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The African Development Bank and the Tree Plantations Industry



“Plantations are not forests”, members of communities from Zambezia province, in Mozambique.

In June 2019, the report “Towards Large-Scale Commercial Investment in African Forestry,”
(1) made a call to development-funding agencies, mainly from Europe, and the World Bank,
to provide aid money to a new Fund for financing 100,000 hectares of (new) industrial tree
plantations, to support the potential development of 500,000 hectares, in Eastern and
Southern Africa. This money, according to the report, would be crucial for private investors to
generate profits from the plantations. The new Fund would be headquartered in the tax
haven of Mauritius.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) and WWF Kenya produced this report with funding
from the World Bank’s Climate Investment Funds. The purpose of the report is to assist the
AfDB “in evaluating and designing alternative private funding models for commercial forestry
in Africa with a view to ultimately establishing, or aiding the establishment of, a specialized
investment vehicle for commercial forestry plantations.” The report declares that the
development agencies from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, the United
Kingdom and The Netherlands are interested.
Essentially, the report is a praise to industrial monoculture plantations. It repeats, without
providing any evidence, most of the deceiving arguments that plantations companies use in
their propagandas to cover up the impacts of this devastating industry. The report’s focus is
on outlining the possible financial instruments that would attract companies to this region and
make their investments most profitable.
The report identifies “readily available projects with the potential to establish almost 500,000
ha of new forest (sic) on about 1 million ha of landscape, not including areas that existing
companies and developers are already planning to use for own expansion. It also excludes
early stage or speculative projects.” (italics added) In particular, the report identifies “viable
plantation land” in ten countries: Angola, Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mozambique, Malawi,
South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The report further affirms that “Africa may be positioned to have the most profitable
afforestation potential worldwide.” And, then, it goes into explaining the possible investment
schemes that can make profit-oriented business and afforestation objectives (from climate or
voluntary targets) to be aligned and, thus, generate more profits for shareholders.
None of the pages in the report mention, however, not even indirectly, the overwhelming
amount of information that evidences the many negative impacts that industrial plantations
cause to communities and their environments. The report’s authors chose to ignore
plantations companies’ destruction of forests and savannahs; erosion of soils; contamination
and dry-up of water sources; overall violence inflicted on communities which include
restriction of movement, criminalization when resistance emerges, abuse, harassment and
sexual violence in particular to women and girls; destruction of livelihoods and food
sovereignty; destruction of cultural, spiritual and social fabrics within and among
neighbouring communities; few precarious and hazardous jobs; unfulfilled “social” projects or
promises made to communities; destruction of ways of living; rise in HIV/AIDS; and the list
goes on.

In front of this, on September 21, 2020, the International Day of Struggle against
Monoculture Plantations, 121 organisations from 47 countries and 730 members from
different rural communities in Mozambique that are facing industrial tree plantations,
disseminated an open letter to demand the immediate abandonment of any and every
afforestation programme based on large-scale monoculture plantations. (2)
The report, nonetheless, brags about having used a “sector-wide consultation exercise.”
For the authors, the sector includes “industry participants ranging from investors, industrial
players, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) through to forestry fund managers
(…) To further enrich and triangulate inputs to the study, the team also participated in three
forestry industry events and consulted with a broad range of personal contacts in the sector.”
The report also mentions consultations made to Development Finance Institutions and
agencies as well as oil and other industrial companies. It is clear however how communities
living in or around the almost 500,000 hectares of land identified to be transformed into
industrial monocultures, are not considered part of the sector. Nor were considered the many
communities and groups that have been resisting for decades the plantations in the countries
the report use as examples: Tanzania, Mozambique, Ghana and Brazil. (3)
The report further sustains that the NGO Conservation International confirmed “that it sees
potential in associating large global businesses with the forestry sector.” It further mentions
WWF and The Nature Conservancy – namely, the same category of NGOs mainly concerned
on promoting programs and policies that are aligned with corporate interests as an easy way
to keep their funding, projects and investments.
The purely financial focus of this report, with an eye on how to make most profits, should not
come as a surprise though. It was prepared by a company called Acacia Sustainable
Business Advisors (4), which was set up by Martin Poulsen, a development banker active in
rising private Equity Funds particularly in Africa. Equity Funds try to offer big returns by
spreading investments across companies from different sectors. (5) One co-author of the
report was Mads Asprem, the ex-director of Green Resources, a Norwegian industrial tree
plantation and carbon offsets company. Green Resources’ tree plantations in Mozambique,
Tanzania, and Uganda have resulted in land grabs, evictions, loss of livelihoods and
increased hunger for local communities. (6)

The report also shows the possible responses that investors could have to potential
“barriers”. One “structural barrier” identified is called “stakeholder relations,” a very vague
concept that seems to be related to possible conflicts with communities living in or around
the plantation projects. The term “conflicts” however is not mentioned once in the whole
report. The recommended response to this “barrier” is to “Use AfDB or other MDB
[Multilateral Development Bank] “honest broker” profile to convene stakeholders.” So it
seems that the strategy is to use development banks to make communities believe that the
project has the intention of improving (developing) people’s lives. Another “structural barrier”
identified in the report is “land tenure challenges,” to which the recommended response is to
“Follow FSC and other best practices.” This, of course, is recommended despite the vast
amount of information that shows how, in practice, FSC certifies as “sustainable” industrial
tree plantations that destroy peoples’ livelihoods.
When the climate and development agendas blend for profit
It is relevant to underline how the report makes use of the Sustainable Development Goals
(SDG) and the need for climate change mitigation and adaptation in the African region to
promote the further expansion of industrial plantations. It goes as far as to conclude that
“Channelling financial resources to such efforts [afforestation in the framework of the SDGs]
is within the mandate of international development organizations and special climate funds.”
The report also states that “preliminary interviews yielded information that some oil
companies are already forming alliances with sustainable forestry investment companies.”
This despite the fact that oil and gas companies are a fundamental driver of climate change,
which would undermine any possible positive outcome for the climate. Besides, these
‘alliances’ also give these companies an easy way out of any responsibility for their business
operations. This is clearly exemplified with the announcement of oil giant companies, such as
Italian ENI and Anglo-Dutch Shell, to invest in mega tree plantation projects to supposedly
“compensate” their mega levels of pollution they provoke. These two companies are
responsible for environmental disasters and crimes as a result of their fossil fuel activities in
many places across the globe. (7)
The African Development Bank is complicit in this strategy. While the Bank finances this
report encouraging the expansion of industrial plantations in Africa as a climate solution, it
finances in Mozambique a new gas extraction mega-project in the Cabo Delgado province,
undertaken by a consortium of companies including ENI.
This report is one more proof of how investments from profit-seeking corporations are put in
front of the social well being of people in the name of development and now also of
addressing climate change. There is no “unused” or “degraded” land available at the scale
proposed, which means countless people in Africa will be directly and indirectly affected if
this expansion plan materialise.
Another relevant omission of the report is how it bluntly assumes that the current scarcity of
investment in large-scale tree plantations in this African region is due to the few investment
opportunities available. However, the communities and groups on the ground organizing
almost on a daily basis to oppose the seizing of their lands and lives by these plantations
companies, have clear that their resistance has been successful to halt the expansion of
these plantations in many places. And as the open letter launched on September 21st said,

communities around the world “will certainly resist this new and insane expansion plan
proposed in the AfDB and WWF-Kenya.”

(1) AfDB, CIF, WWF, Acacia Sustainable, Towards large-scale investment in African forestry, 2019,
(2) Open Letter about investments in monoculture tree plantations in the Global South, especially in
Africa, and in solidarity with communities resisting the occupation of their territories, 2020,és_upd201008.pdf
(3) See more information on resistance struggles against plantations here:
(4) Acacia Sustainable Business Advisors,
(5) Groww, Equity Mutual Funds,
(6) REDD-Monitor, How WWF and the African Development Bank are promoting lang grabs in Africa,
how-wwf-and-the-african-development-bank-are-promoting-land-grabs-in-africa/ ; The
Expansion of Tree Plantations on Peasant Territories in the Nacala Territories: Green Resources in
Mozambique, 2018,
plantations-on-peasant-territories-in-the-nacala-corridor-green-resources-in-mozambique/ ; WRM
bulletin, Green Resources Mozambique: More False Promises! 2018,
wrm-bulletin/section1/green-resources-mozambique-more-false-promises/ ; WRM bulletin, Carbon
Colonialism: Failure of Green Resources’ Carbon Offset Project in Uganda, 2018,
carbon-offset-project-in-uganda/ ; WRM bulletin, Tanzania: Community resistance against
monoculture tree plantations, 2018,
tree-plantations/ ; and WRM bulletin, The farce of “Smart forestry”: The cases of Green
Resources in Mozambique and Suzano in Brazil, 2015,
(7) REDD-Monitor, NGOs oppose the oil industry’s Natural Climate Solutions and demand that ENI
and Shell keep fossil fuels in the ground, 2019,
the-oil-industrys-natural-climate-solutions-and-demand-that-eni-and-shell-keep-fossil-fuels-in the-
ground /
WRM Bulletin

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Banks have given almost $7tn to fossil fuel firms since Paris deal, report reveals



Among world’s top 60 banks those in US are biggest fossil fuel financiers, while Barclays leads way in Europe.

The world’s big banks have handed nearly $7tn (£5.6tn) in funding to the fossil fuel industry since the Paris agreement to limit carbon emissions, according to research.

In 2016, after talks in Paris, 196 countries signed an agreement to limit global heating as a result of carbon emissions to at most 2C above preindustrial levels, with an ideal limit of 1.5C to prevent the worst impacts of a drastically changed climate.

Many countries have since promised to reduce carbon emissions, but the latest research shows private interests continued to funnel money to oil, gas and coal companies, which have used it to expand their operations.

Eight in 10 of the world’s most eminent climate scientists now foresee at least 2.5C of global heating, according to the results of a Guardian survey published last week – an outcome expected to lead to devastating consequences for civilisation.

Researchers for the banking on climate chaos report, now in its 15th edition, analysed the world’s top 60 banks’ underwriting and lending to more than 4,200 fossil fuel firms and companies causing the degradation of the Amazon and Arctic.

Those banks, they found, gave $6.9tn in financing to oil, coal and gas companies, nearly half of which – $3.3tn – went towards fossil fuel expansion. Even in 2023, two years after many large banks vowed to work towards lowering emissions as part of the Net Zero Banking Alliance, bank finance for fossil fuel companies was $705bn, with $347bn going towards expansion, the report says.

US banks were the biggest financiers of the fossil fuel industry, contributing 30% of the total $705bn provided in 2023, the report found. JP Morgan Chase gave the most of any bank in the world, providing $40.8bn to fossil fuel companies in 2023, while Bank of America came in third. The world’s second biggest financier of fossil fuels was the Japanese bank Mizuho, which provided $37.1bn.

London-based Barclays was Europe’s biggest fossil fuel financier, with $24.2bn, followed by Spain’s Santander at $14.5bn and Germany’s Deutsche Bank with $13.4bn. Overall, European banks stumped up just over a quarter of the total fossil fuel financing in 2023, according to the report.

Tom BK Goldtooth, the executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, which co-authored the study, said: “Financiers and investors of fossil fuels continue to light the flame of the climate crisis. Paired with generations of colonialism, the fossil fuel industry and banking institutions’ investment in false solutions create unlivable conditions for all living relatives and humanity on Mother Earth.

“As Indigenous peoples, we remain on the frontlines of the climate catastrophe, and the fossil fuel industry targets our lands and territories as sacrifice zones to continue their extraction. Capitalism and its extraction-based economy will only perpetuate more harm and destruction against our Mother Earth and it must come to an end.”

Critics of the report said its methodology, which relied on investigating deals reported by financial market data companies such as Bloomberg and Refinitiv, meant researchers did not have a detailed view of what was being financed, and by whom.

Specifically, syndicated loans, bond issues and underwriting arrangements often involved several banks with varying levels of exposure. And financing to fossil fuel companies to fund transition technology projects could not be distinguished from financing for new oil wells, they said.

Spokespeople for Barclays, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and Santander all emphasised that their organisations were supporting energy sector clients’ transitions toward more sustainable business models. Mizuho declined a request for comment.

Source: the

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Minority tribes demand inclusion into national setup



JINJA | A group of the minority tribes have ramped up advocacy for a constitutional amendment seeking to be officially recognition as citizens of Uganda.

Members of the Ik ethnic minority tribes say they find difficulty to access essential government documents like land titles, national identification cards, passports coupled with hardship to access social services.

Uganda is home to a number of minority groups spread in different districts, some of these tribes are not legally recognised in the laws of the land

They are advocating for recognition through a constitutional amendment, since they can’t access some government programs and important documents of the land like national IDs, passports and land tittles.

Daniel Lokolo, a member of the IK community in Kabong District, says they find challenges in land ownership, since they live in forests and the laws of Uganda grant all forests rights to National Forestry Authority hence many of them have been evicted by government agencies like Uganda wildlife Authority and NFA yet forests have been their ancestral land since their origin.

“For generations we have been staying in mountains and forests but during demarcations by government agencies, they categorise our land as gazetted areas hence we can’t get lamd tittles on our land,” he said.

He added their great grand parents lived in forests for security reasons because they would evade attacks from Karamojangs and Turkana.

Stephanie Adupa, from the Tepeth/Soo community and the coordinator of Karamoja indigenous minority group, predicted their extinction if government doesn’t intervene.

“We the Soo of Mount Moroto we were evicted by government agencies and also the majority Karimojong also invaded our land hence we have nowhere to stay,” she said.

Chris Lopeyok Karenga, a civil rights activist and a member of the Mening group in Karamoja says minority groups should be catered for in terms of representation at different levels of government, including Sub County, district to Parliament.

“We also need our voices to be heard but we have no representatives at all levels, hence we want government to consider it,” he said

Paska Kerisha, from the Department of Peace and Justice in Moroto Catholic Diocese, says because minority groups are always isolated, they live in hard to reach areas like mountains and forests therefore, access to social services is still a challenge.

“For example, in Moroto, we have the Tepeth who live in the mountains, you find that their children face difficulties to access schools in lower areas, even medical services are inaccessible which has increased mortality rate of pregnant mothers and infant mortality in the communities,” she said.

During a stakeholders meeting in Jinja, officials from National Planning Authority said they working on modalities to ensure all their demands are catered for.

Sylvia Ngeyi, the coordinator of African Peer Review Commission, said they held a study in 2018 and some of their findings indicated that they the indigenous minority communities are facing a number of historical challenges hence government is coming up with strategies to address their challenges

Emmanuel Katumba, the head of Commission African Peer Review Commission, revealed that their findings indicate that majority of the minority groups are missing out on government programmes but they’re doing proper documentation and validation thereafter solutions shall be found.

He encourages the minority groups to embrace the forthcoming mass population and housing census where their details shall be captured accurately and they will be catered for in all spheres of life.

Notable among the marginalised tribes include Ik, Tepeth, Soo, Banyala, Batwa among others, whereas some are recognised in the constitution majority are not included.


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Trees for Global Benefits: “Climate neutral” burgers in Sweden. Starvation in Uganda



The Swedish fast food chain Max Burgers AB claims to have had more than three million trees planted in the tropics. “Planting trees is an effective way to remove carbon dioxide,” the company states on its website. “Since 2018, MAX has been funding trees that capture the equivalent of 110% of our entire value chain’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

But a new investigation by Staffan Lindberg in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reveals that some of the farmers in Uganda who planted trees for Max Burgers carbon credits are now cutting down the trees and making them into charcoal. The farmers faced starvation, because the trees were planted on their farmland.

Max Burgers buys carbon credits from a project in Uganda called Trees for Global Benefits, that has been running since 2003. The project is managed by a Ugandan organisation called Ecotrust.

Under the scheme, farmers plant trees on their land and receive income from the sales of carbon credits. It is certified under the Plan Vivo standard.

According to the Plan Vivo website,

The project operates as a market-based solution that reduces unsustainable exploitation of forest resources and the decline of ecosystem quality, while diversifying and increasing incomes for rural farmers and their families.

In 2013, the project won an award from SEED, which was founded by UNEP, UNDP, and IUCN. In a video produced by SEED, Pauline Nantongo Kalunda, the executive director of Ecotrust, says, “The main objective of this enterprise is to combine carbon sequestration activity with livelihoods improvements.”

Kalunda is on the Board of Trustees of Plan Vivo.


The hunger forest

Lindberg calls the Ecotrust project the “hunger forest”. Ecotrust persuaded farmers to plant trees on land where they grew crops. But the farmers had only small areas of land. When the trees took over the land, the farmers could no longer grow food for their families.

The Aftonbladet investigation is not the first critique of the Trees for Global Benefits project. In 2017, Elina Andersson and Wim Carton from Lund University wrote a study that highlights problems with the project. “Our study shows that there is widespread confusion among farmers about what the project is basically about,” Andersson and Carton write.

Farmers did not know who was buying the carbon credits.

One farmer said,

They do not have many benefits, these carbon trees. They are not easily grown and they take time. I had to replace so many of them because they dried out. They started to dry from the top and then they refused to grow. I wouldn’t plant these trees again, but rather eucalyptus and maybe some fruit trees.

Farmers had to pay the full cost of replacing damaged and dead trees, regardless of whether the trees were damaged by fire, vandalism, insects, or wild animals.

Andersson and Carton write about the “flawed basis on which the local population had the opportunity to make informed decisions regarding participation” in the tree planting project.

Contracts were written in English which few of the villagers speak.

Almost all the farmers they spoke to said they did not know how much compensation they would receive from the project. One farmer told Andersson and Carton that,

People planted trees before they knew how much they would get. And they did not negotiate the price with the buyers. So they don’t know if they got all their money, or if they just got half of it. If you tell prices in terms of percentage, how can an old man understand? They are not giving the correct information. transparency is lacking. Most people don’t even know what they are selling.

Lack of land is a major problem in the project area, Andersson and Carton note, particularly among the poorest households.

“It cannot be ruled out that,” they write, “through the project, poor small farmers risk being locked into a type of land use for a long time that reduces their ability to adapt to deal with temporary crises as well as long-term changes, which in the worst case can mean long-term negative effects on their life situation.”

They also note that payments from Ecotrust are often greatly delayed or not received at all.

In 2019, an article in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter took a critical look at the Trees for Global Benefits project.

And in 2022, Global Forest Coalition published a report about the project with the title, “A case study on the failures of carbon offsetting”. The researchers spoke to more than 100 community members. They write that,

The clear message from all communities was that the project was not delivering its promised benefits, and participants were growing increasingly bitter and desperate.

The lead author of the report was David Kureeba, a programme officer with Friends of the Earth Uganda.

The report concludes that the Trees for Global Benefits project “is one of a growing number of global greenwashing exercises that are not only failing to reduce the amount of carbon being released into the atmosphere but also inflicting adverse environmental, social, and economic impacts on the local communities involved”.

“A chance to earn money”

Aftenbladet’s journalist Staffan Lindberg and photographer Niclas Hammarström travel to the project area in Uganda. There they find farmers cutting down the trees, to sell them as charcoal.

A farmer called Samuel Byarugaba tells Lindberg that a man from Ecotrust turned up eight years ago. He said Ecotrust could offer the family a chance to earn money.

Samuel signed the contract despite having only two acres of land, and the fact that all his land was being used to grow food. He didn’t receive a copy of the contract. The man from Ecotrust later showed him how to plant the trees, seven metres apart. That was the only education he received about tree planting.

After three years, the trees formed a canopy over the food crops. The trees took the light, the water, and the nutrients. Samuel’s sweet potatoes and bananas died. Nothing could grow under the trees. Samuel, his wife, and 15 children and grandchildren were without food.

He tells Lindberg,

“I used to be something called a model farmer. People came to me to learn about farming and I was proud to show our farm. We had enough food to eat our fill and were able to sell the excess. Now everything disappeared.”

The first payment from Ecotrust should have come in the first year. When it arrived, one year later, it was equivalent to a little more than US$100. Enough for a couple of weeks of food.

Samuel has only received two more payments of the same amount since then. He has been forced to beg from relatives for his family to survive.

Lindberg reports that now he’s cutting all the trees down. He will plant bananas and sweet potatoes again.

“My children have no food”

Rosset Kyampaire is a widow, and mother of four. She has only one acre of land. Ecotrust still persuaded her to sign the contract.

She planted 200 trees on her land. After two years, the beans and cassava withered. After three years, she had no harvest at all.

After eight years, she has received no money from Ecotrust. Instead she got excuses: “This is how white people work,” and “Have patience,” and “It will arrive later this year.”

To survive, she has to work as a day labourer on other people’s farms. She earns less than US$1.5 a day. It’s not enough.

“I am so stressed,” Rosset tells Lindberg. “My children have no food.”

She has already started cutting down the trees. “It’s my only chance,” she says.

Where is the food? Look around, where is it?

Jorum Baslina is a local leader in the village of Kigaaga. He also joined the project. “Ecotrust just wants to grow as many trees as possible,” he tells Lindberg. “They urge us: plant more!”

Jorum says there is no transparency. Ecotrust did not tell the farmers how much they would receive, or why the money has not been paid. He shows Lindberg a contract, written in English, and says that,

Many here can barely write their own names. And almost no one knows English. Why don’t we get the agreement in our own language? And why doesn’t it say how much we should get?

Jorum has acted as a spokesperson for other people involved in Ecotrust’s project. He says that of the 100 farmers he’s in contact with, only six or seven are happy with the project and they had unused land to plant on and were the first to join.

“The rest of us are much poorer than before,” Jorum tells Lindberg. “Almost everyone has started cutting down the trees or is planning to do so. Where is the food? Look around, where is it?”

“We are starving”

Ecotrust came to Herbert Rukundo’s farm nine years ago and promised that the trees would bring money, every year. Herbert tells Lindberg that,

We dreamed of being able to keep the children in school and maybe rebuild the house a little so that it was beautiful, even buying a motorcycle to drive to church. Instead we were forced to starve. Now we’ve chopped it all down and turned it into charcoal.

Last year, Herbert cut down all his trees. Not long afterwards, the coordinator from Ecotrust visited his farm and accused Herbert of breach of contract. The Ecotrust coordinator threatened that if Herbert did not replant all the trees he would have to face the police and prison.

Hubert replied that as things are, “We are starving.”

Hubert tells Lindberg that Ecotrust didn’t want to listen. “Now I can’t sleep at night,” he says.

Mauda Twinomngisha wanted to send her three daughters to university. “I wanted them to have a better life than me and my husband had. It was for their future that we signed up,” she tells Lindberg.

But when the food disappeared, she had to take the girls out of school. All three have been married off as child brides, aged 14, 15, and 16.

Two years ago, Mauda decided to cut down the trees. “Then a woman from Ecotrust came here,” she tells Lindberg. The woman was very angry. She told Mauda to remove her bananas and plant trees. “But we had no choice,” Mauda says.

Wilson Akiiza and Violet Mbabaazi planted 600 trees on their three acres of land. “Now we have no food”, Wilson tells Lindberg. “Ecotrust never explained how much money I would get, only that it would come every year. Now I am the coordinator for 89 farmers who are part of the project. Nobody has food.”

Robert Sunday has also cut down all his Ecotrust “carbon trees” and made charcoal with them. With the money from the charcoal, he will buy cassava plants.

In the 10 years since he planted the trees, he received two payments, of about US$50 each.

He has only one acre, from which he used to feed 10 people. “Ecotrust must have understood that the family would never make it,” Lindberg writes. “Nevertheless, they were pushed to plant.”

Auditor: “Food security not an issue”

Aftonbladet’s research team visited nine farms in two districts, Hoima and Kikuube. All of them planted trees for Ecotrust on land that they previously used for growing crops. Hunger was the result.

One family received no money at all. All of the others received fewer payments than the contract promised. Ecotrust has not explained to any of them why the money has not been paid out.

None of the nine families has received enough money to cover the cost of food lost to the “carbon trees”.

None of the families could explain how carbon trading works, who bought the carbon credits, or how much money they should have received. Most of them did not receive a copy of the contract they signed.

Two of the families told Lindberg that they were forced to marry off underage daughters.

One eight of the farms, all or some of the trees have now been cut down to make way for food crops. The timber has been sold as charcoal.

Lindberg acknowledges that the Aftonbladet research is not comprehensive. Several thousand farmers are involved in the project, spread over a large area.

But David Kureeba, the lead author of Global Forest Coalition’s 2022 report about the project, tells Lindberg that the problem is widespread and systemic. “We are 45 million people crowded in Uganda,” Kureeba says, “and the vast majority are already living on the verge of starvation. They have no land to spare.”

The Global Forest Coalition report is based on interviews with more than 100 farmers. That report came out 18 months ago. “Since then the situation has worsened further,” Lindberg writes. “Why haven’t those responsible reacted?”

Under Plan Vivo’s rules, the project has to be inspected every six years. The most recent audit was in 2019, carried out by Environmental Services, Inc, a US-based company.

The lead verifier was Guy Pinjuv, who has since moved on to become Senior Advisor for Carbon and MRV (Measurement, Reporting, and Verification) at Conservation International.

A 2017 article describes Pinjuv’s US$600,000 house that he built in Nevada on a one acre plot of land that he bought for just US$150,000 in 2014. In the article, Pinjuv describes his work:

“If someone wants to slow down deforestation, I’m the guy who goes and checks to make sure they calculated everything correctly. And if there’s a tribe there, I’m the guy who goes and meets the chief and makes sure they’re not planning a revolution . . . that sort of stuff.”

The 2019 Environmental Services audit report states that, “In general food security does not appear to be an issue and project activities are maintaining or increasing food production.” There is no mention of the systemic hunger that, as Lindberg writes, “seems to be integrated into the core of the project”.

“Africa’s poor, who did the least to cause the climate crisis, will pay the price when we have to change,” Lindberg writes.

Lindberg highlights the inequity of the situation. “At Swedish hamburger restaurants, guests order from climate-neutral menus. In the hunger forest, the children wait in vain for food.”


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