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Climate Change Policy & Practice

Fifteenth Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change

19 March 2014 | Washington, DC, US

Arvind Khare, Executive Director, RRI

The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) hosted its 15th Dialogue on Forest, Governance and Climate Change, on 19 March 2014. Participants took stock of the agreement reached on REDD+ at the Warsaw Climate Change Conference, as well as international efforts to promote the establishment of forest carbon rights in forested countries. Approximately 100 participants attended the event in Washington, DC, US, with more engaging virtually through a live webcast.

At the beginning of the dialogue, Arvind Khare, Executive Director, RRI, announced RRI's release of a map of Latin America’s Pacific Rim corridor, which shows that community rights in forested areas are endangered by mining, hydrocarbon, forestry, agro-industry and hydropower projects. He said that the map will be used as one of the main planks in civil society talks in the run up to the next UNFCCC Conference of the Parties in Lima, Peru. He also announced the release of the report, “Status of Forest Carbon Rights and Implications for Communities, the Carbon Trade, and REDD+ Investments,” which surveyed 23 low- and middle-income countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and found no laws governing how Indigenous Peoples and local communities could profit from the carbon in forests in which they live and depend on.

During the day, speakers discussed the challenges of establishing carbon rights and their linkages with land tenure. The adequacy of safeguards, and when they should come into force, was also discussed. Speakers also noted that the REDD preparation process has introduced changes in policymaking in some countries, while others noted that, in other countries, forests rights were threatened by REDD+ and questioned whether too much is being asked from the preparation process.

At the conclusion of the day, Khare recounted the lessons he had drawn from the day's discussions: legal systems in developing countries where REDD+ is being implemented are weak and may not be equipped to handle new concepts, such as carbon credit and carbon trade; work remains to create the investor confidence needed for carbon trade to occur; in order for carbon trade to occur, it must be very clear who the seller is, who the owner is and what exactly the commodity being sold is; and UNFCCC safeguards and World Bank policies alone will not change the underlying governance conditions in developing countries affecting carbon trade, so greater investment is needed to help governments get forest governance right, to prepare communities to effectively participate in processes affecting them and to protect their rights.

Download our summary report of the dialogue in HTML and PDF format.

Session 1: What Happened in Warsaw and What Are the Implications for Carbon Rights and Safeguards?
Dialogue Master of Ceremony Solange Bandiaky-Badji, Africa Program Director, RRI
Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute, moderated the session

Daniela Rey, Founding Director, Climate Law and Policy, UK (right), discussed implementation of REDD+ safeguards agreed in Warsaw

Alexandre Corriveau-Bourque, Tenure Analyst, RRI, discussed the challenges of establishing carbon rights
Daniela Rey and Andrew Steer
Evan Notman, Program Manager - Forests and Climate Change, US Agency for International Development (USAID) (left), provided a development agency's perspective, and Niranjali Amerasinghe, Director, Climate Change Program, Center for International Environmental Law (right), provided a civil society organization's perspective
Participants listening to the discussion

A view of the dais

Jeff Saines, Baker & McKenzie
Ann Koontz, EnterpriseWorks
Robert O'Sullivan, Forest Carbon, Markets and Communities (FCMC)
Alicia Lopez, German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ)
Session 2: Status of Forest Carbon Rights Today

A view of the dais during the session

Martijn Wilder AM, Partner, Baker & McKenzie, spoke on national legal frameworks and REDD+
David Hunter, Professor of Law and Director of the International Legal Studies Program, American University's Washington College of Law, US, moderated the session
Andrew Hedges, REDD+ Vice-Chair, Climate Markets & Investment Association, UK, discussed the carbon market perspective on carbon rights
Sergio Madrid Zubirán, Executive Director, Consejo Civil Mexicano para la Silvicultura Sostenible, Mexico, discusses forest carbon markets in Mexico
Jane Tahr Takang, SIT Graduate Institute
Rebecca Butterfield, USAID
Greg Fishbein, The Nature Conservancy
Arvind Khare, Executive Director, RRI
Chip Fay, Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA)
Session 3: The World Bank Methodological Framework: Status, Challenges and Opportunities

A view of the dais during the session

Kate Horner, Director of Forest Campaigns, Environmental Investigation Agency, discussed challenges and opportunities
Daniel Zarin, Director of Programs, CLUA, moderated the session
Tom Griffiths, Coordinator, Responsible Finance Programme, Forest Peoples Programme, UK, discussed the experience of the Democratic Republic of Congo
Charles Di Leva, Chief Counsel, Environmental and International Law Unit, World Bank, presented under the theme "Is the Carbon Framework a fair vehicle for emissions reduction purchase for developing countries?"
John Lewis, Terra Global Capital
Susanne Breitkopf, Greenpeace
Participants consulting before the session
Duncan Marsh, The Nature Conservancy
Session 4: Way Forward on Carbon Rights, Safeguards and REDD
A view of the dais
Jenny Springer, Director of Global Programs, RRI, moderated the session
Samuel Nguiffo, Secretary General, Center for Environment and Development, Cameroon
Edwin Vásquez Campos, General Coordinator, Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin (COICA)
Penny Davies,Program Officer, Ford Foundation
Alexander Lotsch, Senior Carbon Specialist, World Bank

A view of the dais during the session

A view of the US Capitol and the Canadian embassy from the Newseum, where the Dialogue was held

Funding for coverage of this Dialogue has been provided by RRI
Related Links
RRI resources

*Dialogue website

*Previous RRI Dialogues on Forests, Governance and Climate Change

IISD RS resources

*IISD RS coverage of the Warsaw Climate Change Conference - November 2013, 11-23 November 2013, Warsaw, Poland

*IISD RS coverage of the Tenth Session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF10), 8-19 April 2013, Istanbul, Turkey

*IISD RS coverage of the Twelfth RRI Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change, 5 November 2012, Washington, DC, United States of America

*IISD RS coverage of the Eleventh RRI Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change, 12 October 2011, London, United Kingdom

*IISD RS coverage of the Tenth RRI Dialogue on Forest Governance and Climate Change, 7-8 September 2011, The Hague, Netherlands

*IISD RS coverage of the Ninth RRI Dialogue on Forest Governance and Climate Change, 8 February 2011, London, England

*CLIMATE-L - A mailing list for news on climate change policy

*Climate Change Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of UN and Intergovernmental Activities Addressing Global Climate Change Policy

*Forests-L - A news and announcement list on forest policy issues

*Forests Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of International Activities Adressing Forests Policy

*Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
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