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E-News Issue 14 June/July 2009

ASB Interview -
Why agriculture needs to be part of a climate change deal 

An interview with ASB Global Coordinator Dr. Peter Akong Minang
by Jeff Haskins, Burness Communications

If a REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) mechanism is included in the Kyoto Protocol’s successor agreement, will this be a major win for the forestry community?

Yes, definitely. This will open up new opportunities for countries that have been doing good work to protect their forests as well as provide a financial incentive for other countries to keep their forests. But we also need to recognize the biodiversity benefits of a REDD mechanism as well as the gains in poverty alleviation.
Minang: "REDD payments alone cannot succeed in reducing deforestation, unless agriculture is taken into account"
Dr. Peter Akong Minang
Some REDD-type schemes have already been created in Brazil and Indonesia. Are any being implemented in Africa?

ASB is pulling together an inventory of REDD projects around the world. So far, we’ve found that Africa has less than 30 of the 180 projects around the globe. To put this in perspective, an entire continent has 5% fewer projects than a single country, Indonesia. This is not good news. It’s a repeat of the experience we had with the CDM. Africa needs to catch up in terms of its REDD readiness.

What about the Congo Basin in particular?

Right now, REDD investments in Africa are not targeting the areas that would be most effective for climate change mitigation. These include the Congo Basin, which is extremely rich in tropical forests. The problem is that countries with the highest potential for mitigation in forests also have poor governance, especially forest governance. We investigated why this is happening and found that governance and historical relationships between investor countries and African countries are part of the problem. You absolutely need very good governance to deliver on REDD.

Click to read the full interview online!


Updates on ASB projects

ASB Partners receive $1.8 Million USD from Norway for REDD activities

ASB is pleased to announce it has received funding for two projects from Norway’s Climate and Forest Initiative 2009!

“REALU Architecture: Reducing Emissions from all Land Uses”  and “Building REDD Capacity for Developing Country Negotiators and Land Managers”, will be implemented by ASB partners in  advance of the UNFCCC 15th Conference of Parties in Copenhagen in December. Click to learn more.

REDD-Alert project launches

"Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation through
Alternative Landuses in Rainforests of the Tropics" was launched in Bogor, Indonesia on 25 May 2009. The project seeks to better understand the socio-economic drivers and impacts of deforestation and provide policy options for emissions reduction. With funding from the European Union, it is being implemented by the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, the World Agroforestry Centre,  and several other national and international partners. Read more.

Report back from UNFCCC meeting in Bonn (June 1-12)

After Bonn: REDD questions from the latest UNFCCC talks

As the draft REDD negotiating text (download PDF: FCCC/SBSTA/2009/L.9) was hammered out in Bonn, ASB has identified five key questions for further work.

  1. Is REDD Plus going to be part of  nationally appropriate mitigation activities (NAMAs) or not?
  2. What would REDD+ include? Options include deforestation/degradation, sutainable forest management (SFM), conservation and more. What is the definition of REDD+?
  3. What would be covered by the market and what would be covered by the fund (and/or the auction proposed by Norway)? What are the transitions points between the fund-market phased approach from Bali? Europe seems to prefer REDD under a market and PLUS- SFM and Conservation under a Fund…
  4. Is the baseline going to be defined by “reference emission levels” or “reference levels”?
  5. To what extent can the IPCCC Good Practise Guidance be adopted as the Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) standard? EU and others say “as is”, some G77 + China countries argue that this is not feasible.
These questions are central for ongoing work by the ASB Partnership, as we formulate policy options for Reducing Emissions from Agriculture, Forestry and other Land Uses in developing countries, leading up to the Copenhagen meeting of the UNFCCC this December.

Peter Minang conlcuded, “The door is wide open for including emissions reductions from agriculture under NAMAs… and the door for REDD+ has not closed either.”

[link to online version]

ASB scientists share perspectives on REDD and Agriculture in Bonn

As the international climate community discusses a future agreement in Bonn this week, ASB Global Coordinator (acting) Peter Akong Minang is there to share perspectives on reducing emissions and increasing carbon storage in forests, agriculture lands and mosaic areas. ASB research on High Carbon Stock Pathways to Rural Development and Africa’s Biocarbon indicates that intermediate land uses can help mitigate climate change, and help farmers adapt by improving resilience and providing sustainable income.

Dr. Minang spoke on June 5 at a side event on Agriculture, Land and Climate Change, convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The Earth Neogtiations Bulletin has full coverage (scroll to bottom).

Dr. Minang was also invited to give ASB’s perspective at an event convened by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) , which focused on the importance of negotiation outcomes that support adaptation and mitigation by poor farmers in developing countries. The panel included Dr. Gerald Nelson, who represents IFPRI on the ASB Global Steering Group. The discussion was videorecorded and you can watch the webcast online now.

‘Land Day’ statements on mitigation in soils and agricultural areas

On Saturday 6 June, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Secretariat hosted “Land Day” as a parallel event to the UNFCCC meeting. During the meeting, Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC said:

“science has since caught up, and monitoring carbon sequestration into soils can be monitored with much greater accuracy” and that “a successful outcome will include incentives for the agricultural and forestry sectors to adopt decisive mitigation measures.” 

Developed and Developing Countries Split on Accounting for Ecosystem Carbon

The Katoomba Group’s Ecosystem Marketplace has posted analysis of the outcomes of the climate change talks that took place in Bonn. The major point of disagreement in Bonn was how to account for reductions in greenhouse gasses through changes in agriculture, forestry, and other land uses (AFOLU). Read more...

Agriculture: A necessary complication in the climate negotiations has posted an insightful overview of the challenges that agriculture faces for inclusion in a post-2012 climate agreement. The article mentions work by IFPRI, the Terrestrial Carbon Group and FAO, including the FAO side event where Peter Akong Minang presented in Bonn early in June. Read more...

Focus on Africa: Agriculture, Biocarbon and Climate Change

Talking Biocarbon with Africa’s MPs

Africa’s Biocarbon is key to mitigating climate change and benefiting millions of smallholder farmers. This was the message that Dr. Peter Akong Minang from ASB shared with legislators from across Africa at the Pan-African Parliamentary Conference on Climate Change from 25-27 June 2009. Dr. Minang was invited to speak by the parliamentarians to give perspectives on the Africa Biocarbon Initiative, which promotes a broad AFOLU (Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Uses) perspective for emissions reduction and carbon storage. Click to see Peter's presentation and read more...

Africa needs substantially scaled-up finance, technology and capacity-building to combat climate change

At the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) in May, African Ministers for environment adopted the Nairobi Declaration, highlighting the major challenges and opportunities for Africa in the negotiations for a more equitable climate regime. The Declaration provides African countries with a platform to make a strong case for support at Copenhagen 2009. The declaration refers to the important  role of forests, agriculture and other lands in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Read more...

More news...

U.S. House Passes Landmark Climate Change Bill, Now Heads to Senate

The United States house of representatives have passed a “landmark” climate change bill that includes provisions for domestic reductions as well as offsets through investments in reduced emissions from deforestation in tropical forest nations. Read more...

Farmers’ solutions to climate change - proposals for including agriculture in a post-Kyoto agreement
The International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) is calling for agriculture to be included in the new climate change deal. On May 27, the Federation hosted “Climate Change: Farmers’ Solutions”, an event where farmers and stakeholders dialogued on the role of agriculture in mitigating climate change. Read more...


Agriculture and Climate Change - IFPRI 2020 Vision Focus Briefs
The International Food Policy Research Institute has released a series of 13 policy briefs on the role of agriculture in climate change. ASB scientists Brent Swallow and Meine van Noordwijk have co-authored one of these briefs, “Direct and Indirect Mitigation Through Tree and Soil Management” (Download PDF). The rest of the briefs can be downloaded here.

Anchoring Agriculture within a Copenhagen Agreement - FAO
FAO makes three proposals for anchoring agriculture in a future climate change regime:(i) Include Agriculture in the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) of developing countries(ii) Ensure financing for agricultural mitgation (iii) Move towards a comprehensive landscape approach (Download PDF).

New Terrestrial Carbon Group Policy Briefs
The Terrestrial Carbon Group has released new policy briefs on key issues related to carbon mitigation and storage in land. Read more...

The Natural Fix?: The Role of Ecosystems in Climate Mitigation - UNEP
This report describes the contributions that ecosystems can make to mitigate climate change. It presents carbon capture and storage through a Green Economy lens, outlining the potential in terms of natural systems, from forests to grasslands which have been doing the job in a tried and tested way for millennia. Read more...

Opportunities, Resources and Events

Call for articles on best forest practices for adaptation and mitigation for ETFRN News
Tropenbos International (TBI), the European Tropical Forest Research Network (ETFRN), GTZ and Wageningen International are jointly preparing a special ETFRN Newsletter on best forest practices for  climate adaptation and mitigation. Read more...

New Blog: Connecting Agricultural and Environmental Science to the Climate Agenda
The ASB Partnership has joined the Rural Climate Exchange, a new blog launched by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The purpose of this blog is to help bring such knowledge to light, so it can better serve global efforts to cope with climate change.

World Congress of Agroforestry Nairobi, Kenya 23-28 August 2009 Read more...

2009 World Forestry Congress Buenos Aires, Argentina 18-25 October 2009 Read more...


As reported by the Earth Negotiations Bulletin at the Bonn UNFCCC meeting:
The “forest club” made its first appearance today as the REDD and LULUCF discussions got underway. “What are they talking about” one bewildered observer was overheard whispering in the back of the REDD contact group. “These people speak their own language,” his colleague whispered back. Perhaps one African delegate was right in Tuesday’s AWG-KP plenary when he welcomed a specialized spin-off group on LULUCF, saying “generally speaking, those negotiators are a different breed.”

Opportunities, Resources and Events
Edited by: Vanessa Meadu.
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