REDD plus 2014
In 2014, Nepal was one of the four developing countries in the world celebrated for promoting forest conservation by controlling deforestation and degradation. It was also held up as an example of how a country could plan to profit off forest carbon stocks while playing a role in mitigating the impacts of climate change.
This was a significant achievement for a country working to institutionalise Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD plus), a carbon-reduction mechanism endorsed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. REDD plus aims to help developing countries get funds from developed countries for sustainably managing forests.
Nepal’s being chosen as a shining example came about as a result of its submitting the Emissions Reductions Project Idea Note (ER-PIN) at the Carbon Fund’s Ninth Meeting (CF9). The meeting, which approved the submission, was organised by the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, under the World Bank, in April this year.
With the approval, Nepal is eligible to access additional financial resources of up to USD 70 million (Rs 700 million) to work on REDD plus schemes, which have been undertaken since 2005.
According to Krishna Prasad Acharya, joint secretary at the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, the focal agency that works on the REDD plus scheme, the approval of the project idea has opened new frontiers for Nepal. It will help in contributing towards the government’s attempts to institutionalise and help enter carbon markets; it will also help with accessing carbon credits for forest conservation in the country and at the same time improve the livelihoods of the local communities who are protecting the forests.
Globally, deforestation and forest degradation are considered major drivers of gas emissions, which exacerbate global warming. In Nepal, the deforestation rate is considered to be 1.3 percent per annum, with the Tarai region witnessing 1.7 percent on average. As per the REDD plus scheme, developing countries like Nepal are eligible to access international funds for their efforts in forest conservation, enhancement of forest stocks and controlling deforestation and degradation along with sustainable management of forests. The funds will be provided by the industrialised countries responsible for climate change.