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ICIMOD and Chitwan
04 September 2017 to
07 September 2017
Trishna Singh Bhandari
Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) is an international climate policy instrument that is expected to tap into the large mitigation potential for conservation and better management of the world’s forests through financial flows from developed to developing countries. For this, some prerequisites have to be taken care of, which include benefit sharing mechanisms, safeguards, and safeguard information systems (SISs).
The visit is being organized with the objective of fostering transboundary learning based on the following thematic areas:
Benefit Sharing Mechanisms
The existing community managed forestry regulations of Nepal provide a strong base for creating benefit-sharing mechanisms for REDD+ related to both direct benefits and non-carbon benefits. REDD+ payments are an important financial source that could add value to standing forests, consequently reducing biomass loss and supporting land use conversion. The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and other national partners like the Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources (ANSAB) and the Federation of Community Forest Users’ Nepal (FECOFUN) have experimented with benefit-sharing mechanisms in the form of incentives for conservation in three watersheds of Nepal. Many researches have taken on this topic in field sites as the experiment provided direct cash payment for conservation, thereby providing an ideal situation for learning. The proposed visit will provide the participants on-site knowledge and information on how benefit-sharing mechanisms works in community-managed forests and how the same may work when REDD+ is implemented.
Safeguards and Safeguard Information Systems
Forest dependent communities participate in REDD+ activities under the condition that there is positive change and they are safe to use forest resources sustainably. Safeguards are considered so that there are no unintended negative consequences to local communities and the surrounding environment while REDD+ is implemented. Nepal is committed to following the Cancun Safeguard Principles, interpreting them in the community-based forest management context. An overview of the safeguard systems that Nepal has adapted to local circumstances eg, Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (SESA), Environment and Social Management Framework (ESMF), REDD+ Social and Environmental Standards (SES), and Cancun Safeguard will be given.
The focus is to build the capacities of local users to adopt REDD+ activities under ‘no harm conditions’. Therefore, the visit will be able to show how community based forest management activities are considering these safeguards and how the government is progressing with the development of an SIS.
Community Forestry and Sustainable Forest Management
Nepal is not only a pioneer globally in community based forest management models, but has been able to successfully restore and transform its barren hillsides. The community forestry programmes have been successful in promoting and protecting the rights of community forest users through economic empowerment and have ensured the sustainable management of forest resources. Community forestry has also assured the value of inclusive development while providing gender balance. Visitors will see the different regimes of community managed forests and how there is now a move towards scientific forest management. They will also explore the rationale behind this move. Challenges related to community forestry will also be shared for discussion. The Regional REDD+ Initiative has conducted on-the-ground research on how these communities perceive REDD+ in terms of forest management.
Twenty-four participants from Pacific Island countries—Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea—and Germany.