UNFCCC

How viable is a Landscape Approach: Lessons and Recommendations

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Paul Stapleton on Tel: +254 717 718 387 or  P.Stapleton@cgiar.org 

Elizabeth Kahurani on Tel: +254 721 537 627 or e.kahurani@cgiar.org   

For Immediate Release

How viable is a Landscape Approach: Lessons and Recommendations

Discussions on climate change are increasingly pointing to a landscape approach as the next best alternative or compliment to REDD+ whose takeoff has been hampered by challenges drawn mainly from the initiatives narrow focus on forests. However, there still remains need for clarity on definition and feasibility of the Landscape approach concept.

To provide evidence that adds to the body of knowledge to understand and implement the concept, ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins at the World Agroforestry Centre has released a new report based on landscape approach pilot studies conducted in four continents across the tropics in Cameroon, Peru, Indonesia and Vietnam over a period of three years.

Understanding the Landscape Approach

According to the report, “Landscapes represent complex systems with sets of social, biophysical, human ecological and economic dimensions that interact with each other. Such interactions happen at multiple levels -the plot, farm, field levels and beyond. Integration enables understanding of such cross-scale interactions which determine numerous landscape-level patterns and changes. Understanding and building on interactions and feedback loops is thus important for success.”

The project further considered key operational concepts for landscape approaches that include heterogeneity, integration and interactions, multifunctionality, synergy and scale.

Landscape Approach: Lessons and recommendations on implementation

Lessons and recommendations below are drawn from an analysis of landscape approach feasibility studies in the four countries that in a participatory way looked at potential for emission reduction from all land uses including peatlands; financial & non-financial emission reduction incentives needed at landscape level; enabling conditions for effective landscape-based strategies; as well as methodology and tools for implementing and collaborating with the various stakeholders and institutions across scales.

“One important tool generated by the project that has been recommended for use by the Indonesia government for local governments to plan their actions to reduce GHG for entire provinces in Indonesia is the Land Use Planning for Low Emission Development Strategy (LUWES) which helps to explore land use options for supporting low carbon intensive development,” explains Florence Bernard, Associate Scientist at ASB Partnership for the tropical Forest Margins.

Lessons

Recommendations

Incentives targeting non-forest high carbon stock land uses such as agroforestry, tree-based systems and peatlands were found to be attractive, potentially effective and efficient options for achieving REDD+, global climate change objectives and promoting sustainable livelihoods

Further linkage of REDD+ discussions in the international arena with the emerging Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) framing is needed to create rules and incentives for landscape approaches and investments.

Success in emissions reduction initiatives will need entry points beyond a sole emissions reduction focus given that carbon and its associated finance is unlikely to be a priority concern for local stakeholders

Emissions reduction planning and implementation needs to be integrated into the wider development aspirations of stakeholders if it is to succeed

Landscape approaches would benefit from greater effectiveness and efficiency when synergy is sought between emission reductions and other environmental, social and economic objectives including climate change adaptation and green economy approaches.

A co-investment approach is emerging as a necessary condition for achieving multiple landscape-level objectives

Key frameworks and models should be developed to enable better private sector involvement (financing and sharing of technical expertise) in emission reductions and sustainable development schemes at the landscape level. This could allow and involve innovative financial mechanisms for public and private investments. Such a mechanism could allow integration and optimization between currently separated mitigation and adaptation funding streams for example.

Landscape and jurisdictional approaches to emissions reduction can be complementary

Better research is required to understand and identify potential options for landscapes and jurisdictional interactions under different political economy contexts.

REDD+ readiness (and indeed future climate change readiness –NAMA, climate smart agriculture and others) needs to invest more in sub-national level REDD+ designs in order to enable landscape approaches for emissions reduction to thrive. Current readiness focuses more on international accountability structures and national levels, which does not automatically translate to a nested-systems architecture required to address drivers of deforestation at the landscape level.

Nesting landscapes to the national level is a necessary condition for success and scaling-up

 

Rules and guidance for nesting landscapes to the national level are needed. These could include specifying among others issues related to ownership rights to carbon, duties and royalties to be paid on investments, crediting, distribution of national emission targets, benefit sharing, risk management, MRV and baselines.

Identifying and understanding leverage points and potential levers of emissions beyond landscape boundaries is necessary to address drivers effectively.

 

The design and use of approaches that aim at identifying leverage points and levers for addressing drivers, as opposed to the current identification of land uses responsible for most conversions and a description of the processes, is needed.

 

The report is attached and can also be downloaded here: Towards a Landscape Approach for Reducing Emissions: A Substantive Report of the Reducing Emissions from All Land Uses (REALU) Project

Can REDD+, PES and other payments prevent destruction and degradation of our ecosystems?

By Elizabeth Kahurani

Markets can only be a part of the solution to reversing unacceptable levels of deforestation and forest degradation, according to research from the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). “Looking at the whole system and all available options remains the only guarantee, and this means taking a landscape perspective,” according to Dr Ravi Prabhu, Director of Research at ICRAF, who was speaking at a side event of Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn on June 5th 2013.Dr Ravi Prabhu (left), Director of Research at ICRAF, with other panelists at a side event of Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn on June 5th 2013

Dr Ravi defined a landscape as a mosaic of agriculture, forests, plantations with competitions, trade-offs and synergies between land uses. At this level, there are also multiple sectors, stakeholders and practices. Given that the system is so dynamic, he pointed to multifunctional co-investment mechanisms as necessary means of embracing local people, private and public sectors, PES bundling and stacking as options.

In other words, success was more likely if the needs and interests of all the actors who mattered were taken into account and a framework was set up to allow them to jointly invest finances, time and resources in the landscape in order to derive the values they were looking for. Although this would involve compromises and negotiation, a more diverse and therefore resilient system was likely to result.

The event, hosted by the Global Forest Coalition (GFC), focused discussions on a report on non-market based approaches to reducing deforestation and forest degradation submitted to SBSTA by GFC.

According to the report, indigenous communities have always preserved and protected their forests not just for the economic value they derive from them but also for important cultural and spiritual functions. According to the report, there is evidence to show that areas protected by communities are more likely to survive deforestation and negative environment extractions as opposed to areas protected through other means of control such as government bans. As such, empowering communities to manage their forests remains the best option from efforts to protect the ecosystem while promoting livelihoods. But how?

Debates and negotiations have centered on market approaches such as Payment for Environmental Services (PES) and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+). Essentially these approaches are based on a financial compensation to forest users for the opportunity costs of more ‘destructive’ land-use forms based on a market price for the goods in question, e.g. water or tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Simone Lovera, Executive Director of Global Forest Coalition warns that approaches based on such market mechanisms should be approached with caution as they could present a higher risk to communities particularly with regard to efficiency and equity. Besides, she argues, political and financial commitments do not match these policy frameworks. “For instance, so far, the carbon market has only realized less than 1% of the anticipated REDD+ funding. Financial constraints therefore bring in the issue of who receives funding, who is going to be paid for what and more often than not it is not the individual households that benefit,” said Simone while speaking at the UNFCCC side event.

She noted that there is need to pay attention to non-market based approaches that ensure recognition and territorial rights of the indigenous people and local communities. These should empower communities by also promoting local knowledge and information systems as well as policies for legal and financial support on land reforms, sustainable agriculture and that discourage destructive activities like logging. “Such means of empowering communities to protect their environment ensures sustainability as they do not rely on unpredictable and uncertain funding flows,” said Simone.

A landscape approach takes into account needs and interests of all the actors who matter especially local communitiesPresenting evidence from ICRAF’s work on environmental services, Dr Ravi used results from research sites in Southeast Asia and Africa to explain some of the PES related challenges especially on issues to do with equity and efficiency (see presentation on Slideshare). He emphasized the need for a comprehensive systematic approach, one that can leverage on best options available from various approaches and deliver on securing livelihoods for communities and ecosystem services. “Looking at the whole system is the only guarantee, and this means having a landscape perspective,” explained Ravi. He emphasized that a market price or opportunity costs based approach generally underestimated the full value of the forests, focused as they were on a particular good or service.

He concluded with the message that agroforestry systems can deliver both market and non-market benefits in ways that empower local communities to ensure sustainability.

Read about our work on Landscape approaches to REDD+

Guestbook

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.

Download presentation

Read full private sector study report

Read policy brief and Press release

Watch Climate Change TV Interview here

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.

Is the window of opportunity for REDD+ closing?

By Elizabeth Kahurani

This question was the subject of discussion during a UNFCCC COP 18 side event organized by the European Union (EU) to present findings from two EU supported research programmes; i) Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation through Alternative Land-uses in Rainforests of the Tropics (REDD-ALERT) and ii) Impacts of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and Enhancing Carbon Stocks (I-REDD+).

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

NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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.

 

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