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World Bank and UN carbon offset scheme 'complicit' in genocidal land grabs

Published: August 21, 2014
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Source: The Ecologist

The plight of Kenya's Sengwer people shows that carbon offsets generated by 'sustainable' forest management are empowering a corporate recolonisation of the South backed by the World Bank against its own guidelines, writes Nafeez Ahmed. Indigenous forest peoples are at risk of genocide while corporations let rip.

The government is permitting powerful logging companies to accelerate deforestation to buoy the Kenyan economy while systematically persecuting indigenous communities whose environmental impact is negligible.

Between 2000 and 2010, a total of 500 million acres of land in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean was acquired or negotiated under deals brokered on behalf of foreign governments or transnational corporations.

Many such deals are geared toward growing crops or biofuels for export to richer, developed countries - with the consequence that small-holder farmers are displaced from their land and lose their livelihood while local communities go hungry.

The concentration of ownership of the world's farmland in the hands of powerful investors and corporations is rapidly accelerating, driven by resource scarcity and, thus, rising prices. According to a new report by the US land rights organisation Grain:

"The powerful demands of food and energy industries are shifting farmland and water away from direct local food production to the production of commodities for industrial processing."

And now, the carbon market is joining the race

Less known factors, however, include 'conservation' and 'carbon offsetting'.

In west Kenya, as the UK NGO Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) reported, over a thousand homes had been torched by the government's Kenya Forest Service (KFS) to forcibly evict the 15,000 strong Sengwer indigenous people from their ancestral homes in the Embobut forest and the Cherangany Hills.

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