Emerging Lessons from Financing REDD+ Projects

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1 Emerging Lessons from Financing REDD+ Projects This brochure presents the key results from the forthcoming publication Translating lessons learnt from financing forest projects into national REDD-plus strategy development and implementation.

2 2 3 Emerging Lessons from Financing REDD+ Projects PURPOSE The technical report, Translating lessons learnt from financing forest projects into national REDD-plus strategy development and implementation, seeks to provide policymakers, the financial sector and project developers with an informational entry point for development of transformative REDD+ projects, national REDD+ strategies and their implementation. The report presents a number of private and publicly funded projects from Africa, Asia and Latin America selected as case studies. OBJECTIVE The international community has made significant progress towards an international REDD+ framework in the recent years. However, it remains unclear how to finance REDD+ activities at least until an international agreement is reached. In order to identify and build knowledge about costs and benefits related to forest projects life cycle, and on how the private sector can best contribute to future REDD+ and related project financing, it is important to have a clear picture of how forestry projects and activities, including REDD+, have been financially managed. The main objective of the report is to draw lessons from the risks, costs and revenues of small and medium sized projects from the forestry sector (CDM, A/R, REDD, IFM, conservation, PES) by analyzing actual forest investments by identifying and building knowledge about costs related to forest project life cycles. The report also analyses how the private sector can best contribute to future REDD+ and related project financing based on existing efforts on the ground. This is especially pertinent in the light of REDD as a future financing mechanism under the possible UNFCCC post-2012 agreement. Carbon finance and especially CDM has, over the last 6 years, evolved into an innovative financial market through which flows of financial resources from developed to developing countries has helped to reduce GHG emissions. However, there has been limited progress with CDM projects in the forest sector. Therefore, lessons learned from financing current and past forest projects will be crucial in order to inform and help develop REDD+ activities and forest investments in developing countries, especially where forests can make a high contribution to mitigation and national development plans.

3 4 5 METHODOLOGY An important turning point for forest carbon projects is the capacity to secure funding. Project developers of the selected case studies, were asked to describe the different institutional roles and agreements that have enabled project implementation. Furthermore, they were asked to provide financial data regarding their projects, especially investment criteria such as NPV and IRR. Evaluation of the projects financial data and of different economic project scenarios was conducted. This analysis helped to identify the current state of the projects in terms of investor attractiveness, emphasizing the role of carbon credit revenue. INITIAL FINDINGS For a number of projects, the REDD+ component is only a part of the entire business model. This is particularly the case for projects that are fully privately funded. In such cases, the main manager or investor is the private company; the carbon revenues generated are considered as secondary to the project. For example, a hazelnut project in Western Georgia is fully financed and owned by one private company, which implemented the project from its inception with support from a private consultancy company. Carbon credits are generated through Afforestation and Reforestation (A/R) activities and constitute an additional source of revenue. Other forest carbon projects are organized as corporate social responsibility (CSR) run by private companies. Hence, they can be categorized as demonstrative business models, considering that they are not conducted for profitability purposes. The Holistic Conservation Programme for Forests (HCPF) in Madagascar exemplifies a CSR project, which receives funds directly from a foundation which is acting on behalf of the corporate responsibility of an international airline company. The airline company offers its passengers the possibility of neutralizing carbon emissions generated by the flight. In this way some projects could become economically feasible with carbon revenues as their main source of income. A third type of business model is a public-private partnership. The public investment, typically from a bi- or multilateral fund, facilitates the attraction of private investment. In such a set-up, the investment risks are reduced because they are shared between the public and the private investors. The Juma project exemplifies this model. The Brazilian government created the Bolsa Floresta Programme to stop deforestation in the Amazon rain forest. Bolsa Floresta channels funds provided by government and different multinational corporations. The funds are administrated by the National Development Bank and are directly transferred to the projects working in the Amazon, such as the Fundação Amazonas Sustentável, which administrates the Juma Project. Bolsa Floresta enables Brazil to support national REDD+ initiatives and provides a good example of how public-private partnerships can make REED+ initiatives a reality. The final part of the report focuses on how to proceed with REDD+ to make these initiatives more feasible, especially to enable the transition from REDD+ projects to REDD+ initiatives at national level.

4 6 7 KEY CONCLUSIONS The projects are financed by single investors or through a group of several investors. Project financing was provided by banks in the form of loans, public funds like subsidies or grants, and private sources such as donations. Evaluation of the projects financial data helped to identify the current state of the projects in terms of investor attractiveness, emphasizing the role of carbon credit revenue. Risk reducing mechanisms are proposed to allow a more active participation of the private sector in REDD+ projects. The information collected from the case studies supports findings from other studies that suggest large impacts on sustainable development. The case studies reported economic contributions to sustainable development in the form of employment creation and income generation. The majority of the REDD+ projects also reported the provision of social benefits, especially in education and working condition improvements. CASE STUDY Holistic Conservation Programme for Forests (HCPF) in Madagascar The Holistic Conservation Programme for Forests (HCPF) is a REDD+ pilot-project with the objective of avoiding emissions by reducing the rate of deforestation and restoring degraded forests in Madagascar. The project was initiated in 2008 and during its four-year period it is expected to contribute to the development of the national REDD+ strategy for Madagascar by means of: Improving knowledge on effective and verifiable assessment of field activities and strategies to reduce GHG emissions Improving living conditions of the local population through management transfer from state to grassroots communities, thereby providing them with direct responsibility Replanting for sustainable fuel wood production and development of sustainable agricultural practices to generate additional revenue for the local communities Integrating biodiversity conservation in Madagascar The project, which covers an area of more than 500,000 hectares, is fully financed by the French Foundation GoodPlanet, with Air France as the sole sponsor and is implemented in the field by WWF Madagascar. It has been funded as a grant-scheme to avoid any risks related to non delivery of carbon credits. The project developers are therefore currently not selling any potential carbon credits generated from the activities. Instead, the project is mainly oriented towards testing research options and developing a forest carbon methodology for Malagasy forests. Villagers living around protected area. Holistic Conservation Programme for Forests in Madagascar. Site of Andapa. Credit: WWF-Canon/M. Harvey

5 UNEP Risø Centre (URC) is a leading international research and advisory institution on energy, climate and sustainable development. With a team of over 40 scientists and economists from 16 countries, URC works closely with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), supporting and promoting UNEP activities in the areas of energy and climate change. CONTACT For information on energy, climate and sustainable development, please contact: John Christensen, Head of Centre, UNEP Risø Centre on Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development (URC) Risø National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy Technical University of Denmark Frederiksborgvej 399, Bldg. 142 P.O. Box 49, DK 4000 Roskilde Denmark

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