fewer organizations felt their perspectives were represented within the negotiating spaces and civil society was largely excluded (Peterman 2012). As subnational and pilot REDD+ projects began, many climate justice groups felt local experiences were substantiating their theoretical and ideological arguments against REDD+. Both the pro- and anti- REDD+ camps experienced feelings of stagnation in the summits. Groups that had previously seen potential benefits in REDD+ started to question the mechanism. Attention began to shift away from the global summits and climate justice groups were engaged in many local struggles. The GCF is one pro-REDD+ attempt to bypass the grinding UN process.

Conclusion: Taking Stock of International Protests against REDD+
News emerging about the pilot and subnational REDD+ projects developing ahead of an international regime confirms many civil society concerns about the program. Differences of opinion persist between indigenous organizations that have chosen to work with REDD+ programs and critical

128 groups. Academics and REDD+ promoters have looked at Brazil as an example of how REDD+ can be successful; deforestation has decreased by almost 50 percent, ten years faster than it was legally stipulated to (Ecofronteras 2012). However, more ominous developments occurred in Papua New Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Peru and Panama. In Papua New Guinea the government, and former Environment Minister Kevin Conrad, have pushed forward REDD+ without proper attention to the rights of indigenous peoples. A Greenpeace report wrote that the REDD+ proposal of the government would “effectively appropriate the rights over forest carbon, control any financial gains or sales, and decide on how any benefits are distributed” (Greenpeace Australia Pacific 2010, 5). In Peru, “carbon cowboys” have offered fraudulent carbon contracts to indigenous communities (Bartlett 2012). Resistance to REDD+ is growing on several continents. Despite positive results in some locations, civil society groups are questioning the enforcement of existing safeguards and protocols for REDD+ development and calling for more definitive protections for human rights and indigenous peoples. In July 2012 a broad group of civil society organizations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo withdrew from all REDD+ readiness activities in the country, citing a superficial and inadequate participation process (Forest Peoples Programme 2012). The Chiapas REDD+ story was breaking in September 2012. On February 25, 2013, the coordinating body of indigenous peoples in REDDreadiness in Panama withdrew from the process (Lang 2013). Then at the World Social Forum at the end of March 2013, social movements launched the No REDD in Africa network (Environmental Rights Action 2013). Have protests at UNFCCC summits or against national-level REDD+ development made a difference? How are we to measure the impacts of these actions? Larry Lohmann (1998) warns against the imposition of mainstream Western environmentalist understandings of political success and argues that it is important to be aware of and value the longer-range gains that may be realized from the work

Pskowski129 of a movement. REDD+ critics have certainly succeeded in complicating the simplistic “win-win-win” narrative of the policy proposal. News coverage of REDD+ is now often obliged to point out arguments against the program. And REDD+ has certainly developed more slowly than negotiators had initially hoped. While lobbies like the Coalition for Rainforest Nations hoped to push through a marketbased REDD+ within a short time frame, social movements and NGOs successfully inserted concerns about indigenous peoples rights and safeguards. Social movements can claim at least some responsibility for the slowed pace of REDD+ in UN negotiations. The locus of resistance to REDD+ has shifted from international summits to local areas where projects are being implemented. This does not necessarily represent a failure of international efforts. The most recent COP in Doha made little progress and in reality, side events and meetings between COPs are major sites of policy development. Via Campesina and other social movements stress the necessity of a local base for effective transnational organizing. The local resistances to REDD+ to some extent are products of the consciousness-raising efforts internationally. The No REDD Network has published popular education materials about REDD+ and distributed them to local communities in several countries, which member Tamra Gilbertson credits as one of their main successes (Gilbertson 2013). While there is a danger that the debate over REDD+ will be overly intellectual beyond the scope of local activists, it appears that critical perspectives on REDD+ are reaching local communities (Gustavo-Castro 2013). This objective of information sharing about REDD+ should only expand as pilot projects take off. In an interview, Tamra Gilbertson of Carbon Trade Watch did not lament the shift of attention away from the COPs to more local struggles: “I don't think it's a bad thing. I think too many resources, money and travel go into the COPs. Yes, we need to pressure the UN, and yes, we need to make information available, but we also need to support the people affected by these programs. There are

130 other ways to do this than attending UN level summits” (Gilbertson 2013). Ana Valadez of COMPITCH voiced the importance of a sustained presence at the COPs: “I don’t have hope any more in these spaces but I think that one has to be there because in the end that is place where the pulse of a discussion is taken” (Valadez 2013). She goes on to credit Via Campesina with striking a good balance: “They know how to be there and be present. But they wouldn’t be able to do that if they did not have work rooted locally that is truly from a concrete strength, an agricultural strength, the strength of campesinos, a local environmental strength” (Valadez 2013). Gilbertson stresses that the purpose of going to the summits is to create space for those who are under-represented, rather than aiming to reform policy (Gilbertson 2013). There are also examples of indigenous peoples in South America who are engaging in REDD+ programs to meet their needs, such as the “Indigenous REDD” proposal at COP18 in Doha (Zwick 2012). Creating divisions between “pro” and “anti” REDD+ amongst indigenous and peasant organizations will only reinforce the efforts of governments to fracture grassroots organizations. By focusing on sharing information about REDD+ and experiences with pilot projects, international networks can inform local groups without imposing an agenda. Via Campesina, Carbon Trade Watch, and Friends of the Earth representatives all stress a systemic critique of REDD+ as one of many Green Economy projects. For critical groups like Carbon Trade Watch the emergence of REDD+ in the early 2000s was clearly a “re-packaging” of mechanisms like CDM that did not resolve fundamental problems. REDD+ is a high-profile policy, broadcast to many people without previous knowledge of climate negotiations and social movements. Using the critique of the Green Economy frame can paint a broader story about the policy. While resisting REDD+ on the local level where it is being implemented is important, critiquing the Green Economy in international forums can address the broader implications of market-based environmental policies.

Pskowski131 REDD+ is still moving ahead internationally, but its critics have succeeded in complicating the discussion over this climate change mechanism. Continued attention to new mechanisms internationally and conditions on the ground where projects are being implemented will both be essential to stemming the development of the UN Green Economy. While this can be portrayed as simply a “negative” campaign, the preponderance of marketbased conservation and climate change mitigation necessitates a direct response to REDD+ and similar policies. From that basis, social movements can continue promoting solutions to the roots causes of the environmental and climate crises. Otherwise, REDD+ could be considered a viable solution “alongside” more grassroots or justice-based policies. Social movement must make clear that REDD+ and similar policies are a contradiction in terms with their stated values and goals. Questioning REDD+ and the Green Economy creates the political space necessary to promote climate justice approaches that redistribute resources and address the disproportionate responsibility for climate change of global North countries and the disproportionate impacts on the global South and communities of color and the poor in the global North.


Chapter 5: ¡La Madre Tierra no está en Venta! Resisting Green Neoliberalism in Chiapas
Mother Earth is not for sale

My opposition [to REDD+] has many years behind it; it is not specifically against REDD+... … This agenda becomes one more that comes from the hands of US agents that have functioned here for many years as agents of war. It is one more element of discord, one more element of community disillusion, one more element of pain and fragmentation” Ana Valadez of the Mayan medicine collective COMPITCH, 2013.

Resistance to REDD+ in Chiapas builds on historical grievances and processes of dispossession and is also embedded in a broader critique of the “Green Economy” model of international institutions. To construct it as a “local” struggle overlooks how REDD+ resistance links the local, national and international and the limitations of these designations. The contentious history of Chiapas creates both the conditions for resistance to REDD+ and increases public attention to the issue. Chiapas in many ways is the birthplace of public, militant resistance to neoliberalism, starting with the calls of “¡Ya basta!” (“Enough!”) of the Zapatista uprising. The movement has consistently used the frame of antineoliberalism, and catapulted its critique of the global hegemonic order into international media. The Zapatistas and other Chiapas social movements have survived harsh government repression through the expert use of public communications and sympathetic political networks around the world (Conant 2010). These same networks have made the story of REDD+ in Chiapas one of the most publicized of Green Economy projects, with media treatment in publications as diverse at Yes! magazine, the Sacramento Bee, Z Magazine, National Radio Project and numerous online blogs and news sources evidences (Lopez 2013, Lavender 2012, Conant 2011). The story of REDD+ resistance in Chiapas richly illustrates the continued relevance of the frame of neoliberalism in the Selva Lacandona and the lacuna between international policy and local conditions. But REDD+ in Chiapas is hardly a story of the necessity of market forces or international institutions and rather provides encouragement to those of us who see the beauty in the cultural and ecological heritage of our world that defies commodification. With this account I argue that these

Pskowski133 market-based policies are not inevitable and that technical improvements will not be enough to reform REDD+. All too often the advance of international policies is considered a foregone conclusion. But the literature on neoliberal natures demonstrates that these policies create contradictions and are reconstituted by local communities (Heynen et al 2007). Fairhead et al remind us, “Processes of accumulation, for example, do not inevitably lead to dispossession. Not everyone ends up disciplined as neoliberal subjects. And nature is not always appropriated by the powerful” (Fairhead et al 2012, 247-248). REDD+ is very much still a story being told. The courage of people in Chiapas to speak out against it signals the continued relevance of commons-based governance and community selfdetermination in an era of climate change. My account of resistance to REDD+ in Chiapas is based on interviews conducted in January 2013, news articles from 2010-2013, and the public communications of social movements during this time period. I also refer to several historians of the Selva Lacandona, including Jan de Vos and Karen O'Brien and publications from Maderas del Pueblo, to construct the region's political landscape. There are several areas in which this account is lacking information or detail. One reason is the continued low-intensity warfare in Chiapas puts any public critics of the government at risk, especially rural indigenous peoples. Groups I am documenting have experienced these dangers first-hand (CCRI-GC EZLN 2006). As a result my account is skewed toward urban-based organizations and details on rural communities are limited. Organizations based in the cities are rightfully judicious in sharing information about their work in the rural areas, as the communities they work with face military and paramilitary violence. I was also unable to visit the projects in the Lacandon rainforest and the government has not released substantive information on them. My account of project implementation is based on secondary resources. Even researchers who traveled to the Lacandon for the Greenpeace report struggled to gather reliable information (Czebiniak 2013). This chapter begins with a summary of the arguments of social movements against REDD+, then an introduction to the forms of peasant and indigenous organizing in the Selva region that have

134 developed over many decades and arguably centuries. The second section discusses resistance to previous market-based conservation and green grabbing in Chiapas. The third section is a narrative of the resistance to REDD+ in Chiapas starting in 2010 with the signing of the MOU with California and the Cancun climate talks. This narrative runs through spring 2013. The conclusion section provides reflections on where REDD+ in Chiapas may be headed and how social movements can effectively organize against the Green Economy.

Part 1: The Case Against REDD+ in Chiapas
This section summarizes the case to be made against REDD+ on technical, equity and justice grounds. This summary is based on an official comment submission to the California Air Resources Board and the REDD Offsets Working Group (ROW), which I drafted with the Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP) in April 2013. Over the course of writing this thesis, my opinions against REDD+ were solidified and I chose to contribute toward the growing efforts against the Chiapas-California agreement. This took the form of sharing my research findings with groups opposing the REDD+ program and drafting comments with GJEP. Criticisms of REDD+ in Chiapas are four-fold: the state lacks the capacity to provide verified emissions reductions; REDD+ countries face serious concerns regarding equity of access to the program; the program builds on a problematic past of conservation in Chiapas and global North environmental justice concerns are wholly disregarded. Taking these issues into consideration, it becomes clear that REDD+ credits are a policy “fix” for corporate polluters in the global North to reduce the cost of meeting emission reduction targets, rather than a true solution to the climate crisis. REDD+ projects in Chiapas have not yet generated verified carbon emissions reductions (VERs). This accountability issue will be heightened in the future if REDD+ credits are used in the California market. I first summarize why the projects have not met the requirements of VERs and then why promises from the state government to meet the verification requirements in the future may not be

Pskowski135 sufficient. A 2012 Greenpeace International report found that there are currently not mechanisms in place in Chiapas to ensure Monitoring, Verification and Reporting (MRV), permanence or additionality, all necessary requirements for VERs (Greenpeace 2012). Chiapas is in the process of creating its measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) system but in the meantime project developers have a limited ability to claim to additionality of their projects. Chiapas has a complex topography, a patchwork pattern of land use and a low technological capacity to carry out MRV. These factors make it very difficult to assess the existing carbon stocks in the state. Land title is not clearly delineated in many parts of the Lacandon region and there are no official maps of the area from the Ministry of Environment and Natural History (Greenpeace International 2012). As of July 2012, the margin of error for reporting was as high as 44% (EPRI 2012). The Greenpeace International report makes strong arguments against state-based REDD+ projects (namely the GCF) on the grounds of leakage. If Chiapas enters into a REDD+ deal with California, this is no assurance that neighboring states such as Oaxaca will not become the site of further deforestation (Greenpeace International 2012). The UNFCCC intentionally crafted REDD+ as a nation-based program and state-level project developers have yet to prove how they are protecting against leakage. Chiapas has still not determined an official reference level for deforestation, making it unclear whether existing projects are “additional” or not. The payments to the Lacandon Community purport to protect an area of 614,000 hectares, which is approximately the size of existing reserve (Greenpeace International 2012). With this project, the Chiapas government hopes to claim and sell REDD+ credits for an area in an existing ecological reserve. In regards to permanence, the REDD+ payments to communities in the Lacandon Rainforest were started with no clear plan for funding or permanence and the state budget crisis caused the payments to stop when the Velasco administration came into office (Greenpeace International 2012, and personal communication January 2013). The permanence of REDD+ pilot projects in general is questionable as they rely on short-term fund transfers.

136 The July 2012 EPRI report found that the state body to develop and enforce safeguards had not formed in Chiapas (EPRI 2012). The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples guarantees the right to Free, Prior and Informed consent on all projects on indigenous territories (FPIC). The Chiapas climate change legislation, which is driving REDD+, does not include the right to FPIC. There is draft legislation at the national level to ensure FPIC, but with less stringent requirements than the UN standard (EPRI 2012). FPIC is a requirement for REDD+ projects and Chiapas has yet to prove they are getting the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of indigenous peoples. These issues cannot be addressed post facto; they must be integral throughout the REDD+ process to ensure accountability and build stakeholder support. There is also a broader risk that even if the state government goes through with the requirements for generating VERs and resolves these problems technically, it will not be in a fashion that is transparent, reaches all stakeholders or represents actual changes on the ground. The financial incentive of REDD+ could cause the government to prioritize expediency over adequate policy processes in the interest of getting REDD+ money. While Chiapas is early in the REDD+ process, the political and historical context of the state may prevent the seemingly straightforward solutions to ensure VERs from being successful. Critics are also concerned that the state government is not being transparent about the development of REDD+. These concerns are supported by recent studies; Chiapas was one of five states in Mexico that a federal institute found to fail to meet the minimum standards of transparency and accountability stated in Article 6 of the Mexican Constitution. The state has failed to provide an adequate reporting of public funds and revenues as required by law (Greenpeace International 2012). The Climate Change law, which is fueling REDD+ development, was not properly consulted on in the state, and instead presented jointly between the former Governor Juan Sabines and Conservation International (Castro Soto 2012). Track records of PES systems broadly and Chiapas in particular show that the financial incentive of REDD+ credits may induce the state to meet the bureaucratic expectations for these issues

Pskowski137 without taking the time and resources necessary to resolve them justly and in respect of indigenous peoples rights. Mexico was one of the top four participating nations in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which is an important policy precedent for REDD+. Esteve Corbera and Noelia Jover studied the effectiveness of CDM projects in Mexico and found that it was not always clear that projects were “additional” and therefore eligible for credits. They warn that, “Host country governments may favor a ‘soft’ regulatory approach in order to capture foreign direct investment and facilitate projects’ development regardless of their local development implications” (Corbera and Jover 2012, 51). There are several indicators that Chiapas is still a highly conflictual state that struggles to put policy into practice. Previous experiences in market-based conservation in the Lacandon region indicate that the imposition of new policies that require the definition of clear property rights can exacerbate existing conflicts (Ervine 2012). The profit motive of REDD+ creates the risk that tensions between indigenous groups or between indigenous groups and the government will worsen. What previously were latent conflicts can become more volatile if groups feel they are competing over financial resources (Rosset 2013). Kate Ervine's account of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor bears out this tension (Ervine 2011). Interview subjects in Chiapas also discussed the lack of accessible information about REDD+ and saw concerning implications for communities (Castro Soto 2013, Andrade 2013). The lack of information about the programs made it more likely that communities would agree to deals that took advantage of them and would result in decreased access to their lands. There are several documented cases of “carbon cowboys” offering bogus carbon deals to indigenous communities in other parts of Latin America (Bartlett 2012). Carbon markets and REDD+ are highly complex and organizations in Chiapas point out the necessity to make information clear and accessible to rural communities. This involves providing information in indigenous languages and holding informational events outside of the urban areas of the state (Andrade 2013).

138 To summarize the issues of safeguards, MRV and ensuring VERs, there is a legitimate risk that state officials will steam-roll through the process required to address these questions of land title and MRV and prioritize the sale of credits over the resolution of local issues, due to the state's financial interest in moving forward with REDD+. The existing problems of land disputes and transparency in the state government cited above are evidence that, at present, the state of Chiapas lacks the minimum capacity to mitigate risks and provide verifiable and rights-ready REDD+ offset credits. Previous carbon offsetting projects in Mexico, such as the AMBIO projects in Chiapas, the national PES program PROARBOL, and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) were found to have unequal social development benefits when they were linked to a carbon market (Osborne 2011, Corbera, Brown, and Adger 2007). Osborne wrote that when the AMBIO carbon forestry projects were linked with the carbon market the pro-poor and development aspects were gradually de-prioritized to meet the demands of the carbon market (Osborne 2011). There are also concerns that women are marginalized in market programs, which Corbera, Brown, and Adger (2007) found to be the case in AMBIO projects (Corbera, Brown, and Adger 2007). While some development benefits may result from REDD+ projects, women, small landholders and the poorest populations are unlikely to see these benefits (McAfee and Shapiro 2010, McAfee 2012, Corbera, Brown and Adger 2007). The uncertainty of carbon offset prices, acknowledged in the ROW recommendations and the GCF report of July 2012, will put participating communities at risk to suffer from price drops (EPRI 2012). Interviews in January 2013 also confirmed that the payments were not sufficient; Gustavo Castro Soto of Otros Mundos said in an interview, “The 2,000 pesos that the state government has paid [the Lacandones] don’t mean anything. The people can earn more money selling any other product or migrating to work” (Castro Soto 2013). The inclusion of REDD+ credits to the California market would allow fossil fuel companies such as Shell and Chevron that have sordid histories of environmental destruction and human rights abuses world-wide to continue polluting. Shell and Chevron are responsible for environmental

Pskowski139 disasters in Nigeria and Ecuador respectively and some of the worst environmental offenses in California (Center for Constitutional Rights 2013, Reuters 2011). Shell has already committed to buy 500,000 forest carbon credits domestically, and they likely would purchase REDD+ credits in the future (Point Carbon 2013). Social movements in Chiapas have worked with their counterparts in California to illustrate how REDD+ poses a danger in both places.

Part 2: Roots of Organizing in the Selva and Resistance to Neoliberal Natures and the Green Economy in Chiapas

Figure 5.1 Political Geneology- Selva Lacandona Source: Maderas del Pueblo (2007).

140 The organizations that are today involved in resisting REDD+ in Chiapas, such as Via Campesina, UNORCA, Maderas del Pueblos Suereste and Otros Mundos, have varied histories. The Zapatistas are also a powerful point of reference for many organizers in Chiapas. Detailing the many histories embedded in these groups is beyond the scope of this work. However, the process of building political organizations in the Selva region is important, both for its most famous outcome, the Zapatistas, and the web of groups that pre-dated it and surround it today. Figure 5.1 is a diagram from a Maderas del Pueblo presentation “Political Geneology- Selva Lacandona” that provides a digestible synopsis. Maderas identifies the three original “roots” of political formation in the Diocese of San Cristóbal; its members practicing Liberation Theology, the Mayan worldview and traditions of the indigenous peoples, and the Marxist or Maoist wing of the Mexican left. The diocese of San Cristóbal and the Bishop Don Samuel were integral in gaining representation and even attention for the indigenous peoples of Chiapas. Subcommander Marcos and some other early members of the Zapatistas had come from Northern cities to the Selva in the early 1980s with a Maoist political agenda. However, the cultural practices and traditions of the indigenous peoples of the area mediated both Catholic priests and the proto-Zapatistas. The traditional practices of the local communities deeply influence the organizing style of the proto-Zapatistas. The Mexican government has tried to smear the Zapatistas as “outside agitators” from Northern cities, but in fact, Marcos and his comrades found that complex and politically attuned organizations already existed in the Selva. The diagram also shows how the various currents in political organizing have split into numerous branches. ARIC (Rural Association of Collective Interests)32 is a major peasants union that now has two main branches; one that works with the government and one that does not. While I will not delve further into the details of these political origins, it is important to note that indigenous peoples have driven political organization in the Selva region and they have often reconfigured other political interests that enter the area.

Asociación Rural de Interés Colectivo

Pskowski141 Just as REDD+ resistance in the UNFCCC built on previous critiques of market-based mechanisms, social movements in Mexico have pushed back against market-based environmental policies and activities of conservation organizations. While a loose grouping of struggles is often associated with REDD+-- PROCEDE, biopiracy, other PES systems, the brecha Lacandona-- there is no clear or simple categorization. Jesus Andrade, an organizer with the peasant union UNORCA described the gradual beginning of their efforts against REDD+, “The issue is that REDD is a program that mitigates global warming but there are other things, there are genetically modified seeds and crops, bio-fuels, and for us it is more important, from the logic and the concepts of the Via Campesina, to approach this with a global perspective” (Andrade 2013). I use the categorization of green grabbing to indicate the over-arching similarities between a number of rural programs, including REDD+, biofuels and ecotourism and the combined threat they pose to peasant and indigenous communities. However, this is my own intervention and does not fully reflect the variety of referents that social movements in Chiapas use. Much of the critical analysis of various rural programs is simply passed through groups that carry the lessons from one issue to another. For example, Maderas del Pueblo has amassed a large trove of resources after several decades of work, on issues ranging from land titling to mines to free trade agreements to community health. These issues do not fit neatly into the common designations of environmental groups in the US-- conservationist, radical, environmental justice, etc. Peter Rosset of Via Campesina described this to me as, “threats to rural life” (Rosset 2013). As an observer from the US I am challenged to think outside the common categorizations of organizations and issues I am familiar with to understand the political landscape in Chiapas. Larry Lohmann writes in a 1995 essay titled “Visitors to the Commons: Approaching Thailand's 'Environmental' Struggles from the Western Starting Point” that the dichotomies Western environmentalists frequently apply to Thai movements “may find themselves quietly dismissed by many of their Thai counterparts as contemptuous, ignorant or politically naïve” (115). This is certainly

142 true in Chiapas where for example, a US-based understanding of “radical” versus “pragmatic” action must be turned on its head. Lohmann writes that to a rural person, resisting or rejecting a state plan, or going so far as to blockade a road, is a highly pragmatic move to continue their way of life. Often, it is the state projects that “appear, as they often in fact are, dangerously idealistic, radical, and utopian... ...no substitute for the solid guarantee of secure land and water” (Lohmann 1995, 123).

Figure 5.2 Exhibit at the Mayan Medicine Museum in San Cristobal Linking REDD+ and Biopiracy. Photo: Martha Pskowski. The figure is an indigenous person with the features of a Lacandon and dressed in a medical outfit, saying, “The earth is for those who pay.” While resistance to REDD+ in Chiapas does not come from one clear political stream it does have many precedents. As discussed previously, peasant organizations in official consultation groups shaped the Mexican program of payments for forests and hydrological systems that became PROARBOL, away from a market orientation to focus on poverty-reduction. A total of 39 percent of ejidos and agrarian communities in Chiapas have rejected PROCEDE land titling for numerous

Pskowski143 reasons. Corbera, Kosoy and Brown attribute this to “economic and political instability characterizing the state’s history since colonial times” (Corbera, Kosoy and Brown 2008, 2075). There are also examples of local resistance to PES-type programs that have affected peasant agriculture. Research on carbon forestry in Chiapas does mention low rates of adoption of programs. Corbera in another article mentions, “There are documented cases of communities and farmers who have stood against PES and other forms of conservation support since the rise of the revolutionary Zapatista army” (Corbera 39). But he qualifies the statement saying, “Examples of rural communities resisting the pricing and exchange of ecosystem services are rare, potentially due to the fact that only those PES schemes that are somehow supported and become implemented are thoroughly researched” (Corbera 39). When the International Cooperative Biodiversity Group (ICBG-Maya) began their bioprospecting, or biopiracy, project in Chiapas in 1998 in the Altos region, COMPITCH organized against it. COMPITCH is the Council of Organisations of Traditional Indigenous Doctors and Midwives of Chiapas.33 COMPITCH and other indigenous organizations protested the lack of transparency and consultation in the program, in addition to the privatization of indigenous cultural knowledge and practices (COMPITCH 2000). COMPITCH relates the REDD+ projects to biopiracy, evidenced in their exhibit at the Mayan Medicine Museum in San Cristóbal. Figure 5.2 is a photograph of the exhibit COMPITCH curated about REDD+ and biopiracy. One exception to the deficit in information is Kathleen McAfee and Elizabeth Shapiro's detailed account of the consultation and policy-making process for the Mexican national PES system. Peasant organizations were engaged as stakeholders in developing the policy and promoted a “understanding of the nature-society relationship quite at odds with that implied by neoliberal environmentalism” (McAfee and Shapiro 2010). Many of these organizations formed a coalition in 2002 with the goal of

Parteras del Consejo de Organizaciones de Médicos y Parteras Indígenas tradicionales de Chiapas

144 reversing the damages caused by trade liberalization and the decreased federal support for smallholder production of the neoliberal era. It was called ¡Movimiento El Campo no Aguanta Mas! (The Countryside Won't put up with Anymore! -- MECNAM) and their goal was revalorando el campo-“The revaluing and restructuring of the national agricultural system” (McAfee and Shapiro 2010). The coalition's core was twelve independent rural organizations that represented different economic sectors and regions. They called on Mexico to “acknowledge the fundamental cultural role of agriculture and to break with the ideology that ‘development’ means to empty the countryside of farmers” (UNORCA 2007 quoted in McAfee and Shapiro 2010). MECNAM was successful in getting President Fox to sign the Acuerdos con el Campo (Agreements with the Countryside) and also had a major impact on the development of the PES program to be more pro-poor (McAfee and Shapiro 2010). Another recent addition to the programs that peasant and indigenous organizations oppose is the introduction of genetically modified corn to the Mexican market. Monsanto GMO-corn has been approved but peasants organizations, including UNORCA, CLOC and other Via Campesina members, are mounting a campaign against its propagation. This began at the end of January 2013 with a plantón or sit-in, and a hunger strike in Mexico City. This is the latest in a long series of struggles against the introduction of GMO and other Monsanto crops in Chiapas and Mexico. The concerns against REDD+ are not new and in fact build on a growing list of threats to the livelihoods of peasants and indigenous peoples in Chiapas. The groups that are resisting REDD+ also have long histories in the region. Resisting REDD+ and other forms of PES however poses particular challenges and peculiarities.

Part 3: Resisting REDD+ in Chiapas
2010: Sabines Signs On and Social Movements See REDD California, Chiapas and Acre signed the Memorandum of Understanding on REDD+ on November 1, 2010. In December the agreement was signed that began payments to the Lacandon Community. This came after a string of denunciations of REDD+ from Mexican and Latin American

Pskowski145 movements. In August, the Latin American and Caribbean coordinating body of Friends of the Earth released a statement against REDD+. Via Campesina put out a statement in September in advance of the Cancún summit, rejecting REDD+ among other false solutions, saying “Protecting forests is an obligation of all governments that should be implemented without limiting the autonomy, the rights or the control of indigenous and peasant peoples over the land and their territories” (Via Campesina 2010). From October 8-16 in Ecuador the Fifth Congress of the Latin American coordinating body for Via Campesina (CLOC-VC) generated a statement of “absolute rejection of REDD+” (CLOC-VC 2010). On November 20 Otros Mundos in Chiapas released a statement in opposition to REDD+. While Chiapas Governor Juan Sabines was strategically using the energy of the upcoming climate talks in Cancún to promote REDD+, social movements were gearing up to reject the mechanism and other “false solutions” at the summit. Jesús Andrade, of the peasant organization UNORCA, a member group of Via Campesina in Mexico, mentioned the undemocratic nature of this announcement and the adoption of the law without public input (Andrade 2013). Andrade narrated in an interview how action emerged from Cancún,
Chiapas was beginning to present itself as a vanguard of false solutions. This not only has to do with REDD+ but with bio-fuels, genetically modified seeds. Sabines was speaking with Monsanto, so that worried us. We came back to Chiapas after all the work in Cancún with Via Campesina and we started talking with our companeros from other organizations because we had heard about the California deal... … we spoke with our companeros from the Selva and we began to spread information about what was really happening. Andrade (2013).

Valadez echoed the sentiments of opposition, “There was a very clear resistance after Cancún... … Via Campesina had a global consensus with regards to REDD+” (Valadez 2013). While Via Campesina had made numerous statements rejecting REDD+, Cancún was a turning point in consciousness for member organizations in Mexico and Chiapas in particular. This speaks to an inherent tension within transnational networks. While the member organizations contribute to building an international analysis, there is a danger of the international body moving ahead of the


Andrade used the term “cabeza de playa” or breach head, which refers to the first wave of troops that arrives on a beach during an invasion and holds ground until more arrive.

146 consciousness of local or national groups. Peter Rosset discussed this dynamic within Via Campesina, which he said led to “contradictory situations where the discourse and the struggle developed at the international level were sometimes way ahead of the discourse and level of maturity at the national level” (Rosset 2013). Via Campesina has addressed this through training for national and local leaders, but Rosset acknowledges that this walks a fine line with interfering in local politics. Via Campesina exists as a platform and coordinating body to meet the needs of the member organizations, and mobilizations such as the COPs are important for sharing information and building common analysis. The case of REDD+ after the Cancún summit shows how efforts at international analysis among networks do not immediately reach all member organizations. However, certain political moments can increase consciousness. 2011: Ominous Developments Concerns of displacement due to REDD+ in the Lacandon were heightened in March 2011 when the Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP) released an action alert about the Amador Hernandez community within the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve. GJEP is a US-based climate justice group that has allied itself with global South social movements and is the US representative of the Global Forests Coalition. Communications Director Jeff Conant and Orin Langelle reported from Chiapas in 2011 on the developing REDD+ story and projected it to international networks. Amador Hernandez is one community that has resisted being relocated out of the Reserve. The government had withdrawn medical services to the community in early 2011, leading to several deaths, and the community linked it to their rejection of REDD+ and other programs. GJEP quoted Santiago Martinez, a health promoter in Amador Hernandez, “The fact that they cut off our medical services after we refused to enter into any of their plans makes us believe that it has to do with our lands. They’re attacking our health as a way of getting access to our land” (Global Justice Ecology Project 2011a). Greenpeace and Otros Mundos reports on the projects revealed that because California has not yet approved REDD+ credits for their carbon market, the Chiapas government footed the bill for

Pskowski147 payments to members of the Lacandon Community for the REDD+ project. The state originally funded this from an automobile tax and when that ran out authorized using funds from the state's Environmental Fund in January 2012 (Greenpeace International 2012). Considering the state has paid for REDD+ up to this point, groups such as Otros Mundos point out the promised financial benefits so far are hot air (Castro Soto 2012). GJEP reported on a gathering soon after the Amador Hernandez alert of more than 300 delegates from regional campesino and indigenous organizations in the village of Patihuitz in Ocosingo on April 2-3, 2011. Titled Indigenous and Campesino Perspectives on the Climate Crisis and False Solutions, the gathering produced the Patihuitz Declaration: “Divided we become allies of the Government.” The Declaration presents a systemic analysis of the situation of indigenous peoples and campesinos in Chiapas, one of “permanent crisis.” The Declaration rejects REDD+, asserts the right to and necessity of food sovereignty and peasant agriculture, and calls for the immediate end of land grabs in the Lacandon. Organizations signing the Declaration included UNORCA, several branches of ARIC and the Ocosingo Regional Organization of Coffee Producers (ORCAO) (GJEP 2011b). In Brazil opposition was also mounting as the GCF heated up. In October 2011, fourteen environmental, human rights, and peasants organizations hosted a forum in Acre, Brazil on environmental services. They released a letter in opposition to the REDD+ deal between Acre, Chiapas and California:
Because we are fully aware of the risks posed by projects like these, we oppose the REDD+ agreement between California, Chiapas and Acre, which has already caused serious problems for indigenous and traditional communities such as those in the Amador Hernández region of Chiapas, Mexico. This is why we share our solidarity with the poor communities of California and Chiapas, who have already suffered from its consequences. Climate Justice Now! (2011).

In August communities in the Amador Hernandez region held the Regional Forum against the Brecha Lacandona and the Capitalist Looting of the Selva Lacandona. The declaration which COMPITCH shared with GJEP to reach a larger audience laid out arguments against the brecha Lacandona, REDD+ in the Lacandon, PES, FANAR (Fund for Agricultural Entities without Regularization), the control exercised by the government in the Lacandon Community Zone, eco-

148 tourism projects in the Laguna Miramar area and land grabs by the World Bank, conservation organizations and the Chiapas government (Global Justice Ecology Project 2011c). Parallel to these educational and consciousness-building efforts among rural organizations, national media sources began to pick up the REDD+ story coming out of Chiapas. Silvia Ribero of the ETC Group, who also writes for the progressive daily newspaper La Jornada in Mexico City, authored several articles highly critical of REDD+ in Chiapas. Her April 23, 2011 piece connected REDD+ to the brecha Lacandona and speculated that the monitoring systems would not just track land use changes, but the Zapatistas. She included in her critique “ECOSUR graduates, the national REDD+ committee and an alphabet soup of government agencies (CONAFOR, CONABIO, SEMARNAT), and carbon traders” for their roles in REDD+ (Ribiero 2011). The debate at ECOSUR turned out to be much more complex than Ribiero presented. ECOSUR is a research institute and while individual researchers have been involved in forest carbon projects and REDD+, the institution does not take a stance. Bruce Ferguson, an agroecology researcher at ECOSUR, organized several symposiums in the winter of 2011-2012 to discuss different views of REDD+ within the institution. Ferguson and several colleagues collaborated on an article in the ECOSUR magazine “Ecofronteras” to present different viewpoints (Eco-borders). Ferguson said in an interview, “What I was trying to get out was that REDD+ is not monolithic and there are lots of ways of thinking about it” (Ferguson 2013). There is agreement among ECOSUR researchers that the Lacandon payments are technically not REDD+ because they do not meet the UN standards. This part of the Ecofronteras article was then misconstrued in the media as ECOSUR rejecting REDD+ (Ferguson 2013). Researchers such as Ben de Jong of the Campeche campus of ECOSUR are committed to developing REDD+ nationally, but the debates of 2011-12 show that there is no consensus at ECOSUR on REDD+. Socio-environmental organizations in Chiapas were learning more about REDD+ and developing materials on it during this time. In November 2011, Otros Mundos premiered a

Pskowski149 documentary they had produced with several other groups including GJEP, La Codicia por los Arboles (Greed for Trees) (Otros Mundos 2011). Otros Mundos is the representative for Mexico to Friends of the Earth. ATALC (Friends of the Earth Latin America and Caribbean) works as a federation and one of the common programs is focused on forests and carbon markets. Under this program, ATALC members campaign against monoculture tree plantations, African palm and eucalyptus plantations, and REDD+. Otros Mundos also campaigns against the mining industry and dams in Chiapas and has agroecology and community sustainability trainings (Castro-Soto 2013). ` Ongoing education and consciousness-building efforts among NGOs and campesino organizations created the foundation for these actions. Otros Mundos links their educational efforts on REDD+ with information about biofuels. They have a program of creating “biofuel free zones” with communities and are expanding this to REDD+ (Ramos-Guillén 2013). Claudia Ramos-Guillén of Otros Mundos calls this “preventative work” that they will continue even in communities that don't currently face these projects. The materials that local groups and international groups like Carbon Trade Watch have created to educate about REDD+ may be helpful in these efforts. Both RamosGuillén and Andrade stressed the complexity of educating people about REDD+, particularly as it is a new theme to their organizations as well. Andrade reflected, “All these themes are very interdisciplinary, including, chemistry, biology, then you say, 'Wow! This is complicated'” (Andrade 2013). 2012: “La Madre Tierra no se vende se ama y se defiende” (Mother Earth isn’t for sale, love and defend her) REDD+ in Chiapas continued to receive critical attention in early 2012, though very little information was available about the actual programs. On April 1, GJEP released a short film titled “A Darker Shade of Green” that documenting REDD+ in Chiapas and other Green Economy projects. In May, La Jornada wrote again about REDD+, this time documenting initial impacts of the Lacandon

150 payments (Ribiero 2012). 2012 was an election year in Mexico and Manuel Velasco was elected governor in July. In his campaign, Velasco positioned himself as a “green” candidate and voiced support for REDD+ (Periodico La Luz 2012). On August 9-11, the Movement of Alternatives against Environmental Impacts and Climate Change (MOVIAC is its acronym in Spanish) held a forum in Acteal, Chiapas, attended by more than 300 representatives from 50 campesino and indigenous organizations, NGOs and communities. Acteal is a place of significance for human rights advocates in the state. On December 22, 1997, a paramilitary group attacked the Abejas (Bees) of Acteal, a civil society group who sympathize with the Zapatistas. 45 indigenous Tzotzils, including 21 women and 15 children were killed (Lacey 2007). The MOVIAC declaration states the environmental and climate crises are crises of the model of extractive capitalism, and the CDM, sustainable rural cities and REDD+ are false solutions (MOVIAC 2012). Meanwhile REDD+ practitioners were gearing up to descend on Chiapas. The Governor's Climate and Forest Task Force had chosen to hold their annual meeting in San Cristóbal de las Casas on September 25-27. Otros Mundos, Maderas del Pueblo and other local groups circulated word of this development. As Peter Rosset described it, “Via Campesina felt like it was an obligation to do something... ...We couldn't let it go by without saying something, without saying not everyone is in agreement about [REDD+]” (Rosset 2013). The opposition responded in turn. In September Via Campesina came out against REDD+ in the Lacandon. Greenpeace International released a report in late September called “Outsourcing Hot Air” that was highly critical of the subnational REDD+ projects in Chiapas. Greenpeace had previously written about the Noel Kempf forest carbon project in Bolivia and chose to research REDD+ in Chiapas because of the increasing prominence of the GCF in the REDD+ landscape (Czebiniak 2013). Several forums in opposition to the GCF conference were announced.


Figure 5.3 March against REDD+ during counter forums September 2012. Source: reddeldia.blogpost.com

Figure 5.4 No-REDD poster used in September 2012 protests. Source: justseeds.org, Art by Santiago Armengod Poster reads: “No REDD, the forests are not merchandise!”

152 Looking back on the events of September, a friend who attended the counter-forums said, only half-jokingly, “As usual, the left is divided.” The “REDDeldia” (REDDellion) forum took place at the Coffee Museum Cafe, organized by Otros Mundos with partner communities and organizations. REDDeldia built up an extensive web presence and live-streamed the panels and presentations. In my interviews I learned that this was only one of three oppositional events. Via Campesina had their own event at the Amber Museum and lastly Maderas del Pueblo and Greenpeace joined up to host a third. Claudia Ramos-Guillén was an organizer of the REDDeldia event. She described their process as such:
We began to contact sister organizations that we had been working with, and also directly in the regions of Amador Hernandez and Marquez de Comillas... … We talked about the necessity to say no, to position ourselves somehow, and this was an event where we could do that... ...There was a call made to the communities and they agreed to participate. We said, what do we do? Spread information, watch a film? … The decision was made that each community would propose topics and invite people... … Then there was a call for academic information, mostly to journalists who have worked on the topic, and we also opened the space to the general public, we attracted many people who were just around drinking coffee, also people from NGOs. The participation was very well rounded. Ramos-Guillén (2013).

The general goals of these events were to educate communities vulnerable to REDD+ and the general public about the program, subverting the glorification they saw to be happening in the GCF forum. Valadez spoke of the “social democracy of California” and the need to question a proposal that is framed as very “democratic and progressive” in California without any knowledge of the local context in Chiapas (Valadez 2013). The REDDeldia event did not stop at education and staged an intervention to the GCF and a public march through San Cristóbal. These events hosted speakers from around the world, invited through the international networks in which the organizers are members participate. The REDDeldia forum released the statement “Chiapas en REDDeldia” (Chiapas in REDDellion), signed by over 70 groups from Mexico, Latin America and North America.


Figure 5.5 Speakers at the REDDeldia Forum in September 2012. Source: reddeldia.blogspot.com The GCF conference drew participants from member states in Mexico, Brazil and Indonesia. A glaring absence was California; budget cuts had prevented the delegation from attending. Later in fall 2012, a delegation of indigenous peoples from Chiapas and Acre traveled to California to speak in public hearings about the inclusion of REDD+ credits to California's carbon market. Friends of the Earth, which has membership in both Chiapas and California, organized this delegation. The representatives gave remarks and presented a critical REDD+ view that is rarely heard in the US.

Conclusion: Ambiguities, Challenges and Questions for REDD+ Resistance
The new Velasco administration was hard-pressed to follow up on their “green” campaign rhetoric, as they entered office in a budget crisis. Salaries and various government programs were frozen. Off the record, I was told in January that REDD+ payments were not being made to the Lacandones. Despite this state of ambiguity, California was still advancing its REDD+ accreditation process and Velasco affirmed the intention of the Chiapas state government to pursue REDD+. UNORCA and other peasants groups are continuing to hold educational events. When I spoke to Jesus Andrade in January 2013, he said they had four planned for February in the Selva. They had planned

154 to do six in January, but the national campesino hunger strike against GMO maize started on January 23, and the workshops were pushed back (Andrade 2013). These events strike a balance between educating and prescribing a political agenda. Groups such as Otros Mundos that are not primarily composed of campesinos are aware that they must follow the lead of the communities and not push their own agenda. Ramos-Guillén of Otros Mundos seemed to expect REDD+ resistance would continue but said, “We have to wait, in the end we cannot force it, it goes its own way and we have to respect the dynamics of each community” (Ramos-Guillén 2013). While organizations do not want to dictate a position, providing information can prepare community members for when the time comes to make a decision. Another challenge is the fragmentation of social movements and organizations in Chiapas. Military and police repression of political organizing has created divisions between different groups, and rural communities especially face repercussions for public dissent. Peasant organizations also become embroiled in the land disputes that are common in Chiapas. Some groups have ongoing conflicts over land, which prohibits their collaboration politically. Not only do rural communities face repression from the military and paramilitaries but so do organizations based in San Cristóbal such as Maderas del Pueblos. A 2006 Zapatista communiqué denounced the death threats from paramilitaries against “members of NGOs in Chiapas that are dedicated to protecting human rights and the environment. Some of these are the ecological NGO 'Maderas del Pueblo del Sureste' and the Centers for Human Rights 'Fray Bartolome de las Casas' and 'Fray Lorenzo de la Nada' whose members have been threatened openly by the [paramilitary] OPDDIC and the authorities have done nothing” (CCRIGC EZLN 2006). Maderas del Pueblo is one organization that has paid a price for taking strong positions on socio-environmental issues. Maderas del Pueblo originally focused their work in the Chimalapas region of Oaxaca and worked with large, established institutions and foundations such as the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund. However, around the year 2000 Maderas del

Pskowski155 Pueblo found that their former partners and funders were withdrawing support because of the more critical and oppositional stances they were taking—their “financial hanging” as they call it. Physical threats and a media smear campaign also impacted their work. At this time they decided to relocate their office to San Cristóbal and re-focused on the Lacandon region. This has required finding alternative sources of funding (Maderas del Pueblo 2013). Several people I interviewed described their lack of capacity to work on REDD+ due to time, funding and the logistics of working in a rural, mountainous place. Andrade said, “We do face challenges, it is difficult to go to the Selva every week, it is hard sometimes to say 'I will write an article' or make a flyer and print it 10,000 times so that everybody can have a copy, because you don’t have time or because we don’t have the money” (Andrade 2013). Connecting the educational efforts in Chiapas with international resources could potentially relieve some of these demands on organizers’ time. While international networks have been able to share information with local groups to some extent there is no centralized way to share this information amongst the groups in Chiapas. Even in my short time doing interviews, I was asked to share what I learned back to other groups. Clearly, people are interested in the issue but are struggling to stay abreast of the technical issues and the political developments. The difficulty of balancing a critique of REDD+ with other pressing struggles in Chiapas was a common theme in the interviews. Andrade laid it out simply, “The question of how to organize a resistance has to do with, one, information, two, for us to be clear that it's a package, it's not just REDD+” (Andrade 2013). Rosset questioned whether REDD+ had become a distraction from more dire issues (Rosset 2013). While social movements are increasingly using a critical frame of the Green Economy or green grabbing, this analysis is still gestating. If research and organizing around these frames evolve, it will become easier for local groups to make the connections between disparate programs. With a common analysis, organizing against biofuel development, for example, could be linked to REDD+ (i.e. African palm plantations potentially earning REDD+ credits). Some groups,

156 especially those with international connections, are linking these issues already, but it will take intentional effort on the part of activists and activist-scholars to make these murky programs clear at a local level. Reconciling the conflict many environmentalists see between the political projects of social movements in Chiapas with the sustainable management of the rainforest will be necessary to achieve either end. Karen O'Brien's 1998 book Sacrificing the Forest argues that conservation goals cannot be accomplished in the Lacandon rainforest as long as the political grievances of its inhabitants are treated as an impediment to conservation. The Zapatistas are a referent to many of the groups resisting REDD+ yet at the same time the Zapatistas have been criticized for not doing “enough” for the environment, or worse, increasing environmental problems. In my experience, however, observers in the global North are much more likely to level this charge than people in Chiapas with direct experience with the Zapatistas. If we view environmental issues narrowly, as only those with a bright green messaging, then we will miss the underlying social processes that must be addressed to solve environmental problems. While the Zapatistas do not frame themselves as an environmental movement, they have in fact adopted practices of agroecology and shared resource management (Valadez 2013). Ecological concerns are becoming increasingly clear as part and parcel of their general project of building political and economic autonomy; making a dignified life in the Lacandon rainforest necessitates sustainable ecological practices. As I argue in Chapter 3, the state denies the environmental ethics of social movements in Chiapas such as the Zapatistas and calls for further land reform largely fall on deaf ears in the state now. Land reform serves a political purpose of meeting the needs and demands of a peasant population and gaining support for the government. At the same time the government must maintain a certain level of control over that population and cannot acquiesce to all demands. These are some of the “limits to reformism” (de Janvry 1981). The apparent, though not inevitable, dichotomy between land reform and conservation in Chiapas compels the government to secure its position as the hegemonic

Pskowski157 arbiter of environmental stewardship. This serves to hold ground against the Zapatistas, a movement that challenges state power and is openly trying to prove they can better provide for the peasants of Chiapas. If the environmental strategies of social movements were publicly accepted, the government's tenuous control would weaken. Critics of REDD+ cannot expect the Chiapas government to “see the light” and adopt a redistributive policy that integrates land reform, agroecology and forest conservation. Not because a balance of interests between conservation, food sovereignty and land reform is untenable, in my opinion and according to the work of ecologists like Vandermeer, Perfect and Wright (2012), but because the political threat is too great. While safeguards and reforms to REDD+ may make some improvements and capture greater benefits for local communities, the critiques of social movements will not be resolved through reforming REDD+. The groups I interviewed in Chiapas are not looking for an alternative government policy to stem deforestation or slow climate change and instead consider social movements as a proper vehicle to promote more structural societal changes. The Conclusion to this piece discusses the practices that could do better than REDD+ in addressing deforestation and forest degradation. However, in Chiapas, the greatest hope for alternatives to conserve the rainforest and sustain rural livelihoods comes from social movements. While it will be an uphill battle to fight REDD+ in Chiapas it is not likely to fade from relevance to campesino struggles in Chiapas. Andrade said, “If we can hold another ten events like we did with Via Campesina, we must do that. If I go to hold 30 forums in the jungle, we must do that” (Andrade 2013).


Conclusions: Where to out of “Neoliberalism’s Dead End”?
(Lang 2012(c)). The problems of global climate change and deforestation have only heightened since the introduction of the REDD+ mechanism in 2003. In December 2012 at COP18 in Doha, the virtual lack of progress on REDD+ indicated a “crossroads” to some, but more frank critics, such as REDDMonitor’s Chris Lang, declared REDD+ had reached “Neoliberalism’s dead end.” The last-ditch efforts of the GCF and other pro-REDD+ actors to salvage the mechanism underscore the deep reliance on a carbon market-based mitigation of climate change. However, these mechanisms, such as REDD+ and the EU Emissions Trading System, may be facing a moment of reckoning. Strategic pressure from social movements, activists and critical scholars could push a tipping point away from market-based “solutions” to climate change toward a more just, effective path. REDD+ is in jurisdictional and financial limbo today. Even subnational or jurisdictional REDD projects that were created to avert the slow process of the COP process do not have financial sustainability. The GCF report on existing projects is candidly modest about the prospects for subnational projects. The REDD+ deal between Chiapas, California and Acre is a rare bright spot, as the only subnational carbon market that is developing REDD+ credits. The GCF report states,
An important threat to the ongoing development of REDD+ programs within the GCF is that none of them have yet succeeded in attracting sufficient funding. During the years leading up to COP15 in Copenhagen (2009), expectations were created that large flows of funding would be provided to governments that engaged in REDD+; but these expectations largely have gone unmet. Most of the public, “fast-track” REDD+ finance has been slow to move and, in any event, is being dispensed to national governments or through competitive grant-making processes… …As a result, several subnational governments are now questioning the political viability of continuing to invest in their REDD+ programs. EPRI (2012), 4-3.

Even the California market will only allow 3.5-4 percent of offsets to come from international sources. The vast majority of offsets will have to be domestic, so the market for US forest carbon offsets is poised to take off. In March 2013 Shell (a major polluter in California) committed to buying 500,000 carbon credits from forest carbon projects in Michigan as soon as they are approved for the California market. The emerging market for verified domestic carbon offsets is an important new area for research

Pskowski159 and activism. While the REDD+ name has spoiled international forest carbon offsets to some extent, domestic offsets are likely to surge. International resistance to REDD+ at the climate negotiations is not likely to be a major avenue for organizing in the near future. Continuing to devote already limited capacity to international climate summits may be a moot point if REDD+ negotiations continue to stall. REDD-type activities are bound to continue at the national, jurisdictional and state level but it is possible the international arena will remain stagnant. Of course there still is a need for advocates for a socially just climate regime; however, climate justice groups have increasingly lost hope in the COP process to yield this outcome. The intractability of REDD+ and the COPs demands innovative alternative responses to climate change and deforestation. The question of alternative must be split in two halves to reflect REDD+’s dual nature—that of carbon offsetting for the global North and reduction in deforestation in the global South. I argue that the use of REDD+ to reduce global carbon emissions through carbon trading is an evasion of responsibility by global North countries and scapegoats those least responsible for climate change. I therefore dismiss an “alternative” mechanism to place responsibility for climate change on rural peoples in the global South. I found this analysis is shared by REDD+ critics in Chiapas. Gustavo Castro-Soto listed off myriad ways that carbon emissions could be lowered in developed countries, driving home the point that REDD+ is an avoidance of the problem, not any sort of solution that critics have to come up with a replacement for. Carbon trading and offsetting are false solutions to climate change. New policy should promote a cap and dividend system or a carbon tax, which are more equitable methods of carbon capping. In any case, offsets should not be included. Jurisdictions like California that aspire to be environmental and climate leaders should adopt policies that address the root drivers of climate change – the extraction and burning of fossil fuels – ensure that those most impacted by climate and environmental pollution stand to benefit, and guarantee

160 that people and jurisdictions with the least historical responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions do not bear the responsibility for mitigation. Organizations opposed to the inclusion of REDD+ credits in California’s carbon market are also considering the alternative strategies the state could pursue. The Friends of the Earth comment on REDD+ to the state of California recommended, “California policymakers should consider examining the state’s own procurement policies and promoting economic alternatives to products derived from rainforest destruction, including petroleum, timber, beef, soy, sugar, paper, palm oil, and other agricultural commodities” (Personal communication 2013). While offsetting is an irredeemable strategy to address climate change, the other side of the REDD+ coin—reducing deforestation in developing countries deserves further consideration. Fortunately, there are numerous models for successful management of forests. These strategies are fundamentally different from REDD+ in that they do not consider a lack of finance for conservation as the primary driver of deforestation and reject the use of markets. Instead these strategies recognize the complex local conditions that cause deforestation, including demand for wood and the lack of respect for customary rights to indigenous peoples. The Global Forest Coalition’s (GFC) March 2013 report on non-market-based strategies to reduce deforestation is based on 22 national multi-stakeholder workshops on the underlying causes of forest loss. They found that global and national demand for wood and land play a more important role in deforestation than lack of finance. The report recommends that effective community empowerment and governance over forests was an essential step to improve conservation. Extensive research has found that forest areas managed and governed by local communities showed lower deforestation rates than state protected areas. The report cites research specific to Latin America that found, “indigenous areas were almost twice as effective as strictly protected areas and multiple use areas in reducing tropical fires; and that Indigenous Peoples’ governance regimes not only protect forests but contribute towards biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation goals” (Lovera 2013, 10).

Pskowski161 The report proposes supporting the resilience of territories and areas conserved by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (ICCAs). ICCAs currently cover an estimated 22% of the Earth’s land surface, and are distinguished from community-based forest management, which includes initiatives that “have been designed by outside actors like State forestry agents or NGOs that involve community members in implementation only, without giving them full control over the forests” (Lovera 2013, 9). ICCAs are defined by:
• A community or people that is closely connected to a well-defined ecosystem culturally and/or because of survival and dependence for livelihood. • The management decisions and efforts of the Indigenous People/local community lead the conservation of the ecosystem… … even when the conscious objective of such management may not be conservation per se. It might be, for instance, related to material livelihood concerns, water security, or the safeguarding of cultural and spiritual places, etc. • The community or people is the major player in decision-making (governance) and implementation regarding the management of the site… Lovera (2013) 9.

Expanding existing ICCAs and creating new ones will further multiple goals yet ultimately leave decision-making in the hands of those most invested in the sustainability of the ecosystem--- the local community. As the dizzying array of Green Economy projects descend on rural communities, communities are not sufficiently informed nor politically empowered to make decisions that will benefit them in the long-term. While some projects may have local benefits, communities are also at risk for green grabs and manipulation. ICCAs are a strategy to prioritize the needs of local communities, which will generally align with the interests of sustainability and conservation. Using this tool to empower communities, instead of instrumentally to advance conservation goals, will derive benefits for people and the environment. Bolivia has proposed an alternative mechanism called “Joint Mitigation and Adaptation Mechanism for the Comprehensive and Sustainable Management of the Forest and Mother Earth” (Ministry of Foreign Affairs et al 2012). The proposal’s objectives and scope are as follows:
To advance effectively in mitigation and adaptation to climate change through integrated management and the sustainable use of forest and the systems of life of Mother Earth, promoting the conservation and restoration of the life systems, the management, conservation and protection of biodiversity, facilitating the transition to more optimal uses of land through the development of more sustainable productive systems in order to reduce deforestation and forestry degradation

Ministry of Foreign Affairs et al (2012) 12.

While not a completely formulated proposal, the Joint Mitigation and Adaptation Mechanism recommends a holistic view to forests, a recognition of their climate mitigation and adaptation capacities and a fund-based approach to financing. In a recent piece Esteve Corbera, who has written prolifically about carbon forestry and REDD+, proposes an alternative international approach if REDD+ technical and policy issues are not overcome. This demonstrates the viability of an international climate policy removed from markets:
A global ecological debt fund... ...could serve as the main financial instrument to pay back the debt of poorer countries after years of sustained ecologically unequal exchange (i.e. poor countries bearing the burden of environment al degradation associated with mineral extraction and agricultural exports) and to address the historically uneven contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions. The fund could be generated from the increasing taxation on the consumption of fossil fuels and of imported minerals and goods contributing to land-use change in tropical and subtropical countries or from the taxation of international financial operations. Recipient countries could, in turn, be requested to use all or part of these additional resources to responsibly foster their own environment and development agendas, without carbon accounting and trading conditionalities. Corbera (2012), 616-617.

While there is limited political will for these alternative strategies in the current international political climate, they demonstrate that non-market conservation and deforestation reduction policies could be successful. These proposals can serve as powerful models today and counter the argument that REDD+ is the only way to address the problem of deforestation. Regardless of the prospects for international, national or subnational REDD+ regimes, transnational organizing will be necessary to call for accountability and push for justice-based policies. The international linkages of REDD+ make it a highly complex and technical program, yet they also create opportunities for new connections between groups working for environmental and social justice. In Chiapas and elsewhere, the social movements that have been most critical of REDD+ will have to clearly articulate a vision for how to pursue the inter-connected goals of fighting climate change, recognizing indigenous territories and building food sovereignty. Community values of nonWestern cultures inspire a re-thinking of current policy frameworks and confines. The concept of buen vivir from indigenous communities in Latin America, known in English as living well with nature, proposes an alternative value system in which to view forests and the rest of nature. This value system

Pskowski163 does not just have to be juxtaposed with what it is opposed to—be it REDD+ or other forms of exploitation—but can also provide a vision for new relations between communities and their natural surroundings. The rich history of community-based conservation in Chiapas and around the world provides fertile ground from which to argue that the value of nature derives not from the market but its inherent connection to human life and well-being. Struggling to ensure that communities have the right to determine their relation to nature and sustain their livelihoods will be fundamental to resolving the global ecological and climate crises.


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