During the recent World Forestry Congress, Ugandan civil society observer to the Forest Investment Program (FIP) of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) and Executive Director of Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment (SWAGEN), Gertrude Kenyangi Kabusimbi was conferred with the 2015 Wangari Maathai Forest Champions Award.
The award, inaugurated in 2012 by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), recognizes outstanding efforts to improve and sustain forests. It is named in honor of the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Kenyan environmentalist, Wangari Maathai.
Kabusimbi has dedicated more than two decades of her career to safeguarding tropical forests in the Mbarara and Ntungamo districts of Uganda. Working with SWAGEN, she has overseen the planting of more than one million trees in the Rwoho Natural Forest buffer zone leading to significant climate, social and economic benefits.
In the context of the CIF, civil society observers are vital to supporting the transparency and accountability of decision making as well as action on the ground. Having been an observer since 2012, Kabusimbi has been a strong advocate for targeted forest action at the grassroots level and the sustainable management of natural resources.
Speaking in support of Ms. Kabusimbi, Mafalda Duarte, Manager of the Climate Investment Funds stated: “Gertrude’s recognition with such a prestigious award is a testament to her wonderful work with sustainable forestry, not least in her role as an observer to the FIP where she has helped ensure even greater country ownership for those countries working with the FIP.”
Looking ahead, Kabusimbi intends to replicate and scale up the grassroots approaches with which she is familiar in an effort to influence global policy.
The CPF is an informal, voluntary arrangement among 15 international organizations, including the World Bank Group, seeking to promote sustainable management of all types of forests and to strengthen long-term-political commitment to this end.
Global competition for natural resources is intense and the supply of those resources is increasingly more constrained by climate variability and change. Governments and international development agencies have the dual responsibility to meet the socio-economic needs of the poorest and most vulnerable people while preserving and enhancing their natural capital. These responsibilities often are at odds with each other and different stakeholder groups have prioritised one over the other. This paper suggests that the landscape approach provides a solution for stakeholders to achieve climate change mitigation, adaptation, and poverty reduction goals, though not without some trade-offs.
"The landscape approach looks across wider, connected geographic areas to understand natural resource conditions and trends natural and human influences, and opportunities for resource conservation, restoration and development. It seeks to identify important ecological values and patterns of environmental change that may not be evident when managing smaller, local land areas" (Managing rural landscapes in the context of a changing climate, Kutter & Westby, 2014)
One-quarter of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from the agriculture, forest and other land use sector (AFOLU)1 . So if we are going to turn down the heat, we need to bring down emissions from these sources.
One of the ways to ensure that reducing forest-based GHG emissions also generates development and biodiversity co-benefits is through capacity building. The Forest Investment Program (FIP) actively contributes to developing countries’ abilities to fully implement actions to reduce their emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) in a sustainable and fair manner through principles such as country ownership and coordination with other REDD+ mechanisms.
What is capacity building and why does it matter?
Capacity boils down to whether a country has the necessary financial, human, technological, legal and institutional resources to perform a function2 . This matters because implementing mitigation actions in the forest sector - including reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation - depends on the three Cs – circumstances, capacities, and capabilities, of each developing country3. Capacity building is also a key component of REDD+ readiness, or the process for putting in place the preconditions necessary to enable countries to implement REDD+4.
This is where the FIP comes in. It is an instrument designed to implement the national policies seeking to reduce emissions through deforestation and forest degradation - which includes capacity building. In fact, roughly 50% of FIP financing goes to capacity building, institutional strengthening and governance reform.
The FIP and capacity building
One powerful illustration of this come from the WFC’s host region of Africa. A key objective of Burkina Faso’s FIP investment plan is reducing deforestation through improved governance, local socio-economic development, and sustainable management of forest resources and wooded areas. Here, the FIP is investing USD 12 million to increase carbon sequestration capacity in gazetted forests while reducing poverty in rural areas, by developing a monitoring, reporting and verifying (MRV) system for REDD+, improving REDD+ forest governance, and establishing socio-economic support infrastructure for neighboring municipal councils5.
A Water and Forestry ranger surveys a field where trees have been illegally cut down within the Tiogo Forest, Burkina Faso on May 25, 2014.
In fact, capacity building is at the very core of all aspects of the FIP’s activities and has been in its DNA since the start:
1. Country ownership
FIP investment plans should be entirely owned by the country being financed. And without the ability to lead, manage and carry out an investment plan, countries will not be able to take ownership of their REDD+ process.
The FIP puts strong emphasis on creating explicit and concrete arrangements for country level management of investment plans through central coordination units or within sector ministries. These initiatives have helped in the establishment of national REDD+ mechanisms led by the government and include representatives from public sector agencies, civil society, private sector as well as multilateral and bilateral agencies, with a mandate to advise and provide oversight on REDD+ policies and initiatives6. For instance, all national REDD+ activities in Mexico are coordinated by the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR)
Dedicated Global Mechanism Global Steering Committee Meeting, Indonesia, July 25-27, 2015
2. Collaboration with other REDD+ partners:
Several multilateral programs assist developing countries in achieving REDD+ readiness, particularly the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility's (FCPF) Readiness Fund and the UN-REDD Programme. Coordination with such REDD+ partners helps ensure strong capacity for REDD+ readiness in FIP activities. In the Burkina Faso example above, the investment plan preparation grant was used to facilitate and finance the formulation of the readiness preparation proposal for the FCPF Readiness Fund. The single coordinated REDD+ strategy that resulted is now able to benefit from multiple sources of finance and has created a strong overarching capacity to govern REDD+ in-country7.
Xavier Mugumya of Uganda’s Water and Environment Department, highlighted the importance of this coherence: “The procedures and processes with FIP are very similar to the other programs we’re involved in such as the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, the Global Environment Facility and UN REDD. It’s important for the countries that we can report in similar manners to all the initiatives – and it means the initiatives are coordinated to help tackle our country’s challenges.”
Why does this matter?
The FIP seeks to pilot actions that go beyond business-as-usual to reduce a country’s emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, which can be reproduced again and can be scaled up. To be able to do so the human, institutional and technological capabilities must be present.
Through country ownership and collaboration with other REDD+ partners, the FIP is ensuring that country capacity is built in order to implement activities which both reduce country emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and generate benefits to society at large in the long term. It’s a twin ambition we need to deliver on if we’re going to tackle climate change and reduce poverty.
1/ Smith P., M. Bustamante, H. Ahammad, H. Clark, H. Dong, E.A. Elsiddig, H. Haberl, R. Harper, J. House, M. Jafari, O. Masera, C. Mbow, N.H. Ravindranath, C.W. Rice, C. Robledo Abad, A. Romanovskaya, F. Sperling, and F. Tubiello, 2014: Agricul- ture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU). In: Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Edenhofer, O., R. Pichs-Madruga, Y. Sokona, E. Farahani, S. Kadner, K. Seyboth, A. Adler, I. Baum, S. Brunner, P. Eickemeier, B. Kriemann, J. Savolainen, S. Schlömer, C. von Stechow, T. Zwickel and J.C. Minx (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.
2/ Crystal Davis, Lauren Williams, Sarah Lupberger, and Florence Daviet. 2013. Assessing Forest Governance: The Governance of Forest Initiative Indicator Framework. Washington: WRI. .
3/ See paragraphs 70-74 of I/CP.16, Report of the Conference of the Parties on its sixteenth session, held in Cancun from 29 November to 10 December 2010.
4/ Climate Focus, 2014. Linkages between REDD readiness and the FIP.
5/ For more information on either project, please see the Burkina Faso Investment Plan here.
6/ CTF-SCF/TFC.8/5, Enhancing Country Coordination Mechanisms
7/ Climate Focus, 2014. Linkages between REDD readiness and the FIP.
The Forest Investment Program (FIP) approved on Thursday, April 16 in Washington, DC $101,000 for Burkina Faso to ramp up its monitoring and reporting on its Gazetted Forests Participatory Management Project for REDD+ , and Decentralized Forest and Woodland Management Project. As the leading implementation support to the country for its FIP program, the African Development Bank (AfDB) is working with the country to ensure that an effective and adequately funded plan is in place for monitoring the projects’ outcomes.
The US$17 million Forest Investment Program (FIP) funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to help tackle deforestation and forest degradation in Indonesia is set to start in July, an official has said. “The FIP is funded by a $17 million grant from the Climate Investment Fund channeled through the ADB to support the Indonesian government to implement the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) targets in West Kalimantan,” said ADB principal climate change specialist Ancha Srinivasan, who is also the FIP’s focal point.
Forest-dependent communities are among the most marginalized in the world. Deforestation has an impact on both their surroundings and their livelihoods.
The new Dedicated Grant Mechanism (DGM), designed by and for those communities and financed by the Forest Investment Program, puts Indigenous Peoples and local communities in charge of design and funding decisions for projects that fight forest loss.
The first DGM project is in Brazil, where $6.5 million was approved to help finance agroforestry initiatives based on native and adapted fruits in the Cerrado region.
An innovative new grant program for fighting forest loss is putting project design and funding decisions in the hands of indigenous peoples and local communities and giving them the power to set priorities and implement programs aimed at conserving their natural environment.
Several members of forest communities say they see it as a unifying platform they can use to make their voices heard and to tackle forest loss and climate change on their own terms.
The program, called the Dedicated Grant Mechanism (DGM), is financed by the Climate Investment Funds as a special initiative of the Forest Investment Program and was recently approved by the World Bank Board of Directors. It will be implemented at both global and national levels in countries implementing the Forest Investment Program.
“We have never had this kind of program before … we have the ownership of this program,” said Mina Setra, from Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (AMAN), one of the largest organizations of Indigenous Peoples in Indonesia, who represents the Kalimantan region of Indonesia on the DGM national steering committee. “I think this is a good opportunity for Indigenous Peoples to exercise our capacities in managing programs and also funding. That is what is unique about the dedicated grant mechanism.”
Designed by and for Indigenous Peoples and local communities
Forests play an important role in our world. They help combat climate change by absorbing about 15 percent of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions and also provide economic, social and environmental services – from creating jobs to providing housing and food to protecting the watershed. An estimated 1.3 billion people, or nearly 20 percent of the world’s population, rely on forests and forest products for their livelihoods.
But forest-dependent communities are among the most marginalized in the world, with the majority living on less than $1.25 per day. And deforestation not only damages their surroundings, but it also adds to the carbon footprint.
World Bank Group Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change Rachel Kyte welcomed the Board’s approval of the new program. “This global mechanism fully recognizes the vital role communities play in the stewardship of forests and is the first to ensure that indigenous people and forest dependent communities will design, implement and govern the program according to their own priorities,” Kyte said.
Designed by and for Indigenous Peoples and local communities, the DGM has two components: country-specific projects and a global learning and exchange project that links all the country projects and serves as a global outreach platform.
Funding agroforestry in the Cerrado
So far, funding has been approved for the global learning project (nearly $5 million) and for the first of the country series in Brazil, where $6.5 million was approved for a project in the Cerrado region, a massive expanse of wooded grasslands that makes up more than 20 percent of Brazil. That money will be used in part to help finance agroforestry initiatives based on native and adapted fruits, to help pay for processing units for agriculture and non-timber forest products and also to help with production and commercialization of handicrafts.
Two Quilombola women participate in the first consultations for the Cerrado project.
"We understand the importance this will have for our projects. Not only for our projects but also for conservation and our fight to keep the Cerrado standing."
The country programs like Brazil’s will also enhance leadership and negotiation skills to give indigenous people and local community members an opportunity to actively participate in initiatives related to natural resource-based mitigation and climate change adaptation.
“This project is very important for supporting the indigenous communities here in the Cerrado,” said, Deborah Wetzel, World Bank Country Director for Brazil. “The proposed project will provide the tools to access resources that will help communities manage the environmental and social impacts of their activities.”
Januario Tseredzaro, a member of the Xavante people who lives in the Cerrado, agrees. He says the new Dedicated Grant Mechanism will help Indigenous Peoples as they seek to halt deforestation.
“We understand the importance this will have for our projects. Not only for our projects but also for conservation and our fight to keep the Cerrado standing,” Tseredzaro said. “I hope that its success will expand the program to other biomes of Brazil.”
On a global level, the Global Learning and Knowledge Exchange Project, to be implemented by Conservation International USA, will help train representatives from indigenous groups and local communities to take part in climate negotiations and to ensure their views are represented. The country programs expand on that training but also include more country-specific initiatives.
More countries will soon be proposing their own projects under the Dedicated Grant Mechanism. The Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso and Peru are in the process of setting up the institutional arrangements for the program in their countries and will be operational later this year.
Originally published at the World Babk website here Photos by Mariana Kaipper Ceratti/World Bank
As a follow-up to the workshop on forest accounting in May 2014, organized by the Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services Partnership (WAVES) in Washington, DC, work will begin in Ghana and Mexico to explore the potential for forest accounts.
To see a slideshow of images from Burkina Faso's Tiogo forest,click here.
TIOGO, Burkina Faso (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – While visiting a portion of the Tiogo forest in the center west of Burkina Faso recently, Louis Ouédraogo couldn’t hide his wrath. Someone had entered the forest and cut down about two hectares worth of trees to plant millet as the rainy season approached.
“This person should have gone straight to jail had he been caught,” said Ouédraogo, the regional director for the Centre West of Burkina Faso for the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development. He urged members of the local Union of Land Use Groups to find the culprit and bring him to the police.
Protecting forests in Burkina Faso, as in much of the Sahel, is a continuing challenge. Population growth, expansion of farms and grazing and cutting of wood for cooking and charcoal production have all led to loss of trees or the degradation of forests.
Keeping people out of the forests isn’t an option, as many of the country’s families, who live at or below the poverty line, depend on charcoal making and selling forest products like shea butter and medicinal plants for over a quarter of their income, particularly at times when drought cuts income from farming or livestock.
“It is immoral to keep the forests untapped while populations living around them suffer from poverty, so there is a need to find a compromise that will ensure the protection of the forests resources and their regeneration, while reducing poverty through use of forest products,” said Mathurin Zida, regional coordinator for West Africa of the Center for International Forestry Research.
Such a compromise is being developed and strengthened with the help of funds from the Forest Investment Program of the Climate Investment Funds. Under the programme, Burkina Faso will tap $30 million in grants, and is expected to leverage at least an additional $13 million in resources from the government and other donor governments, to improve the governance of the country’s forests and limit forest loss and degradation in both state-owned and community-owned forests.
According to Urbain Belemsobgo, secretary general of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and the government official leading the Forest Investment Program effort in Burkina Faso, the investment will strengthen government’s efforts to fight deforestation and reduce poverty through participative management of land.
“The program comes to consolidate an approach that has been adopted in the 80s, so that any decision is made in a transparent, participative and operational way for a better governance of resources,” Belemsobgo said.
NO NEED FOR FENCES
Ouédraogo said such a participative approach is culturally necessary “so as to include all populations groups” and make sure communities back the effort. With such full participation, “we do not need fences or guards around the forests to prevent (their) exploitation,” he said.
Burkina Faso’s government in 1993 introduced participative management of protected forests and signed contracts with people living around them. The aim of the new approach was to improve agricultural, forest and pasture resources, help the forests regenerate and reduce poverty, Ouédraogo said.
Adama Bako, president of the Union of Forest Management Groups in the Centre West of Burkina Faso, said the new agreement made big changes.
“Until then we were cutting trees haphazardly, as we wanted, and we had regular problems with the Ministry of Environment’s forest guards,” he said. “But now we know what to cut and we deal with trespassers ourselves.”
Seventeen such unions are now scattered across the country, representing 400 groups who use but also keep an eye on some 600,000 hectares (1.5 million acres) of land that the government is co-managing with local populations.
An economic evaluation conducted in 2009 by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Fisheries showed that investment in sustainable use of forests could lead to an increase in revenue for farmers ranging from 25 to 40 percent.
But growing pressures on Burkina Faso’s resources, including its forests, now threatens the balance that has protected the forests and the livelihoods of those who have long depended on them.
Back in the 1990s, families could make 100,000 to 130,000 CFA ($200 to $260) a week cutting wood “but now we earn far less” as a result of loss and degradation of forests, said Bako, of the Union of Forest Management Groups.
LACK OF MONITORING
One problem is that Burkina Faso has just one forest monitor for every 10,000 to 15,000 hectares of forest, officials say. Another is the country’s rapid 3.1 percent rate of population growth, which puts added pressure each year on its resources.
At the national level, income from forests is a crucial contributor to public revenue. Fees, taxes, and permits paid for the use of timber and other wood products contributes 5.6 percent of GDP, and forest products support a growing number of small and medium-sized businesses.
The International Union for Nature Conservation (IUCN) describes as “extremely high” the rate of forest deforestation in Burkina Faso’s Centre West region between 1992 and 2009. About 40 percent of that loss was to expansion of farming, the organisation says.
Despite national campaigns for reforestation and against bushfires, growing pressures on land have led to forest declines of about 4 percent a year between 1992 and 2002, according to the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development. About 50,000 hectares (123,000 acres) of forest disappear each year to meet demand for wood energy, the ministry said.
According to Belemsobgo, Burkina Faso was due to by now have protected 30 percent of its forests, but has so far protected only 13 to 14 percent. To counter continuing losses, the ministry hopes to put more forest in the hands of communities that live near them, in hopes they can more effectively protect them.
“We are going to increase the protected forests by going after ll small forests disseminated all over the country, including privately owned forests,” Belemsobgo said.
NEW SOURCES OF INCOME
Using Forest Investment Program (FIP) funds, the country hopes to shift communities away from traditional forest exploitation – such as wood cutting for charcoal – and toward things like growing crops amid trees and running nurseries. Another aim is to sequester carbon and perhaps access income from carbon markets, and to promote use of good management techniques, such as rotating forest grazing areas.
“At the end, the FIP will contribute to a better management of forests in Burkina Faso and support all efforts to face climate change in the forestry sector,” Belemsobgo predicted.
To protect the Tiago forest, for instance, which exists around the villages of Kion, Tenado and Dassa, some of the project funds will go to improve a bridge linking two parts of the forest.
Right now, that bridge over the River Mouhoun is impassible in the rainy season – one reason the farmers who cut two acres of trees in the forest to plant millet may have thought they could get away with it, said Ouédraogo, who ordered the destruction of the millet field.
Eight people were later arrested in conjunction with the illegal forest cutting to plant millet, and fined $100 each, Ouédraogo said.
During consultations before the start of FIP activities in Burkina Faso, the River Mouhoun bridge was raised as a priority item to protect the Tiogo forest, one of six protected reserves around the country, he said.
About a quarter of the forest’s 30,000 hectares (74,000 acres) have already been damaged as a result of incursions by farmers, overgrazing and bushfires, he said.
The effort to better protect Burkina Faso’s forests also hopes to set in place a foundation to establish REDD+ - an international effort to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation – in the country.
According to the implementation plan for Burkina’s FIP grant, the forest protection project could reduce carbon dioxide emissions linked to deforestation and land degradation in Burkina Faso by around 30 to 70 million tons over a period of 10 years.
Eight pilot countries were selected for the Forest Investment Program, including three in Africa: Burkina Faso, Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Each was chosen for its potential to significantly reduce emissions from deforestation; to conserve, manage or enhance carbon stocks; and to incorporate climate finance into policy frameworks and development activities, according to the Climate Investment Funds website.
To see an accompanying slideshow of images from Peru's central Amazon, click here.
NUEVO ARICA, Peru (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Sweating under a blazing sun, workers pass papayas hand over hand from a dugout canoe up the steep bank of the Huallaga River. Wearing rubber gloves for protection against the irritating sap oozing from the stem ends of the still-green fruit, two young men wash the papayas before tossing them to a young woman who arranges them in crates in the back of a waiting truck.
The papaya business arrived in this Shawi Indian community with the widening of a dirt road from the town of Yurimaguas. The road cut travel time from two days by river to two hours by road, but it also brought traders seeking to rent land to plant commercial crops.
The sudden influx of outsiders and cash crops has sparked conflicts within communities and even between family members over land use and money, says Shawi leader Luis Huansi. He worries that the land-rental trend could lead to increased deforestation in an area already under pressure from roads, a huge palm plantation and settlers migrating from the highlands in search of land to farm.
Besides the papaya growers, the newly widened road has brought loggers and crime, such as theft from houses, which had been virtually unknown in the communities.
“Changes came with the road,” Huansi says. “No one foresaw the social impact it would have.”
Throughout the Amazon basin, deforestation and an influx of farmers and ranchers traditionally follow road construction. But Huansi and others hope that a new international forest conservation programme will help stem forest loss in this area of the central Peruvian Amazon while increasing indigenous families’ income, through measures such as helping families plant forest-friendly crops such as cacao.
Peru is one of eight pilot countries chosen for the programme, funded by multilateral development banks, including the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank. The other countries are Brazil and Mexico in Latin America; Indonesia and Laos in Asia; and Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghana in Africa.
The programme is designed to help limit global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Deforestation—mainly to clear land for agriculture—is one of Peru’s largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
The country was chosen for the program because of its large expanse of Amazonian forest – some 70 million hectares, second only to Brazil – and its pledge to reduce net deforestation to zero by 2021, according to Jaime Fernández-Baca, a climate change specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank in Lima.
The indigenous territory near Yurimaguas is one of three regions targeted to use $50 million allocated to Peru under the Forest Investment Program. The money consists of a $26 million grant and a $24 million concessional loan provided by the international Climate Investment Funds. Indigenous communities are due to get direct access to funding for projects in line with the programme’s objectives, according to the Inter-American Development Bank.
The other two areas included in the programme are near the town of Atalaya, in Peru’s Ucayali region, and the southeastern Madre de Dios region, which is home to some of Peru’s most highly prized protected area, but which has also been ravaged by unregulated gold mining that has stripped trees and fouled rivers over large areas.
Although the specific projects are just entering the design phase and will not be ready for implementation until mid-2015, all will involve indigenous communities, according to Orlando Chirinos, who heads the Peruvian Environment Ministry team responsible for formulating the projects.
Studies in the Amazon have found that indigenous territories tend to serve as a buffer against deforestation. The Forest Investment Program intends to help indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon develop plans to manage their forests sustainably.
Some schemes for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation – often known as REDD+ schemes – involve selling carbon offsets to companies in industrialized countries in exchange for protection of forests in places like the Peruvian Amazon.
But one of Peru’s two main Amazonian indigenous umbrella organizations, the Inter-ethnic Association for Development of the Peruvian Amazon (Asociación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana, or AIDESEP), opposes market-driven schemes such as carbon credits.
AIDESEP leaders objected to the original Forest Investment Program plan because they felt they did not have enough time to review it thoroughly, according to Roberto Espinoza, who represents the indigenous organisation on the programme’s steering committee.
After a series of talks involving indigenous leaders, national and local government officials and representatives of the multilateral banks, agreement was reached on guidelines for the programme in Peru, Espinoza said.
The indigenous organisation insisted that the programme address the factors that drive deforestation, such as roads and agriculture in the Shawi communities, and called for direct participation by indigenous communities in the project design and implementation.
Espinoza said the projects must take into account the indigenous communities’ concept of territory, not just as land but as a living space where people should have rights to forest resources as long as they manage them in a way that does not deplete the resources.
Indigenous representatives also insisted on an alternative to the carbon markets often associated with REDD+.
“The Amazon is a huge reservoir of carbon, but it is much more than that,” Espinoza said.
AIDESEP representatives held out for recognition of a plan known as “indigenous REDD,” drawn up by the Coordinating Committee of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (Coordinadora de Organizaciones Indígenas de la Cuenca Amazónica, COICA), which calls for the Amazon rainforest to be considered as a whole, and which sees carbon storage as just one of the many services provided by the culturally and biologically megadiverse region.
Espinoza said that ensuring that communities have land titles to the land they rely on is a necessary prerequisite for any REDD+ program.
Increasingly, however, he and regional indigenous leaders such as Huansi speak as well of gaining rights – though not necessarily full title – over broader areas they have traditionally used and over the resources in them, including resources below ground that today belong to the state. To complicate matters, many areas of these wider traditional territories have been gradually taken over by colonists, businesses or government agencies.
CACAO, NOT PALM OIL
Huansi worries that the papaya plantations on Shawi lands could be the beginning of a new wave of commercial activities that could eat away at indigenous communities’ rights. He and others fear that that papaya growing will be followed by African oil palm, a crop that is sprouting up in the region around a large plantation owned by Peru’s giant Romero Group.
Huansi would rather see members of the Shawi communities plant cacao bushes under the shade of existing trees than run the risk that mature forest will be replaced with papaya or palm.
“People rent their land out now because of economic need, to cover family expenses, especially when school starts,” he says. The one-time $200 to $250 land rental income is significant for families in that area, he said.
Cacao – used to make chocolate – takes a few years to establish, but produces for decades, instead of just a couple of years, providing families with a long-term income, he said.
He hopes the Forest Investment Program will allow the communities to get a start growing cacao and other crops, such as fruits and vegetables, reforesting with native species, using forest products and perhaps starting some fish farms.
Such a diversity of activities could help families ensure that they have the means to feed and educate their children without renting their land, he said.
With a good management plan and technical assistance, he said, “this could be one of the richest areas in the country.”
Burkina Faso has successfully become a member of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). Burkina Faso’s approval as a REDD+ country has been greatly assisted by its experience with the Forest Investment Program (FIP) of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF).