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Under the direction of the UN, war indemnities are being collected from Iraq, and taken from the "oil for food" programme. Thirty percent of the earnings from this programme cover war indemnities, with claims amounting to as much as USD 320 billion. The Norwegian government, as well as the Bergen Bulk Carriers and Gearbulk Limited companies, have been awarded indemnities for expenses they incurred as a result of the war in Kuwait. The Norwegian government's claims for expenses connected with meetings in Norway have been rejected.
The Fafo Institute boasts about the efforts by Norwegian companies in developing countries, according to the business daily Dagens Næringsliv in November. The research institute presented a report, commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where they assessed the system of mixed credits.
It was to happen in The Hague. More than 2,000 delegates from 177 nations were gathered to seal the gaps in the Kyoto Protocol. After years of intense negotiations, and profuse documentation that climate change will cost both people and nature dearly, one might have thought that conditions were in place for implementing effective and binding measures. Not so.
The Norwegian-Ugandan company Equator Line Centre Ltd. plans building a tourist center on the equator in Uganda. For this to happen, some 50 families have to leave their homes. When NorWatch visited the area, however, no-one knew much about the project or had been told that they are going to lose their lots of land and their livelihoods. The reaction was anger and desperation. Company adviser Rino Solberg, one of the persons behind the project, says they have a good relationship with the locals, but that many are lying and saying anything they like in order to get more money out of the company.
During Kofi Annan's time in the UN, the organisation has tried flirting more heavily with business than perhaps ever before. The UNDP's 2B2M project was shelved after a fairly strong response from organisations all over the world.
The Norwegian company Tree Farms is acquiring huge land areas for plantation purposes around the formerly NORAD-supported Sao Hill project in Tanzania. The company has already started afforestation in several places, and one of the motives is to sell carbon credits to Norwegian polluting industries. A new report from NorWatch shows that Tree Farms is leasing the lands for a bargain price, and that the company has failed to pay wages over a long time period. The report also points out that the project represents an uncertain and short-term climate change measure.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) last year initiated a joint project with large multinational corporations, among them Statoil, named the Global Sustainable Development Facility (GSDF). The project faced strong opposition from organisations worldwide, and was branded a greenwash project for multinational companies with a bad record on environment and development (see NorWatch 4/99). Now, the project has been shelved, UNDP head Mark Malloch Brown said in late May.
The gas power developer Industrikraft Midt-Norge, which originally had an agreement with the company Tree Farms to buy carbon credits from its tree plantations in Uganda and Tanzania, has now demanded to have the Uganda project pulled out of the portfolio. According to managing director in Tree Farms, the attention caused by the NorWatch report "CO2lonialism" is to blame for this. The Tree Farms director has spread rumours to the media that NorWatch has bribed people in Uganda in order to get the wanted opinions in the report.
"I think Norwegian companies have a big positive contribution to make, not least by virtue of their attitudes and standards for human rights and environment work", our new foreign aid minister Anne Kristin Sydnes told the paper Bistandsaktuelt.
One year after the Norwegian environmental technology firm Oceanor pulled out of its involvement with the Seawatch project in Indonesia, the Indonesian manager of the project has contacted NorWatch with the following message: Due to a lack of spare parts and follow-up from Oceanor, the entire NORAD-funded project is about to go down the drain. Of the twelve Seawatch buoys to be deployed into the ocean, only one has in fact been deployed. It lies just outside project headquarters in Jakarta.
The Norwegian companies Tree Farms and Norwegian Afforestation Group have rented huge land areas in Uganda for a song. Here, they are planting fast-growing trees that, besides yielding income from the sale of timber, are also planned to yield an income from the sale of carbon credits to the Norwegian industry. NorWatch's studies of the projects, available in the new report "CO2lonialism", raise critical questions about these activities, which smack of a new kind of colonialism. The Tree Farms project, which may cause thousands of farmers and fishermen to lose their livelihoods, is particularly bad.

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Latest articles:

Tree-planting Project Threatens Food Security

03. mai 2012
The Norwegian company Green Resource has acquired vast areas of land for tree planting projects in Uganda. The company may earn good money from selling carbon credits, but local residents are losing their gardens and grazing fields to the plantation.