Forest Conservation Opportunity
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one step closer to unlocking up to US$60 million in payments for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) and creating the largest forest emissions reduction programme in Africa. DRC’s emissions reduction program idea note (ER-PIN) was reviewed last month in Paris by the Carbon Fund of the World Bank-run Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), beginning the process.
This review process is an important step in developing an emissions reductions program for the DRC. It is an opportunity to gather expert feedback on the proposal, so that it can be refined to most effectively provide significant benefits to the country’s nature and people. The ER-PIN was well received overall, based on initial feedback at the meeting, with requests made for strengthening key technical aspects of the proposal including reference levels, addressing drivers of deforestation, benefit sharing and finance flow.
WWF has been a key partner of the DRC in preparing for REDD+, and supported the development of the country’s ER-PIN, which would cover 12 million hectares, including nine million hectares of forest cover. WWF is now poised to support the honing of the proposal to meet the Carbon Fund recommendations, and to ensure that it aligns with REDD+’s Five Guiding Principles.
“WWF believes that REDD+ can provide significant benefits to the people and biodiversity of the DRC, and is pleased that the Carbon Fund review has identified areas of the ER-PIN that can be strengthened to maximize effectiveness and potential benefits,” said Raymond Lumbuenamo, Head of WWF-DRC. “WWF is now prepared to provide the technical advice needed, including on the issue of reference levels, to meet the Carbon Fund recommendations.”
The Carbon Fund has communicated that it anticipates receiving the updated DRC ER-PIN before its next meeting, which will be held between October and December of this year. Once it is approved, DRC will enter the “pipeline” of the Carbon Fund and have the potential to receive payments for verified emissions reductions.
The DRC is one of six countries that form the Congo Basin – one of the most important areas of biodiversity on earth, and the second- largest tropical rainforest in the world. Great expanses of primary forest still exist in the Congo Basin, giving it its name of the Green Heart of Africa. The DRC contains 60 percent of the Congo Basin’s forests – approximately 1.5 million square kilometers of forest cover.
With only six percent of Congolese having access to electricity, 94 percent of the DRC’s 71 million inhabitants – nearly 67 million people – depend on the forest as an energy source for firewood and charcoal. Of these, the livelihoods of 40 million people depend directly on the forests: family subsistence farming, timber for homes and firewood/charcoal for cooking and heating. This has put a significant strain on the country’s forests and has contributed to an average deforestation rate of 350,000 hectares per year – one of the highest in the world.
To learn more about WWF’s efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, visit: www.panda.org/forestclimate