By Jude Njoku
The prospect of gaining carbon credits by acquiring land to implement reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation REDD+ has caught the eye of the private sector.
This view was canvassed by Isilda Nhantunbo, a senior researcher in the International Institute for Environment and Development, IIED’s Natural Resources Group who has since February 2010 supported REDD+ in Mozambique.
The paper “REDD+: Ready to engage the private sector? is one of three papers published by IIED on Thursday. The papers centred on REDD+ which is one of the key proposals for tackling climate change; it will be on the agenda of the UN climate change conference slated for the South African city of Durban later this month.
“In many countries, including Papua New Guinea and Republic of Congo, there are reports of a carbon rush. In Mozambique, private investors have expressed an interest in acquiring more than 22 per cent of the country’s land — an area that is larger than the 16 per cent of protected areas and that covers 42 per cent of forests — for REDD+,” she said.
She noted that Mozambique, like many developing countries, is still in the early stages of preparing a REDD+ strategy. “Stakeholder consultations are ongoing and the country’s REDD+ Working Group is still assessing social, technical and institutional capacities available to deliver REDD+ in a way that helps reduce emissions while also serving environment and social development needs. Encouraging private sector involvement before the country has the right policies and institutions in place to safeguard local environments and people risks undermining the potential of REDD+ for sustainable development,” she said.
Nhantumbo who stated that “an investors’ friendly environment and commitment to avoiding adverse social and environmental impacts are not mutually exclusive,” explained that “narrowing the gap between good policy and good governance is, therefore, key to delivering REDD+ primary (reducing emissions) and complementary benefits (biodiversity, poverty alleviation and sustainable development).”
In another papers titled “Options for promoting high-biodiversity REDD+, Messrs Steve Swan, Richard McNally, Maryanne Grieg-Gran, Dilys Roe and Assam Yassin, noted that the international climate and biodiversity conventions agree that to be effective in the long term, strategies to reduce emissions from deforestation, forest degradation, conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks, and sustainable forest management (REDD+), must not undermine biodiversity.
On how countries can achieve ‘high-biodiversity REDD+’ they stated that “ at a global level, options include immediate policy strengthening in international negotiations; promotion of co-benefit standards; and financial incentives and preferences for buying countries. At a national level, developing countries can also promote high-biodiversity REDD+ through more coherent policies; integrated planning; regulatory and economic instruments; and improved monitoring of biodiversity impacts.”