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Sustaining local livelihoods through carbon sequestration activities
A search for practical and strategic approachCIFOR Bogor, Indonesia
In many parts of the developing world carbon sequestration projects have beenimplemented in association with community development. This is a practical way todemonstrate environmental as well as social benefits of the projects. To someextent the projects are in line with the dual objectives of the Kyoto Protocol’s CleanDevelopment Mechanism (CDM). Knowing the immaturity of CDM market and thedynamics of the negotiations in the Conferences of Parties (COPs) to the UnitedNations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), it is timely toexplore strategic and long-term approaches. This paper attempts to synthesize thelessons learned from Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Philippines, Indonesia, and Timor Leste presented and discussed in the workshop to mark the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol. Most of the projects do not necessarily comply with the strict rules of CDM partly due to the fact that the current agreement only allows afforestation and reforestation activities. Conservation of carbon storage (e.g. in peatlands) is not eligiblefor funding under the existing rules. Strategic approaches, such as inclusion ofdeforestation avoidance in the next round of negotiations and subsequent commitmentperiod, were critically reviewed. A number of loopholes that require scientifically soundjustification were identified. In addition, issues related to methodologies to determinethe baseline, monitor additionality, leakage and permanence remain challenging.It is generally demonstrated that local participation is very strong in all of the projectsexamined. It was learned that large-scale plantation projects offer few benefits for thecommunity, whereas small-scale projects that allow the community to participate offerthe possibility to earn carbon credits as well as socio-economic and cultural benefits.However, many of these projects are so small in size that they generate high transactioncosts. Otherwise the projects could demonstrate financial additionality from the point ofview of the hosts. It was strongly suggested that in order to sustain livelihoods theprojects have to be recognized by and linked with donor and policy communities. Inaddition, engagement of the private sector has to be further explored.