Oddar Meanchey REDD+ Project is under VCS and CCB Validation

From 16 - 23 August 2011, representatives of the German company TÜV SÜD arrived in Cambodia to conduct the dual validation of the Oddar Meanchey Community Forestry REDD+ project for both VCS and CCB standards. The validation team spent two days at the Pact office in Phnom Penh reviewing the project documents and another 3 days in Oddar Meanchey Province. TÜV SÜD will release their official validation findings shortly, which Pact, Forestry Administration (FA) and Terra Global Capital (TGC) will respond to. The final validation is expected by December 2011.

Source: OM CF REDD+ Newsletter No.3 ( August 2011)


REDD Development in Cambodia— Potential Carbon Emission Reductions in a REDD Project

By Ty, S., Sasaki, N., Ahmad, A.H. & Ahmad, Z.A.
(Full Paper Click Here)

Foreseeing the importance of managing forests for climate change mitigation and sustainable development, the Royal Government of Cambodia has put strong commitment to managing its remaining forests under the new anticipated international climate change agreement on REDD+ mechanism. Forestry Administration in collaboration with Community Forestry International, and Terra Global Capital started a REDD project for Community Forestry sites in the northern province of Oddar Meanchey in 2007. Here, we report the methods and findings from our project and propose an appropriate framework for effective implementation in Cambodia. Ten drivers and six agents of deforestation and forest degradation were identified and each driver could be reduced by adopting appropriate project actions. Changes in deforestation, carbon stocks, and project emissions were estimated under baseline and project scenarios. Our results suggest that the project is likely to lead to the reduction of about 8.6 million tonne CO2 over 30-year project. Although policies and methods are available for implementing the project, sustained commitment and law enforcement play an increasingly important role in achieving real emission reduction and sustainable development.

UN-REDD Newsletter Issue #17: REDD in Cambodia

On the heels of the UN-REDD Programme's recent-- and highly productive-- Policy Board meeting in Da Lat, Viet Nam, I was grateful for the opportunity to take a slight detour on my journey back to Geneva, to visit some of Cambodia’s forests and to interact with a range of REDD+ colleagues and counterparts within the UN-REDD Programme, the government of Cambodia (national and provincial), NGOs and donors. It was also an opportunity to listen to the voices of the of forest dependent communities in Oddar Meanchey Province. The trip was a valuable reality check in terms of linking global processes to national level action and I gained new insights into the challenges and opportunities facing REDD+ at the national level.

Cambodia has a total of 10.7 million hectares of forest cover, or nearly 59 per cent of its land area. It is one of the first countries in the Greater Mekong region to address REDD+ with pilot activities starting in 2008, and the objective of Cambodia's UN-REDD National Programme is to support readiness efforts, including developing necessary institutions, policies and capacity.

The good news for REDD+ is that Cambodia has a long history of community forestry which is providing useful lessons in the design and implementation of REDD+. The pilot project in Oddar Meanchey province, for example, is very much focused on livelihood improvements, food security and environmental sustainability and as such, the consultation process with local communities and stakeholders has been well received. These early experiences with REDD+, combined with good partnerships between the government, NGOs, communities, the UN, religious leaders and donors will go a long way to strengthening Cambodia's national REDD+ strategy. Second and Importantly, REDD+ enjoys strong political support. In the case of Oddar Meanchey REDD Project, Government Decision (GD) No. 699 designated the Forestry Administration as the official seller of carbon. The same GD decision provides some guidance on how benefits are to be delivered. At least 50 percent of the income will flow to local communities in the project areas and the balance will be used to develop new REDD initiatives and to improve the quality of the forests.

There are, however, challenges to overcome in Cambodia, as in many other REDD+ countries. Pressure for forest land conversion is high in Cambodia and cross-sectoral links and collaboration in the REDD+ process will be critical in addressing the drivers of deforestation. While the broad guidance for benefit sharing is provided by GD 699, the details of how local communities in the project areas will be rewarded still need articulation.

There's a clear recognition in Cambodia that the design and implementation of REDD+ projects will take longer than originally thought, and that benefit sharing mechanisms need to be developed. The UN-REDD Programme looks forward to working with Cambodia as they address these challenges and explore the opportunities REDD+ can offer.

Yemi Katerere
Head of the UN-REDD Programme Secretariat

International support of climate change policies in developing countries: Strategic, moral and fairness aspects

by Dirk T.G. Rübbelke

International transfers in climate policy channeled from the industrialized to the developing world either support the mitigation of climate change or the adaptation to global warming. From a purely allocative point of view, transfers supporting mitigation tend to be Pareto-improving whereas this is not very likely in the case of adaptation support. We illustrate this by regarding transfer schemes currently applied under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto framework. However, if we enrich the analysis by integrating distributional aspects, we find that international adaptation funding may help both the developing and developed world. Interestingly this is not due to altruistic incentives, but due to follow-up effects on international negotiations on climate change mitigation.

We argue that the lack of fairness perceived by developing countries in the international climate policy arena can be reduced by the support of adaptation in these countries. As we show – taking into account different fairness concepts – this might raise the prospects of success in international negotiations on climate change. Yet, we find that the influence of transfers may induce different fairness effects on climate change mitigation negotiations to run counter. We discuss whether current transfer schemes under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto framework adequately serve the distributive and allocative objectives pursued in international climate policy.

Cambodia PM nixes controversial mine project

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has cancelled a controversial titanium mine project in the country's southwest because of environmental concerns, the government said Friday.

The premier announced the ban on the much-criticised project during a weekly cabinet meeting, the government said in a statement, despite earlier granting a private company a 20,400-hectare (50,400-acre) concession for surface mining in the densely forested Cardamom Mountains.

"Due to concerns about the impact on the environment and biodiversity as well as the living standards of the people... Hun Sen has banned the exploitation of a titanium mine in Koh Kong province," it said.

Wildlife Alliance, a conservation group that campaigned for months against the proposed mine, said it was "thrilled" with the decision.

"We were under the impression the battle was lost," communications officer John Maloy told AFP.

"We are very pleased that the prime minister has weighed the environmental impact."

He said the mine would have been located "directly in the middle of an elephant corridor" and a nearby eco-tourism village "stood to be ruined by the project".

Carbon payments for mangrove conservation: ecosystem constraints and uncertainties of sequestration potential

By Daniel M. Alongi
doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2011.02.004 )

Natural ecosystem change over time is an often unconsidered issue for PES and REDD+ schemes, and a lack of consideration of thermodynamic limitations has led to misconceptions and oversimplifications regarding ecosystem services, especially for tropical mangrove forests. Mangroves are non-linear, non-equilibrium systems uniquely adapted to a highly dynamic boundary where shorelines are continually evolving and sea-level ever changing, and rarely conform to classical concepts of forest development and succession. Not all mangroves accumulate carbon and rates of forest floor accretion are directly linked to the frequency of tidal inundation. Carbon payments in either a PES or REDD+ scheme are dependent on the rate of carbon sequestration, not the size of C stocks, so site selection must be ordinarily confined to the sea edge. Gas emissions and net ecosystem production (NEP) are linked to forest age, particularly for monospecific plantations. Planting of mixed-species forests is recommended to maximize biodiversity, food web connectivity and NEP. Old-growth forests are the prime ecosystems for carbon sequestration, and policy must give priority to schemes to maintain their existence. Large uncertainties exist in carbon sequestration potential of mangroves, and such limitations must be factored into the design, timeframe and execution of PES and REDD+ schemes.

Cambodia's forest under threat

Phnom Penh Post, 17th January 2011

The Forestry Administration has warned that the government will not meet its goal of achieving 60 percent forest cover nationwide if it continues parcelling out the Kingdom’s territory in economic land concessions.

According to the Forestry Administration’s 2010 annual report, released last week and obtained today, more than 1.3 million hectares worth of economic land concessions have been granted to date.

This figure represents roughly 7 percent of Cambodia’s total territory, an area larger than Kampong Speu and Kampot provinces combined.

Citing data obtained via satellite imagery, the Forestry Administration said 56.94 percent of Cambodia is now forested, a decrease of 2.15 percent from 2006.

“This result is a sign to warn the Forestry Administration as well as the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries that the government’s Millennium Development Goal of 60 percent forest cover may not be met because of the trend of loss due to economic land concessions,” the administration said, noting that a number of additional concessions are under consideration.

“A review is much-needed in order to evaluate concession land, and land that has not been used according to the concession contract should be seized for conservation purposes.”

Rights groups have alleged that much of the territory granted in economic land concessions is cleared and left to lie fallow without a clear purpose.

In a statement issued last May, the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee called on the government to place a moratorium on economic land concessions until a proper monitoring system was put in place.

The new figures on land concession area represent an increase of roughly 300,000 hectares from 2006.

David Emmett, the regional director for Conservation International, said the legal framework surrounding economic concessions needed to be strengthened in order for Cambodia to preserve its forest cover and take advantage of conservation programmes.

Under the most prominent of such schemes, the United Nations’ Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation programme, or REDD, countries can “offset” their own carbon emissions by paying other countries to conserve their forests.

“There’s a lot of donors and governments wanting to invest in Cambodia … [but] they don’t know if they can be sure that the area that is designated, for example, as a REDD-filed demonstration site, will not suddenly have a new, 10,000-hectare economic land concession,” Emmett said.

The Forestry Administration’s forest cover figure of 56.94 percent “sounds about right”, Emmett said, adding that Cambodia’s forestry loss has not been occurring as quickly as in other countries in the region.

He noted, however, that areas of degraded forest or partially cleared land are sometimes tallied as forested.

“It doesn’t necessarily fully represent the quality of the forest as well as the quantity of the forest,” he said.

“You can look at something and say it’s still forest, but actually 30 percent of the trees are gone.”

The FA reported that at least 7,977 hectares worth of trees were cleared illegally last year, though it said forestry officials “paid attention and played an active role in combating forestry crimes”.

Prime Minister Hun Sen announced a crackdown on illegal logging last year, sacking former Forestry Administration head Ty Sokun in April for his alleged failure to stamp out the practice. Approximately 10,000 cubic metres of illegally wood were ultimately seized in 2010, and 82 Cambodians are now awaiting trial in connection with logging offences, the FA report said.

Human Rights Party spokesman Yem Ponharith said, however, that high-level officials involved in the illegal logging trade were seldom prosecuted and continued to profit from it.

“There have been a number of raids against illegal loggers, but the smuggling of luxury wood continues because of bribes paid to government officials,” he said.

The HRP, he added, has been consistently ignored in its calls to conserve forests and reduce land concessions.

Last May, neighbouring Indonesia declared a moratorium on land concessions in forested areas in a bid to increase its forest cover and preserve territory for use in potential REDD projects, though this move was delayed earlier this month.

Chan Sarun, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, could not be reached for comment today, while Forestry Administration director Chheng Kim Sun declined to comment.

Carbon trade: Cambodia forests for EU scheme

CAYMAN Islands-registered Green Glory Ltd is in the process of obtaining management rights to establish a carbon credit scheme using Cambodia’s forests, according to a company statement.

The firm is seeking rights to 450,000 hectares of the Kingdom’s woodlands for supply-side carbon credits. It is also planning to list on the London Alternative Investment Market exchange via the acquisition of AIM-listed Tricor Plc.

The agreement between Green Glory and Tricor is subject to conditions – including the granting of the forest management rights by the Kingdom, according to a statement released late last week.

Many developed nations have signed to the Kyoto Protocol, creating demand for carbon credits, according to the firm.

Tricor requested a trading halt on December 31 as the deal was being finalised.

Carbon permits rose in Europe last year after two consecutive years of decline.

Allowances for a December 2011 delivery in the world’s biggest cap-and-trade program gained 8.3 percent in 2010 after falling 23 percent in 2009 and 29 percent in 2008. They traded at €14.24 (US$19.024) per tonne on December 31 on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange.