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    Panamanian Project Among First to be CCB Certified

    By Keith R | March 11, 2007

    Topics: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Economics & the Environment, Environmental Protection, Sustainable Forest Use | 3 Comments »

          
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    Panama has one of the first forestry projects certified under Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance’s (CCBA) Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards (download the standards in English or Spanish). Such projects go beyond Kyoto Protocol requirements for carbon financing under the clean development mechanism (CDM).

    The CCBA is a partnership between research institutions, environment NGOs (such as the Nature Conservancy and the Wildlife Conservation Society), corporations such as BP, Intel, SC Johnson and Weyerhauser, and organizations such as the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business (CELB, created by Conservation International and the Ford Motor Company).

    To become certified under their 2005 CCB Standards, third-party auditors must certify that the projects seeking certification meet 15 mandatory criteria intended to prove that the project not only will help mitigate climate change, but also aid in conserving biodiversity (which not all CDM projects can do) and will improve socioeconomic conditions for the communities surrounding or adjoining the project. The criteria also impose environmental and social monitoring programs, require clear land titles and that local stakeholders to be involved in the design of the project, and forbid the use of invasive plant or tree species.

    The CCB Standards can be applied to any forestry or land-use change project, whether part of CDM or just voluntary “carbon offsetting” schemes. It is intended to establish the “gold standard” for such projects. Currently several dozen projects are using the Standards as a guide for their design, and a number of carbon finance providers, such as the World Bank and EcoSecurities, are applying the Standards to their project portfolios.

    The Trailblazing Panamanian Project

    The reforestation project just certified under the Standards is run by the German-Panamanian group Futuro Forestal and CO2OL-USA, the American affiliate of the German organization CO2OL. It seeks to reforest degraded and abandoned lands on Panama’s Pacific coast in Chiriqui and Veraguas provinces.

    The project currently involves 700 hectares, but plans to expand to 4,000 by 2019 with the goal of sequestering some 700,000 tons of CO2 in the process. It has improved water quality in the local mangrove ecosystem and biodiversity in the habitat, while reducing erosion, through the use of native forest species, organic fertilizers, (labor-intensive) hand (instead of capital-intensive mechanized) tools, and the removal of cattle from the project area.

    The project also seeks to help the local community, involving them in the design process, hiring and training locals, and establishing health clinics and schools in the hope of the hopes of keeping some of the locals in the rural area instead of migrating to Panama’s urban centers. [Temas Observation: a similar effort was tried by the Ford Foundation’s “Project Sierra” in the Cibao region of the Dominican Republic, and while it suceeded in keeping some of the adults in the area, many of the youth left for the city anyway.]

    The project, already certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), was audited in August 2006 and January 2007 by the Rainforest Alliance’s Smartwood program. The auditor suggested several changes after the first audit; all the mandatory CCB items were addressed by the second audit* and the auditor felt that Futuro Forrestal/CO2OL should have no problem staying in compliance for at least five years.

    — Keith R

    * The auditor also suggested that Futuro Forestal prove that it only uses only native species in its plantation project, but FF did not provide such evidence. He also recommended preparation by FF of a plan to identify and to prevent potential risks resulting from the project’s future activities — nurseries, plating, pruning, thinning, pesticide use, loading and transport of logs, etc. — but FF did not provide one. Neither point is required for CCB certification.

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    3 Responses to “Panamanian Project Among First to be CCB Certified”

    1. Matt Says:

      Very interesting post. This all sounds promising for reforestation. What really needs doing is the protection of virgin forest, using a CDM approach or similar. Indonesia & Malaysia have recently vowed to protect a central area of Borneo. In the same breath Indonesia’s environment minister has wondered aloud if they might be compensated for doing so. The silence is deafening … and worrying.

    2. Keith R Says:

      Glad you found it interesting, Matt. I agree, something needs to be done to promote greater conservation. Your remark about the deafening silence about the Indonesian Environment Minister’s remark about compensation for conservation is interesting. A remarkably similar statement was recently voiced by Colombia’s Environment Minister, who vowed to lobby for in the context of the negotiations for the post-Kyoto regime. And as you doubtless know, Brazil is shopping around a proposal along these lines. I plan Temas briefs on both soon if I can find the time to do them (seems like this blog treadmill just moves faster and faster, doesn’t it?)

      Best Regards,
      Keith

    3. Matt Says:

      OK. So Columbia, Brazil & Indonesia are looking for a payment mechanism. The pressure seems to be building. I have read that the UNFCCC meeting in Nairobi end of last year talked of some sort of mechanism, probably CDM based. Look forward to your blogging this more.

      Yes, blogging is one giant newswire. I’ve been blogging stuff about China recently thanks to a China blog I found recently. Very interesting window on their world.

      Regards
      Matt

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