One week after the release of the Oakland Institute’s report, Evicted for Carbon Credits: Norway, Sweden, and Finland Displace Ugandan Farmers for Carbon Trading, Swedish Energy Agency (SEA) has reportedly delayed payments for carbon credits produced by the Norwegian company, Green Resources, at its plantation in Kachung, Uganda.
Norway and Finland’s development institutions—Norfund and Finnfund—are the majority shareholders of the plantation which has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and the Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA).
The Institute also released official documents that provide hard evidence that Ugandan subsistence farmers were forcibly evicted to make way for the non-native pine-tree plantation in Kachung. The loss of land and livelihoods caused a hunger crisis amongst the communities.
On September 5, 2019, Development Today reported that the SEA has delayed disbursement of SEK10 million (US$1.03 million)—a payment initially planned for that week—given concerns from their November 2018 audit of the project. The audit confirmed many of the issues raised by the Oakland Institute, including the food security crisis and “complaints from communities associated with corruption, land-rights issues, as well as community access to forest resources.”
SEA has claimed that the Institute’s report was not a factor in their decision. “Despite their denial, it is noteworthy that the announcement to delay payments came ten months after their audit and just days after being publicly exposed and pressured,” said Frédéric Mousseau, Policy Director of the Oakland Institute. SEA initially claimed that the project was established on “unused bushland,” despite having full knowledge of the forced evictions of local villagers as early as 2011.
Following the Institute’s 2014 report and media exposure, SEA announced their decision to suspend payments to Green Resources but last week, the agency was getting ready to resume payments to the project despite the lack of improvement on most of the pressing issues faced by the local communities.
“Multiple reports and audits of Kachung plantation over the last decade have consistently identified the problems that persist to this day. With its latest postponement of payments to Green Resources, SEA cannot subject the people of Kachung to yet another audit or half-baked food security program,” said Mousseau. “It is time for SEA, as for the financers and certifiers of the Green Resources project in Uganda, to also be held responsible. The protracted misery inflicted on Kachung’s communities can only be rightfully addressed with the immediate end of this devastating project,” he continued.