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.