Partner organizations see impacts of the REDD+ pilot in Kayerkhola Watershed

   TwitCount
Nearly 30 visitors from ICIMOD partner organizations in Bhutan, Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar, and Pakistan visited the Kayerkhola watershed in Chitwan 24–25 July to learn about the ongoing pilot REDD+ project. The trip promoted the exchange of knowledge and lessons learned between local communities and ICIMOD’s regional partners. Representatives from regional partner institutions were given valuable information that they can take back to their respective countries, including lessons learned from the pilot REDD+ project on:

  • the importance of social and gender-inclusive approaches in promoting the sustainability of REDD+ projects;
  • the need for alternative arrangements for forest-dependent communities, like the promotion of stall feeding or allocation of patches of degraded land in community forests where grazing has been banned to allow landless households to grow fodder for their livestock;
  • the importance of the promotion of biogas and improved cooking stove technologies among  Community Forest User Group (CFUG) members to reduce forest dependency; and
  • the role that communities participating in REDD+ can play in reducing the incidence of forest fires.
During the visit, REDD+ network representatives from Kayerkhola made presentations on details of the Kayerkhola watershed and the demographics and number of members of CFUGs in the area; key activities undertaken since the project’s inception in 2010; and the pilot forest carbon payment and benefit sharing mechanism, including how and on what basis the seed money is disbursed to CFUGs and households, and for what activities. Following the presentations, representatives from ICIMOD and the Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources (ANSAB) moderated interactions between visitors and REDD+ network representatives, which included questions on topics like alternatives for people whose lives and livelihoods depend on forest resources, the enforcement of rules and regulations, the benefits of REDD+ for communities already effectively managing their forests, and efforts to address climate mitigation and adaptation at the regional and global level.

In a visit to Shaktikhor village, participants were able to observe the impacts of REDD+ at the household level, including the benefits and challenges of new livelihood improvement activities such as animal husbandry, using biogas as a source of energy, and improved cooking stoves. During a short hike to Jamuna Community Forest, a five-member team from Kayerkhola demonstrated forest carbon measuring – a method used for estimating changes in forest carbon stock. The field tour culminated with a trip to a fish farm, which demonstrated how the Kankali CFUG is using carbon payments to provide new income opportunities to 22 poor Dalit households.

The pilot REDD+ project – which is being jointly implemented by ICIMOD, ANSAB, and the Federation of Community Forest Users, Nepal (FECOFUN) and is funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) – has demonstrated the ability of local communities to understand, implement, and benefit from REDD+. Not surprisingly, the REDD+ sites in Chitwan, Gorkha, and Dolakha have started drawing the attention of regional and international organizations, including the Clinton Foundation and its partners working in the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan. The next challenge is to use the experiences and lessons learned from the REDD+ pilot project in Nepal as a basis for developing a national REDD+ strategy and to link up with other REDD+ initiatives in the region and beyond to share knowledge and support policy and advocacy.
A CFUG representative making a presentation on REDD+ activities in the Kayerkhola watershed

A CFUG representative making a presentation on REDD+ activities in the Kayerkhola watershed

An visitor from India posing questions to REDD+ network representatives

An visitor from India posing questions to REDD+ network representatives

Demonstration of forest carbon measurement techniques

Demonstration of forest carbon measurement techniques