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Archive for the ‘assessment’ Category

Indigenous African leaders from East and Central Africa met in Bujumbura, Burundi to finalise a joint strategy and statement on climate change at a meeting funded by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation EU-ACP (CTA), as part of a five year programme to strengthen the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC) indigenous network on the African continent.

Leaders from forest based communities in Gabon, Cameroon, DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Kenya participated in a joint UNIPROBA-IPACC policy meeting to set out their concerns, priorities, action plan and statement ahead of the 15th Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, due to take place in Copenhagen Denmark.

Leaders emphasised that indigenous peoples are important stakeholders in climate stabilisation in Africa. All indigenous peoples are being hard hit by droughts and flooding in Africa, and they must educate their communities as to the causes and engage with national governments about equitable and sustainable responses.

”Currently, there are indigenous leaders who know more about REDD than people in government. REDD and carbon financing is new for all of us in Africa. The civil society and governments need to work closely on setting up a viable framework for benefit sharing from carbon financing. This is an opportunity for indigenous peoples. Governments need to understand also that REDD is closely linked to land rights and tenure security. Very few indigenous peoples currently have secure land rights, and that needs to be resolved in REDD is to work.” – Kanyinke Sena, an Ogiek activist from Kenya

Read the meeting summary…

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The September issue of the UN Collaborative Programme on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD) Programme newsletter features news on the UN high-level event on forests and climate change, a commentary on REDD and indigenous peoples’ engagement in Africa, and reports on a technical meeting on forest degradation and a measuring, reporting and verification meeting, both held in September 2009, in Rome, Italy.

“In the context of climate change, indigenous peoples in Africa are the most vulnerable group, occupying fragile ecosystems. They bear the catastrophe with no access to resources to cope with the changes. Worse still, mitigation initiatives being developed pose more land tenure security threats. This is mainly due to lack of meaningful participation in decision making on the various projects being developed in their lands and territories.” – Elifuraha Isaya Laltaika

Other topics in the September issue of the newsletter include: a systematic review of methods to measure and assess terrestrial carbon for countries embarking on REDD; and the launch of a US$4.38 million UN-REDD Viet Nam Programme.

Read the September 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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REDD from an integrated perspective: Considering overall climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation and equity issues Lars Schmidt, Bonn, April 2009. Discussion Paper 4/2009, Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik, ISBN 978-3-88985-452-0

REDD-DIEThe discussion paper assesses selected options currently “on the table” in the international debate and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD). REDD design options are analyzed with regard to their implications for overall climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation and equity issues.

First of all, it is found that for REDD to be successful it will not be sufficient simply to put a price on forest carbon. Instead, to permanently reduce and stop global deforestation, REDD needs to trigger a change in our dominant human development model, which will require policy reforms and enforcement to prevent markets from driving deforestation. Among other things, this needs to be reflected in the design of a REDD mechanism, which must i) pay heed to the complex task of reducing deforestation, allowing for a flexible, country-specific approach, to ensure broad participation to tackle deforestation on a global scale; ii) address deforestation by integrating REDD into overall development planning, to achieve lasting results and maximize synergies with other development goals; and iii) be consistent with the overall mitigation effort to prevent dangerous climate change.

Major concerns, which have also been observed during REDD workshops and UNFCCC side events1, include… “Land Grabbing”: In countries where land titles are vague or where indigenous
territories are not properly demarcated, forest land could be seized illegally by other parties to reap the monetary benefits from REDD. – Lars Schmidt, Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik

The design of transfer systems at both the international and national level is key to enabling countries to permanently reduce deforestation and forest degradation. Schmidt argues that the Tropical Deforestation Emission Reduction Mechanism (TDERM) Triptych or the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, the latter complemented by the UN REDD Programme, could be used as a transitional international transfer system for REDD funds in the period 2013–2020. Given their comprehensive international approach to tackling deforestation, he says both can be expected to perform better concerning active consideration of human, and especially indigenous people’s rights, and delivery of benefits other than carbon retention.

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Dialogue on REDD Finance Mechanisms The Forests Dialogue’s consensus-based Statement on Forests and Climate Change

beyond reddBeginning in December 2007, The Forests Dialogue (TFD) has led a multi-stakeholder dialogue process focused on developing a clear, unified message and common set of principles illustrating the factors and conditions necessary to maximize forests and people’s ability to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The initiative has involved more than 275 diverse leaders representing all stakeholder groups from around the world. The Forests Dialogue on REDD Finance Mechanisms was held in New York from 25-26 April 2009. A summary report was prepared by the co-Chairs Jan McAlpine (UNFF-S) and James Griffiths (WBCSD) with Stewart Maginnis (IUCN).

The concerns of Indigenous Peoples were highlighted with respect to the extent to which their interests will be represented in the Copenhagen negotiations and in subsequent implementation of post-2012 REDD arrangements. Whether and how REDD finance mechanisms could i) adequately
address conflicts between de jure and de facto traditional land tenure arrangements and ii) accommodate the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) were two elements that were highlighted as being of particular concern. Dialogue participants noted the importance of acknowledging and addressing these issues within any REDD financing arrangement.

Concern was also voiced by some groups with respect to the prospect of ensuring fair distribution of REDD payments. It was brought to the meeting’s attention that the majority of forest communities live in situations where at least some of their rights to benefit from forest land and resources are contested. It was also highlighted that the interests of these groups have to be taken into account not only for ethical reasons but also to avoid the types of future conflict that could jeopardize the potential contribution of forests to stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs).

“Perhaps the most resounding consensus reached in New York was the importance, from a climate mitigation perspective, of ensuring that REDD plus is properly integrated into post-2012 arrangements and the value of ensuring such measures are harmonized with policy frameworks that promote Sustainable Forest Management … [This] presents an opportunity to advance forest-related consultation and decision-making processes to include key stakeholder groups, with particular emphasis on forest rights-holders (i.e. Indigenous Peoples, Forest Communities, individual family forest owners & small-holders as well as other categories of land-owners).” — Co-Chairs Report, Dialogue on REDD Finance Mechanisms

TFD has also produced a comprehensive consensus Statement on Forests and Climate Change titled “Beyond REDD: the Role of Forests in Climate Change” that includes significant references to indigenous peoples’ rights, and lays out 5 guiding principles and over 100 suggested actions for stakeholders including government climate negotiators. This document also includes 5 Briefing Notes.

Download the 58 page Beyond REDD: the Role of Forests in Climate Change report [pdf]… or Review the meeting materials [website]…

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Views on issues relating to indigenous peoples and local communities for the development and application of methodologies Submission of FERN and Rainforest Foundation UK to the UNFCCC
Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), 15 February 2009

fern rffThe submission by FERN and Rainforest Foundation UK to the UNFCCC SBSTA on indigenous peoples rights and climate. spells out that recognition of forest peoples’ rights is pre-condition for a successful forest – climate agreement.

“Upholding the rights and promoting the interests of indigenous peoples and local communities in the development and implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation measures is not only necessary to ensure consistency with applicable international laws, norms and standards; it is also an essential prerequisite to ensure the effectiveness of climate measures. This is all the more true in the case of forest-climate policies, such as those aimed at “reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation” (REDD), because much of the world’s remaining forests in developing countries are located in the ancestral and customary lands of indigenous peoples and local communities. Any UNFCCC forest-climate agreement will have major implications for the rights and welfare of indigenous peoples and local communities, and, in turn, indigenous peoples and local communities in forested areas will impact the effectiveness of the agreement.” – Extract from the FERN & RFF submission

The submission concludes that an effective forest-climate agreement should:

  • Recognize rights and FPIC as pre-conditions,
  • Develop acceptable and effective methodologies to monitor governance improvements and
    social impacts of climate change mitigation measures, and
  • Recognise and protect collective and customary forest tenure and management systems,
    including measures to safeguard communities’ subsistence, cultural or spiritual values.

Download the 4-page Views on issues relating to indigenous peoples and local communities for the development and application of methodologies submission [pdf]…

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