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This Week In Forest Carbon: We The People

Tanzania launches public consultation on a draft of its national REDD+ strategy. The Democratic Republic of Congo’s drafting of its own national REDD+ strategy is on the rocks, as civic society organizations criticize its lack of community engagement. Across the Pacific, WOCAN, Pact, and RRI release new studies on women’s involvement in forest management in Asia.

Tanzania launches public consultation on a draft of its national REDD+ strategy. The Democratic Republic of Congo’s drafting of its own national REDD+ strategy is on the rocks, as civic society organizations criticize its lack of community engagement. Across the Pacific, WOCAN, Pact, and RRI release new studies on women’s involvement in forest management in Asia.

This article was orginally published in the Forest Carbon newlsetter. Click here to read the original.

6 August 2012| The call for community engagement as a subset of REDD readiness was reinforced through various outlets these past few weeks, whether in stories around Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) or in studies exploring the potential to engage women more actively in forestry leadership roles.

In the wake of an  FPIC field dialogue  in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the REDD Climate Working Group – made up of national and local environment and development NGOs in DRC –  suspended its participation  in the working groups that were intended to produce the first draft of a national REDD strategy. In open letters to DRC’s Environment Minister, GTCR criticized the lack of effective public and community engagement in national REDD+ policymaking, calling for a more decentralized consultation process for all stakeholders involved. In the meantime, DRC’s eastern neighbor Tanzania is seeking comment  by email on the second draft of its own national REDD+ strategy.

 

New studies are out on the status of women’s tenure and leadership around forest management in Asia. WOCAN and Pact write on  Cambodia, while the Rights and Resources Initiative writes on  Indonesia, China, Nepal, and the Philippines.

Moving down to the subnational level, the Electric Power Research Institute released a massive 160-page  report  that reviews the progress of 14 subnational REDD+ programs around the world – offering in-depth looks at REDD+ programs in Acre and Mato Grosso in Brazil, Chiapas in Mexico, and Aceh in Indonesia.

While Bosques Amazí³nicos  received VCS validation  for its Peruvian REDD project last week, another Latin American project is emerging in Brazil’s State of Amapí¡, where the state government is  laying the foundations  for a partnership over a REDD+ project in the State Forest with London-based investor Permian Global.

 

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News

 

International Policy

Norway’s anti-corruption round-up

In June, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and the Anti Corruption Resource Centre/Christopher Michelsen Institute (U4/CMI)  hosted back-to-back seminars  which rallied dozens of country representatives, civil society and other experts to discuss actions that countries are taking to address corruption risks in REDD+. The Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, Peru, and Bhutan are planning to undertake nationally-adapted REDD+ Corruption Risks Assessments this year. Vietnam and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are looking at a range of REDD+ anti-corruption activities, ranging from identifying corruption-conducive legal loopholes to leveraging FPIC as a basis for a mechanism for handling complaints. The U4/CMI seminar continued the discussion, with panelists including researchers focusing on Ghana, Guyana, and the Philippines.

 

Project Development

BAM gets stamp of approval on REDD project

Last week, Scientific Certification Systems (SCS)  announced VCS validation  for what is reportedly Peru’s first validated REDD project. Predicted to generate 2 MtCO2e in VCUs per year, the project will leverage carbon credit revenue to prevent illegal deforestation on 290,695 ha of Madre de Dios forestland, while investing in a Brazil nut processing plant to increase livelihood conditions of Brazil nut concessionaries. Project sponsors include the Federation of Brazil Nut Concessioners of Madre de Dios (FEPROCAMD) and Peru-based Bosques Amazí³nicos (BAM), which was also behind the VCS-validated Campo Verde reforestation project in Brazil.

 

Permian Global jumps aboard for Amapí¡ REDD+ pilot

Back at Rio+20, Governor Camilo Capiberibe of Brazil’s State of Amapí¡ signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with London-based investor Permian Global to explore a potential partnership over a REDD+ project in the State Forest (FLOTA/AP). To follow up, Amapí¡’s government – including the Civil Cabinet, the State Attorney General (PGE), the Development Agency of Amapí¡ (ADAP), the Secretary of State for the Environment (SEMA), and the State Forestry Institute (IEF) – gathered last Monday to discuss a work plan and feasibility study. To start off, the partners will lay down conditions of cooperation and develop a legal framework for their collaboration. In the coming days, a team from Permian Global is scheduled to help further shape the proposal.


Qantas returns to the motherland

 

Australian airline Qantas has  entered into an agreement  to buy over 1 MtCO2e in carbon credits from a revegetation project in Henbury Station, a 527,000-ha station in Central Australia bought by RM Williams Agricultural Holdings for $13 million last year. The credits will go toward supporting both Qantas’ corporate and customer carbon offset programs, and help fulfill the airline’s liabilities under Australia’s carbon pricing scheme. Qantas’s John Valastro said it is the first time the airline has sourced carbon credits locally rather than from international sources, stating that many passengers want to fly carbon neutral over domestically sourced credits. The Federal Government has contributed $9 million to the project, which will see the station destocked and restored to a natural landscape.

 

Bada Bing, bada boom

The Carbonfund.org Foundation, an offset provider based in Bethesda, Maryland, just announced the re-launch of a refurbished Envirosearch.org, a free, Bing-powered search engine that enables anyone to help protect the environment through web searches. Envirosearch.org uses Bing’s Internet search engine and ad and link revenue relationships to support environmental conservation projects, including a reforestation initiative in Haiti, a mangrove project in India, and tree-planting projects across the US including in California, Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York. For every user that makes envirosearch.org their homepage or adds it as their preferred search engine and Likes it on Facebook, Carbonfund.org will plant five trees – up to 500,000 trees.  

 

Mí¼nter musters up with Code REDD

ARCA driver Leilani Mí¼nter races not only cars, but deforestation as well. Last week she  announced her support  for the Code REDD Campaign, pledging to offset her unavoidable emissions from racing through Wildlife Works’ Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary REDD project in SE Kenya, one of the approved REDD+ projects in the campaign. In 2007, she became the first carbon neutral race driver, adopting an acre of rainforest for every race she’s run ever since. “We are in a race against deforestation,” Mí¼nter said, adding that “in the time it takes me to finish one race, 7,500 acres of forest will be lost to deforestation.”

 

ASAE meeting finds ReLeaf

For the first time, The Center for Association Leadership (ASAE) – a member association representing 10,000 organizations from various trade associations, individual membership societies, and voluntary groups in the US and nearly 50 countries around the world – is partnering with conservation nonprofit American Forests to plant 5,000 trees, one for each person who attends the 2012 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition (August 11-14). This effort, part of American Forests’ new Meeting ReLeaf program, will offset the meeting’s carbon footprint by planting trees in Texas in honor of the host state for this year’s meeting.  


Transaction takes a bow

 

The 2012 Environmental Finance Awards recently tipped its hat to an innovative mover of forest carbon finance. Terra Global Capital received the “Sustainable Forestry Deal of the Year” Award for its work with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to structure and underwrite the world’s first political risk insurance contract for a REDD project, which protected Terra Global’s investment in the Oddar Meanchey REDD project in Cambodia.

 

National Strategy & Capacity

FPIC in the DRC

In May, the Forest Peoples Programme and national partners hosted a  field dialogue  for The Forest Dialogue on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as part of a project to ensure that DRC’s rural forest communities can protect their rights and maximize the benefits they receive from REDD initiatives. IIED provides an  in-depth look  at a FPIC discussion with members of the Kifulu community in southwest DRC, near the Luki National Reserve.

 

At the policymaking level, DRC’s thematic working groups were slated to produce the first draft of a national REDD strategy by July 15. In June, however, the REDD Climate Working Group (GTCR) –  backed by DRC civil society organizations –  sent open letters  to  the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and DRC’s Environment Minister, criticizing the lack of effective public and community participation in national REDD+ policy-making, particularly around the mid-term review process. GTCR  suspended its participation in the working groups, calling for a reorganization of DRC’s REDD governance to ensure meaningful stakeholder engagement. The FCPF made no decision on the mid-term review. More formal assessments of readiness will likely be required down the line as DRC considers a request for another $5 million in readiness activities.


Tanzania opens the floor

Next door, the REDD+ Task Force in Tanzania is  seeking comments  by email on a second draft of Tanzania’s national REDD+ strategy and a draft action plan, which mark a critical step toward finalizing the country’s REDD+ strategy. As part of the consultation process, the Secretariat of the National REDD+ Task Force is also slated to host workshops throughout the country this month to discuss the draft and next steps with stakeholders, with a national workshop at the end of the moth. The Parliamentary Committee on Land, Natural Resources and the Environment is scheduled to deliberate on the draft strategy before it is sent to Cabinet for approval.

 

Deep dive into subnational REDDiness

In a massive 160-page  report, the Electric Power Research Institute reviews the progress of 14 subnational REDD+ programs around the world and evaluates their potential to provide high-quality offsets that could be used for compliance purposes or transferred into other systems of performance-based compensation. The report presents four in-depth case studies of REDD+ programs, including the two states (Acre, Brazil, and Chiapas, Mexico) that signed an MOU with the State of California to link their REDD+ programs with California’s new cap-and-trade system. It also includes the state that has achieved the greatest emissions reductions (Mato Grosso, Brazil), and one of the most mature REDD+ programs in Indonesia (Aceh).


Satellites for sinks in the Congo Basin

As part of REDD+ readiness efforts, UN FAO announced that a  new regional initiative  will help 10 Central African countries in the Congo Basin to set up advanced national forest monitoring systems and strengthen regional cooperation. The initiative will be managed jointly by the Central Africa Forests Commission (COMIFAC) and FAO in collaboration with the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE). The Congo Basin Forests Fund, launched by the Governments of Norway and the UK through the African Development Bank, is funding the initiative with €6.1 million. Among the 10 countries, Cameroon received special coverage here on its $233-million efforts to protect its forests with satellite monitoring, with funding from the Agence Française de Développement (French Development Agency).

 

Closing the knowledge gap in Zambia

Zambia’s forestry department in the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, with support from the UN-REDD Programme and UN FAO, recently  held a training  on GHG reporting and monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) in order to support Zambia’s REDD readiness process. The training and handover of new GIS equipment to the forestry department and other stakeholders are intended to boost the capacity of provinces countrywide to monitor their own forests and curb prevailing deforestation due to charcoal burning, unsustainable agricultural and land use practices. Under the UN-REDD programme, Zambia is expected to come up with a policy statement on how to regulate its forests.


Judgment day takes a rain check

Greenpeace’s Up for Grabs  report  – released on Monday –  sheds light on  Special Agricultural and Business Leases (SABLs), a type of concession introduced by Papua New Guinea’s government in 2003 (under Sir Michael Somare). The 72 SABLs granted so far have reportedly given away carbon rights to 630 MtCO2e (potentially representing over $23 billion if sold) and over 5 million ha of PNG’s tropical forests to foreign interests. Greenpeace obtained expert analysis that SABL-covered forests would release almost 3 BtCO2e if deforested. After ousting Somare from the prime ministership last year, the current caretaker prime minister, Peter O’Neill, initiated a commission of inquiry into concessions granted under Somare. For Somare, who is expected to serve as part of the new governing coalition, the political time bomb is ticking down to the new Parliament when the commission’s report – believed to include criticisms of SABLs – is scheduled for discussion.

 

Price tank puts salt in NZ’s wound

As the price of carbon slipped to new lows on world markets (despite the European Commission’s move to reduce new carbon credit issuance in the EU ETS), the price of spot NZUs  fell to $5.15/tCO2e  last week. David Rhodes of the Forest Owners Association says to incentivize forestry, the Government should restrict the inflow of carbon credits which have been cheapened by Europe’s economic battering.  Cabinet papers released recently showed that the majority of people making submissions on NZ ETS amendments supported a restriction on foreign credits. Such a restriction, of course, was ruled out by the NZ government in June. Thomas Song, CEO of NZ-based softwood plantation firm Ernslaw One,  said  it was not worth planting trees for carbon if it was worth under $8/tCO2e.  


Maharashtra pays it forward

 

Within the next couple of months, India’s government is slated to decide on a proposal (submitted by the social forestry department in late June) to offer “tree credits” to residents for planting trees. Building off the carbon credit concept, the social forestry department has proposed to offer incentives for individuals, corporates, institutions and industries to grow or protect trees on owned or possessed plots. Under the proposal, tree nurturers would receive a share of credits earned by the government, to be offered until the tree reaches maturity, after which certificates would be redeemable. The proposal is aimed at raise Maharashtra State’s forest cover to 33% from its current 20.13%. To achieve the target, the government aims to plant 100 crore trees annually for the next five years.

 

Methodology & Standards Watch

 

VCS revises REDD methodology modules

Two modules from VCS methodology  VM0007: REDD Methodology Modules  have been revised through the VCS methodology approval process. The revisions for each module – VMD0007 and VMD0017 – are intended to improve uncertainty estimates in the baseline scenario. Module VMD0007 was also revised to allow for new modeling approaches. The revisions, carried out by the Field Museum with support from TerraCarbon, were assessed by validation/verification bodies Scientific Certification Systems and Rainforest Alliance.

 

Human Dimension

The fairer sex in Cambodia…

Women could be instrumental to the success of REDD+ in Cambodia, which recently joined the global carbon market through REDD+ but has yet to sell credits. A  study  in Oddar Meanchey province by WOCAN and Pact – reportedly the world’s first to analyze the role of gender in an existing REDD program – found that women are more adept than men in foraging and marketing non-timber forest products. Despite this, household responsibilities and cultural attitudes prevent most women from capitalizing upon their knowledge and assuming forestry leadership in projects like REDD+. Pact and UN-REDD representatives said that once Cambodia starts selling carbon credits, women’s inclusion in forestry decision-making and REDD+ should reinforce each other. With ongoing debate about REDD’s efficacy, however, funding is low on both fronts.

 

…Indonesia, China, Nepal, and the Philippines

Securing Women’s Tenure and Leadership for Forest Management: A Summary of the Asian Experience, a  suite of analyses  published by the Rights and Resources Initiative with funding from the Norwegian Embassy in Jarkata, was released in Beijing at the International Workshop on Gender and Forest Tenure in Asia and Collective Forest Tenure Reform. In what is perhaps the most comprehensive analysis on the state of forest tenure rights and gender rights in Asia, the report documents continued evidence of exclusion and inequality on gender grounds through case studies from Indonesia, China, Nepal, and the Philippines.

 

Science & Technology Review

Carnegie in Colombia

Scientists from Stanford University’s Carnegie Institution and counterpart institutions working in the Colombian Amazon have created high-res carbon maps for 64,000 square miles of forest across 40% of the Colombian Amazon, boosting the country’s capacity to measure emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (coverage from ScienceDaily and Mongabay). Leveraging  the CLASlite carbon stock assessment approach developed by the Carnegie Institution’s Greg Asner, the research determined that the forest in the study area  – a  designated REDD+ pilot area – stores 1.5 BtCO2e. Asner said the next phase of the project will address the challenges of climate change in Colombia and the western Amazon Basin.

 

Jobs

DIRECTOR, HABITAT MARKETS – ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND

Based in San Francisco, the director will guide EDF’s work on both traditional mitigation banking systems and more novel recovery credit trading systems such as those recently piloted at Fort Hood in Texas. Candidates should have 12+ years of relevant professional experience and relevant graduate degree (e.g. business admin, law, policy, or conservation science). Read more about the position  here.

 

REDD+ CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT OFFICER – RSPB

Based in Bedfordshire, UK, the officer will deliver a new program of work developing technical capacity in REDD+ with RSPB’s overseas partners and work with the International Funding Unit and others to raise funds for these activities. Candidates should have a relevant MSc and experience working on REDD+ and related policies and initiatives. Read more about the position  here.

 

DIRECTOR, SUSTAINABLE FINANCE INITIATIVE – RAINFOREST ALLIANCE

Based in New York, the director will be responsible for enhancing opportunities and capacities for SMEs/producers to access finance and influence the traditional lending that investors make to large businesses in a way that increases their contribution to conservation. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s with an extensive background in finance or banking (advanced degree with specialization in finance preferred), 10+ years’ work experience in finance, and prior field experience. Read more about the position  here.

 

REDD+ ADVISOR, NET-ZERO DEFORESTATION ZONES PROJECT – RAINFOREST ALLIANCE

Based in Lima and Quito, the advisor will contribute to strengthening the institutional and local capacity required to facilitate the implementation of REDD+ demonstration activities, policies and legal frameworks in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Candidates should have a Master’s in forestry, ecology, environmental economics or related field, 7+ years’ REDD-related work experience in forests and climate change, including 3+ years’ work experience in Colombia, Ecuador and/or Peru. Read more about the position  here.

 

TECHNICAL ADVISOR, PROTECTED AREAS MANAGEMENT, CARBI PROJECT – WWF

Based in Hue, Vietnam, the advisor will be responsible for coordinating project activities and budget across the Protected Areas landscape, with a focus on capacity building and mentoring of WWF, government, and partner staff, as well as M&E of outputs against actual outcomes. Candidates should have a Master’s (or equivalent) in conservation, natural resource management, wildlife management, or related field, and knowledge of conservation and natural resource management issues in the Mekong region. Read more about the position  here.

 

KEY ACCOUNT SERVICES OFFICER FOR CIS COUNTRIES – FSC

Based in Moscow, Russia, the officer will be responsible for supporting the Regional Director CIS in relations with key clients of FSC, market development work in CIS countries; mainly in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus, and in Russia. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s and 3+ years’ work experience in key account management and/or marketing, and fluency in English and Russian. Read more about the position  here.

 

GEO FOR LAC PROJECT ASSISTANT INTERN – UNEP

Based in Panama, the assistant will help with the development of the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) and other relevant integrated environmental assessment processes like sub-global assessments (SGAs) reports in Latin America and the Caribbean. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s in environmental science/policy, ecology, geography, GIS, or related field, and fluency in English and Spanish. Read more about the position  here.

 

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