UN-REDD Countries from Asia Pacific and Latin America Meet in Unique Cross-Regional REDD+ Exchange
Delegates from Viet Nam recently visited Mexico and Ecuador to exchange valuable lessons and experiences on benefit distribution for REDD+.
The Vietnamese delegation visited Mexico and Ecuador in two separate trips between 5-13 April to learn from the ample experience in both countries on Payment for Environmental Services (PES) and community-led forest management. Mexico and Ecuador, for their part, were very interested to learn from the experience Viet Nam – the first country to start a national UN-REDD Programme in September 2009 – has generated in establishing a National REDD+ Programme.
|The Vietnamese delegation along with their Mexican hosts visited the forest community of Cerro Grande in Mexico. |
Mexico‘s PES system has been operational since 2003, with emphasis on payments for watershed protection. This was demonstrated very effectively in a field visit to the Cerro Grande in Colima state, where a community-managed forest forms the catchment for the entire water supply of 300,000 city dwellers in the state. The payments will go to the community as a whole, whose members jointly decide on how the funds will be applied in the community. More recently, the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR) implemented a system for matching funds, doubling the impact of the payments made to forest owners. This approach has great potential for REDD+ implementation but requires further development. In Viet Nam this stacking of payments from REDD+ and other PES schemes for a single piece of forest is currently being studied, with specific attention to balancing payment levels in order to attain greater equity for all forest owners in the country.
Ecuador has been implementing its Socio Bosque program since 2008, signing agreements with local communities for the management and protection of forests. Delegates from Ecuador and Viet Nam visited the Campo Cocha community in the Amazon region. This community received its first payments for protecting the forest and used the proceeds to install a proper water supply to the village, dramatically reducing the likelihood of water-borne illnesses within the community. Secure land tenure rights and approaches appropriate to existing community structures are seen as key to the success of the program.
Ecuador established a unique climate change mitigation mechanism in the form of the Yasuní Fund. In the Yasuní, a remote and pristine forest area in the Amazon region with a largely Indigenous population, a vast deposit of oil has been found. The Government of Ecuador has decided to leave the oil deposit untouched – net avoided emissions, as they call this – foregoing $7.2 billion in net revenues in exchange for contributions from third parties into the Fund for 50 per cent of the revenue foregone. The Fund is managed by the Multi-donor Trust Fund (MDTF) Office in UNDP, through a new legal structure that allows the Government to directly access to the resources in the Fund, thus giving the Government much greater control over the management of the Fund. This new arrangement is also considered by the MDTF Office as a viable model for National REDD+ Programmes, and in Viet Nam this may be used for financial management under a proposed second phase of the UN-REDD Programme.
|Delegates from Viet Nam and Ecuador met with the people of the village community Campo Cocha in Ecuador. |
While Mexico and Ecuador have started implementing their national REDD+ activities relatively recently, they both have considerable experience with PES and community-led forest management. The Viet Namese delegation was particularly impressed with the sophistication of the benefit distribution system in both countries, including aspects such as financial management, risk management, stacking of payments and third-party funding modalities. Inversely, Mexico and Ecuador appreciated learning from Viet Nam’s experience with the establishment of a National REDD+ Program, particularly through the UN-REDD Programme.
This form of South-South collaboration has proven very effective. Even when the physical, socio-economic and political conditions are different in each country, there is commonality in many aspects of establishing a National REDD+ Programme.