Deforestation, forest degradation, and peatland emissions contribute to approximately 15 percent of human-caused global carbon dioxide emissions. Many countries cut down forests, for economic gain from timber, to clear land for large-scale agriculture, and for subsistence. The loss of forests and changing land use has been both a driver and a result of poverty in developing countries.
The Clinton Climate Change Initiative’s Forestry Program is working with governments and local partners in Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania and Guyana in two principal areas: developing sustainable forest management pilot projects including Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) and measuring forest carbon emissions. Together these activities can help countries reduce poverty by creating a revenue stream from the sale of carbon credits and other forest goods and services.
Sustainable Forest Management Pilot Projects
The CCI Forestry Program supports sustainable forest management pilot projects with the aim to reduce carbon emissions through conserving or re-growing forests, while delivering co-benefits such as protection of biodiversity, and securing land tenure and poverty alleviation for forest communities. CCI has programs at the invitation of the following countries:
Indonesia: CCI is currently supporting seven Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) pilot projects in Indonesia, working with private investors, local government, and community organizations in areas that target high biodiversity and carbon-rich peatland. The total area of these projects amounts to over 500,000ha of ecologically significant land.
- Kenya: In a country where less than two percent of the total land area is forested, CCI is developing a project that will reforest over 1,300 ha of degraded land. Working alongside local communities, this project will also provide critical ecological services such as protecting a water catchment area, flood mitigation and maintenance of wildlife habitat.
- Tanzania: CCI worked with villages to design REDD+, improve forest governance and develop forest management and land use plans. CCI is now focused on developing national social and environmental safeguards for REDD+ projects.
- Guyana: CCI worked with the President’s Office on a Low Carbon Development Strategy, including a forest monitoring plan to preserve 15 million hectares of forest. In recognition of Guyana’s progress, Norway has committed to provide $250 million by 2015 for climate services.
- Cambodia: From 2008-2012 CCI developed two REDD+ projects in Cambodia, including Cambodia’s first REDD+ effort in Oddar Meanchey. The second project in Siem Reap province worked to legalize community forest sites under national law. These projects have now been handed over to CCI’s partners and the Cambodian Forest Administration.
CCI’s scope of management runs from concept to carbon sale – and every step in between. CCI also links projects to national measurement and reporting verification (MRV) systems. Community engagement, through engaged Free Prior and Informed Consent processes and the application of the REDD+ Social and Environmental Standards to safeguard against negative project impacts are key aspects of CCI’s project design and development process.
CCI has also contributed extensively to several methodologies for quantifying carbon in peat areas and from ‘mosaic’ deforestation. These scientific models ensure that carbon is being properly accounted for, and being in the public domain, these help to drive down overall development costs for REDD+ projects worldwide.
CCI projects serve as replicable models for sustainable forest management and pave the way for large-scale action in each of the countries where CCI works. All projects are focused on both climate change mitigation and poverty alleviation in some of the poorest areas on the planet.
Establishing REDD+ Projects
CCI has three important roles in the creation of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) projects.
- Initial screening. CCI collects information regarding potential project opportunities including carbon stocks, biodiversity conservation and promotion and enhancement of local community livelihoods. Information is also collected on constraints such as land tenure issues and user rights, threats to the forest from illegal logging and land encroachment.
- Feasibility study. CCI undertakes detailed project feasibility studies, which examine the opportunities and threats in greater depth, including the difficult questions of land tenure and political will. CCI is selective in the projects it pursues, with an eye towards piloting a range of different project types.
- Development of methodology and project design document (PDD). CCI develops an appropriate carbon accounting methodology if one is not already publically available. These are then used to draft a PDD for each REDD+ project, to be certified under a voluntary carbon market trading scheme such as the VCS or CCB .
- Forest carbon registration and sale. CCI operates as an honest broker to arrange registration and sales, helping to negotiate emissions reduction purchase agreement (ERPA) between governments, communities and investors.
CCI engages with local government and community organizations to ensure that a thorough Free Prior and Informed Consent process has occurred with communities. Besides being the law, this community engagement ensures that communities and projects developers agree on the goals of the project and steps forward. To safeguard against any negative effects of a project, CCI also supports the adaptation of the REDD+ Social and Environmental Standards.
Policy Dialogue and Advocacy
CCI engages in REDD+ policy development at the national and sub-national government levels. For example, in Indonesia, CCI commissioned a report to evaluate the fund transfer mechanisms and benefit sharing protocols of carbon sales.
MEASURING & VALUING FOREST CARBON EMISSIONS
The overarching development goal of the Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) program is to enhance national socio-economic development through sustainable land and natural resources management. Sustainable natural resources management has a strong and direct effect on socio-economic development. Agricultural practices have led to continuing degradation of forests and loss of tree cover. Restoring degraded forest areas will not only break this vicious cycle but will also create access to financial resources through international carbon markets.
Reliable, robust, and transparent measurement and reporting of forest carbon stocks is critical to improved forest governance. With solid information, decision-support tools to manage that information, and full transparency and accountability, communities and governments can better manage forested land. Sound carbon accounting also grants REDD+ projects access to carbon markets.
CCI helps countries design and build their MRV systems by providing access to data, technical assistance, and capacity building and training. CCI assists governments to develop reliable data that is delivered into affordable and centralized government systems. These systems will enable countries to estimate, report, and establish a basis for verification of its GHG emissions from the land-based sectors and will also improve decision-making in the land-based sectors. CCI helps countries build the technical base to comply with international MRV standards, and in the process creates a credible database on which to advance international agreements on deforestation. CCI also helps to ensure that critical, national-scale satellite information on forests is delivered regularly and routinely to countries that depend on it.
Providing access to data, technical assistance, and capacity building and training, CCI helps countries design and build their MRV systems in three phases:
- Design MRV systems that ensure consistent estimation of emissions and provision of information in a format easy to use for decision-making.
- Implement the first steps of forest carbon inventories to test MRV systems and to calculate volume of carbon for reporting and sale.
- Implement upgrades of MRV systems, which leads to improved accuracy, quality assurance and control, and routine operations for periodic carbon measurements and reporting.
- Access to international climate and carbon finance
- Informed decision making on:
- Relevant national climate change response strategies
- Sustainable development and sustainable land use
- Climate smart agriculture
- Biodiversity conservation
- Food security