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Durban blog: A project to keep the forests

At the climate conference in Durban, University of Copenhagen forestry student Walid Mustapha, reflects on the challenges faced by a scheme to reduce greenhouse gases

Deforestation is a major contributor to CO2 emissions. As much as a third of all CO2 emissions can be related to deforestation according to some accounts. Policymakers have realized the potential for forests to act as carbon sinks and stores, and by means of different projects, a large proportion of atmospheric CO2 can be sequestered.

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD +, see fact box right) is a set of steps designed to use market/financial incentives to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases from deforestation and forest degradation.

While the solution seems easy the reality of implementation offers a different reality.

I attended a Redd+ side event hosted by the Center for International Forestry Research CIFOR, which offered information on the challenges of implementing REDD pilot projects in tropical regions.

Scarce private investment

Among the challenges, corruption is a major issue limiting the success of the projects which CIFOR through research has attempted to find solutions for. Corruption is difficult to combat. It is heterogeneous and occurs at many levels, but by implementing Measuring, Reporting, and Verification MRV and by offering performance-based payment to the parties involved, CIFOR believe that corruption can be limited.

While these solutions seem promising, Redd+ projects need funding, which is to be distributed between MRV, projects and performance based payments, but as the actual success of the pilot projects has been limited, private investment is becoming scarce. Funding through Clean Development Mechanism CDM, a Kyoto mechanism to help developing countries reducing greenhouse gas emissions, is still ongoing however.

Hopefully, the implementation of Redd+ measures will provide a better solution.

See Walid’s previous blog here.

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