How green do you think you (really) are? – It all depends…Who do you bank with?


I learnt about this report earlier this year. I was curious to see where my bank stood. I was relieved to find it has no investments on coal though a bit dissapointed as it does not invest in renewable energy either.

“A new report commissioned by Greenpeace, Pillars of Pollution: How Australia’s Big Four Banks Are Propping Up Pollution, reveals the extent to which Australia’s big four banks are investing in polluting coal power – and they’re using your money to do it.” (Greenpeace)

ANZ, CBA, NBA and Westpac are the biggest polluters according to this report by Greenpeace (full report published in February 2011). Quite an entertaining reading relevant to the discussion raised during today’s tutorial on Environmental Policy and Communications about shaping public opinion. Each dollar counts here. So deciding on where to put your savings is also a way of taking positive action on the environment.  

Find Greenpeace report (short and long version) and the responses from the banks and Greenpeace at:


Reducing Emissions from All Land Uses (REALU) and REDD-ALERT national workshops in Peru


Participants of the REALU National Workshop

Lima, April 9th 2010.– More than 113 participants gathered to understand why a whole landscape approach for carbon accounting is needed in order to reduce effectively deforestation and degradation. Targeting forest per se may not have the positive outcomes expected, a comprehensive approach that sees beyond the forests into productive systems with high carbon stocks, such as agroforestry, is key.

The national workshop on “Initiatives to reduce deforestation in the Peruvian Andean-Amazon” had three specific objectives:
1.    Contribute to building a national proposal to reduce the Andean-Amazon deforestation.
2.    Build the capacity of participants about key topics on international negotiations on deforestation and climate change.
3.    Socialize the preliminary results of the ASB-ICRAF “Reducing Emissions from All Land Uses (REALU)”, including carbon value chains.

in October 2009, three smaller workshops were conducted in the most deforested areas of the country: Loreto, San Martin and Ucayali, as a way of raising awareness about the REALU approach and and documenting the perceptions on fairness and efficiency along the REDD value chain. Similar studies have been conducted in Indonesia (See ASB Policybriefs 14).

The National workshop discussions helped documenting successful initiatives about reverting deforestation and degradation in Peru. Participants came from regional and national government agencies, research institutions, NGOs and private forest concession holders in Peru. They interacted with experts from the ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Peru, the Ministry of Environment (MINAM), the Peruvian Society for Environmental Law (SPDA),  the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INIA), the International Centre for Tropical Agricultural (CIAT) and the Amazon Initiative, among others.

The REALU Architecture Project goal is to strengthen the ability of developing countries to build and implement effective strategies for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) within a context of rural development, national sovereignty, respect for local and indigenous peoples’ rights and integrity of national and global greenhouse gas accounting systems. The outputs of REALU will contribute to the climate change policy framework in the lead-up to Mexico in December 2010. This workshop is the major output in Peru for the NORAD funded ASB-ICRAF REALU Project (July 2009 – July 2010) and was organized by ASB, ICRAF Peru, MINAM, SPDA, and INIA.

In Peru, ASB has a long standing relationship with INIA, the Corporation for the Sustainable Development of Ucayali (CODESU), the Peruvian Institute of Amazonian Research (IIAP) among many others in the ASB benchmark site area of the Aguaytia watershed, Ucayali.  The national workshop was followed by the launching workshop of the EU funded “REDD-ALERT” project. In this second workshop, about 50 participants from around the country  contributed to build the content and document existing research about REDD in Peru. After this, Dr. Peter Akong Minang, ASB Global Coordinator, and Dr. Robin Matthews, Coordinator of REDD ALERT,  visited the city of Pucallpa and met local partners in the Aguaytia watershed, Ucayali, Peru.

See National workshop pictures at:

See minutes of workshop (in Spanish): [Coming soon]

Now recruiting…ASB Programme Associate! (again)


In 2007, when I finished my appointment as ASB Programme Associate and started the recruitment process of the new person,  I thought that there were big challenges coming ahead. ASB had a new leader and a more focused agenda: REDD. The same year, an  “Opportunity costs of REDD” study was put together in record time and presented at the Conference of the Parties (COP14) in Bali. Funds started to flow in again.

Last year I was called back to ASB to give support to REDD projects activities. The Associate recruited back in 2007  is now the ASB Programme Coordinator, Dr. Peter Akong Minang. He has definitely increased the standards for this position, providing with talented management and scientific strength to the team. Most importantly, a “south” perspective as senior people called it. Now, once again,  ASB is looking for a new Associate.  Who would be next ?

A lively team and excellent working environment, constant trips, concept notes, proposals, and research, mostly on deforestation. Hosted by the World Agroforestry Centre, in  a green campus in Nairobi, Kenya. Are you up for this challenge? Applications will be accepted until 28th February 2010 or untill the vacancy is filled. See:

Nationality: Internet


I just read a response to a post by the most powerful blogger in Peru, Mario Sifuentes, see One reader asks another, “which is your nationality?” And he responds: “Internet”. This is the first time I read this, but i really feel related to him as I speding several hours in front of a computer, reading and summarizing technical news and contacting people from around the world. Although I wouldn’t call myself from “internet” …yet…rather a global citizen, Spanish is my first language, I usually write in English with my pairs, read Portuguese for fun, a little French, and use kiswahili slang in chat rooms and facebook….oh, but i don’t have a twitter account, shame on me.
What would it mean to be an “internet national”, no boundaries, no passports, no time zone differences…maybe. Free and public access to information? Somewhere, sometime, I heard the whole of Kuala Lumpur (“KL”) if WiFi zone. mmm….Will continue reflecting on this and see if Mario Sifuentes was kind enough to publish my comment to his December 2008 post and “make me famous”, as he says. 🙂

Common sense, average intelligence and intergenerational learning


The new Ministry of Defense in Peru, Rafal Rey, has declared to the national news: “I don’t have any special quality or feature to be a Minister, and much less to be the Ministry of Defense,  what I have is common sense and average intelligence“. A heavy dosis of honesty from the new Minister. Rafael Rey lives of politics, he has been former Ministry of Production, Congressman and recently, Ambassador of Peru in Italy and he is just one of many others. A strong critic of current Presiden Alan Garcia during Fujimori’s and Toledo’s term, he then accepted the first Ministry post. I do not mean to be a political radar with this post, what I wonder is how we keep on chosing people who actually lack of common sense and average intelligence.  By chance (if chance actually exists), I came across a note from the journal El Comercio on what to do with our elders.  It argues that Peruvian many times follow Manuel Gonzales Prada’s line of thought  “youth to work, elders to the tumb” (1894) instead of learning from the past.  Maybe that is why we keep on the vicious circle. No education, no memories and keep of choosing the same politicians who change ideals (and ideas) according to the government in power. Every new government changes drastically the institutions, create new ones, close many, and in this process pushes knowledge (institutional knowledge, generational knowledge, scientific knowledge) backwards. We lack of memory and at the same time, we do not interact enough with our elders. I am 31 but I do remember studying while at primary school lighted by a candle because power cuts at about 8.30pm every night, as a result of terrorist attacks to energy towers, my mother has to line up for hours and lie about being part of “the party” in order to get milk produced by ENCI (the government’s milk company) and thousands of people lost their entire savings because of inflation (3398.6% in 1989). 20 year after, there are at least 61,000 towns with only 11 people living in each of them and who lack of basic services according to the Peru’s Population Plan (2009-14) recently published. So what has really changed? Oh yes, Lima has better infrastructure, there is tons of traffic and more pollution and Peru is getting a lot of money from selling its minerals. Enough for now, am getting ready for my class on “land use regulation”.  A lot to think about…

What if Peru’s government offices moves to Puno?


Puno is one of the richest regions in the south of Peru. Rich because the sky there is heavenly blue and the sun is shining during the day. Rich in culture, a place where the Uros live on mand-made islands on Lake Titicaca (and these island are tax free!) and where the Waris and Tiahuanaco cultures flourished, the original “Incas” and died due to abrupt climate change many years ago…and that’s about it. Economically, Puno is one of the poorest areas of my country. Today, people in Puno are dying of cold, kids are freezing and people from Lima are sending some warm clothes (clothes for Limas’s winter of 16 Celsius where it is -8C at night in Puno). Many times the government has been blamed for not acting on time. This time even the Peruvian Prime Minister (“Premier”), Yehude Simon, said “I will quit if one child dies because of the goverment”. I guess he meant of the “government’s inaction”. But it is not a problem of the government alone, as the El Niño, the cold season is something that Peruvians expect, know that is coming, yet we are not prepared. We (in Lima) do not see beyond the pollution and grey sky that cover us most of the year, about 8 months. The limeños are so far apart from the real issues of real people. Not of people who pay US$ 280,000 to live in front of green park in 100sq mt apartment. Not for those who live an illusion, work 12 hours a day, spend 2-3 hours of their only life in traffic breathing fumes. Wake up! So, some friends and I asked ourselves, what would happen if the government offices move to Puno? Wouldn’t it be good? Apart from activating melatonine and being happier, motivating investment in this depressed area, knowing what it is to feel really COLD and prepare for it, some government officials could see, open their eyes and act, what is happenning IN Peru. Because Peru is not Lima and Lima is not at all Peru.

Worshop-course on Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Biodiversity


INIA Pucallpa held a course on Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Biodiversity, organized by ICRAF and the International Secretary for Technical Cooperation (STC-CGIAR) on 21-22 January 2009. More than 20 participants from research institutes, universities, indigenous leaders and national and international NGOs attended the event, as well as Dr. Roberto Porro (ICRAF) and Dr. Noemí Miyasaka, Brazilian social scientits who facilitated the workshop.

The participants reflected about the opportunities and methods to integrate the new demands by national and international laws about access to traditional knowledge to their work, as well as other related topics, such as: (1) prior and informed community’s consent for sharing their traditional knowledge, (2) equitable and fair benefits sharing, and (3) implications of integrating traditional knowledge to the norms of conventional knowledge.

INIA Peru and ICRAF are developing the contents of a new training and capacity building program for 2009 – 2010 through participatory meeting that would help to prioritize the training needs from agriculture researchers. More information: and Julio Ugarte Guerra,