private sector

Positioning institutions for forest governance in Cameroon

By Elizabeth Kahurani

For any country, developing an institutional framework on forest governance that incorporates and seamlessly coordinates activities between various sectors and stakeholders with varying interests and ideas can be quite a challenge. In most developing countries like Cameroon, this challenge seems to be compounded by other factors such as dependency on international actors and power concentration at the national level.

Meeting with community cocoa field farmers in Cameroon. Institutions need to empower communities for effective implementation of REDD+According to a new study looking at institutional dimensions of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) in Cameroon, ‘external organizations appear to play a dominant role in the implementation of REDD+ demonstration activities.’ In addition, international consultants and organizations seem to lead discussions in climate change forums, a situation that has resulted in “ambiguity of the REDD+ development process in Cameroon, particularly with regard to institutionalized patterns of action,” says Serge Ngendakumana, lead author of the study. He points out that this may not be unique to Cameroon but a challenge in other developing countries as well, and seems to be a scenario played out at the UN climate talks debate on the REDD+ process where developing countries viewpoints are not fully incorporated. “While collaboration with international bodies is key especially in developing capacity, national actors need to set up clear and transparent country-specific norms and rules to ensure sustainability,” says Serge.

The study was conducted through interviews and is framed around a REDD+ nested policy structure with four principles of -Institutions, Interests, Ideas, and Information. “Using this 4I’s framework, there is strong potential to build strong interplays for actors’ flexibility in current discourses,” explains Serge. The structure comes with recommendations for implementing social safeguards to avoid negative impacts on the local community.

With regard to power relations and participation, the study found that in comparison to other actors, responsibilities are vested on state agents to the extent that these institutions will be both the regulators and managers of forest carbon, raising concerns of effectiveness and transparency in the process.  “As this and other studies recommend, there is need for co-management in the process especially with the local communities,” recommends Dr Peter Minang, who is also an author in the study. In addition, the private sector including the agribusiness and logging companies need to be part of the process as they present both threats and opportunities. “Some of them can be funding sources for payment for ecosystem services initiatives,” says Dr Minang.

To promote an even distribution of power relations and inclusiveness, the study developed a governance framework that stands on key institutional sectors acting together with stakeholders at a landscape level to empower communities to implement REDD+ activities. Communities can be empowered through actions such as secure land and tree tenure, agroforestry and other climate smart agricultural techniques for increased production.

“The model we propose in this study if applied can build capacity for the local communities thus reducing their vulnerability, ensure fair compensation, and promote institutional coordination,” says Serge. Proposed governance framework for forest governance at landscape level

The REDD initiative presents an opportunity for Cameroon to benefit from efforts to keep the country’s forest standing. To realize benefits, forest governance structures need to be assessed and changes made to ensure a fair transparent, and coordinated process.

 Institutional Dimensions of the Developing REDD+ Process in Cameroon study is part of a journal special issue Climate Policy vol.14, no. 6 focusing on The Political Economy of Readiness for REDD+. All articles in this issue are open access.

Citation: Ngendakumana, S. Minang, P.A. Feudjio, M. Speelman, S. Van Damme, P. Tchoundjeu, Z. 2014 Institutional dimensions of the developing REDD+ process in Cameroon Climate Policy 14 (6) 769-787

The link between production standards, the private sector and a landscape approach

By Gabrielle Kissinger, Lexeme Consulting

Production standards and certification such as FairTrade and Rainforest Alliance coffee, Forest Stewardship Council certified lumber, and others provide a means for manufacturers and consumers to have confidence in how raw materials are produced.

Brewery operated by SABMiller’s Colombian subsidiary, Bavaria, in the Chingaza watershed outside Bogotá. Photo: Rudolf, BogotáYet, production standards alone are insufficient tools to address all production risks, such as biodiversity loss, water scarcity, climate change impacts, labour issues, and community and livelihood needs in surrounding areas, among others.  Companies confronting these risks recognize the impacts on business performance, and are increasingly piloting interventions beyond the ‘production unit,’ through landscape initiatives. Often, this is in conjunction with production standards and certification processes.

In Brazil, a group of smallholders united under the Cooperative Central Association of Family Farmers (COOPAFI), who make their living in mixed farming systems, but are reliant on soy as their main cash crop, obtained certification through the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) in 2013.  This enabled the farmers to attract international buyers such as Unilever and the Body Shop, while at the same time maintaining the native vegetation and biodiversity in regions surrounding their farms. 

To ensure that the soy certification standards were met, relevant partners including the Municipality of Capanema in Paraná, worked with the farmers to ensure continuous land management improvement that met existing Brazilian federal laws and the RTRS standard, zero-tillage systems and reduced agrochemical use, restriction on expansion of soy farms into native forests, and linking the soy to frontrunner companies seeking certified products.  

This is one example of seven in the chapter, “Private sector investment in landscape approaches: the role of production standards and certification,” in the book Climate-smart landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice.  In his foreward to the book, Jeffrey Sayer of James Cook University notes, “The landscape approach considers how interconnected components of the landscape can be managed to reap multiple benefits and balance commercial, social and environmental concerns.”

Private sector investment in and commercial motivation to pursue landscape approaches is not well documented.  Production standards and certification appear to be an important entry point for companies to think beyond their production unit, and consider risks beyond. 

Often, it is pressure from brand manufacturers and consumers that push producers to demonstrate that raw materials were produced sustainably and multiple benefits achieved.  One such example is the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) that seeks to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020. It is comprised of more than 400 retail and brand manufacturers globally, with total combined sales of €2.5 trillion. Unilever aims for 50% of its agricultural raw materials to be sustainably sourced by 2015 and 100% sustainably sourced by 2020.  Similarly, Nestlé, Mars, Tesco, McDonald's, Walmart and other brand manufacturers and retailers have made sustainability purchasing commitments for agricultural products.  

The challenge with production standards is that while some contain criteria and indicators that require producers to go beyond the production unit to demonstrate sustainability, most provide little or no guidance to do so.  Rather, the decision falls on the producer to incorporate better management practices or create partnerships beyond their production unit in order to avert risks.

Nevertheless, the case examples reviewed in the new book chapter demonstrate a willingness by companies and their civil society or government partners to define project parameters that seek integrated landscape management.

While private sector engagement in integrated landscape initiatives appears to be increasing, more assessment of the long-term benefits beyond the production unit and concession-scale is needed and also to determine whether companies stick to the commitments and invest over the long-term. Similarly, there is a need for more evidence of effective coordination between government and private sector actors to support long-term commitment to landscape initiatives. 

More understanding is also needed of how certification bodies are incorporating a landscape lens into criteria and indicators for certification and measuring that performance over landscape spatial and temporal scales.  This is particularly important for fast-expanding commodities such as oil palm, sugarcane, and soy, all of which can place strong pressures on land and water resources. 

Source: This blog is based on Chapter 19: Private sector investment in landscape approaches: the role of production standards and certification of the new book: Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice

Citation: Kissinger, G., Moroge, M., & Noponen, M. (2015). Private sector investment in landscape approaches: the role of production standards and certification. In Minang, P.A., van Noordwijk, M., Freeman, O. E., Mbow, C., de Leeuw, J., & Catacutan, D. (Eds.) Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice, 277-293. Nairobi, Kenya: World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)

 

About the author

Gabrielle has worked for 20 years at the interface between government policy, markets and land use pressures, from local to national and international scales, and with a range of comapnies, investors, major donors and NGOs. Consulting services and research focus on reducing GHG emissions from land-use in the agriculture and forestry sectors, policy and government affairs, innovative financing for sustainable land management and private sector engagement. Learn more

Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project: Lessons for national readiness processes

Tremendous growth in REDD+ pilot and demonstration projects has been observed following the Bali Action Plan and Cancun agreements. The question is, how can lessons from such projects be used to enhance national-level REDD+ Readiness processes?

A recent study published in Climate Policy draws on the example of a case study from Kenya – the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project – and attempts to shed light on how this subnational-level private-sector-driven REDD+ project interacts with and contributes to national-level technical, policy, and institutional readiness for REDD+. The Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project has managed to bundle up REDD+ implementation with community-level employment opportunities

“The Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project led by Wildlife Works Carbon was chosen from among many projects in Kenya and Africa because it is the world’s first registered REDD+ project issued with Verified Carbon Units under the Verified Carbon Standard and is one of the few REDD+ projects currently selling REDD+ credits on the voluntary market,” explains Florence Bernard, Associate Scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre and study lead author.

From the study, she explains a number of key innovations brought by the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project, including demonstration that REDD+ has potential for implementation in dryland forests. “This is likely to be a strong incentive for Kenya and other countries to initiate projects in other dryland forest ecosystems,” says Florence Bernard.

According to Bryan Adkins, Director of Regional Engagement at Wildlife Works Carbon and co-author of the paper, the project has managed to bundle up REDD+ implementation with community-level employment opportunities, something that has informed the design of strategy options for addressing drivers of deforestation and forest degradation while strengthening community engagement and prioritizing ‘pro-poor’ REDD+ activities at the national level. “In addition, there exists a transparent benefit distribution disbursement process for carbon-derived revenues in Kasigau, on which the national level could capitalize,” says Bryan Adkins. 

Another key successful feature of the Kasigau Corridor project was the ability of Wildlife Works Carbon to negotiate upfront investments with external private sector and therefore secure start-up capital needed for initial project implementation and operational costs. “While this private sector finance model might be of further interest at the project level, this should also urge the national level on attracting further private-sector investments in REDD+ pilots and demonstrations projects, especially at a time of public finance shortage for Readiness and REDD+ in general, as well as on promoting a more attractive investment climate for private sector ” explains Florence Bernard.

While the national REDD+ Readiness process in Kenya is beginning to learn and draw from local level projects through such private sector project lens, dialogue with and between partners is crucial in order not to miss out on potential benefits from interactions with subnational-level actors.

The study further emphasizes the need for developing frameworks and modalities for stakeholder participation, a robust private sector engagement process, and platforms for cross linkages at different levels.

The REDD+ projects and national-level readiness processes: a case study from Kenya article is part of a journal special issue Climate Policy vol.14, no. 6 focusing on The Political Economy of Readiness for REDD+ available on open access.

Citation: Bernard, F. Minang, P.A. Adkins, B. Freund, J.T. 2014 REDD+ projects and national-level readiness processes: a case study from Kenya. Climate Policy 14(6)  788-800

Social actors that could make or break agriculture

Sustainable agriculture is driven by a host of factors, key being social actors with the ability to influence decisions and choices by farmers.

 A recent study on Social actors and unsustainability of agriculture published in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability identifies who these actors are, ways they could make agriculture unsustainable, and interventions that could work for sustainability.

Actors in agricultural landscapes whose actions can threaten farm sustainability include investors and creditors who incur lose andA discussion forum with farmers in Cameroon. Social actors such as investors can influence decisions and choices by farmersabandon farms due to low economic returns, neighbors and environmental activists engaged in conflict because they are negatively affected by farming activities, customers concerned with quality of products, and shifting providers and farm regulators who impose restrictions. Individual interests drive these groups and their actions impact on farmer’s ability to benefit or loose from agriculture; and further influence consequent management decisions that in turn affect sustainability.

“Some actors could have either positive or negative influence on different aspects of sustainability such as customers demanding for environment friendly products,” says Florence Bernard, Associate scientist, ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) who is the study lead author. She notes that such consumer behavior is encouraged as it helps to promote agricultural sustainability from an environmental perspective  but because it involves a shift in the way farm activities are conducted, it poses some risks that impact on economic sustainability, at least before farmers can begin to realize benefits to adjustments made.

Several interventions that can empower farmers to deal with risks and threats through adaptive management include implementation of macro-economic policies where governments can provide careful targeted subsidies for farm inputs and encourage availability of long-term credit facilities, reduce import tariffs and export taxes for farmers; harmonizing sectoral policies; participatory land use planning that incorporates stakeholder preferences and that also promotes social learning so that decisions made are not out of current economic benefits but are based on a future outlook that encapsulates environmental and social benefits as well.

Other incentives are payments for environmental services whereby farmers are compensated for opportunities foregone while protecting the environment as well as extension services that make use of new effective approaches such as innovation platforms that promote a two way communication mechanism amongst the various actors and stakeholders. 

The study provides indicators that can be used to identify and avoid pathways that lead to unsustainability along the process of agricultural production. For instance indicators of conducive economic policy reforms might include measures taken to reduce or eliminate market distortions and availability of long-term credit facilities to famers.s innovation platforms that promote a two way communication mechanism amongst the various actors and stakeholders.

Ultimately, sustainability depends on how systems, institutions and technologies evolve and the ability to embrace and or respond to associated changes. Being in a position to identify social actors and pathways along that process is critical. 

 

 

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Tony La Viña: Landscape approach is a stronger signal to REDD+

By Elizabeth Kahurani

According to Tony La Viña, a REDD+ facilitator at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (UNFCCC COP 18) talks, a landscape approach holds potential to unlock ambiguities and uncertainties that threaten to stall implementation and scaling up of the REDD+  (Reducing emissions form Deforestation and Forest Degradation) mechanism.

“We are looking at the new Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) process as the future frameworkPanelists at the private sector side event organized at the sidelines of COP 18 that will merge REDD+, Agriculture, Land-Use Change and Forestry into a land use approach that might make more sense with stronger signals,” Tony said while speaking at an event organized to disseminate findings of a study on engagement of private sector in REDD+ conducted by ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins at the World Agroforestry Centre (ASB-ICRAF) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). The event was co-organized with The International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) at the margins of COP 18 in Doha, Qatar.

Tony’s views affirm ongoing research on viable ways of Reducing Emission from All Land Uses (REALU) that is being implemented by the ASB-ICRAF. REALU is based on the premise that REDD+ is only effective to some extent as it only addresses part of the total emissions from land-use change, and implementation of the mechanism is challenged by issues to do with measurements, monitoring, unclear forest definitions, leakage, respecting local communities rights and equity.

One of the key outputs from this research that is piloting landscape approaches demonstrations sites in the Congo Basin, Latin America and Southeast Asia is a strategy on Land Use Planning for Low Emission Development (LUWES) that has been applied in Indonesia to provide a guide on multistakeholder participation and emission reduction scenarios within specific zones of a landscape, or across an entire landscape.

Indeed, from debates and future plans being discussed here at COP 18, a landscape approach seems to be the future to REDD+. With the theme Sustaining Landscapes, this will be the year when Forest Day transits from an exclusive focus on forests to encompass other land uses. “Forest Day 6 will be the last one that is organized during the UNFCCC COP. We are looking forward to building on the Forest Day experience, joining forces with a wider range of partners in agriculture and rural development, and holding a Landscape Day at the UNFCCC COP next year,” notes Peter Holmgren, Director General at the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Governments urged to mitigate REDD+ risks for private sector

At the side event, private sector actors underscored the role of governments in boosting private sector confidence by creating demand for REDD carbon credits and mitigating risk levels. “REDD investment credit cycles take long before they develop to a grade that investors want to buy. They require a lot of money and represent a huge amount of risk. We in the private sector are looking to the governments as the proxy for quality and assurance,” said Jonathan Shopley, Managing Director, The CarbonNeutral Company. Similar sentiments were echoed by Armin Sanhoevel, CEO, Allianz Climate Solutions GmbH.

Alfred Gichu, REDD+ focal point in Kenya noted that while at the international level there was need to create demand for the carbon market, the national governments need to have strategies and policies in place.  A key recommendation from the private sector study was that governments should encourage collaboration with private sector, provide proper governance structure and conducive environment for REDD+ implementation.

“A conducive policy environment would be one that addresses challenges to do with land tenure and carbon ownership, legal basis for private investment as well as appropriate social and environmental safeguards,” explains Florence Bernard, Programme Assosciate at ASB Partnership who led the study on private sector engagement.

Further, she noted that the benefits of involving the private sector as part of a solution to addressing deforestation and degradation go beyond meeting the current climate-finance gap, as they can also provide technical expertise, capacity building and technological innovation. “The private sector can, be part of the solution to mitigating climate change by addressing key drivers of deforestation,” Florence said.

With the title The Private Sector in the REDD+ Supply Chain: Trends, challenges and opportunities, the new study highlights  i) who are the private actors, including their areas of strength and capabilities that can be synergized to leverage on opportunities; and ii) Incentives needed to attract private sector engagement and investment at scale. These are vital steps to harnessing the potential and ability of the private sector in REDD+ efforts.

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The Role of the Private Sector in Climate Change Interventions

Side event – The Private Sector and REDD+: Trends, challenges and opportunities; Thursday, 29 November, 2012; 9:00 – 10:15 am; Diplomatic Club, Doha, Qatar

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The Role of the Private Sector in Climate Change Interventions

Involving the private sector in REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) will be key to its success, says a new study by the ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins at the World Agroforestry Centre (ASB-ICRAF) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

Funding is a major concern in the implementation of REDD+ activities and involving the private sector will be absolutely critical to scale up investment in REDD+.  It is estimated that betweenUS$17–40 billion per year is needed to realize the potential of forests to mitigate climate change.  But since 2008, funding for the REDD+ mechanism has been largely in the form of public donor pledges, which fall far below this target at an approximate cumulative figure of US$7.2 billion. To mobilize funds for meeting the needs of developing countries in climate mitigation and adaptation, a decision to establish a Green Climate Fund (GCF) was made at the last Conference of the Parties (COP 17). The GCF is intended to mobilize US$100 billion annually by 2020 and has within it a “private sector facility” that targets funds from private sector sources.

Besides increasing the scale and speed at which investment needs to flow, the private sector can also make vital contributions to REDD+ initiatives through its technical expertise. In this way, the private sector can, be part of the solution to mitigating climate change by addressing key drivers of deforestation.

REDD+ is a mechanism that aims at compensating developing countries that forgo development activities that cause deforestation. It is part of global efforts to combat climate change, encompasses the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.

The extent to which the private sector potential is effectively used to meet climate objectives, such as through REDD+ highly depends on i) a thorough understanding of the actors, including their areas of strength and capabilities that can be synergized to leverage on opportunities; and ii) Incentives needed to attract private sector engagement and investment at scale.

These are vital aspects explored in a new study titled The Private Sector in the REDD+ Supply Chain: Trends, challenges and opportunities. The study identified several private sector actors engaged in REDD+, including investment banks seeking future investment opportunities or to become ‘’carbon neutral’’, emission-intensive industries looking to offset carbon credits for pre-compliance/compliance, multinational firms through their voluntary Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes and for branding/image purposes, companies developing REDD+ projects, brokering firms, consulting companies offering technical expertise and capacity building and auditors, among others.

A conducive regulatory and policy environment that cushions against risk is key to moving forward on private sector engagement. “Policy clarity and certainty are critical determinants of private sector involvement in REDD+, both internationally and nationally,” explains Florence Bernard, Programme Associate at ASB-ICRAF and lead author of the study. “Governments need to make a deliberate intention to actively engage the private sector in national legislation and sectoral planning.”  

Other necessary incentives for engagement involve including REDD+ in compliance markets to increase demand for REDD+ credits, ensuring clear land and carbon ownership systems, and engaging the private sector to address the fundamental drivers of deforestation. It is also crucial that the private sector’s investments are secured with performance-based payments issued directly to projects independently of national–level performance, through adequate embedding or “nesting” of projects within national level monitoring, compliance and overall accountability systems.

An in-depth discussion of these and other results from the study will be discussed at a side event organized by The International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) in partnership with IISD and ASB-ICRAF at the UNFCCC COP 18 on Thursday, 29 November, 2012 at 9:00 – 10:15 am, Diplomatic Club, Doha, Qatar.

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For the past three years, IISD (www.iisd.org)  has partnered with the ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins (www.asb.cgiar.org)  at the World Agroforestry Centre (www.worldagroforestry.org)  to deliver a project aimed at addressing these challenges through information sharing and research to encourage innovative thinking and the continuous improvement of REDD+ processes and strategies. The project engaged over 300 developing country experts who identified topics of importance and inputted into the policy research process. The final year of the project focused on two critical determinants of REDD+ success, namely:

  • Developing and implementing REDD+ safeguard information systems (SIS)
  • Fostering effective private sector engagement in the REDD+ supply chain

Ahead of COP 18, IISD and ASB-ICRAF has released a series of publications to further explore these critical issue areas. The publications are the result of substantive research that included an extensive desk study, in-country semi-structured interviews with REDD+ experts and practitioners, and regional expert meetings.

 

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