(Study Material for IPS LCE) Environment: International Initiatives

International Initiatives

Courtesy: various websites

International Initiatives


organizationoflow-lyingcoastaland smallIsland countries. Established in
1990, the main purpose of the alliance is to consolidate the voices ofSmall
Island Developing States(SIDS) to addressglobal warming. AOSIS has been very
active from its inception, putting forward the first draft text in theKyoto
Protocolnegotiations as early as 1994. Many of the member states were present
at the December2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference(COP15).Democracy
Now!reported that members from theisland stateof Tuvalu interrupted a session
on 10-December-2009 to demand that global temperature rise be limited to 1.5
degrees]instead of the proposed 2 degrees. AOSIS has 42 members
andobserversfrom all around the world, of which 36 are members of theUnited
Nations. The alliance represents 28% of thedeveloping countries, and 20% of
theUN’s total membership.

Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate

TheAsia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and
Climate, also known asAPP, was an international, voluntary, public-private
partnership amongAustralia,Canada,India,Japan, thePeople’s Republic of
China,South Korea, and theUnited Statesannounced July 28, 2005 at
anAssociation of South East Asian Nations(ASEAN) Regional Forum meeting and
launched on January 12, 2006 at the Partnership’s inaugural Ministerial meeting
inSydney. As of 5 April 2011, the Partnership formally concluded although a
number of individual projects continue. The conclusion of the APP and
cancellation of many of its projects attracted almost no media comment.Foreign, Environment and Energy Ministers from partner countries agreed to
co-operate on the development and transfer of technology which enables reduction
ofgreenhouse gasemissions that is consistent with and complementary to theUN
Framework Convention on Climate Changeand other relevant international
instruments, and is intended to complement but not replace the Kyoto
Protocol.,Ministers agreed to aCharter, Communique and Work Plan that “outline
a ground-breaking new model of private-public task forces to addressclimate
change,energy securityandair pollution.”

Member countries account for over 50% of the
world’sgreenhouse gasemissions, energy consumption,GDPand population. Unlike
theKyoto Protocol(currently unratified by the United States), which imposes
mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions, the Partnership engages member
countries to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy
technologies, with no mandatory enforcement mechanism. This has led to criticism
that the Partnership is worthless, by other governments, climate scientists and
environmental groups. Proponents, on the other hand, argue that unrestricted
economic growth and emission reductions can only be brought about through active
engagement by all major polluters, which includesIndiaandChina, within
theKyoto Protocolframework neitherIndianorChinaare yet required to reduce
emissions.Canadabecame the 7th member of the APP at the Second Ministerial Meeting in New
Delhi on October 15, 2007. Canada’s Prime MinisterStephen Harperearlier
expressed his intention to join the Partnership in August 2007, despite some
domestic opposition.


U.S. PresidentGeorge W. Bushcalled it a “new
results-oriented partnership” that he said “will allow our nations to develop
and accelerate deployment of cleaner, more efficient energy technologies to meet
national pollution reduction, energy security and climate change concerns in
ways that reduce poverty and promote economic development.”John Howard, the
formerAustralian Prime Minister, described the pact as “fair and effective”However, theWorldwide Fund for Naturestated that “a deal on climate change
that doesn’t limit pollution is the same as a peace plan that allows guns to be
fired” whilst the British Governments’ chief scientific adviser,Sir David King,
in a BBC interview said he doubted the new deal could work without setting caps
on emissions, but added it should be seen as a sign of progress on climate
change.Compared to the Kyoto Protocol, which so far requires no emission
reductions from India and China, the APP actively engages both countries through
building market incentives to reduce greenhouse emissions along with building
capacity and providing clean technology transfers. Proponents argue that this
approach creates a greater likelihood that bothIndiaandChinawill, sooner
rather than later, effectively cut their greenhouse emissions even though they
are not required to do so under the Kyoto Protocol.

Areas for collaboration

The intent is to create a voluntary, non-legally binding
framework for international cooperation to facilitate the development,
diffusion, deployment, and transfer of existing, emerging and longer term cost-
effective, cleaner, more efficient technologies and practices among the Partners
through concrete and substantial cooperation so as to achieve practical results;
promote and create enabling environments to assist in such efforts; facilitate
attainment of the Partners’ respective national pollution reduction, energy
security and climate change objectives; and provide a forum for exploring the
Partners’ respective policy approaches relevant to addressing interlinked
development, energy, environment, and climate change issues within the context
of clean development goals, and for sharing experiences in developing and
implementing respective national development and energy strategies. The
Partnership’s inaugural Ministerial meeting established eight
government/business taskforces through its Work Plan,posted on the APP website.1. cleaner fossil energy2. renewable energyanddistributed generation3. power generation and transmission4. steel5. aluminum6. cement7. coal mining8. buildings and appliances

Ministerial Meetings

The inaugural ministerial meeting was held at the Four
Seasons Hotel and Government House inSydney, Australia on January 11 and 12,

Asia-Pacific Partnership Ministers agreed and released a:

  • Charter that provides the framework and structure of the

  • Communiqué that highlights key outcomes from this

  • Work Plan that maps out an intensive agenda of work for the
    taskforces in the near-term.

Partnership Ministers met again inNew Delhi,Indiaon
October 15, 2007, and released a second communiqueand admitted Canada as a
Partner.The Ministers also met in Shanghai, China on October 26–27, 2009 where
they discussed the accomplishments of the Partnership since the New Delhi
Ministerial, and received the results of a report analyzing and evaluating the
progress of the APP flagship projects.


The Partnership has been publicly supported as an alternative
to the Kyoto Protocol by governments and business groups in some countries,
particularly in countries where the Kyoto Protocol has not been ratified. Many
commentators have particularly welcomed the fact that the Partnership overcomes
the impasse between developed and developing countries under theUnited Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Changeand theKyoto Protocoland has led to
India and China taking some steps to address their greenhouse gas
emissions.Mexico,Russia, and several ASEAN members have expressed interest in
joining the Partnership in the future.


The Partnership has been criticized by environmentalists who
have rebuked the proceedings as ineffectual without mandatory limits on
greenhouse-gas emissions. A coalition of national environment groups and
networks from all of the APP countries issued a challengeto their governments
to make the APP meaningful by agreeing to mandatory targets, creating financial
mechanisms with incentives for the dissemination of clean energy technologies,
and create an action plan to overcome the key barriers to technology
transfer.U.S. SenatorJohn McCainsaid the Partnership “[amounted] to nothing
more than a nice little public relations ploy.”,while the Economist described
the Partnership as “patent fig-leaf for the refusal of America and Australia to
ratify Kyoto”. In the year since the Partnership went into effect, none of the
parties have lowered emissions of greenhouse gases.Although it should be noted
that under the Kyoto Protocol Australia is able to increase its emissions from
1990 levels to 108%.


Proponents of the Partnership have lauded the APP’s
achievements since it’s inception in 2006. In its over three years, the
Partnership has established a record of achievement in promoting collaboration
between our governments and private sector in key energy-intensive sectors and
activities. The Partnership has worked to develop and implement detailed action
plans across key sectors of the energy economy, and to date has endorsed 175
collaborative projects including 22 flagship projects across all the seven
Partner countries. These projects have, inter alia, helped power plant managers
improve the efficiency of their operations, trained cement plant operators how
to save energy at their facilities, assisted in pushing solar photovoltaics
toward commercialization, and improved design, equipment and operations of
buildings and appliances. The Partnership has been widely noted for its
innovative work in public-private sector cooperation, and stands as an example
of the benefits of international cooperative efforts in addressing climate


2007, by a group of 15 governments in Lisbon, Portugal. ICAP is an international
cooperation forum between states and substate regions aiming to link regional
Emission Trading Schemes (ETS). ICAP is used as an open platform exchanging
experiences and linking possibilities in specific linking topics likeMRV,carbon
offsetsor Carbon-Leakage. It is a group of countries and regions that support
carbon trading and are actively developing or have developed cap-and-trade
systems. ICAP facilitates the linking of established and emerging cap-and-trade
programs by promoting consistent regulatory frameworks across national borders.


The International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP) was founded on October 29,
2007. Leaders of more than 15 governments met in Lisbon, Portugal to launch the
establishment of the International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP). ICAP is
made up of countries and regions that have implemented or are actively pursuing
the implementation ofemission trading systems(ETS). ICAP includes members from
the European Union and theEuropean Emission Trading Scheme(EU ETS),Western
Climate Initiative(WCI),Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative(RGGI), and
Australia, New Zealand and Norway. Japan and Ukraine are observers.The Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared during the founding:
“This first of its kind partnership will provide more incentives for clean-tech
investment and economic growth while not letting polluters off the hook. And it
will help renew the health of our planet.”

Many governments across the world have established or are developing
cap-and-trade forgreenhouse gas emissions(carbon markets). They include the
European Union’s trading system (EU ETS), the Norwegian trading programme, the
New Zealand trading system (NZ ETS), the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)
in the eastern region of the United States of America (USA), and the Western
Climate Initiative (WCI), which includes western states from the USA and
Canadian provinces.There is growing interest in other regions of the world in
using carbon markets as a cost-efficient mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions, among others Japan, Mexico and the United States. Development and
implementation of carbon markets requires cooperation, and further consideration
of how the various markets can facilitate the transition to a globallow-carbon
economy. The partnership provides a forum to share experiences and knowledge.
Sharing and evaluating best practices will help ICAP members determine the
extent to which their respective programs can be supported by, and or benefit
from, the ICAP process.

ICAP was formed to contribute to the establishment of a well-functioning
global cap and trade carbon market. ICAP provides the opportunity for member
countries and regions to share best practices and learn from each other’s
experiences. Linking current and emerging carbon markets at a global level
establishes a level playing field for covered sectors and a consistent
regulatory framework across national borders. Through this sharing, ICAP
enhances the design of other market-based schemes by ensuring compatibility of
design issues at an early stage. As a result, ICAP provides a forum to ensure
capability of existing and emerging programs and enhances the promise for
development of future linked carbon markets. To coordinate carbon market
regulation an international clearinghouse should be installed. The International
Carbon Action Partnership ICAP has already started preparing the linking of
trading systems and could serve as a future regulatory body.

General Objectives

1. Sharing best practice and learning from each others’ experiences2. Ensuring that design compatibility issues are recognized at an early stage3. Facilitating future linking of trading programs.


ICAP is an open forum of governments and public authorities working on carbon
markets through cap and trade systems. While all members and observers meet in
person two times a year, the day to day work is carried out by the ICAP Steering
Committee, supported by a Project Manager who is based in Berlin, Germany. The
Project Manager is supervised by the Chair of the ICAP Steering Committee.
British Columbia has been elected as Chair for 2009. To coordinate carbon market
regulation an international clearinghouse should be installed. The International
Carbon Action Partnership ICAP, founded in October 2007, has already started
preparing the linking of trading systems and could serve as a future regulatory


Land use, land-use change and forestry(LULUCF) is defined by the United
Nations Climate Change Secretariat as “A greenhouse gas inventory sector that
covers emissions and removals of greenhouse gases resulting from direct
human-induced land use, land-use change and forestry activities.”

LULUCF has impacts on the globalcarbon cycleand as such these activities
can add or removecarbon dioxide(or, more generally,carbon) from the
atmosphere, contributing toclimate change. LULUCF has been the subject of two
major reports by theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC).
Additionally,land useis of critical importance forbiodiversity.Land-use change can be a factor in CO2atmospheric concentration, and is thus a
contributor to climate change.IPCCestimates that land-use change (e.g.
conversion of forest into agricultural land) contributes a net 1.6 ± 0.8Gtcarbon
per year to the atmosphere. For comparison, the major source of CO2, namely
emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production amount to 6.3 ± 0.6
Gt carbon per year.This decision sets out the rules that govern how Kyoto
Parties with emission reduction commitments (co-called Annex 1 Parties) account
for changes in carbon stocks in land use, land-use change and forestry. It is
mandatory for Annex 1 Parties to account for changes in carbons stocks resulting
from deforestation, reforestation and afforestation (B Article 3.3)and
voluntary to account for emissions from forest management, cropland management,
grazing land management and revegetation (B. Article 3.4). The rules governing
the treatment of land use, land-use change and forestry for the second
commitment period are currently being renegotiated as part of the Bali Action
Plan under the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex 1 Parties
under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP).The most recent options for rule changes under consideration are summarized in a
“Non-Paper” the co-chairs of the contact group on LULUCF (as of June 12).

Land use and biodiversity

The extent, and type of land use directly affectswildlifehabitatand
thereby impacts local and global biodiversity. Human alteration of landscapes
from natural vegetation (e.g.wilderness) to any other use typically results
inhabitat loss,degradation, andfragmentation, all of which can have
devastating effects on biodiversity. Land conversion is the single greatest
cause ofextinctionofterrestrialspecies. An example of land conversion being
a chief cause of the critically endangered status of acarnivoreis the
reduction in habitat for theAfrican Wild Dog,Lycaon pictus.)Of particular concern isdeforestation, where logging or burning are followed by
the conversion of the land to agriculture or other land uses. Even if some
forests are left standing, the resultingfragmented landscapetypically fails to
support many species that previously existed there.


DEGRADATION(REDD)is a set of steps designed to use market/financial incentives
in order to reduce the emissions ofgreenhouse gasesfromdeforestationandforest
degradation. Its original objective is to reduce green house gases but it can
deliver “co-benefits” such as biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation.
“Reducing emissions fromdeforestationandforest degradation” implies a
distinction between the two activities. The process of identifying the two is
what raises questions about how to measure each within the REDD mechanism,
therefore their distinction is vital. Deforestation is the permanent removal of
forests and withdrawal of land from forest use. Forest degradation refers to
negative changes in the forest area that limit its production capacity.REDDis sometimes presented as an “offset” scheme of the carbon markets and
thus, would produce carbon credits. Carbon offsets are “emissions-saving
projects or programmes” that in theory would “compensate” for the polluters’
emissions. The “carbon credits” generated by these projects could then be used
by industrialised governments and corporations to meet their targets and/or to
be traded within the carbon markets.However this perspective on REDD+ is
contested and hotly debated among economists, scientists and negotiators.Recent
studies indicate such an offset approach based on projects would significantly
increase the transaction costs associated to REDD+and would actually be the
weakest alternative for a national REDD+ architecture as regards effectiveness,
efficiency, its capacity to deliver co benefits (like development, biodiversity
or human rights) and its overal political legitimacy.

In recent years, estimates for deforestation and forest
degradation were shown to account for 20-25% of greenhouse gas emissions, higher
than the transportation sector.Recent work shows that the combined contribution
of deforestation, forest degradation and peatland emissions accounts for about
15% of greenhouse gas emissions, about the same as the transportation
sector.Even with these new numbers it is increasingly accepted thatmitigation
of global warmingwill not be achieved without the inclusion of forests in an
international regime. As a result, it is expected to play a crucial role in a
future successor agreement to theKyoto Protocol.


In the 1997 global climate agreement, the Kyoto Protocol,
policies related to deforestation and degradation were excluded due to the
complexity of measurements and monitoring for the diverse ecosystems and land
use changes. This exclusion resulted in the formation of theCoalition of
Rainforest Nations. Participant nations includedPapua New Guinea,Costa
Ricaand other forest nations.In 2005, at the 11th Conference of the Parties (COP-11), the Coalition of
Rainforest Nations initiated a request to consider ‘reducing emissions from
deforestation in developing countries.’ The matter was referred to the
Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA). The United States
challenged the proposal but failed in its attempts.Later, at the 2007 BaliUNFCCCmeeting (COP-13), an agreement was reached on
“the urgent need to take further meaningful action to reduce emissions from
deforestation and forest degradation”. The deadline for reaching an agreement on
the specifics of an international REDD mechanism, at least as regards to its
being implemented in the short and medium term, was set to be the 15th
Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP-15), which was held
inCopenhagenin December 2009.

Main Actors

REDD activities are undertaken by national or local
governments, dominant NGOs, the private sector, or any combination of these. It
is being pushed strongly by the World Bank and the UN for setting up the bases
for the carbon market and the legal and governance frameworks of countries
receiving REDD. A number of NGOs, development agencies, research institutes and
international organizations support developing countries that wish to engage in
REDD activities. TheWorld Banks’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, theUN-REDD
Programme, andNorway’s International Climate and Forest Initiativeare such
examples. The genuine actors of REDD, however, will be the populations whose
livelihoods derive from forests. Indigenous Peoples and forest-dependent
communities will be the front liners of REDD, and the success of REDD activities
will largely depend on their engagement.

There are many corporative andfinancial lobbiesbehind the
push for REDD. The REDD”+” is more than just avoided deforestation and forest
degradation, it also includes the possibility of offsetting emissions through
“sustainable forest management”, “conservation” and “increasing forest carbon
stocks”. This is because a REDD strategy need not refer solely to the
establishment of national parks or protected areas; by the careful design of
rules and guidelines, REDD could include land use practices such as shifting
cultivation by indigenous communities and reduced-impact-logging, provided
sustainable rotation and harvesting cycles can be demonstrated.Some argue that
this is opening the door to logging operations in primary forests, displacement
of local populations for “conservation”, increase of tree plantations.[6] REDD+
is another extension of green capitalism, subjecting the forests and its
inhabitants to new ways of expropriation and enclosure at the hands of polluting
companies and market speculators.

For example, at the global level, theInternational Tropical
Timber Organization(ITTO) – an intergovernmental body that includes 60
countries of producers and consumers of wood in tropical forests and the
European Union, is a key actor in the push to approve REDD+. The ITTO has
launched a thematic program on REDD and environmental services with an initial
funding of US$3.5 million from Norway. In addition, the 45th session of the ITTO
Council held in November 2009, recommended that efforts relating REDD+ should
focus on promoting “sustainable forest management”. In this regard, this
sector’s lobbying seeks above all to include forest extraction inside REDD under
the guise of “sustainable management” in order to benefit from carbon markets
while maintaining business-as-usual.On the other side, Indigenous Peoples are an important side of the actors
scenario that most of the times is ignored. The International Indigenous Peoples
Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) was explicit at the Bali climate negotiations
in 2007: “REDD/REDD+ will not benefit Indigenous Peoples, but in fact will
result in more violations of Indigenous Peoples’ rights. It will increase the
violation of our human rights, our rights to our lands, territories and
resources, steal our land, cause forced evictions, prevent access and threaten
indigenous agricultural practices, destroy biodiversity and cultural diversity
and cause social conflicts. Under REDD/REDD+, states and carbon traders will
take more control over our forests.”Some grassroots organisations are already working to develop REDD activities
with communities and developing benefit-sharing mechanisms to ensure REDD funds
reach rural communities as well as governments. Examples of these include Plan
Vivo projects in Mexico, Mozambique and Cameroon.

Active International Organizations

REDD has received strong support and push from international
organizations and IFIs (International Financial Institutions). The World Bank
presently plays an important role in the progression of REDD activities. As one
of the financial contributors for the REDD program, the World Bank has created a
$300 million fund, the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF).So far small
grants of $200,000 have been disbursed. This fund is aimed towards initiating
REDD activities in developing countries. In addition, another World Bank
facility, the Carbon Partnership Facility (CPF), is expected to be used in areas
like the power sectors, transportation, urban development and other areas
related to energy efficiency where greenhouse gases are generated.

Although the World Bank declares its commitment to fight
against climate change, many civil society organisations and grassroots
movements around the world view with scepticism the processes being developed
under these funds. Among some of the most worrying reasons are the weak (or
inexistent) consultation processes with local communities; the lack of criteria
to determine when a country is ready to implement REDD projects (reddiness); the
negative impacts such as deforestation and loss of biodiversity (due to fast
agreements and lack of planning); the lack of safeguards to protect Indigenous
Peoples’ rights; and the lack of regional policies to stop deforestation. During
the UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen (2009) and Cancun (2010) strong civil
society and social movements coalitions formed a strong front to fight the World
Bank out of the climate.The UNDP, UNEP and FAO set up the UN-REDD Programme, which is aimed at assisting
developing countries in addressing certain measures needed in order to
effectively participate in the REDD mechanism. These measures include capacity
development, governance, engagement of Indigenous Peoples and technical needs.
The first initial set of nine countries were Bolivia, Democratic Republic of
Congo, Indonesia, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Tanzania, Vietnam, and
Zambia. The total number of funds allocated by the UN-REDD Programme Policy
Board to date is US$ 48.3 million, allocated to eight of these countries.The
Programme also ensures overall guidance through its global activities on
Measuring, Verifying and Reporting (MRV) systems, engagement of indigenous
peoples and other forest-dependent communities, and governance; the Programme
aims for multiple benefits from REDD for livelihoods and ecosystems.

However, among other exclusions, the definition of forests
currently adopted by the UN climate change convention (and therefore the UNDP,
UNEP and FAO) contains a large loophole: it fails to distinguish between natural
forests and plantations, including eucalyptus, pines, acacias, oil palm, and
others. Biodiverse, natural forests could therefore be destroyed and replaced
with plantations, but this would not be treated as “deforestation” because –
according to the definition – the area would still be covered by trees. The lack
of a clear distinction is no accident. Defining a forest simply in terms of tree
cover – rather than complex ecosystems and the livelihoods of peoples
interacting with them – has long been used as a cover for the expansion of
industrial-scale plantations. The most plausible explanation, arguably, is that
commercial interests take precedence over environmental and social objectives in
the shaping of REDD policy.

Active governments

The REDD mechanism has been well received by some national
governments.At the 2007 Bali Conference, the Norwegian government announced
their International Climate and Forests Initiative, which provided $500 million
towards the creation and implementation of national-based, REDD activities in
the nation of Tanzania. The Norwegian government will work closely with
international organizations such as UN-REDD to promote REDD activities in the
area.In addition, the Government of Norway and United Kingdom contributed $200
million towards the Congo Basin Forest Fund to aid forest conservation actives
in Central Africa. Australia has joined the efforts to promote REDD mechanisms.
Their $200 million International Forest Carbon Initiative focused on developing
REDD activities in the region, i.e., in areas like Indonesia, and Papua New
Guinea.The governments of Spain and Denmark have recently become donors to the
UN-REDD Programme. There have been a few cases of corruption and bribery thus
far. In late October 2010, Wandojo Siswanto, a lead delegate in Copenhagen and
key architect of REDD, was arrested and charged with accepting bribes of up to
US$10,000 from the director of PT Masaro Radiokom, a telecommunications
company.In Indonesia, the forestry sector’s reputation has been referred to as
“a source of unlimited corruption,” by Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication
Commission (KPK).

Key Questions

A number of questions are being discussed and will inform the
decisions on REDD at the upcoming 16th Conference of the Parties to theUnited
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. They include: Example of forest
structure mapping done during ground survey. Similar data are used as a baseline
forMonitoring, reporting and verification of forest coverand allows to follow
up carbon stock volume in time.The Structure of Funding MechanismsTying REDD into a broader system of carbon trading could allow developed
countries or private firms to offset their own emissions and meet emissions
reductions targets. However, some developing countries, such as Brazil and
China, maintain that developed countries must commit to real emissions
reductions, independent of any offset mechanism. Will it be based on current
emissions levels or historical deforestation rates, a business-as-usual
scenario? Will countries with different forest covers and historic deforestation
rates hold different interests in the way the reference levels are constructed?
Involving countries with high forest covers and low historic deforestation rates
will be necessary to reduceperverse incentives.Distribution of BenefitsHow can the benefits from REDD be distributed to forest communities in a just,
equitable way that minimizes capture of the benefits by national governments or
local elites?

  • Participation ofIndigenous peoplesand Forest-Dependent
    Communities in the design, implementation and monitoring of REDD activities,
    and respect for their human rights

  • Strategies to prevent “carbon leakage”, caused by the
    displacement of deforestation to other areas

  • Achieving multiple benefits, for example the conservation
    ofbiodiversityand ecosystem services (such as watersheds), and social benefits
    (for example income and improved forest governance).


  • The availability of a large supply of potentially cheap
    carbon credits could provide an avenue for companies in the developed world
    to simply purchase REDD credits without providing meaningful emission
    reductions at home.

  • Large number of carbon credits could swamp developing carbon
    markets. However, they could also facilitate ambitious emissions targets in a
    post-Kyoto agreement.

  • Putting a commercial value on forests neglects the spiritual
    value they hold forIndigenous Peoplesand local communities.

  • There is no consensus on a definition for forest degradation.

  • The risk is that baselines are set unrealistically by
    developing country authorities and it’s not actually accurate around the
    forest’s carbon stocks

  • There’s risks the local inhabitants, the communities that
    live in the forests, will be bypassed and they won’t be consulted and so they
    won’t actually receive any revenues

  • Some projects are unaccountable and dodgy companies are
    taking advantage of the low governance.

  • Fair distribution of REDD benefits will not be achieved
    without apriorreform in forest governance and more secure tenure systems in
    many countries.


  • In 2007, at the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC
    in Bali (COP-13) an agreement was reached called theBali Action Plan. As
    defined, its aims are directed toward forest conservation, sustainable
    forest management and the enhancement of carbon stocks.

  • REDD-plus calls for activities with serious implications
    directed towards the local communities, indigenous people and forests which
    relate to reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation. Therefore
    this will involve enhancing existing forests and increasing forest cover. In
    order to meet these objectives, policies need to address enhancement of carbon
    stocks by providing funding and investments in these areas.

  • In 2009, at COP-15 in Copenhagen, the Copenhagen Accord of 18
    December 2009 was reached, noting in section 6 the recognition of the crucial
    role of REDD and REDD-plus and the need to provide positive incentives for such
    actions by enabling the mobilization of financial resources from developed
    countries.The Accord goes on to note in section 8 that the collective
    commitment by developed countries for new and additional resources, including
    forestry and investments through international institutions, will approach USD
    30 billion for the period 2010 – 2012.For an effective REDD+ mechanism

The complexity of the issue could be better reflected in the
way the question of agriculture is approached for the REDD+ mechanism at the
international level. Although intensification – in other words the increase in
productivity per hectare – is a key variable for long-term forest conservation,
the problem cannot be resolved by this alone. The scientific findings previously
presented all indicate that there is no simple, unequivocal relationship between
changes in agricultural systems and tropical deforestation. However, the major
trend to follow undoubtedly remains the increase in yields, without however
basing this increase primarily on the provision of chemical inputs that increase
the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions.One solution could theoretically lie in the rapid dissemination of a type of
intensive agriculture in certain countries or regions – notwithstanding numerous
problematic consequences, for example geographical specialisation implying a
restrictive approach to the conservation of natural resources for the developing
world. This option tends to maximise use of favourable agricultural conditions
in certain regions, in order to indirectly preserve other countries or regions
with less favourable conditions (a strategy known as “common agricultural
pools”). It remains to be determined how a REDD+ mechanism could represent an
incentive for this global strategy, in the sense that areas that are unsuited to
agriculture would see an economic advantage in reaping the benefits of REDD+ and
minimising their agricultural areas, and vice versa for other regions.

Necessary Public Support Policies

Public support policies are necessary. This may be understood
in at least four different ways.

(a) Fostering changes in agricultural technologies First, it
means that we must not count on spontaneous changes in technologies that may
contribute to forest conservation objectives. Farmers show a strong tendency to
adopt extensive systems when land is abundant in order to compensate for the
scarcity of other factors of production such as labour and capital.
Consequently, counting on the spontaneous innovation and adoption of new
agricultural technologies implies accepting an increase in clearing while forest
resources are abundant, and waiting until this resource is almost depleted
before farmers attempt to remedy the problem! A certain number of macro tools
must therefore be implemented, for example management of the industry, taxation
applied to the agricultural sector, or the creation of an area network with
agencies responsible for disseminating technologies among their potential users.

(b) Harmonising sectoral public policies The second way to
interpret the need for public support policies amounts to accepting the
importance of harmonising measures that have a direct or indirect impact on
forest cover. These are the “forest-related policies”, which include all sectors
of activity that have a significant impact: trade, taxation, infrastructure,
regional control, and programmes encouraging human migration, etc. A strategy
that is limited to just one sector of activity – here, agriculture – and not
harmonised with the other sectors of activity, such as the construction of road
infrastructure, would at best produce mixed, temporary results, and at worst be
doomed to failure. Admittedly, some would argue that the “price signal” a carbon
market would produce is itself capable of guiding decisions favourable to
reducing emissions and therefore the harmonisation of policies if this
harmonisation will lead to the objective being met. This idea is somewhat
disconnected from reality, however, and political economy as well as governance
issues must also be part of the analysis.

(c) Adopting the PES principle The third way to interpret
public support policies is central. Indeed, some major opportunities exist for
giving the principle of Payments for Environmental Services (PES) the position
it could well deserve in the future. The beneficiaries of an environmental
service establish voluntary contracts with the providers of this service (who
control the natural resource) and condition their rewards on the maintenance of
the service. In the case in question, PES would consist in measures aimed at
conditioning support for the adoption of sound agricultural technologies on the
absence of excessive forest clearing on nearby land. Farmers and landowners
would thus benefit from the possibility of using technologies capable of
increasing their production and income, and at the same time the adverse
consequences of forest clearing could be minimised. In other words, the
principle is to benefit from REDD+ funding for an ecosystem service (climate
regulation through CO2 emissions reductions), in order to foster an agricultural
revolution that would serve the interests of poor populations suffering from
undernourishment on the one hand, and on the other, would avoid losing precious
time in meeting the food challenge (substantially higher global food production
by 2050). PES would therefore make it possible to set up contracts aimed at
covering the costs of investment and of the transition towards new agricultural

(d) Acting on global demand The fourth way to interpret the
need for support policies refers to the issue of demand for agricultural
products. When production increases, demand also tends to rise in response to
lower prices. This is known as the “rebound effect”. It is based on the
behaviour of consumers and their tendency to increase their consumption when
purchasing power enables them to do so. It seems there are few remedies to this,
since it is undoubtedly unrealistic to restrict consumers in their consumption
choices. It is sometimes suggested that action should focus on diets throughout
the world, in both developing and developed countries in order to bring demand
per capita into line globally, for example by attempting to reduce the share of
dairy products and meat. Another alternative envisaged consists in setting up
systems that would subject agricultural products to a kind of tax based on their
carbon content but the implementation of such a system is still considered to be
highly problematic.


established in 1971 to promote interdisciplinary approaches to management,
research and education inecosystemconservation andsustainableuse ofnatural
resources.The MAB programme’s primary achievement is the creation of theWorld Network of
Biosphere Reservessince 1977. This World Network is more than a listing
-biosphere reservesexchange knowledge and experiences on sustainable
development innovations across country and continent borders – they exist in
more than 100 countries all across the world. Biosphere reserves are areas that
are supposed to develop innovative approaches, test them and share the results;
more importantly to combine many different approaches in a vast diversity of
policy and management fields, towards a balanced relationship between mankind
and nature.

In order for an area to be included into the World Network of
Biosphere Reserves, work on the ground has to have started, appropriate
information about the region gathered, the population needs to have agreed.
Nominations then are prepared and submitted to UNESCO by national governments,
in most cases throughMAB national committees. Benefits gained from being part
of the network include access to a shared base of knowledge and incentives to
integrate conservation, development and scientific research to sustainably
manage ecosystems.

Owing to the MAB programme’s focus to improving mankind’s
relationship with nature, MAB has gradually been seen asUNESCO’s, and as one of
theUnited Nations’s most important responses to international dialogues such as
the 1992United Nations Conference on Environment and Development(UNCED) and
theConvention on Biological Diversity(CBD). Ahead of the 1990s, the MAB
programme was a research programme organized along 14 large research projects
addressing ecosystems such as mountain areas, arid lands, etc.

During the initial years of the MAB programme, the
designation of biosphere reserves focused on research questions and on
environmental conservation. Hence, there are several national parks among the
areas included in the network – these mostly encompass isolated wilderness with
outstandingbiodiversityvalues. In the early 1990s, the MAB programme’s focus
shifted to promoting interactions of mankind with nature in terms of sustainable
living, income generation and reducing poverty. In biosphere reserves, nature is
not isolated from man, but it is conservedthroughusing it. Hence, they are
places where livelihood is sustained – even urbangreenbeltscan be found among
the biosphere reserves.

In 1995, the secondWorld Congress of Biosphere Reservesheld
inSevilleformally defined and designated a set of objectives and procedures
governing the recognition of potential biosphere reserves based on this
strategic thrust (Seville Strategyand theInternational Guidelines). Criteria
have been set to ensure that the objectives of the programme will be met. A
regular evaluation of biosphere reserves is obligatory. Therefore, many
biosphere reserves which had been included during the 1970s and 1980s have in
the meantime either been withdrawn from the World Network or redefined so as to
remain relevant to this new setting. All relevant decisions in the MAB Programme
are taken by an intergovernmental committee, theMAB International Co-ordinating
Council(ICC): The 38 members of the ICC are government representatives which are
elected for a four-year term by the UNESCO General Conference. The Secretariat
of the MAB Programme is located with UNESCO Headquarters Paris. To date, 580
biosphere reserves in 114 countries have been included in the World Network of
Biosphere Reserves.

Courtesy: various websites

<<Go Back To Main Page

Leave a Reply