News & Articles: Geographic Africa

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Forest Footprint aims to Reward Companies that Save Trees

The Carbon Disclosure Project has arguably reduced greenhouse gas emissions by creating an incentive for companies to examine and disclose their carbon footprints – an act that often leads them to realize how easy and economical reductions can be. Can the Forest Footprint Disclosure Project do the same for deforestation?

Soil Carbon in Africa: Potentials and Pitfalls

Imagine a world where African farmers raise their standard of living by shifting towards sustainable agriculture that mitigates climate change – while cashing in on this shift via ecosystem service payments. If you can’t imagine it, drop in on the real deal: in the Kiambu District of Central Kenya, where a groundbreaking pilot project is testing new financing mechanisms that capture carbon in soil.

Things White People Like – As Told By A Hadza Tribesman

When the Hadza hunter-gatherer people of northern Tanzania decided to slow deforestation in the Yaeda Valley, they turned to carbon markets. First, they had to do something they’d never done before: secure rights to the land they had been inhabiting for for 40,000 years

This Week In V-Carbon…

The Verified Carbon Standard does compliance in California (and beyond?), corporate buyers have lots of love for the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project, and CO2EXCHANGE offers another option on the web for your offset purchasing predilections.

This Week In Water: New Loan Fund For Conservation

Tanzania and China experiment with public-private partnerships to minimize water-related risks while Costa Rica models the revolving loan fund for watershed protection. And Ecosystem Marketplace reaches the one month mark before its State of Watershed Investment 2014 report launches.

This Week In V-Carbon News…

The California Air Resources Board approves a new offset protocol for coal mine methane. But market participants say there is still more to be done with land-based offsets. The United Nations faces criticism over the administrative budget for the Clean Development Mechanism, while China and Africa look for alternatives to finance certified emissions reduction projects.

Althelia Climate Fund Dives Headfirst Into Kenya Project With Wildlife Works

The Althelia Climate Fund last month made its long-awaited first investment in REDD+: a $10 million commitment to support REDD+ in Kenya’s Taita Hills, adjacent to the historic Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project. Mike Korchinsky, CEO and founder of project developer Wildlife Works, tells Gloria Gonzalez how the deal came together and how this project differs from its previous efforts.

This Week In Forest Carbon News…

A sustainable agriculture project in the Nyanza and Western Provinces in Kenya became the first to market offsets from carbon sequestered in soils, with financing flowing to smallholders. But elsewhere in Kenya, in the Embobut forest, the Sengwer people are being evicted from their homes.

This Week In V-Carbon: Greening In The New Year

Despite the cold start here in D.C., January is blooming with carbon news. Quebec and California started off the year by officially linking markets, while a sustainable agriculture project in Kenya became the first to verify credits from carbon sequestration in soils under VCS in mid-January. These new developments only enhance 2013’s top stories, also featured in this Special 2014 New Year Edition.

Kenyans Earn First Ever Carbon Credits From Sustainable Farming

A sustainable agriculture project in Kenya reached a milestone last week by becoming the first of its kind to earn carbon credits under the Verified Carbon Standard. Not only did the methodology used store carbon but results also showed an increase in crop yields signifying sustainable agricultural practices makes smart business sense.

2013: The Year In Water

As Ecosystem Marketplace looks back over water in 2013, it finds the year was marked by events like the Katoomba meeting in Beijing and the watershed payments report launch. Watershed investment programs were on the rise in East Africa where participants include flower-growers along Kenya’s Lake Naivasha and Tanga, Tanzania’s water utility.

2013: The Year in Water

As Ecosystem Marketplace looks back over water in 2013, it finds the year was marked by events like the Katoomba meeting in Beijing and the watershed payments report launch. Watershed investment programs were on the rise in East Africa where participants include flower-growers along Kenya’s Lake Naivasha and Tanga, Tanzania’s water utility.

How Carbon Markets Save Lives And Slash Pollution

Carbon markets are supporting the transition to clean cookstove societies by helping to finance their distribution in parts of the world where traditional stoves infect the local people with health conditions and premature deaths. Clean cookstoves prevent millions of tons of carbon dioxide from being dispersed into the air while providing an efficient and clean cooking method for the locals.

This Week In Water: A Good Month For Green Infrastructure

The past month saw movement in the green infrastructure space with an assessment on green infrastructure valuation tools and a $50 million fund slated to implement natural infrastructure upgrades in Chicago. Also this month, two papers from Forest Trends offering thoughts on the social impact assessment of investments in watershed services programs.

Credits From First African
Government Backed REDD+ Project Go On Sale

The Makira REDD+ project in Madagascar, which aims to protect 400,000 hectares of forest, announced its carbon credits are for sale becoming the first of its kind to put credits on the carbon market. Devastated by illegal rosewood logging just a few years ago, the Makira REDD+ project is part of Code REDD, a group of projects with high standards on conserving biodiversity and supporting local livelihoods.

South Africa Aims To Blend
Carbon Tax With Offsets

Proponents of cap-and-trade argue that it creates the most efficient performance-based mechanism for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by funneling payments directly from emitters to reducers. Those who prefer a carbon tax argue that it’s a more manageable mechanism. South Africa says there’s a hybrid solution: one that blends a carbon tax with an offsetting mechanism.

REDD+ Finance: What You See
Isn’t Always What You Get

Transparency International is monitoring Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation plus conservation (REDD+) financing flows in a number of recipient countries. Here, they discuss challenges to transparency encountered in Mexico and Kenya, and call on the general public to take a more active role in policing their governments.

Cookstoves Program Aims To
Spread Devices Across Africa And Asia

This year’s State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2013 report showed that carbon markets are funneling more and more money into projects that distribute low-carbon cookstoves. Now, a new initiative seeks to propel the adoption of these offset projects even further, with an eye toward contributing to the dissemination of two million improved cookstoves by 2017 in Southeast Asia and West Africa.

This Week In V-Carbon: Alternatives In Africa

At the African Carbon Forum earlier this month, Ecosystem Marketplace presented its findings from the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets report in Côte d’Ivoire. While African nations have historically focused on CDM projects, interest in voluntary carbon projects has grown, showcased by a record $66M in offsets occurring in 2012 alone.

Africa Looms Large On CDM Map

The future of the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism offset program lies in Africa as the European Union’s sharpened focus shifts to least developed countries and away from projects in China, India and Brazil. But market players say the continent needs to take control of its own destiny in upcoming climate negotiations.

Can REDD+ Drive
Change In The DR Congo?

After decades of war, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is struggling to get back on its feet. A new study says implementing a REDD+ program to curb the nation’s forest loss could help improve governance by triggering policy change and reform as well as provide much needed financial assistance.

Congo Basin Forest Fund
Steps Up For REDD+ Piloting In DRC

Developed countries have pledged billions to get REDD up and running around the world, but very little of that has resulted in actual projects being implemented on the ground.  The Congo Basin Forest Fund is an exception, but it’s also not without growing pains. Here’s a look at the fund, its funders, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

Kenyan Farmers Boost Yields With Payments For Watershed Services

For two years now, flower growers along the shore of Kenya’s Lake Naivasha have been paying farmers in the hills 40 kilometers away to adopt sustainable agriculture practices. They’re doing it to save their lake, but it’s also helping farmers lift themselves out of poverty.

Tying The Knot:
Buyers And Sellers In Kenyan PWS

Entering into a payments for watershed services program is more akin to getting married than it is to buying a normal product, and participants often face an array of hopes and fears at the outset. Here’s how deep-pocketed flower-growers along the shore of Kenya’s Lake Naivasha and subsistence farmers in the hills 40 kilometers away finally tied the knot – and what it means for similar transactions around the world.

PWS In Kenya: How WWF And CARE Found Common Ground In High Hills

Subsistence farmers in the hills above Kenya’s Lake Naivasha face an uncertain future, and climate-change has only made it worse. Here’s how WWF and CARE teamed up to harvest payments for watershed services that might help those farmers through the coming bad years – and, in the process, save the lake below.

Kenyan Flower-Growers Use Watershed Payments To Save Their Lake And Their Livelihoods

Flower growers in Kenya’s Rift Valley have gradually reduced their runoff to keep their water clean, but subsistence farmers high in the hills can’t afford to implement such actions. WWF is spearheading a payments for watershed services program designed to fix that by asking downstream users to support sustainable agriculture efforts in the catchments.

Tanzanian Water Utility
Taps PWS To Keep Water Flowing

In 2010, a Tanzanian water utility became the first investor in a Payments for Watershed Services program designed to promote sustainable agriculture in the hills surrounding the city of Tanga. Three years on, the project is showing results – but more buyers will have to step up if it’s to achieve the kind of scale needed to keep the water flowing.  

REDD+ Financing Efforts
Leave Pilot Projects In Limbo

Ghanaian businessman John Addaquay believes REDD+ can jump-start sustainable agriculture across central Ghana, and scores of experts agree. Private investors, however, won’t take the plunge until they know what works and what doesn’t, and his quest for pilot funding from international donors shows just how daunting that can be. Fourth in a Series

Linking Smallholders to Modern Markets

Picking up flowers at the supermarket is an easy task for the average consumer, but the journey that those flowers take to get on those shelves is complicated.  For most smallholder farmers, this means their products will never end up on those shelves.  But a new project from the International Institute for Economics and Development is trying to change that.

Valuing the Arc: Five-Year Experiment Draws to a Close

The downward flow of water from the Eastern Arc Mountains of Africa generates up to half of Tanzania’s power and provides much of Dar es Salaam’s drinking water. As agriculture moves up the slopes, however, it destroys the natural ecosystems that support the ancient catchments.  A five-year effort to value those ecosystem services wraps up this month.

Can Namibia Balance Mining and Nature?

Humans have impacted the Namib for millennia, but only now are their activities impacting ecosystems on a large scale.  That’s why the Ministry for Environment and Tourism commissioned a Landscape-Level Assessment for the Central Namib to help make sound decisions on economic development while retaining the desert’s special character and people’s livelihoods.

How Carbon Markets can Help Avert a Chocolate Shortage

If the price of cocoa rises to the point that it rivals that of caviar twenty years from now as some experts predict, it will be because we stuck with farming techniques that wreak havoc on both soil and surrounding forests. Such techniques also contribute to global warming, and carbon finance can help make them a thing of the past.

Ghana Builds REDD Regulatory Regime

Forest carbon projects are only as good as the legal system in which they reside.  Even voluntary carbon projects can only be implemented in a system where tenure is clear and laws are enforced. Typically, however, tenure and uncertain legal context present significant stumbling blocks. A new Forest Trends report examines the state of REDD in Ghana’s legal apparatus.

Kenyans Soft-Launch New Carbon Exchange

If carbon finance is to deliver environmental benefits in Africa, it needs a clear and transparent environment in which to operate.  The Zambian government has been spearheading efforts to build a viable cash market, and now the Kenyans have launched a futures platform in Nairobi.

Zambians Building Carbon Exchange From the Ground up

Carbon finance can help rural Africans establish sustainable ways of doing business, and several efforts are underway to build carbon exchanges that can help project developers identify prices and manage risk. These efforts will only generate meaningful change, however, if the rural poor understand carbon markets and how to access them.

Saving Trees in the Congo Basin: is REDD a Solution or a Quagmire?

The Congo Basin is rich in forests and poor in cash, which makes it hard to resist offers of easy money from loggers.  Carbon credits could, in theory, help save the forests, but the region’s historically low rates of deforestation (and governance) make it difficult to prove you’re saving trees.  Here’s a look at some of the complex challenges facing forestry advocates in this vital region.

Timber Turmoil Offers Lessons for REDD in Cameroon

Cameroon says it shares the money it earns from timber fees with local communities, but a study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) says that program has been compromised by confusion and corruption, providing a cationaly tale for people hoping to distribute forest-based carbon revenues under the REDD+ mechanism.

First-Ever African Soil-Carbon Deal Signed at Hague Investment Fair

Small-holder farmers in Kenya are changing their farming practices and earning carbon credits. This is a result of the first soil carbon project approved in Africa, which seeks to improve food security, help address climate change, and improve the lives and livelihoods of rural dwellers who today live in poverty.

Dutch Government Invests in African Carbon Fund

Dutch minister for Agriculture and Foreign Trade Henk Bleker has signed a financial commitment with the investment fund Food 4 All.  This fund specializes in smaller companies and cooperation’s in East and West Africa. It is the second deal that has been signed at the Investment Fair at It’s Down 2 Earth, the International Conference on Agriculture, Food safety and Climate Change.

Biodiversity Boosters Hope to Leverage REDD Momentum at Nairobi Meeting

The UN has declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity, but the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) remains the poor (and largely forgotten) sibling to the headline-grabbing climate-change convention (UNFCCC).  Delegates to CBD talks in Nairobi are looking at schemes designed to change that, in part by embedding more biodiversity values in the global carbon market.

Odigha Odigha: Speaking Truth to Power

Part businessman, part politician, and all activist: Nigeria’s Odigha Odigha has managed to slow deforestation in his native Cross River State by taking on loggers and lobbying for the creation of a state forestry board.  Now he’s a leading proponent of using carbon finance to help preserve what’s left of the country’s once vast rainforest – and he’s determined to make sure it’s done right.

Streaming Video: Trading Africa’s Trees

Why all the fuss in Copenhagen about reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD)?  In part because, it offers the quickest, most cost-effective way to reduce emissions today rather than tomorrow, but also because it gives people in developing countries an opportunity to develop sustainable lievlihoods by acting as guardians of the ecosystem, as this film by Jeffrey Barbee makes clear.


Must We Make a Choice between Helping the Poor and Preserving the Environment?

Schemes that promote payments for ecosystem services (PES) should, in theory, reduce poverty while preserving the environment by rewarding the rural poor for acting as guardians of the ecosystem. Most PES schemes even list poverty reduction as an explicit goal; but will too much emphasis on helping the poor detract from the environmental benefits?

Green Resources Is First to Achieve Validation for Tree-Planting under VCS

Norwegian forestry and carbon offset group Green Resources last week became the first carbon offset project developer to register a reforestation project under the Voluntary Carbon Standard’s guidelines for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, forestry, and land use. This week, a second project was also verified – and plenty of others are sure to follow.

Bottom-Up Approach Offers Hope for CDM in Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa has so far failed to harness the opportunities for sustainable development offered by the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, but First Climate’s <strong>Durando Ndongsok</strong> says it doesn’t have to be that way.  He offers a recipe for success post-2012 – and it starts on the ground.


PES in West Africa: An Online Resource for Students and Practitioners

The 15th Katoomba Meeting generated nearly 20 hours of dialogue and debate on how to incorporate the value of nature’s services into West Africa’s economy – which is poised to receive an influx of oil wealth that could have devastating consequences if poorly managed.  Now these discussions, featuring more than 50 of West Africa’s leading practitioners, policy-makers, and theorists in the field, are available for free on the Ecosystem Marketplace.



Can Libreville’s Electricity Users Save Gabon’s Watershed?

As mining and logging spread across Gabon’s Mbé watershed, they threaten the river that nourishes the capital city, Libreville, and also drives the city’s turbines. USAID and the Global Environment Facility are helping the government of Gabon and the Wildlife Conservation Society entice electricity users into paying to maintain the watershed for their good and the good of others.