Monday, December 21, 2009

Kenya REDD Project Becomes First in Africa to Win Gold Certification

Here's an actual story of a well-run payments for forests ecosystem services scheme being recognized for its successes:

A Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) project in Kenya has become the first in Africa to win GOLD level validation under the Climate Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Alliance's REDD Standard, a certification program to ensure that communities and biodiversity benefit from such projects.

The Kasigau Corridor REDD Project aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 3.5 million tons over its 20-year lifetime, generating carbon credits that may receive a premium relative to other credits due to the CCB certification. The project is run by Wildlife Works in partnership with local communities and the Kenya Forest Service (KFS).

"This is a milestone in the progress of REDD towards achieving legitimacy in the global carbon marketplace, and sets a positive example for those millions of Africans who have the potential to gain financial reward from REDD to help them move forward with sustainable development in the face of massive and growing pressure to their livelihoods caused by climate change," said Mike Korchinsky, Wildlife Works' Founder and President, in a statement. "We believe this demonstrates clearly that REDD is ready for prime time in Africa."

The project is funding construction of new schools, free health programs, and organic farming and agroforestry initiatives for local communities.

Kenya was one of 14 countries to receive funds in the first round of the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, a scheme to kick-start REDD projects in developing nations. REDD is widely seen as an attractive way to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously conserving forests and sustaining rural livelihoods.

I'd still love to learn more about the carbon accounting here -- how the emissions are counted and verified, as well as safeguarded over time -- but it's great to see forest protection benefiting local communities like this.  We've got to start somewhere, and will inevitably learn how to fine tune these types of projects as we go...

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