In Washington: Anita Gordon (202) 473 1799
Robert Bisset (202) 458 5191
WASHINGTON, October 24, 2008 – With more than 40 developing countries asking to become part of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, the FCPF has announced that it aims to expand its expected number of developing country participants from 20 countries to 30. Tropical forested countries are seeking to build capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).
Twenty-five developing countries selected so far to benefit from the FCPF are working with 11 industrialized countries and one non-governmental organization in an innovative partnership and international financing mechanism to combat tropical deforestation and climate change. The FCPF is comprised of two components—a Readiness Fund and a Carbon Fund.
Deforestation and forest degradation together are the second leading man-made cause of global warming. They are responsible for about 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions and are the main source of national emissions in most developing countries.
“I am impressed by the level of interest expressed in the FCPF by developing countries,” said Katherine Sierra, Vice President, Sustainable Development, the World Bank. “We thought 20 would be a reasonable target, but more than 40 countries have said they were interested. Countries are investing considerable time and resources to prepare themselves for REDD, and they should be commended for taking these steps.”
The World Bank, which acts as the secretariat for the FCPF, announced that it would underwrite the US$2.3 million start-up expenses for the Facility.
The developing countries accepted into the Facility include 10 in Africa (Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Republic of Congo and Uganda); 10 in Latin America (Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guyana, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay and Peru); and five in Asia and the South Pacific (Lao PDR, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Vietnam).
“The Congo Basin countries consider the FCPF as an opportunity to validate reducing forest degradation as a climate change mitigation instrument. With the FCPF, forests will find their true role as carbon pools and providers of social and economic well-being,” said Etienne Massard K. Makaga, Director General of Environment and Climate Focal Point of Gabon.
and one of the REDD country participants in the FCPF. He added, “The FCPF is not a solution in and of itself. It must remain a structuring tool that will allow us to achieve the objectives of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.”
The FCPF aims to reduce deforestation and forest degradation by compensating developing countries for greenhouse gas emission reductions. The partnership became functionally operational on June 25, 2008. Tropical and sub-tropical countries will receive grant support as they build their capacity to tap into future systems of positive incentives for REDD, in particular by establishing emissions reference levels, adopting REDD strategies, and designing monitoring systems.
In addition, indigenous peoples will benefit from one of the first decisions of the FCPF Participants Committee, elected this week in meetings in Washington. Made up of 10 donor and carbon fund participants and 10 developing country participants, the committee approved a Capacity Building Program for forest-dependent indigenous peoples and other forest dwellers—a US$1,000,000 ‘small grants’ program to build effective links with forest-dependent indigenous peoples and other forest dweller communities on REDD through the FCPF.
“The FCPF is an essential initiative,” said Dr. Pham Manh Cuong, Vietnam’s National Focal Point for Climate Change in the Forestry Sector and another of the FCPF’s REDD country participants. “The cooperation between the FCPF and the UN-REDD Programme enhances
the effectiveness of the support from the international donor community in joint efforts to tackle climate change. Vietnam is strongly committed to the implementation of the REDD program in the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with integration with other multilateral environmental agreements.”
The announcements came at the first operational meeting of the FCPF held in Washington this week. Fourteen forested countries had been identified as participants in July; the others were added this week. Observers from the private sector, international organizations, the UNFCCC Secretariat, the UN-REDD Programme, non-governmental institutions, and forest-dependent indigenous peoples and other forest dwellers attended the meetings. The committee was assisted in its selection process by an independent Technical Advisory Panel comprised of experts in different technical fields and different regions of the world.
“It is heartening to know that despite the current financial situation, countries around the world understand that we cannot delay action on battling climate change,” said Mark Tercek, president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “Forest protection is one of the most cost-effective methods available to fight climate change. If we don’t take action now, climate change ultimately will have a much greater impact on the global economy and the natural resources we all depend upon for survival.”
Each of the 11 industrialized countries and the non-governmental organization that formalized their participation in the partnership was present at the Washington meeting. These countries are Australia, Finland, France (the French Development Agency), Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States, together with The Nature Conservancy. Together, they have pledged about US$169 million to the FCPF (for the Readiness and Carbon Funds combined). More contributions from the public and private sector are expected in the coming months. Norway and Switzerland, pending approval by their governments, yesterday pledged an additional US$1,000,000 and CHF1,000,000 respectively to help provide readiness funding for additional developing countries that want to participate.
“It is very encouraging to note the enthusiasm for REDD among such a large number of developing countries,” said Per Pharo, Deputy Director of the Government of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative. “We are very happy with how this is evolving, especially in light of the close cooperation being established between the World Bank and the UN-REDD Programme. It is essential that REDD countries remain in the driver’s seat, and that all stakeholders are involved going forward.”
The FCPF will work closely with other players in REDD including the Secretariat of the UNFCCC and the new UN-REDD Programme made up of the Food and Agriculture Organization, the United Nations Development Programme, and the United Nations Environment Programme.