Climate change has become a serious threat globally with potentially severe ecological and socio-economic consequences. For these reasons, interventions that can simultaneously contribute to sequestering greenhouse gas emissions and alleviate poverty are urgently needed. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—a body coordinated by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)—proposed a series of carbon-trading mechanisms aimed at: 1) assisting industrialized countries in complying with their quantified emissions limitations and 2) promoting sustainable development in developing countries. From these trading mechanisms emerged the voluntary carbon market, a scheme outside the compliance market that enables companies and individuals to purchase carbon offsets on a voluntary basis.
In Asia, ICRAF through its project titled, “Rewards for, Use of, and Shared Investment in Pro-poor Environmental Services (RUPES) Phase 2”, is using a number of action-research sites to test environmental services’ rewards schemes. One of the RUPES sites is in Kalahan, where the Kalahan Education Foundation (KEF) is preparing a 900 hectare afforestation/reforestation project inside the indigenous Ikalahan people’s ancestral domain.
The main goal of the project was to help build the capacities of the Ikalahan – the indigenous people of Kalahan – to negotiate and implement an equitable and efficient voluntary carbon-market scheme.
This project worked on three main objectives to prepare and link the Kalahan people to the voluntary carbon market. These objectives were the:
- Development of business portfolio
- Organization of a national environmental service market buyers’ forum/market fair to link Kalahan to potential buyers
- Negotiation with potential buyers
- The project developed a business portfolio consistent with the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards (CCBS), Carbon Fix Standard (CFS), and Voluntary Carbon Standards for the Kalahan forest reserve.
As a first step, the researchers reviewed the abovementioned voluntary carbon-offset standards and are identifying important elements of the standards (see below for initial results). After this, they compiled available data on Kalahan from previous researches on carbon, biodiversity, the watershed and socioeconomic conditions. Data from ICRAF’s previous and current projects in the Kalahan, was used from among others. Information gaps between the standards and existing data were then pinpointed. To fill the gaps, relevant data, both primary and secondary as was necessary, was collected. Finally, they developed a business portfolio for carbon project(s) for the Kalahan forest reserve. This entailed the preparation of at least one Project Idea Note (PIN), involving activities for reforestation, agroforestry, enhancing carbon stocks, reducing deforestation and/or reducing forest degradation depending which were applicable.
- A carbon-market fair was organised in Manila during the first quarter of 2012 to promote Kalahan’s carbon-offset scheme, as developed in the first component. The team approached potential partners who have experience in dealing with the corporate and private sectors, such as Philippines Business for Social Progress (PBSP).
Together with these partners, the team identified corporations and sensitised them to the concept of a carbon market. The team then organised a carbon-market fair, with a series of presentations about the importance of the private sector’s involvement in carbon offsets. During the fair they promoted Kalahan as a potential project site.
- The project facilitated negotiations of the KEF with potential carbon buyers. Toward this end, the team organised a series of meetings of potential carbon buyers with KEF representatives. They also facilitated their negotiations with these buyers.