After halting negotiations in Doha at the end of 2012, negotiators convened at the UN climate change conference in Bonn recently to discuss topics including finance, technology and capacity building, and the possible implementation of a REDD+ governing body. A central body could potentially create a solution for consistent emissions reductions reporting and verification and as well as for allocating financial resources for REDD+. “Making the yet-to-be created REDD+ body an operational entity with real powers, rather than giving it just an advisory role, could help overcome the current impasse between developing countries and developed countries to agree how the REDD+ mechanism should evolve,” stated Louis Verchot, Director at the Center for International Forestry Research.
Furthermore, negotiators recommended draft decisions to be approved at COP19, scheduled to be held in Warsaw in November, highlighting issues like protocols for national forest monitoring systems and appropriate timing for presentations on safeguards implementation. Delegates also decided to carry over discussions on methodological guidance for measuring, reporting and verifying (MRV) and how to best transfer payments for results-based action. Referring to COP19, Josefina Brana-Varela, Policy Director of WWF’s Forest and Climate Initiative, expects parties to “be able to come to a compromise solution on the issue of verification, which polarized Doha and stalled REDD+.”
At the end of May, the Paiter Suruí people of the Brazilian Amazon became the first indigenous people in the world to generate REDD+ credits under the Verified Carbon Standard. An Ecosystem Marketplace article explores the impetus behind this historic project – the community’s desire to prevent logging within the forest – and their continual effort towards conservation. In a collaborative effort, law firm Baker & McKenzie and the Institute for Conservation and Sustainable Development of Amazonas – assessed the carbon rights to the trees and estimated the initial carbon content of the forestland at 5 million tCO2e. Forest Trends’ CEO Michael Jenkins stated, “By going first, the Suruí have created a template for other indigenous people across the Amazon”.
Let’s get ready to Rimba!
A recent Ecosystem Marketplace article reveals the verification of the world’s largest REDD+ project, the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve. The VCS-validated project covers nearly 64,000 hectares in the province of Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. SCS Global Services recently verified the project’s carbon accounting, confirming the generation of 2,181,352 Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) over a one-year period in 2009-2010. The project is slated to reduce emissions by 119 million tC02e over its 30-year lifespan by protecting tropical peat lands and forests. Rimba Raya is also the first carbon project in the world to garner Triple Gold Validation under the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA).
The Darkwoods saga continues
Criticisms leveled at British Columbia’s carbon offsets program by the provincial Office of the Auditor General aren’t standing up to scrutiny, while VCS’s defense of the program appears to be accurate. The auditor’s report, for example, said that the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Darkwoods Carbon Project was not “credible”, partly because the report contended that most private land in the region is managed sustainably, and that a commercial buyer would have done the same. But that contention, like most of the OAG’s analysis, is wrong, according to reporting by Ecosystem Marketplace
Planting the seeds
A REDD+ pilot project in Nepal pursuing VCS/CCB certification recently provided seed grants to communities from watershed areas in Dolakha, Gorkha, and Chitwan districts for their role in conserving and sustainably managing forests. The three districts received a total of $95,000 for the third year of carbon payments. The watersheds maintained and increased 69,959 tCO2e in two years from the baseline stock of 4,292,967 tCO2e in 2010. Launched in 2009, the REDD+ pilot project is one of the world’s first carbon offset projects involving local communities in monitoring the carbon in their forests and providing the necessary training for them to participate in the project.
Through the REDD+ Corridor
Puma’s VCS and CCB-verified Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project, managed by Wildlife Works, along with the Puma Creative Factory in Rukinga, Kenya, highlights the sportswear industry leader’s commitment to corporate social responsibility and demonstrates how a major corporation can make a REDD project work from a business perspective. In the corporate world, investment in REDD+ projects is often hampered by a lack of information and concerns about due diligence. However, an increase in REDD+ guidance documents and resources proves that REDD+ has become progressively more recognized, potentially serving as a springboard for companies to invest in natural capital and to “green” their supply chains.
Carbon Tanzania, Tanzania’s only producer of carbon offsets through community-based carbon forestry projects, recently offset emissions resulting from the Karibu Travel and Tourism Fair. The offsets, generated by the Plan Vivo-validated Yaeda Valley REDD+ Project, are predicted to generate $54,000 per year and mitigate 18,012 tCO2e over a 20-year period. The Yaeda Valley REDD+ Project intends to benefit the Hadzabe community through profits from carbon sales by protecting key habitats and by providing improved natural resources and land security. The Karibu Travel and Tourism Fair is the first travel industry fair in Africa to offset carbon emissions, demonstrating the value and importance of environmental and social initiatives to the tourism industry.
Best in show
Wildlife Works Carbon LLC garnered bragging rights to the title of “best project developer in the forestry category” according to Environmental Finance and Carbon Finance Magazine’s Voluntary Carbon Market Rankings 2013. Wildlife Works was recognized for generating 5MtCO2e of REDD+ carbon credits and protecting 1.2M acres of forestland in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Additionally, Wildlife Works earned second place in the overall Project Developer category, competing against developers in renewable energy, energy efficiency and health. Microsoft, Allianz, La Poste, UPS and Barclay’s Bank are a few of the prominent corporations that have supported Wildlife Works REDD+ projects.
Three projects, “Reduced Emissions from Deforestation in the Ambositra – Vondrozo Forest Corridor (COFAV) – Madagascar Project”, “REDD Project in Brazil Nut Concessions in Madre de Dios”, and “Makira Protected Forest Area Project,” are currently undergoing Validation audits against the CCB Standards. Members of the public are encouraged to submit comments on “Reduced Emissions from Deforestation in the Ambositra – Vondrozo Forest Corridor (COFAV) – Madagascar Project”, until June 23rd. The comment period for the remaining two projects closed on June 12th.
National Strategy and Capacity Building
Turning over a New Leaf
In the Republic of Guinea, forest cover decreases at a rate of 36,000 hectares/year. In an effort to mitigate deforestation and to deliver health, education and agricultural intensification projects to local communities, New Leaf Africa will join forces with ecoPartners to work on Guinea’’s in-country REDD+ strategy. New Leaf Africa will work with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests as well as community organizations while ecoPartners will build off of frameworks in the UNFCCC and the VCS to construct a national land management plan. Future proceeds from REDD+ projects are intended to benefit Guinea’s forest-dependent communities.
STEWARDs of the forest
Sustainable and Thriving Environment for West Africa Regional Development (STEWARD) recently held a Capital Forum where stakeholders discussed Payments for Ecosystem Services as a way to reduce carbon emissions in Sierra Leone. Environmental Protection Agency Director, Dr. Kolleh Bangura commented on the distinctiveness of Sierra Leone’s forests due to their close proximity to urban areas as well as their value to society. Mr. Bangura stated that 24 ecosystem services have been identified in Sierra Leone to date, including timber production and agriculture.
In the DRC, close to 200 participants met in Kinshasa, DRC last month for a conference on “Deforestation trends in the Congo Basin: Reconciling economic growth and forest protection”. Headed by the World Bank and La commission des Foríªts d’Afrique Centrale (COMIFAC) Executive Secretariat, the conference intended to inform policy makers on the effects of economic growth in the Congo Basin in relation to forest conservation efforts. A 2009 COMIFAC-backed study on deforestation trends gave context to the conference, boosting understanding of the drivers of deforestation. Findings of the study, including a sector-by-sector analysis and recommendations, were presented at the conference.
First things first
At the first national workshop in Kigali, Rwanda during the last week in May, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) presented a project entitled “National Monitoring System and Measurement, Notification and Verification (MNV) following a regional approach”. The workshop, organized by the Ministry of Natural Resources and FAO, intended to “contribute to the ownership of the REDD+ process and of the national system of forest monitoring” and was attended by approximately 25 participants. Workshop presentations included identification of potential actors in the REDD+ process, deforestation and forest degradation causes, improving productivity of existing forests and other recommendations for improving the implementation of the in-country MNV project.
Meanwhile in Southeast Asia, Thailand intends to become the first country in the region to launch a forest carbon measurement project. The Treemaps project, funded by the World Wildlife Fund and the German government, involves measuring the carbon storage capability of Thailand’s forests and marks the first step towards augmenting Thailand’s carbon credibility at the global level. The project will begin in the Dong Phaya Yen-Khao Yai forest and is slated to take place nationwide by 2015.
Many hands make light work
The State Forestry Administration (SFA), the authoritative body on forests in China, and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) have renewed their partnership for an additional three years. CIFOR Director General Dr. Peter Holmgren and SFA Vice Minister Madam Yin Hong recently signed a memorandum of understanding representing a continued commitment “to enhance forestry research and policy analysis, promoting forests’ economic, social and ecological value at the national, regional and global levels”. CIFOR and SFA plan to collaboratively tackle issues related to China’s forestry development, including climate change mitigation, Payments for Environmental Services (PES), sustainable forest management, and forest land tenure reforms.
Not taken for granted
The German government recently committed €14.3 million earmarked for two natural resources management projects to the Philippines. The first project, implementation of the National REDD+ System Philippines, is projected to benefit people in forest dependent communities in the Bicol and Eastern Visayas regions. The second project, Protected Area Management Enhancement in the Philippines (PAME), intends to strengthen technical capacity of staff at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in managing existing protected lands. Both projects will be carried out until 2017 and are funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Natural Conservation and Nuclear Safety through GIZ.
Programa Biosfera, functioning as a collaborative partnership between Brazil and the Netherlands, recently partnered with Chicago-based EcoPlanet Bamboo, with an aim of accelerating Brazil’s movement toward a biobased economy through the industrialization of bamboo. Initiatives under Programa Biosfera will be developed for carbon quantification under carbon finance eligibility regulations, potentially allowing carbon offsets to be generated in the future, though it is still too early to say whether this will occur. EcoPlanet Bamboo currently has one VCS and CCB-validated carbon offset project in Nicaragua, funded by the World Bank Group’s political risk insurance arm, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.
Latin America looking for answers
Across Latin America, issues regarding land ownership and consultation mechanisms are hindering REDD+ project development. In Mexico, six REDD+ pilot projects are in the works, but the current administration has yet to take a clear stance on implementation of a REDD+ national plan. Meanwhile in Panama, indigenous groups resigned from the program in February due to a reported lack of free, prior and informed consent. A World Resources Institute report states that “Relatively few readiness proposals identify specific next steps to address land tenure challenges or establish mechanisms to coordinate with local institutions during REDD+ planning and implementation”, highlighting the need for increased REDD+ capacity building.
A job Welspun!
At a workshop organized by Welspun Energy and the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), representatives from USAID, The Energy and Resources Institute, Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy and the Institute of Green Economy gathered to discuss policy recommendations for a public-private partnership and increasing forest cover in India. Representatives from ICFRE emphasized the need for greater involvement at the ground level in climate change mitigation action. Welspun Energy proposed a Grow Forest Mechanism, which aims to create a platform for public-private sector collaboration by awarding Grow Forest Certificates (comparable to CERs) to private sector entities that reforest degraded land.
An uphill battle
Land tenure problems caused by land competition, invasion and a lack of titles continues to impede REDD+’s success around the world. Without surefire land ownership, stakeholders are unmotivated to partake in REDD+ activities, creating a downward spiral, according to William Sunderlin, author of CIFOR’s How are REDD+ proponents addressing tenure problems?. He states, “The best remedies in many cases cannot be the piecemeal efforts at tenure clarification within the bounds of the project, but instead require wholesale, landscape-wide reform.” Sunderlin suggests increased government involvement, improved consultations, clarified land claims, and transparent data to clarify carbon rights and to resolve land tenure discrepancies.
All systems go
A meeting organized by the Ministry of Environment’s Sub-Secretary on Climate Change to establish a national greenhouse gas inventory system in Ecuador in the agriculture and land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) sectors convened representatives from a variety of UN and government agencies. Participants collaborated to identify a GHG inventory team, as well as principal agriculture and forest data providers, and -produced a draft agreement that outlined the proposed facilitation of the creation and development of the agriculture and LULUCF GHG inventory. Furthermore, Ecuador hosted its first regional workshop on National Forest Monitoring Systems, bringing together both representatives from countries throughout the region and members of international organizations. Participants shared best practices regarding forest inventories, satellite imagery and remote sensing and mapping methods in an effort to strengthen forest monitoring capacity.
Methodology and Standards Watch
Gold Standard getting jiggy with the trees
Market participants can now weigh in on the Gold Standard’s proposed land use and forests framework. The organization has asked for comments on the draft framework, the Afforestation/Reforestation requirements and corresponding A/R guidelines. Currently, only A/R projects are valid under the framework, but further project types will include agroforestry, improved forest management, improved livestock management and climate-smart agriculture. Existing projects from other standards from either the voluntary or compliance markets can transfer over to pursue Gold Standard certification if they meet the requirements.
The Gold Standard is inviting public feedback on the above through June 28 (with the standard expected to be valid as of August 2013), as well as public feedback on its suppressed demand methodology for energy use for low GHG food preservation.
Now open for public comment!
The American Carbon Registry invites you to submit feedback on modifications to the following voluntary carbon market methodologies: Afforestation and Reforestation of Degraded Lands, Emissions Reductions through Truck Stop Electrification, Conversion of High-Bleed Pneumatic Controllers in Oil and Natural Gas Systems, and Energy Efficiency Measures in Thermal Applications of Non-Renewable Biomass. Comments can be submitted here until July 12, 2013.
Finance & Economics
Raising the bar
The Luxembourg-based Althelia Climate Fund, an asset management platform dedicated to financing the transition towards sustainable land use and ecosystems conservation, is expected to invest in carbon credits, certified commodities, sustainable agriculture produce and other ecosystem-service projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America. To date, Althelia has raised $80 million for REDD+ and other ecosystem-service projects. A new Ecosystem Marketplace article
explores Althelia’s commitment to fund early-stage and pilot projects by raising $200 million to $266 million over a three-year period. Just recently, the Fund closed its first financing round at $80 million, signifying a growing confidence in financing for sustainable land use.
Money doesn’t grow on trees
Research by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences’ Department of International Environment and Development Studies outlines four prospective mechanisms for REDD+ financing where funds would filter from the national level to local projects. The authors discuss “wider governance structures” such as funding from the global to the country level through intermediaries, a separate national fund, a fund in a national state administration, and the implementation of a conditional budget which would channel resources into local project development or capacity building. The implementation of appropriate funding mechanisms is critical to the long-term success of REDD+ and its ability to deliver reduced carbon emissions as well as livelihood benefits.
Keeping the peace
Land ownership disputes between the villages of Muungano and Milola Magharibi, Tanzania have recently involved the government after The Tanzania Community Forest Conservation Network’s (TCFCN) new forest conservation project instigated heightened tensions. The impetus for the disagreements sprang from a disputed 50 hectare piece of land, which would provide additional REDD+ money to the rightful village. The local government has allegedly failed to maintain forest reserves, placing the burden of land tenure disagreements on the local community members themselves. Recently, the situation in the Lindi District “reached a point whereby no negotiation can work to resolve it,” stated Lindi District Land Officer Manase Nkuri.
A fair share
At the Workshop on Context, Elements and Dynamics of REDD+ in Indonesia, CIFOR report author Grace Wong presented REDD+ benefit sharing, defined as “the distribution of direct and indirect net gains from the implementation of REDD+”. Wong highlighted the issue of land tenure and its role in identifying REDD+ beneficiaries, the risks involved with benefit sharing, and the varying approaches in 13 REDD+ pilot countries ranging from Brazil to Tanzania. Wong’s analysis unearthed key challenges such as inconsistent legal provisions and implementation on behalf of the government, corruption, and inadequate funding.
Science & Technology Review
Outta this world
Launched in February, NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite, the most advanced Earth observation satellite to date, captures high resolution images of every point on the globe every 16 days. Now, data from this cutting-edge satellite is freely available from GloVis, EarthExplorer, or on the LandsatLook Viewer. Landsat 8 marks a turning-point for the REDD+ community as “nearly every country serious about deforestation monitoring uses the Landsat series,” stated Greg Asner, a senior scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology. REDD+ stakeholders hope to use data from Landsat 8 to quantify carbon emissions reductions.
Publications & Tools
Green means go
A new UNEP-UN-REDD report, Integrating REDD+ into a green economy transition: opportunities and challenges will provide a knowledge base for the Global Symposium on REDD+ in a Green Economy, slated to be held in Indonesia from June 19-21. The report, directed towards “communities of practice” including policy-makers, civil-society organizations and academia, highlights the concept of a green economy and the role of forests and land use in reference to natural capital.
A sense of security
A recent CIFOR report, Does tenure security lead to REDD+ effectiveness? Reflections from Five Emerging Sites in Indonesia, concludes that while land security is a critical component to REDD+, it is “not sufficient by itself.” As part of CIFOR’s Global Comparative Study on REDD+, the report draws from data gathered in 2010 from 20 villages in five REDD+ project sites in Aceh, West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. In Indonesia, forests fall under the state’s jurisdiction, but in reality, communities and individuals manage much of the land, encumbering REDD+ development.
Safe and sound
At the Southeast Asia Regional Training Workshop on Social and Environmental Soundness of REDD+ Programming and Implementation last November, stakeholders collaborated to improve the work of USAID and partner organizations on REDD+ and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks. Social and Environmental Soundness in REDD+ Programs and Projects – Workshop Summary Report was recently released and includes an overview, as well as key messages and session summaries from the workshop.
Program Associate, REDD+ Finance – Forest Trends
Based in Washington, D.C., the Program Associate will work within the Forest Trade and Finance Program on REDDX, Forest Trends’ REDD+ finance tracking initiative, and will be responsible for managing the quality of REDDX data. Candidates should have a Master’s Degree in environmental science, geography, economics or international development and be fluent in Spanish and/or French. Read more about the position here.
Project Assistant, REDD+ for the Guiana Shield – ONF International
Based in French Guiana, the Project Assistant will support the planning, implementation and monitoring of technical activities within the framework of the project and encourage the emergence of institutional dialogue among forest services in the Guiana Shield. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s Degree in a related field, 2+ years of experience and be fluent in French. Read more about the position here.
Technical Specialist, Zambia Community Forests REDD+/Forestry – Winrock International
Based in Zambia, the Technical Specialist will manage the technical activities related to REDD+ strategies and work at the regional, government and community levels to facilitate broad-based policy dialogue and capacity building. Candidates should have an advanced degree in natural resource management, forestry, conservation, or another relevant field and 8+ years’ experience in forestry, forest carbon or REDD+. Read more about the position here.
REDD+ Policy and Capacity Building Specialist – Terra Global Capital
Based in Zambia, the Specialist will undertake research, policy analysis and collaborative dialogue to inform REDD+ strategy and legal frameworks in Zambia. Candidates should have a Master’s Degree in governance, policy dialogue, social sciences, forestry, or a related field and 8+ years of related experience. Read more about the position here.
Communications Coordinator, Climate Change – Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
Based in Indonesia, the Communications Coordinator will liaise regularly with scientists from the Global Comparative Study of REDD+ and write articles about research findings for CIFOR’s Forests News blog. Candidates should have a Master’s Degree in journalism, communications or a related discipline and 8+ years’ experience in science communications and/or science journalism. Read more about the position here.
Research Assistant, Climate – Center for Global Development
Based in Washington, D.C, the Research Assistant will conduct literature reviews and data compilation and analysis for ongoing and new research projects. Potential areas of focus include climate finance, REDD+, energy and adaption. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s Degree in economics, international affairs or a related field and 1-2 years of professional experience. Read more about the position here.
2 Positions – Rainforest Alliance
Based in Indonesia, the Forest Management Certification & Verification Coordinator will provide Forest Management certification and verification services and will draft reports for assessments and audits performed. Candidates should have a degree in forestry, natural resource management or a related field and 2+ years’ experience in forestry (FSC certification). Also based in Indonesia, the REDD+ Social Specialist will support and provide oversight for the implementation of REDD+ National Development Strategies in Guatemala and will coordinate capacity building processes for key stakeholders. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s Degree in the natural sciences and 5-7+ years of experience.
2 Positions – Nature Services Peru
Based in Cusco, the Project Coordinator will be responsible for the development and certification of environmental credits and will develop baseline, PIN and PDD documents. Candidates should have a Master’s Degree in science, engineering, or business, 5+ years of relevant work experience and be fluent in Spanish. Also based in Cusco, the Additional resources
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