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Archive for the ‘asia’ Category

The October issue of the UN-REDD Programme newsletter, featuring news on: five new countries that joined the UN-REDD Programme; the first regional consultation between indigenous peoples’ organizations from Asia and the Pacific and the UN-REDD Programme; and the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s request for funding of a Congo Basin approach for monitoring, reporting and verification.

Recommendations from the regional consultation included:

  1. taking advantage of the opportunity that REDD provides for engagement among the various stakeholders: CSOs, indigenous peoples, local government, private sector, and others
  2. strengthening the opportunities for multi-stakeholder dialogue
  3. addressing the widespread need for REDD training and awareness raising
  4. a call to the UN-REDD Programme and to the United Nations in general to support governments to improve their means of communication and working relationships with indigenous peoples and their organizations

The Newsletter also includes an analysis on best practices in engaging civil society in REDD in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and promoting co-benefits of forests. It reports on the XIII World Forestry Congress’s support of the inclusion of REDD-plus in the agreement on long-term cooperative action under UNFCCC.

Read the October issue of the UN-REDD Programme newsletter…

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Incentives to sustain forest ecosystem services: A review and lessons for REDD, Ivan Bond, Maryanne Grieg-Gran, Sheila Wertz-Kanounnikoff, Peter Hazlewood, Sven Wunder, Arild Angelsen. IIED (2009), 62 pages, isbn: 9781843697428

iied incentivesAn assessment of the utility of payments for ecosystem services as a tool for REDD was commissioned by the Norwegian Minister for the Environment and International Development to inform Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (N-CFI). The N-CFI specifically recognises that REDD efforts should contribute to securing indigenous peoples’ rights, improving the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities, and to conserving forest biodiversity. This report represents a summary of ten papers which made up the assessment.

The report looks into how compensation for ecosystem services could contribute to REDD, and reviews 13 Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) projects in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America. PES are designed to provide financial incentives to the land owner to preserve the forest and are thought to be an effective instrument for implementing REDD. Under PES, payments for environmental services are conditional and are only made if the service, such as conserving forest areas, is delivered.Important preconditions for success include supporting improved forest governance, land tenure and rights for forest dependent communities, as well as scaling up current small-scale experience with PES.

One of the recurring concerns with payments for ecosystem services, particularly in the context of the much larger-scale payment schemes that would be required for REDD, is that indigenous and forest-dependent communities will not benefit or, worse, will suffer harm. Prospective areas of concern that payments for REDD might impact include:

  • Weakening of land and resource rights of indigenous and forest dependent communities.
  • Equity in opportunities to participate as sellers of carbon.
  • Equity in payment levels and terms – vulnerable communities may be subjected to exploitative contracts.
  • Local economy impacts, which through effects on food prices and employment can affect both participants and non-participants in PES.

However, this review of PES schemes finds little evidence of long-term adverse effects on equity for the four issues above. If anything, PES schemes have proved to generally yield positive impacts on poor people in the areas where they were implemented.

“The hypothesis that PES tools could lead to inequity and exacerbate poverty is not borne out by the literature review or the four regional case studies. The evidence is that some programmes have made small and modest impacts on livelihoods. Recent work on payments for watershed services also concludes that these mechanisms have not yet directly impacted on poverty reduction to any great extent, although their indirect impacts have significant potential for poverty reduction.” – Extract from Incentives to sustain forest ecosystem services.

Some of the specific findings include:

  • PES schemes have not led to weakening of land tenure and in some cases have strengthened it.
  • In Southeast Asia, where PES mechanisms are just emerging, the approach of strengthening land rights (Sumberjaya) or enforcing traditional rights (Ulu Masen) do have potential livelihood impacts where local people’s rights too often have been ignored.
  • PES mechanisms have a longer history and are being more widely applied in Latin America than elsewhere. Initial assessments showed that the first generation Costa Rica national PES scheme was failing to reach poorer farmers and land users who held no formal land titles and could not afford the associated transaction costs. Subsequent iterations of the programme have developed mechanisms to specifically ensure that they are targeted to poor people and that the barriers to entry are either lowered or removed.
  • Small-scale farmers with informal land tenure have been able to participate in some PES schemes, notably the national payment for watershed services scheme in Mexico. One of the measures used in Mexico (and more recently in Costa Rica) to facilitate participation of small-scale farmers and communitiesis ‘collective contracting’, where several small-scale farmers conduct the contracting process together and in this way reduce individual transaction costs.
  • In spite of seemingly low levels of payment, PES is popular with farmers. There is an eagerness to enter PES schemes (both Costa Rica’s and Mexico’s schemes are over-subscribed) and sometimes a willingness to negotiate permanent payments after a pilot, as in Pimampiro. This enthusiasm is an indication that PES schemes are perceived as advantageous by those involved.
  • There is little evidence of local economy impacts on prices and employment.

Download the Incentives to sustain forest ecosystem services: A review and lessons for REDD report [pdf]…

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Evaluation of the work of the Forest Governance Learning Group 2005 – 2009 Tom Blomly, International Institute for Environment and Development, August 2009

IIEDReportResearchers working with forest community groups and policy makers in ten countries in Africa and Asia have developed a novel way to improve the flow of social and environmental benefits from tropical forests, according to an independent evaluation of an International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) project published today.

In each country, IIED and partners set up FGLG teams to bring together representatives of communities, governments, civil society organisations and businesses to explore the drivers of poor forest governance and to influence national and sub-national policymaking.

“With forests set to take centre stage in a new global deal to tackle climate change, there is a desperate search underway for proven ways to improve governance to ensure that forest resources are managed for the public good… That search should look at what’s been achieved by the Forest Governance Learning Group (FGLG). Its experience shows how to improve governance in ways that lead to tangible changes in policy with positive impacts on people who depend on forests.” – James Mayers, project leader and head of IIED’s Natural Resources Group

Through stimulating, for example, improved parliamentary debate, enhanced civil society action and more informed journalism, the project has achieved various impacts, including increased access rights to collect and manage non-timber forest products in state forest land for Indigenous community groups in Orissa state, India, and more secure livelihoods after action which successfully reversed a government decision to degazette the forest and convert it to sugar plantations for forest-dependent households living around Mabira forest in Uganda.

The independent evaluation, commissioned by IIED, provides an overview of the progress, achievements and impact of the Forest Governance Learning Group initiative to date and concludes with a range of recommendations for consideration with regard to future support.

Download the Evaluation of the work of the Forest Governance Learning Group 2005 – 2009 report [pdf]…

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As Donors Rush to Conserve Tropical Forests to Slow Climate Change, Indigenous Leaders Predict ‘Devastation’ from Carbon Grabs in Name of Conservation
Forest Peoples Programme | 7 October 2008

IUCN World Conservation CongressAs wealthy nations prepare to ramp up climate change investments in forest-rich, low-income countries, a leading group of tropical forest leaders and conservation experts warns that the world’s billion-plus forest-dependent poor face economic and cultural devastation if efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions should fail to respect their rights and address their concerns.

Brought together by the Amazon Alliance and the Forest Peoples Programme, forest leaders from 5 Amazonian nations as well as Congo DRC and Indonesia gathered in Barcelona during the IUCN World Conservation Congress to demand a greater role in deciding the terms of a climate change financing mechanism now being considered by donor nations. The leaders said that the mechanism, known as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), could undermine the land rights being claimed by forest communities throughout the developing world.

“We are already under growing pressure from climate change, from conservationists who want to prevent us from using our forest lands for economic purposes, and from businesses that have government concessions to extract ore, water and biofuel from lands that have been ours for generations… Recently we have been hearing more and more about the carbon trade, but indigenous people are not being included in the discussions. We want to know: who will own the carbon? What will be the impact on us?” — Tony James of Guyana, President of the Amerindian Peoples Association

Read the press release…

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RI resumes tree-planting drive to absorb more carbon
Antara News | 25 July 2008

INDONESIA: Indonesia will continue its tree planting drive in order to recover its damaged forests, re-green its denuded land areas and help reduce global warming by providing homes for billions of tons of carbon sink. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono –who launched a nation-wide program to plant 79 million trees late last year– is expected to announce another drive to plant 100 million threes across the country next November.

“Indonesia will have an additional potential to absorb 2.4 million tons of carbon if the government is successful in its efforts to mobilize the people to plant 100 million trees by the end of 2008.” — Indonesian Forestry Minister, MS Kaban

Kaban said that besides the additional carbon absorption potential from the 100 million trees, Indonesia also had other potentials to absorb billions tons of carbon. The 100 million trees, to be planted on 100,000 hectares– is worth about US$12 million on the assumption that each hectare could absorb 24 tons of carbon at the price of US$5 per ton, the minister said. Indonesia which has 120.3 million hectares of forests is designating 37.5 million hectares of its forests to serve as a carbon sink in the global REDD project.

Read the full article…

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14 countries win REDD funding to protect tropical forests
MongaBay | 24 July 2008

WB CFU

Fourteen countries have been selected by the World Bank to receive funds for conserving their tropical forests under an innovative carbon finance scheme. The 14 developing countries include six in Africa (the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar); five in Latin America (Bolivia, Costa Rica, Guyana, Mexico, Panama); and three in Asia (Nepal, Lao PDR, and Vietnam). The countries will receive grant support as they build their capacity for REDD, including establishing emissions reference levels, adopting strategies to reduce deforestation, and designing monitoring systems.

The initiative, known as the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), was unveiled last year as a way to kick start Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), a proposed mechanism that would reward countries with carbon credits for preserving their forest cover. Globally deforestation accounts for nearly one-fifth of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions — more than the transport sector.

“Deforestation and forest degradation together are the second leading man-made cause of global warming. They are responsible for about 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and the main source of national emissions in many developing countries. For that reason, we have been eager to initiate this partnership and assist countries while building a body of knowledge on how best to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by protecting forests and helping the people who benefit from them.” — Joëlle Chassard, Manager of the World Bank’s Carbon Finance Unit

Read the full article…

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Putz et al. Improved Tropical Forest Management for Carbon Retention. PLoS Biology, 2008; 6 (7): e166 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060166

A key aspect of the international climate change agreement slated to replace the Kyoto Protocol in 2012 focuses on reducing carbon emissions due to deforestation and degradation (REDD). But most REDD discussions focus on tropical deforestation while ignoring the potential carbon savings that could be realized from reduced forest degradation.

Botanist Francis Putz and colleagues argue that by ignoring evidence that better forest management practices can substantially reduce carbon emissions, negotiators are missing an obvious and cost-effective approach to mitigating the effects of global climate change. This oversight is troublesome, the authors write.

“carbon losses due to degradation could be of the same magnitude as those from deforestation” — Francis Putz et al

Logging practices can be designed to minimize ecological impact, but even when trees are picked selectively there is often collateral damage–ten to twenty times the number of harvested trees are destroyed through human error and poorly designed procedures for locating and removing correct targets. Putz et al. argue that worker training in directional felling and better planning of timber extraction paths can reduce these effects by at least 50%. The carbon benefits of improved forest management are illustrated with a large-scale, long-term study in Malaysia.

Read the article [creative commons]…

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