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?

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.


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.

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?

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.



Special Report: Carbon Payments and Ghana

Cocoa is one of Ghana’s most important exports, but current farming techniques wreak havoc on both soil and surrounding forests.  This is not only unsustainable for cocoa, but also contributes to global warming and biodiversity loss. EM examines efforts to promote sustainable cocoa farming by tapping into the global carbon markets.



Special Report: Carbon Payments and Ghana

Cocoa is one of Ghana’s most important exports, but current farming techniques wreak havoc on both soil and surrounding forests.  This is not only unsustainable for cocoa, but also contributes to global warming and biodiversity loss. Can payments for ecosystem services help reverse this trend?


CDM in Africa: Facing the Hurdle of Conventional Finance

Climate change threatens the world as a whole – and Africa in particular, because increases in droughts and floods mean more on a continent where the population is already struggling to make ends meet. The continent therefore has more than most to gain from financing schemes that promote sustainable development and slow climate change – but will Africa be in a position to benefit?

Second in the Series: The Road to Accra, leading up to the October Katoomba Meeting in Accra, Ghana.


Methodologies Tame Forest Carbon Jungle

As forests convert carbon dioxide in the air to carbon stored in woods, leaves and roots, a range of organizations are, in turn, working to convert forests into carbon offsets. The ‘exchange rate’ of this conversion — or the amount of value brought by intervention — is determined by specific standards’ methodologies, which are technical, but critical, tools shaping the rules of the game.

UN Aims to Streamline Cost of Developing Forestry Offset Projects

It’s expensive to develop carbon offset projects that reduce emissions by capturing carbon in trees, and one reason is that every project has to develop its own methodologies for measuring results. The UNFCCC is asking for help in streamlining that process.

Waste-to-Energy Plant is Ivory Coast’s First CDM Project

French carbon dealer ecosur has registered a waste-to-energy carbon-offset project in Cote d'Ivoire under the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism. It's the first CDM project in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), and one of the few in sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa.

EM Cheat Sheet: The Additionality Debate

If you want to sell carbon offsets in exchange for action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, you first have to prove that the money you’re earning is what makes the action you’re taking possible. That, in a nutshell, is "additionality" – a simple concept, but one that’s proving difficult to put into practice.

EKO-ECO: the Ecosystem Services Blog

When Ecosystem Marketplace launched in 2005, the idea of preserving nature by incorporating its value into our economic system was mostly an academic exercise. Today, it’s the cornerstone of a fast-moving and innovative branch of finance. To keep our readers up-to-speed on the latest developments, EM and EKO Asset Management Partners have launched the EKO-ECO blog.

Bonn Talks Open with REDD Agenda

Deforestation accounts for 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions, and the UN bodies charged with mapping out the role of forestry offsets in a post-Kyoto climate-change regime are meeting in Bonn, Germany, this week and next to continue the process of hammering out their differences. The groups will meet at least three more times before gathering in Copenhagen at the end of the year.

New V-Carbon “Stamp of Approval”

Buyers of voluntary carbon offsets have no shortage of projects to choose from, but where is the line between choice and information overload? The Environmental Defense Fund says we crossed it long ago, and aims to simplify the whole process with an online list of eleven projects whose offsets it believes will stand the test of time. The Ecosystem Marketplace gives it a click.

How Much for this Mountain Forest?

The downward flow of water from the Eastern Arc Mountains of Africa generates up to half of Tanzania’s power and provides nearly all of Dar es Salaam’s drinking water. As logging and agriculture move up the slopes, however, they destroy the natural ecosystems that support the ancient catchments – resulting in torrents in the wet season and trickles in the dry. Can valuing those ecosystem services lead to their salvation?

Making Wildlife Pay in Northern Tanzania

Ecotourism and sustainable trophy hunting have delivered verifiable conservation benefits in parts of Africa, but scaling up has proven difficult. Now, an innovative pilot scheme in Tanzania is trying an alternative approach: paying communities directly to protect wildlife habitats. The Ecosystem Marketplace examines this promising new model for wildlife conservation.

The Matrix: Mapping Ecosystem Service Markets

The once-radical concept of saving the environment by documenting the economic value of environmental services and then getting industry to pay is finally catching on – but how is one to keep track of all the new methodologies and concepts? The Ecosystem Marketplace presents The Matrix, a new tool for surveying the ecosystem services landscape.

Payments for Ecosystem Services: Download the Primer

Payments for Ecosystem Services encourage entities that benefit from ecosystem services to pay for maintaining those ecosystems – but how? At the Biodiversity Conference (COP 9) in Bonn, Germany, Forest Trends, the Katoomba Group and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have jointly unveiled a nuts-and-bolts primer designed to answer that question.

Ugandan Water Markets: What Businesses Know (and Don’t)

Water markets can help provide a solution to Uganda’s looming water crisis – but only if buyers understand the stakes and the dynamics. Alice Ruhweza, East and Southern Africa Katoomba Group Coordinator, says Ugandan water users understand the crisis but haven’t yet explored market-based solutions. The Ecosystem Marketplace summarizes her findings.

Water Trading: The Basics

Water trading has been hailed as the "next carbon", and schemes for valuing and trading both water usage and water "inputs" are proliferating across North and South America, Asia, and Africa. The Ecosystem Marketplace reviews the fundamentals of this promising ecosystem market.

Ecosystem Farming

Following its success with an innovative "Working for Water" program, South Africa has begun experimenting with a whole new approach to conservation and restoration; an approach that has scientists "mapping" ecosystem services and land-users "farming" them. The Ecosystem Marketplace takes a closer look at these recent developments and considers whether or not "trading" will be the next new verb for ecosystem services in the RSA.