forests

China Mountain Communities Adapt to Climate Change

The World Agroforestry Centre has released a new study, Coping with climate-induced water stresses through time and space in the mountains of Southwest China which documents innovative strategies to cope with long drought spells adopted by mountain communities in rural Yunnan, China.

Local strategies include “changing cropping varieties and cropping patterns, using water-saving technologies, improved irrigation methods and engaging in off-farm income generation. At the same time, communities now use collective action to cope with water stresses, including social organization and cooperation, village-level water-management rules, water storage and hiring irrigation managers.”

One of the lead scientists and Jianchu Xu says these efforts can be complemented through dual forest-management programmes, “one for recovery and restoration of natural forests, and one for incorporating trees into farmlands, both of which are based on robust research.”

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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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Adopt context specific solutions to deforestation, UN climate meeting told

By Josephine Njoroge, edited by Elizabeth Kahurani

Ahead of tomorrow`s Forest Day 6 discussion forum on drivers of deforestation hosted by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Dr Peter Minang’, a Senior Scientist and Global Coordinator of the ASB Partnership  said that causes of deforestation are unique to regions and that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to ending the problem. “For instance, in Latin America, forests are lost due to establishment of cattle ranches while in Africa, smallholder farmers continue to engage in shifting cultivation. There is also a widespread trend to establish vast industrial plantations for oil palms in Asia and in other parts of the world,” Peter explained with caution that history is a poor predictor of future drivers of deforestation.

Challenges and Prospects for REDD+ in Africa

Done right, REDD+ can bring some attractive benefits to developing countries, including finances that can be applied to various areas of development.

According to Dr. Cheikh Mbow, however, poorly implemented REDD+ initiatives could negatively impact the livelihoods of the very communities it was designed to benefit, particularly rural people who depend on forest resources. Mbow is a senior climate change scientist with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and lead author of the recent new report titled ‘Challenges and Prospects for REDD+ in Africa: Desk Review Of REDD+ Implementation in Africa.” The report sought to synthesize the ever-growing number of REDD+ activities under implementation in Africa, including the actors, objectives, means of execution, and outcomes.

“Within the African context, a range of deforestation pressures, financial resources, technical capacity and a diverse array of interest groups present challenges to REDD+ implementation,” he adds. Read more

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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Contact- (Doha, Qatar) +254 721 537 627; e.kahurani@cgiar.org

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.

 

Agroforestry: Farmers produce more with less

Agustine Mbugua is reaping the benefits of conservation agriculture in his single acre piece of land in the Ngata Division of Nakuru County, 170km west of Nairobi. “Not only have I stopped using fertiliser on my farm because the manure from the crop cover provides enough nutrients to the crops, but the labour costs have gone down.

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