DESIGNING COLLABORATIVE REDD PROJECTS: A CASE STUDY FROM ODDAR MEANCHEY PROVINCE, CAMBODIA

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DESIGNING COLLABORATIVE REDD PROJECTSA CASE STUDY FROM ODDAR MEANCHEY PROVINCE, CAMBODIA

Mark Poffenberger, Ph.D. Steven De Gryze, Ph.D. Leslie DurschingerForeword by His Excellency Ty Sokhun, Chief of the Forestry Administration, and Andrew Wardell, Ph.D.

D E S I G N I N G C O L L A B O R AT I V E REDD PROJECTS:A CASE STUDY FROM ODDAR MEANCHEY PROVINCE, CAMBODIA

Mark Poffenberger, Ph.D. Steven De Gryze, Ph.D. Leslie DurschingerForeword by His Excellency Ty Sokhun, Chief of the Forestry Administration and Andrew Wardell, Ph.D.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

EXECUTIVE SUMMARYTHE ROYAL GOVERNMENT OF CAMBODIAand the Forestry Administration, along with Community Forestry International and Terra Global Capital, have designed the first Cambodian REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) carbon offset credit project. The project involves thirteen community forestry (CF) groups, comprised of fiftyeight villages, which protect 67,783 hectares of forestland in the northwestern province of Oddar Meanchey. This initiative will be one of the first to use a new methodology for submission under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), combined with the Climate Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) standards. It is expected to sequester 7.1 million metric tons of CO2 over thirty years 1, while reducing poverty among approximately ten thousand participating households, thereby demonstrating how developing countries can generate income from the carbon markets for the rural poor and positively impact climate change.

What are the expected benefits? This project supports sustainable forest management and livelihood development in Oddar Meanchey Province by providing financing through carbon credits generated through forest protection. The REDD strategy not only assists rural people to gain legal tenure rights over local forests, it also creates a thirty-year income stream that will significantly enhance household livelihoods and natural resource management capacity. The project seeks to retain and increase carbon stocks in these areas, enhancing the hydrology in the upland watersheds of the Tonle Sap Basin, as well as conserving endangered biodiversity. Carbon financing will be used to support rural communities in developing a range of livelihood activities, including nontimber forest product enterprises, community-based ecotourism infrastructure, and water resource development. Participating forest communities will work with the Forestry Administration and commune, district, and provincial government to formulate long-term plans for sustainable natural resource management to foster economic growth. What is the commitment of the government of Cambodia? In May 2008, the project was officially endorsed by Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen through Sar Chor Nor No. 699. The guiding principles ensure that carbon revenues are used to (1) improve forest quality, (2) provide maximum benefits to local communities that participate in project activities, and (3) identify new REDD projects in Cambodia. The Sar Chor Nor No. 699 confirms the high-level commitment of the Royal Government of Cambodia to make the project a success and use its revenues effectively. The success of the Oddar Meanchey project will open the door for long-

Why was Oddar Meanchey selected? OddarMeanchey Province provides an ideal site for developing a REDD project. The provinces forests have been under intense pressure from commercial and illegal loggers, forest fire, economic land concessions and encroachment, losing 2.1 percent of its forests each year from 2002 to 2006. A growing number of communities in the province have been protecting the remaining natural forests as CF areas, including some of the largest community forests in the country. REDD project sites include larger tracts of healthy closed-canopy forests, as well as degraded forests suitable for restoration.

1. This is subject to change upon comments from VCS-accredited verifiers.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

term financing for Cambodias national community forestry program, which could eventually encompass and protect over two million hectares of forest, and conform to the governments stated goals under the Rectangular Development Strategy.

Strengthening CF groups, including the formulation and adoption of management resolution Networking with FA field staff and neighboring villages Raising awareness regarding the REDD project and REDD activities Strengthening community forest-tenure rights through management agreements, mapping, and boundary demarcation Saving fuel wood through the introduction of improved cooking stoves Controlling fire through fire line construction, fuel load reduction, and fire brigades Halting illegal logging through volunteer patrols and forest watchers Building stronger coordination with commune, district, and provincial representatives Creating financial incentives for successful protection Developing annual carbon stock monitoring systems Focusing on agricultural intensification How will degraded forests be regenerated? This REDD project provides assisted natural regeneration (ANR) activities involving all participating CF management committees (CFMCs) to restore their degraded forests through silvicultural treatments, including multiple shoot cutting, clearing around seedlings, enrichment planting, water harvesting, and other methods. ANR activities would be based on CFMC management plans, providing employment opportunities, materials, and funding to CFMC operations. Increases in carbon stocks in regenerating forests would provide additional income into commune and community funds that could be used for livelihood and infrastructure development activities.

What do avoided deforestation projects consist of? This initiative is based on a new framework called REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), which received international support at the thirteenth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Decision CP.13) COP 13 in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2007. Under REDD, developed countries provide payments to compensate developing nations for forests that are sustainably managed. Currently, these payments are available through Voluntary Emissions Reduction markets. After 2012, a post-Kyoto agreement may see payments available through the official CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) market as well. REDD is a new approach to climate mitigation which gives greater recognition to the importance of protecting and sustainably managing tropical forest resources in developing countries. It is estimated that 17 percent of global CO2 emissions originate from the loss of forests associated with land use and land cover changes. What is the project strategy that is followed? Mobilizing communities to protect forests is already proving to be effective in halting deforestation and degradation in CF areas. Key activities supported under the project include:

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSTHIS PROJECT WAS INSPIRED by the communities of Oddar Meanchey Province that began protecting threatened forests over the past five years and to local FA staff, Buddhist monks, and local NGOs that supported their efforts. This pioneering REDD project would not have been possible without the support of His Excellency Ty Sokhun, chief of the Forestry Administration, Royal Government of Cambodia, who saw the potential of forest climate projects as a means to address poverty and support the national community forestry program. The project is indebted to DANIDA, DFID, NZAID, and the Technical Working Group on Forests and Environment for their support, including Dr. Andrew Wardell, the co-chairman at that time. The project was also facilitated by support to CFI from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, with special thanks to David Hulse and Chris Holtz. The William J. Clinton Foundation has also provided support under the Clinton Climate Change Initiative-Forestry. We appreciate Pacts interest in the project and in supporting any future development. We thank Long Ratanakoma, deputy chief of the Community Forestry Office of the Forestry Administration, who has played an important role in guiding the development of the project. We are also grateful to the FA staff of the Siem Reap Cantonment and to Sona Long, formerly the OM provincial officer for the development of carbon offset credit projects with CFI, and now senior carbon program officer at Pact. Sona guided much of the fieldwork, including the forest plot inventory. Amanda Bradley, formerly country director of Community Forestry International in Cambodia. Ms. Bradley played a key role in the social appraisal and community capacity-building process for the project during the design phase, as well as coordinating activities with the Forestry Administration. In addition, we thank Kate Smith-Hannsen, CFI administrative director, for her invaluable editorial and organizational guidance. Finally, this project would not have been possible without the help of all of those above who have attempted to pioneer REDD project development in Cambodia.

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FOREWORD

FOREWORDClimate change is the defining challenge facing the world. Tropical deforestation continues to be a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in developing countries. The inclusion of forestry projects in the international compliance market has been dogged by political and technical delays. Concerns have centered on the potential for leakage and permanence. Nevertheless, the Bali Road Map, agreed in December 2007, called on governments and civil society to take early action by including activities that reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation. REDD demonstration activities often start at a project or sub-national scale while progressively working towards national-level carbon accounting. New standards and initiatives that support the environmental integrity of the voluntary carbon market were introduced in 200708. A key risk in designing REDD demonstration projects with a narrow focus on climate change is that this may continue to reward poor governance and do little to alleviate poverty. The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) has shown a strong interest in REDD which is seen as an effective mechanism to channel financing in support of national sustainable forest management efforts. The RGC, under the enabling leadership of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, shares the global concerns and has committed itself to addressing the challenges of climate change through win-win solutions. Cambodia fully supports the inclusion of REDD in a post-Kyoto climate regime. The Prime Minister has addressed clearly that we must protect our forest, by not only stopping logging for export, but protecting the forest for selling carbon credit and using these revenues for better forest management and rural

poverty alleviation. The RGC has increased its efforts to reduce deforestation, create new forests and promoting forest carbon markets by assigning its Forestry Administration as the agency for selling forest carbon credits. In this connection, the Forestry Administration has undertaken a comprehensive forestry reform agenda to reverse deforestation and forest degradation through the National Forest Program (NFP) process, including REDD demonstration projects. The importance of forests in climate mitigation also needs to be balanced by the need to ensure the effective participation of forest-dependent communities in developing sustainable REDD forest management and conservation initiatives. If forestdependent communities do not directly benefit from REDD then they are unlikely to support it, and without such support many projects would not be able to proceed (and indeed should not). Past forest management systems have not contributed sufficiently to these broader policy objectives. The Forestry Administration, together with Community Forestry International and other partners, has developed one of the worlds first avoided deforestation projects in Oddar Meanchey Province with the goal of generating, registering and selling forest carbon credits. The project involves thirteen community forestry groups, covering fifty-eight villages, and will protect and manage approximately 67,783 hectares of forestland. The project has included the development of a new REDD mosaic deforestation methodology and Project Document for a bundled community forestry project currently subject to third party validation using the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), and the Climate, Community Biodiversity Alliance (CCB) Standards respectively. The project is expected to sequester 7.1 million metric tons of CO2 over thirty years. The initiative aims to provide long-

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FOREWORD

term sustainable financing through the voluntary carbon market to prevent deforestation and forest degradation with maximum benefits flowing to local communities in order to improve livelihoods and ensure the sustainable management of Cambodias forests. This case study provides a detailed overview of the complex process of developing the Oddar Meanchey REDD project since the idea was first presented to the Technical Working Group on Forestry and Environment on 12 November 2007 by Community Forestry International. The case study is a welcome addition to the burgeoning literature on REDD. It provides some important lessons learned which will guide the design and development of other REDD projects in Cambodia, and perhaps the region. The development of nested and scaled-up approaches to REDD activities is necessary to demonstrate the multiple climatic, conservation and human development benefits for the following key reasons:

required to stabilize atmospheric CO2 levels at 450 parts per million (ppm) through 2100 and encourage deeper emissions targets elsewhere to achieve UNFCCCs objectives;

The carbon mitigation benefits of REDD over the short term exceed the benefits from afforestation and reforestation; REDD could encourage deeper emissions targets to achieve the UNFCCCs objectives of stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system; REDD+ could assist in promoting accountable and transparent forest governance, secure and equitable forest tenure and sustainable livelihoods for poor and vulnerable rural communities.Carbon markets, both regulated and voluntary have grown rapidly and offer opportunities for new investment in rural areas of the Asia-Pacific region. Credits generated from compliance-based markets have the largest demand for regulated emitters and thus tend to attract a higher carbon price. It is now widely acknowledged that if dangerous climate change is to be avoided, reductions of emissions from deforestation must be a core component of the post-2012 climate regime. In additio...

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