From the Editors
The Ecosystem Marketplace's Forest Carbon News
Tracking Terrestrial Carbon
Norway has long been a steadfast supporter of efforts to reduce deforestation, previously pledging $1 billion to finance Indonesia's efforts to protect its forest and, as part of a trio of countries alongside Finland and Germany, committing hundreds of millions to the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility.
Norway recently took these efforts a step further by supporting the Governors' Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF) to the tune of $25 million over a 4-year period. The GCF is a collaboration of 26 states and provinces from seven countries with the shared goal of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) using jurisdictional approaches that address the drivers of deforestation at the state, province, or even country level. This scaled-up version of REDD helps account for "leakage" – or the idea that loggers and cattlemen denied access in one project area may simply move down the road.
"That's how it was always supposed to be," said Dan Nepstad, Executive Director at the Earth Innovation Institute. "No one ever wanted all these scattered, isolated projects dotting the forest, and even in the 1990s, it was a given that we needed jurisdictional programs to have a real impact."
The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) released new guidance documents for Jurisdictional Nested REDD (JNR) this month. But the "nesting" process has historically been slow. Ecosystem Marketplace tracked eight REDD projects pursuing formal JNR pilots under VCS last year, with another eight actively engaging with a jurisdictional government.
The GCF seeks to advance REDD "payments for performance" – which have been widely tested at the project level – at the jurisdictional scale, and Norway's $25 million is the most significant amount of finance the GCF fund has received to date. The support is also noteworthy because the funds flow directly to GCF member states and provinces, said Hanne Bjurstrom, Norway's special envoy on climate change.
"This money is specifically for the GCF Fund with no strings attached," she said, adding that she hopes Norway's action will encourage other countries to step up and support the GCF.
"Last year we saw the importance of subnational leadership in driving the international agenda," Bjurstorm said. She also cited subnational commitments such as the Rio Branco Declaration, an agreement among 13 rainforest nation governors to slash deforestation 80% by 2020 – if financing to do so materialized.
Ecosystem Marketplace's parent organization Forest Trends is a convener for the GCF initiative, bringing together state and provincial GCF members along with companies represented in the Consumers Goods Forum and local and indigenous communities managing large areas of forests.
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