Archive for the ‘recent research’ Category

BioCultural Community Protocols: A Community Approach to Ensuring the Integrity of Environmental Law and Policy
Kabir Bavikatte & Harry Jonas (Eds.), Natural Justice and UNEP, November 2009.

This book illustrates the application of bio-cultural community protocols to a range of environmental legal frameworks. Part I focuses on the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and access and benefit-sharing. Part II looks at other frameworks to which bio-cultural protocols can be applied by indigenous and local communities, including REDD, the CBD programme of work on protected areas and payment for ecosystem services schemes. Part III looks more broadly at the meaning of bio-cultural protocols for environmental law.

Chapter 4 examines the promise that REDD holds for saving the world’s forests and the risks that it could present if designed and administered inappropriately. The authors also give an overview of how bio-cultural community protocols (BCPs) can play a role in reducing these risks and maintaining the local integrity of this international instrument. It includes an outline of a sample REDD Bio-Community Protocol.

“The use of community-based approaches to REDD such as [Bio-Community Protocols] could help ensure the local integrity of international efforts to save forests from degradation that contributes to climate change by rewarding ILCs for conserving their forests without excluding activities that they people rely upon for their livelihoods and bio-cultural ways of life.” – Extract from Bio-Cultural Community Protocols: A Community Approach to Ensuring the Integrity of Environmental Law and Policy

According to the authors, the development of bio-cultural protocols is one way in which communities can increase their capacity to drive the local implementation of international and national environmental laws. Such a protocol is developed after a community undertakes a consultative process to outline their core ecological, cultural and spiritual values and customary laws relating to their TK and resources, based on which they provide clear terms and conditions to regulate access to their knowledge and resources.

Download BioCultural Community Protocols: A Community Approach to Ensuring the Integrity of Environmental Law and Policy [pdf]…
Visit the Bio-Community Protocol case studies website…


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More than 100 stakeholders have been involved in a collaborative initiative facilitated by The Forests Dialogue (TFD) to build an effective international mechanism for tackling the climate, community and biodiversity issues associated with deforestation. The publication “Investing in REDD-plus” reflects unique consensus amongst forest stakeholders across business, environmental and scientific sectors and from indigenous peoples and forest-based communities, who met in a stream of intensive dialogues this year.

The report recommends that REDD-plus should be designed as a performance-based mechanism that achieves real CO2 emission reductions by reducing deforestation and degradation, and through conservation, sustainable forest management and the enhancement of carbon stocks. A phased approach will enable REDD-plus to address the drivers of deforestation according to country-specific circumstances. Each phase of REDD-plus should be funded through a portfolio of financial resources that make optimal and coordinated use of both markets and funds, as well as other sources of finance. Safeguards must guarantee equitable participation and distribution mechanisms for indigenous peoples and local communities as well as biodiversity conservation.

” REDD-plus projects must demonstrate: … Social integrity—by recognizing, protecting and respecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities and ensuring that they can develop their livelihoods and share the benefits of REDD-plus” – Extract from Investing in REDD-plus

Download Investing in REDD-plus: Consensus on frameworks for the financing and implementation of REDD-plus [pdf]…

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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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wcf logoThe World Agroforestry Centre and the United Nations Environment Programme co-hosted the 2nd World Congress of Agroforestry in Nairobi, Kenya from 23-28 August 2009.

The overall theme of the Congress was Agroforestry, the future of global land use. The sub-themes were Food Security and Livelihoods; Conservation and Rehabilitation of Natural Resources; and Policies and Institutions. Researchers, educators, practitioners and policy makers from around the world shared new research ideas and experiences, explored partnership opportunities and strengthened communities of practice.

Some of the presentations relevant to indigenous peoples and REDD are referenced below. Presentation slides or notes have been linked where available.

Session 26: Local Knowledge in agroforestry science (Led by L Joshi)

Session 27: The role of underutilized crops for agroforestry (Led by P Van Damme & Z Tchoundjeu)

  • Indigenous Lac Production Strategies of the Monga-stricken People in Rural Bangladesh: A Study on Agroforestry – Zulfiquar Ali Islam, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh.

Session 28: Agroforestry-based livelihood strategies for smallholders in the Amazon (Led by R. Porro, J. Ugarte & O. Llanque)

  • Contribution of Forest Products and Agroforestry for Livelihoods of Indigenous and Colonist Communities in the Peruvian Amazon – Abel Meza, World Agroforestry Centre, Peru.
  • The role of agroforestry-based practices in shaping policies and programs for licit smallholder livelihoods in the Colombian Amazon – Bertha Leonor Ramírez Pava, Universidad de la Amazonia, Colombia.
  • Description of homegardens in Araçá Indigenous Land, in the Lavrado (savannas) of Roraima, Brazil – Robert P. Miller, FUNAI, Brazil.

Session 31B: Rewards for the environmental services of agroforestry: Payment for watershed/biodiversity services and cross-cutting issues (Led by Thomas Yatich & Oluyede Ajayi)

  • Payments for Watershed Services: Implications and Considerations for Upland Indigenous Groups in Sibuyan Island, Philippines – Presenter: Edgardo Tongson, World Wide Fund for Nature – Philippines.

Visit the website for the 2nd World Congress of Agroforestry…

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No 373: Assessment of existing global financial initiatives and monitoring aspects of carbon sinks in forest ecosystems – The issue of REDD
Working Papers in Economics, No: 373. Lisa Westholm, Sabine Henders, Madelene Ostwald and Eskil Mattsson, 19 August 2009

Focali REDDThe objective of this report is to explore the topic of carbon sinks in forest ecosystems, focusing on the issue of REDD. It covers different angles: i) an overview of existing financial and methodological initiatives that currently invest in preparation and capacity building of potential REDD host countries, but also in REDD pilot projects, ii) the preparedness of potential host countries (Bolivia, Cameroon, Costa Rica and Sri Lanka) to establish baselines and implement a REDD system that contributes to sustainable development, and iii) the funding structure and channels of a major investor country (Norway).

The focus of the analysis lies on two REDD-related issues; baseline establishment and sustainable development. In assessing readiness for sustainable development, “existing data and monitoring of indigenous peoples and forest dwellers’ dependence on forests” is a key indicator. The report includes 4 case studies assessing “readiness for REDD”: Cameroon, Bolivia, Costa Rica and Sri Lanka: the most positive example provided is Bolivia, where there is a law in place for recognising indigenous peoples’ land rights and right to collective ownership.

Download the Assessment of existing global financial initiatives and monitoring aspects of carbon sinks in forest ecosystems – The issue of REDD discussion paper [pdf]…

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Comparing REDD mechanism design options with an open source economic model Jonah Busch, Bernardo Strassburg, Andrea Cattaneo, Ruben Lubowski, Frederick Boltz, Ralph Ashton, Aaron Bruner, Richard Rice (review manuscript)

osirisThe Open Source Impacts of REDD Incentives Spreadsheet (OSIRIS) is a free, transparent, accessible and open source decision support tool designed by the Collaborative Modeling Initiative on REDD Economics to support UNFCCC negotiations on REDD. OSIRIS enables a click-of-a-button comparison of global, regional, and country-by-country emissions reduction, deforestation, and revenue impacts of alternative approaches to providing positive economic incentives for REDD.

This manuscript-in-review contains a full description of the OSIRIS model and research comparing a broad range of REDD reference level design options. This research finds that:

• REDD can be an effective and efficient source of emissions reductions;

• Extending REDD incentives to countries with historically low deforestation rates through higher-than-historical reference levels can prevent leakage to those countries, making the REDD mechanism more effective overall. This research is a product of the Collaborative Modeling Initiative on REDD Economics, a collaboration between Conservation International, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Woods Hole Research Center, the Terrestrial Carbon Group, and the University of East Anglia.

Download the review manuscript [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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