Scaling-up Community Carbon Projects A roadmap - Plan Vivo

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Scaling-up Community Carbon Projects A roadmap - Plan Vivo

Scaling-up Community Carbon

Projects

A roadmap


Scaling-Up Community Carbon Projects : A Roadmap | December 2009

Based on discussions of a workshop in October 2009 in San Cristobal, Mexico, between key

actors in the community carbon sector, hosted jointly by AMBIO and the Plan Vivo

Foundation.

AMBIO and the Plan Vivo Foundation gratefully acknowledge the support of the International

Development Research Centre (IDRC), Ottowa, Canada.

Editors: Sandie Fournier (AMBIO), Alexa Morrison (Plan Vivo Foundation)

sandiefournier@ambo.org.mx | alexa.morrison@planvivofoundation.org

http://www.ambio.org.mx/

www.planvivo.org

http://www.idrc.ca/index_en.html

All workshop documents can be found on the ‘Scaling-Up Community Carbon’ web-forum at

http://community-c-projects.webs.com/workshopmaterials.htm

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Executive Summary

Around a third of GHG emissions come

from land-use change, much of which

relates to community-level activities such

as unsustainable agricultural practices and

extraction of fuel wood. Rural

communities are in a position to have a

large impact on emissions reductions and

increasing carbon sinks, with the right

level and kind of support.

It is essential that those involved in

designing policies and financing

mechanisms to reduce GHG emissions

recognise the need for projects involving

communities, ‘community carbon’

projects. The Voluntary Carbon Market

(VCM) has afforded communities some

opportunities to access funds through

selling ‘voluntary emissions reductions’

(VERs), but in practice, the proportion of

carbon finance reaching community-led

projects is small, even though the offer of

ecosystem services and additional social

and environmental benefits is high.

This represents a missed opportunity to

address the root causes of climate change

in developing countries, and to use carbon

finance to have long-lasting effects on

land-use and livelihoods.

Key barriers to scaling-up community

carbon projects include local factors such

as poor governance and lack of social and

technical capacity of communities and

NGOs acting as intermediaries. Regional

and national factors such as lack of

coordination between projects and

governments, over-reliance on technical

support from developing countries

present challenges. Global level market

and financial challenges such as market

uncertainty, difficulties in accessing startup

funding, and the complexity of

internationally recognised methodologies

are also key barriers.

Despite these challenges, there are clear

practical actions that can be taken on all

levels to address barriers and enable

projects to meet their potential. Many of

these actions relate to better

communication of project lessons and

benefits, and better networks to facilitate

capacity building, information sharing and

access to funding and markets.

Key barriers to scaling-up community

carbon, and potential actions to address

barriers are summarised in the table

below:

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Barrier

Institutional barriers

· Uncertain or unclear land-tenure

· Lack of national policies/frameworks for

community forest management

· Poor local governance, corruption

· Lack of national data e.g. remote sensing

data on current land-use

· Lack of coordination between

government agencies and projects

· Poor institutional capacity

Technical barriers

· Project managers lack technical capacity

to apply methodologies and carry out

technical work required

· Complex methodologies for carbon

quantification, particularly for soil carbon

· Over-reliance on foreign consultancy

· Technical complexity of measuring and

monitoring forest degradation

· Lack of simple risk management tools for

community-level projects

Community-level barriers

· Poor organisational capacity and ability to

mobilise, particularly in very poor areas

· Over-expectations of communities

· Cultural barriers e.g. poor participation of

women

· Remoteness and poor infrastructure

· Low education and literacy levels

· High transaction costs of engaging many

small-scale participants

Barriers related to standards

· Standards may not recognise or do not

provide sufficient guidance and tools for

avoided deforestation and forest

degradation activities

· A lack of simple, standardised

methodologies and tools for measuring

socio-economic and biodiversity impacts

of projects, important for differentiating

community carbon projects

· Standards which focus on community-led

projects, may have poor visibility in the

market, or are poorly understood, leading

to confusion and market uncertainties

Market barriers

· Communities, and NGOs lack marketing

strategies and capacity to negotiate

Actions recommended

· Lobbying and supporting governments to develop

better records of land title and land-use, e.g. through

developing local level databases

· Transparent record keeping and use of external

bodies for certification and verification to promote

transparency

· Project managers adopting long-term strategies to

scale-up existing projects

· Building national and regional networks of technical

expertise in land-use and carbon

· Designing audit procedures to build technical capacity

in-country and in-project, e.g. use of local reviewers

· Utilising forums for knowledge and lesson sharing

between organisations

· Development of flexible, simple methodologies

· Evolving standards towards ‘layered approaches’ so

projects can get going and improve incrementally

· Investing time in community engagement and training

to foster clear understanding of project objectives and

activities

· Creating incentives for communities to stay in the

project long-term e.g. offering training relevant to

livelihood activities

· Working with existing organised groups, using

standardised procedures

· Devolving activities e.g. monitoring into communities

to build capacity and reduce costs

· Implementing better marketing strategies, where

standards are clearly differentiated for their

community focus

· Providing better tools for measuring and

demonstrating co-benefits

· Lobbying for recognition of the importance of

including communities in actions to address forest

degradation

· Supplementing standards with guidance for project

developers on how to scale-up activities

· Targeting high profile companies and institutions for

endorsement

· Set-up a platform that provides clear, objective

information on the applicability of different standards

· Creating platforms to communicate project benefits

and access markets, and utilising existing information

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· Projects lack market information due to

remoteness, leading to imbalances of

power

· Uncertainty of future demand

· Long-term nature of delivery of forest

carbon services ties in poorly with

demand for ex-post credits

· Misperceptions of the levels of risk

involved in forest carbon

· Uncertainty about how the regulatory

market is going to develop, particularly

the development of a mechanism for

Reducing Emission from Deforestation

and Degradation (REDD)

Financial barriers

· Uncertainties about project development

costs and lack of information about

development costs can act as a deterrent

to potential project developers and

investors.

· High transaction and opportunity costs

are often associated with land-use

projects working with multiple

participants.

· Funding models used may not always

promote equitable distribution of

benefits and ensure payments reach the

grassroots level, which is essential to

ensure participants are empowered and

incentivised to participate in the longterm.

portals such as the Forest Carbon Portal or United

Bank of Carbon.

· Pursuing strategic partnerships with actors with better

market access and marketing capacity.

· Developing flexible business models at project level,

seeking co-funding from philanthropic and

development funding sources.

· Making better use of media to promote the benefits

of their project, such as video and internet blogs.

· Disbursing project information particularly about scale

if impacts already achieved, to combat misperceptions

that community carbon projects are small-scale and a

niche market

· Targeting high profile buyers that will increase

visibility

· Developing a targeted ‘community carbon fund’ to

stimulate new projects and project expansion, tools

and methodologies. This could take the form of a

hedge fund, containing blended sources of capital

· Providing more information on typical start-up costs

and cost breakdowns to increase information

available for potential investors.

· Aggregating projects, move towards scheme-based

approaches

· Working with existing groups and community

structures (e.g. farmers cooperatives)

· Standards could collaborate to set-up and maintain an

information portal for sources of project start-up

funding

· Capturing the diversity of funding sources available,

including development funding

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Contents

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 3

CONTENTS 6

WHAT IS ‘COMMUNITY CARBON’ AND

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT 7

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE

WORKSHOP 9

ADDRESSING BARRIERS TO SCALING-UP

COMMUNITY CARBON 10

Legal & Institutional Barriers 10

Technical Barriers 11

Community-level barriers 13

Barriers related to standards 15

Market Barriers 16

Financial barriers (start-up costs) 18

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 20

APPENDIX 1: WORKSHOP WORKING

GROUPS 25

APPENDIX 2: SUMMARY OF FIELD TRIP

26

APPENDIX 3: LIST OF DELEGATES 27

APPENDIX 4: WORKSHOP AGENDA 30

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What is ‘community carbon’ and why is it important

Rural communities are on the front-line of

efforts to mitigate climate change. Often

depending on subsistence farming and on

products and services provided by forest

ecosystems, they are the groups most

vulnerable to potential climate change

impacts.

However, rural communities are also in a

strong position to address these

challenges. The most poor and potentially

vulnerable communities tend to be

important stewards of global

environmental resources, particularly

forest ecosystems and the services they

provide, which over and above climate

regulation include watershed services, soil

stability and conservation of biodiversity.

Around a third of GHG emissions come

from land-use change, much of which

relates to community-level activities such

as ‘slash and burn’ agriculture and

unsustainable extraction of fuel wood.

Rural communities are clearly in a position

to have a large impact, with the right level

and kind of support.

It is therefore essential that those involved

in designing and applying policies and

financing mechanisms to reduce GHG

emissions recognise the need for projects

involving communities, ‘community

carbon’ projects, and ensure those

mechanisms are accessible and practical.

The Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) has

afforded communities some opportunities

to access funds through selling carbon

credits, or ‘voluntary emissions

reductions’ (VERs). Standards to assess

project quality have increasingly

developed to recognise “co-benefits” of

projects over and above carbon benefits,

such as social inclusion, poverty reduction

and biodiversity preservation.

Social and environmental benefits are

generally thought to add value to carbon

credits, with VERs from projects involving

communities being often described as

‘premium’ or ‘boutique’. There is also

generally more ‘space’ in the VCM for

innovative schemes with a development

focus, or with integrated goals, compared

with compliance mechanisms such as the

Clean Development mechanism that have

not stimulated much activity in this space.

Although the VCM has experienced slower

activity since 2008, transactions within

this market have still increased massively

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over the last two decades. In 2008, an

amount of 123.4 million metric tonnes of

carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO 2 e) was

traded (Hamilton, Sjardin, Shapiro &

Marcello, 2009). In the meantime, markets

for other ecosystem services besides

carbon, such as biodiversity and

watershed protection, have started to

take shape, although opportunities are

still limited.

This represents a missed opportunity to

address the root causes of climate change

in developing countries, and to use carbon

finance to build capacity and have longlasting

effects on land-use and livelihoods.

In practice, there is much to be done to

build the market for community carbon so

it can have an impact on more than a

handful of communities across the globe.

Many projects involving communities,

which tend to be land-use or energy

projects in developing countries, are trying

to enter the voluntary carbon market to

varying degrees of success. Access to

finance is often difficult as projects may be

perceived with caution, due to various

factors including the long-term nature of

forestry initiatives, perceived risks and

high transaction costs of working with

communities, or a perceived lack of

scalability. Projects also may also find it

difficult to develop and enter the market

due to technical, institutional or financial

barriers.

The result has been that the proportion of

carbon finance reaching community-led

projects is small, and such projects are

considered to represent a niche market,

even though the offer of ecosystem

services and livelihood benefits is high.

8


Aims and objectives of the workshop

A workshop was held to identify and

discuss barriers to scaling-up community

carbon projects, and identify practical

solutions to addressing barriers.

The workshop was jointly hosted between

the 12 th and 14 th October 2009 in San

Cristobal de las Casas in Mexico by AMBIO,

the project coordinator of Scolel Te, one

of the longest standing community-led

forestry programmes in the voluntary

carbon market, and the Plan Vivo

Foundation, who develop and overseer

the Plan Vivo Standard for community

carbon projects.

The workshop was funded by the

International Centre for Research to

facilitate strategic planning and stimulate

practical actions through providing a

platform for discussion.

The specific objectives of the workshop

were to:

· Understand barriers to implementing

and scaling-up community-based

carbon management project from a

practical perspective (project ground

realities);

· Explore the need and potential for

different actions and strategies to

overcome challenges and barriers;

· Produce a clear “road map” where

stakeholders agree on steps required

to overcome the barriers encountered

by community carbon projects.

The workshop brought together different

group of stakeholders involved in carbon

projects and in the VCM including project

developers and managers, government

actors, buyers, standards organisations,

environmental and development NGOs

and scientists.

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Addressing Barriers to Scaling-Up Community Carbon

There are multiple challenges involved in

establishing and scaling-up long-term,

sustainable community-carbon projects.

Key barriers can be categorised under the

following headings:

· Legal and institutional barriers

· Technical barriers

· Social and local capacity barriers

at community-level

· Standards

· Market barriers

· Financial barriers

The following sections describe these

barriers and identify potential actions and

strategies aimed at reducing those

barriers.

Legal & Institutional Barriers

Overcoming legal and institutional issues

are vital, particularly in order to scale up

existing projects and schemes. Key

barriers to developing and implementing

community-carbon projects at the legal

and institutional level were identified:

· Uncertain or unclear land-tenure can

prevent communities from

participating in forest carbon projects

as they may need to prove land title in

order to sign long term serviceprovision

agreements.

· Developing countries often lack clear

records of land ownership, which

distinguish for example communal and

private forest, that facilitate the

development of payments for

ecosystem service schemes.

· Developing countries often lack clear

strategies on community involvement

in forest management, and are unable

to provide support to projects under

development or catalyse new projects.

· Many developing countries lack the

data necessary, such as mapping and

remote sensing data, and information

on current land-use trends (baseline

data), to facilitate cost-effective project

design.

· Poor local governance and corruption

can inhibit the effective long-term

administration of projects which may

put off investors.

· Government agencies may not as a

matter of practice coordinate with local

NGOs or existing projects which inhibits

lesson learning and pilot projects

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scaling-up to regional and national

levels.

· NGOs managing carbon projects may

not have the institutional structure or

capacity to scale-up to enable the

project to grow and reach its potential.

The actions suggested in order to

overcome these barriers tended to be

directed towards project developers and

NGOs:

· Project developers and NGOs should

lobby and support governments to

develop better records of land title and

land-use, for example through

developing local level databases,

including mapping reference points.

· To encourage lesson-learning and

collaboration between projects and

governments, NGOs coordinating

projects should provide information

and other data on the projects they are

coordinating to governments.

· Transparent and consistent record

keeping by project managers and use of

external bodies for certification and

verification should be common practice

so as to avoid perceptions of corruption

or weak governance.

· NGOs coordinating projects should be

adaptive in terms of their structure

and strategy, in order to scale-up

projects and respond to market and

community needs effectively.

Technical Barriers

Projects selling carbon services in the VCM

require a significant level of technical

capacity to quantify carbon baselines and

impacts of project activities, and monitor

activities and changes in carbon stocks.

Whilst there have been some efforts to

develop more simple methodologies and

guidance tools to enable projects to meet

technical requirements, technical barriers

remain to the participation of

communities in carbon markets:

· Communities and institutions often lack

the technical capacity to apply

methodologies and carry out the

necessary technical work required at

the project design stage.

· Existing methodologies are often

complex, and where simpler

methodologies have been developed

by projects they are not always shared

or made widely available.

· Projects in developing countries tend to

rely on sourcing technical expertise

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from developed countries, which may

not lead to a building of capacity in the

project area where technical skills and

expertise are not transferred in the

project development process. This also

leads to higher start-up costs, and a

significant proportion of funds not

remaining in the project area or

country.

· NGOs implementing multiple projects

across different locations often do not

have systematic means of sharing

knowledge and lessons learned.

· Technical complexity and difficulty of

measuring and monitoring forest

degradation, which is likely to be the

main issue for forest dependent

communities, inhibits the flow of

carbon finance into developing

countries to tackle this problem.

· Land-use projects generating significant

soil carbon benefits are often

prevented from marketing these

benefits due to the early stage of

development of and expense of

developing and applying methodologies

to measure and monitor soil carbon.

· There are few risk management tools

available to community-level projects

that may be cost-effectively used to

demonstrate planning for permanence.

Actions identified to address barriers were

as follows:

· Projects and NGOs should support and

help build national and regional

networks of technical expertise within

developing countries to provide

projects with cost-effective technical

support.

· Validation and verification procedures

applied by standards can be structured

to promote capacity-building, for

example through increased use of local

reviewers and by encouraging auditors

to make recommendations on project

design over and above addressing

conformance issues as much as

possible.

· Stakeholders should build and utilise

forums for knowledge and lesson

sharing between organisations.

Governments in particular should look

to learn lessons from existing pilot

projects and ensure that individuals

who have gained technical capacity in

projects have opportunities to remain

in the country (i.e. avoid ‘brain drain’).

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· Standards should develop and facilitate

flexible methodologies that enable

community-based monitoring systems,

simple assessment tools and default

factors, particularly for small-scale

projects. Decreasing start-up costs in

this way is likely to stimulate more

projects resulting in higher overall

climate and environmental benefits.

· Standards could evolve to use more

‘layered approaches’ where projects

are not expected to achieve strict

targets in all conformance categories

from the outset. They could enable

projects to ‘get through the door’ and

set improvement requirements to

ensure continued progress.

· A minimum level of existing capacity in

terms of organisation and ability to

mobilise is generally required in order

to effectively engage community

groups into projects and design and

implement activities. This level of

capacity may be lacking in many areas

in developing countries which prevents

those in extreme poverty from

participating.

· Communities may have overexpectations

of how the carbon project

will change their standard of living,

which could affect the sustainability of

the project where communities

become disillusioned and may lose

interest or withdraw completely.

Community-level barriers

Community-carbon projects have the

potential for high benefits in

environmental and social terms. Projects

can build the capacity of communities and

embed better land-use and energy

practices in areas in the long-term. There

are however, challenges involved in

designing and implementing carbon

projects at the community-level:

· Cultural barriers may exist to

developing a carbon project, for

example if women are the target

groups due to their responsibility for

land-management activities in the

household, but are not able to

participate in the project for cultural

reasons.

· Remoteness and poor infrastructure in

areas where rural smallholders and

forest dependent communities live can

prevent project developers and NGOs

from engaging effectively.

13


· Low levels of education, literacy and

environmental awareness can act as

barriers to participation, particularly in

aspects such as entering into long-term

service agreements with project

intermediaries.

· There may be high transaction costs

involved in engaging with large

numbers of participants, particularly

where communities are dispersed and

have small land-holdings.

Actions to address community-level

barriers can be undertaken:

· To build local human capacity is of the

utmost importance in community

carbon projects. Time should be

invested in community engagement

and training to foster a clear

understanding of involved

communities of the project’s

objectives and activities. Training

should be adapted to the context

which means to local conditions and

skills.

· At the community level, there is a need

to create incentives within participating

communities to stay in the project they

have been involved in, which may or

may not be limited to continued cash

payments. For example, offering

training that is relevant to livelihood

activities may be equally effective and

useful for participants.

· Transaction costs may be reduced

through working with existing

community groups with organisational

capacity, and through aggregating

efforts of large numbers of individuals

and groups using standardised

procedures (much like models applied

in the area of microfinance). Linking up

local cooperatives, different projects

and producer groups to share

experiences will lead to reduced

transaction costs over time.

· Projects should devolve activities such

as monitoring and training into

communities as much as possible to

build capacity, reduce costs and create

local employment or other positions in

the project, that are attached to

prestige.

It should be recognised that carbon

finance and carbon projects are not a

panacea and not necessarily the right

approach in all contexts, such as where

there is extreme poverty and the area is

unstable. There is likely to be a necessary

minimum level of capacity required in a

14


community in order to start-up a project,

before which capacity-building through

other initiatives and funding sources is

required.

Barriers related to standards

Standards have emerged in carbon

markets to assess quality and robustness

of emissions reductions. Many of these

recognise and attach importance to social

and environmental benefits.

Such standards can play a role in

facilitating the development and scalingup

of community carbon projects.

However, they may also act as barriers to

projects entering the market where they

are not adaptive to the ground realities of

community-carbon projects, or lack the

profile required to generate demand for

the services projects provide.

Barriers identified related to standards

are as follows:

· Many standards either do not recognise

or do not provide sufficient guidance

and tools for improved agricultural

practices, avoided deforestation and

forest degradation project activities

which are relevant to communities.

· There is a lack of simple, standardised

methodologies and tools for measuring

the socio-economic impacts of projects,

which are important for differentiating

community carbon projects and

demonstrating their quality

· Standards such as Plan Vivo, which

focus on community-led projects, may

have poor visibility in the market, or

are poorly understood, leading to

confusion and market uncertainties.

In order to address these barriers, key

actions were identified:

· Lack of visibility of standards could be

overcome by implementing better and

more efficient marketing strategies,

where standards are more clearly

differentiated for their community

focus.

· Standards should focus on providing

better tools for measuring and

demonstrating co-benefits to increase

market value.

· Standards should lobby for recognition

if the importance of including

communities in actions to reduce

deforestation, and the importance of

addressing forest degradation as well

as deforestation. The importance of

integrated, landscape approaches to

forest carbon management including

15


afforestation, reforestation and

agroforestry should also be stressed.

· Standards could be supplemented by

guidance for project developers on how

to scale-up activities and provide more

institutional support.

· Standards organisations could engage

more in the promotion of data sharing

and case studies to ensure lessons are

learnt and to facilitate the

development of new, well-designed

projects.

· Standards should target high profile

companies and institutions for

endorsement to increase their visibility

· A single or platform could be developed

that provides clear information on the

applicability and scope of the different

standards.

Market Barriers

Participating in global markets for carbon

services can present opportunities for

community-based land-use projects to

access finance, but entering the market is

not necessarily easy.

Key barriers are presented here:

· Communities, and NGOs acting as

intermediaries and project managers,

may be unaccustomed to accessing

finance through market mechanisms

and engaging in trade like relationships

for conservation activities, where

marketing strategies and the capacity

to negotiate are generally necessary.

· Project managers and communities

may lack market information due to

remoteness, leading to imbalances of

power when trying to engage in the

market and negotiate payments.

· Community-based projects, particularly

those undertaking land-use activities,

are of a long-term nature and can

require significant start-up funding. The

VCM, however, is a growing market and

uncertainty of future demand makes it

difficult for many projects to enter with

ease and be confident of the financial

sustainability of entering the carbon

market.

· Demands for ‘ex-post’ credits (credits

representing delivered, verified

ecosystem services issued after

emissions reductions are made) can be

at odds with the long-term nature of

delivery of forest carbon services,

whereas resource inputs are mainly

16


equired in the first years of project

design and implementation (the

‘funding gap’).

· There are often misperceptions or

exaggerations of the level of risk

involved in forest carbon projects and

projects involving rural communities,

particularly where projects operate

through standards with high

conformance requirements for risk

management, and insurances such and

risk buffers.

· Uncertainty about how the regulatory

market is going to develop, particularly

the development of a mechanism for

Reducing Emission from Deforestation

and Degradation (REDD), is arguably

causing potential buyers and investors

to hold back in anticipation of changes

in the marketplace

Actions and strategies recommended to

overcome market barriers were as follows:

· Projects require more and better

platforms to communicate their

benefits and access markets. Projects

should pursue strategic partnerships

with actors with better market access

and marketing capacity.

· Considering the levels of market

uncertainty involved in participating in

the VCM, projects should not expect

the VCM to act as the sole source of

funds; they should have a flexible

business model and seek co-funding

from philanthropic and development

funding sources. This will enable

projects to plan better for the longterm

and protect communities from

changing market conditions.

· Projects should make better use of

media (e.g. video, web-based

networking sites) and new technology,

(e.g. web-based mapping systems

tracing carbon purchases to land where

purchases are allocated) to promote

the benefits of their project.

Community carbon projects are in a

unique position to foster buyer

‘connectedness’ to the communities

they are helping, and should capitalise

on this opportunity by providing good

quality project information through

multiple media.

· Projects should utilise information web

platforms such as the Forest Carbon

Portal, to disburse project information

and success stories, to combat

misperceptions that community carbon

17


projects are necessarily small-scale and

can only represent a niche market.

· Projects should target high profile

buyers that will endorse community

focused approaches and increase

project visibility.

Financial barriers (start-up costs)

Start-up costs for community carbon

projects will vary significantly depending

on the size of project and activities to be

undertaken, and the level of existing

social, technical and administrative

capacity.

Financial barriers in terms of covering

start-up costs for project development

tend to be key for communities and

project developers, particularly where

projects start small and will need time to

scale-up, lower transaction costs and

achieve economies of scale.

Key financial barriers to entering the VCM

were identified as follows:

· Uncertainties about project

development costs and lack of

information about development costs

can act as a deterrent to potential

project developers and investors.

· High transaction and opportunity costs

are often associated with land-use

projects working with multiple smallscale

participants.

· Funding models used may not always

promote equitable distribution of

benefits and ensure payments reach

the grassroots level, which is essential

to ensuring participants are

empowered and incentivised to

participate in the long-term.

Potential actions were identified to

address financial barriers:

· Uncertainties about project

development costs could be reduced by

streamlining and simplifying

methodologies used to develop

projects. Standards organisations could

play a role in providing more

information on typical start-up costs

and cost breakdowns to increase

information available for potential

investors.

· Exploring ways to aggregate projects

and move towards scheme or

programme level approaches,

particularly in terms of how projects

are audited could reduce development

and operational costs.

18


· Transactions costs may be reduced by

working with existing groups and

community structures (e.g. farmers

cooperatives, resource management

groups, micro-enterprise groups like

beekeeping associations) and using

them as an entry point.

the key aspect that enables the project

to go ahead in the long-term).

· Standards could collaborate to set-up

and maintain an information portal

with potential sources of project startup

funding.

· Donors should recognise the need for

start-up funding in this area and

develop a targeted ‘community carbon

fund’ to stimulate new projects and

project expansion, and the

development of better tools and

methodologies. This could take the

form of a hedge fund, containing a

blend of different sources of capital.

· It is important to capture the diversity

of funding sources available and

appropriate, including development

funding. Community carbon projects

tend to have integrated activities and

objectives, and funding sources

likewise may be diverse without

affecting the additionality of the carbon

credits (i.e. carbon finance may still be

19


Summary and conclusions

The following table summarises the key barriers identified to scaling-up community carbon

projects, and potential actions and collaborative efforts that may effectively address

challenges:

Barrier

Institutional barriers

· Uncertain or unclear land-tenure

· Lack of national policies/frameworks for

community forest management

· Poor local governance, corruption

· Lack of national data e.g. remote sensing

data on current land-use

· Lack of coordination between

government agencies and projects

· Poor institutional capacity

Technical barriers

· Project managers lack technical capacity

to apply methodologies and carry out

technical work required

· Complex methodologies for carbon

quantification, particularly for soil carbon

· Over-reliance on foreign consultancy

· Technical complexity of measuring and

monitoring forest degradation

· Lack of simple risk management tools for

community-level projects

Community-level barriers

· Poor organisational capacity and ability to

mobilise, particularly in very poor areas

· Over-expectations of communities

· Cultural barriers e.g. poor participation of

women

· Remoteness and poor infrastructure

· Low education and literacy levels

· High transaction costs of engaging many

small-scale participants

Actions recommended

· Lobbying and supporting governments to develop

better records of land title and land-use, e.g. through

developing local level databases

· Transparent record keeping and use of external

bodies for certification and verification to promote

transparency

· Project managers adopting long-term strategies to

scale-up existing projects

· Building national and regional networks of technical

expertise in land-use and carbon

· Designing audit procedures to build technical capacity

in-country and in-project, e.g. use of local reviewers

· Utilising forums for knowledge and lesson sharing

between organisations

· Development of flexible, simple methodologies

· Evolving standards towards ‘layered approaches’ so

projects can get going and improve incrementally

· Investing time in community engagement and training

to foster clear understanding of project objectives and

activities

· Creating incentives for communities to stay in the

project long-term e.g. offering training relevant to

livelihood activities

· Working with existing organised groups, using

standardised procedures

· Devolving activities e.g. monitoring into communities

to build capacity and reduce costs

20


Barriers related to standards

· Standards may not recognise or do not

provide sufficient guidance and tools for

avoided deforestation and forest

degradation activities

· A lack of simple, standardised

methodologies and tools for measuring

socio-economic and biodiversity impacts

of projects, important for differentiating

community carbon projects

· Standards which focus on community-led

projects, may have poor visibility in the

market, or are poorly understood, leading

to confusion and market uncertainties

Market barriers

· Communities, and NGOs lack marketing

strategies and capacity to negotiate

· Projects lack market information due to

remoteness, leading to imbalances of

power

· Uncertainty of future demand

· Long-term nature of delivery of forest

carbon services ties in poorly with

demand for ex-post credits

· Misperceptions of the levels of risk

involved in forest carbon

· Uncertainty about how the regulatory

market is going to develop, particularly

the development of a mechanism for

Reducing Emission from Deforestation

and Degradation (REDD)

Financial barriers

· Uncertainties about project development

costs and lack of information about

development costs can act as a deterrent

to potential project developers and

investors.

· High transaction and opportunity costs

are often associated with land-use

projects working with multiple

participants.

· Funding models used may not always

promote equitable distribution of

benefits and ensure payments reach the

grassroots level, which is essential to

ensure participants are empowered and

incentivised to participate in the longterm.

· Implementing better marketing strategies, where

standards are clearly differentiated for their

community focus

· Providing better tools for measuring and

demonstrating co-benefits

· Lobbying for recognition of the importance of

including communities in actions to address forest

degradation

· Supplementing standards with guidance for project

developers on how to scale-up activities

· Targeting high profile companies and institutions for

endorsement

· Set-up a platform that provides clear, objective

information on the applicability of different standards

· Creating platforms to communicate project benefits

and access markets, and utilising existing information

portals such as the Forest Carbon Portal or United

Bank of Carbon.

· Pursuing strategic partnerships with actors with better

market access and marketing capacity.

· Developing flexible business models at project level,

seeking co-funding from philanthropic and

development funding sources.

· Making better use of media to promote the benefits

of their project, such as video and internet blogs.

· Disbursing project information particularly about scale

if impacts already achieved, to combat misperceptions

that community carbon projects are small-scale and a

niche market

· Targeting high profile buyers that will increase

visibility

· Developing a targeted ‘community carbon fund’ to

stimulate new projects and project expansion, tools

and methodologies. This could take the form of a

hedge fund, containing blended sources of capital

· Providing more information on typical start-up costs

and cost breakdowns to increase information

available for potential investors.

· Aggregating projects, move towards scheme-based

approaches

· Working with existing groups and community

structures (e.g. farmers cooperatives)

· Standards could collaborate to set-up and maintain an

information portal for sources of project start-up

funding

· Capturing the diversity of funding sources available,

including development funding

21


The workshop provided the organisers

with a valuable opportunity to bring

together stakeholders in the field of

community carbon, share experiences and

recognise the hard work that takes place

at the local level.

The creation of a discussion forum

including project managers and

participants from communities, a variety

of different standards, NGOs and market

actors enabled the tackling of some

complex and multi-faceted issues, and a

discussion of community carbon from a

holistic perspective.

Solutions identified for tackling barriers to

scaling-up community carbon took in to

consideration the views of those

implementing projects on the ground and

making choices about land-use, as well as

those operating at the international level

operating within market constraints.

The organisers hope that the workshop

will lead to future collaborations between

participants and catalyse the

implementation of activities favourable to

community carbon projects.

The Plan Vivo Foundation commits to

integrating results of the workshop into

its strategy in the following ways in

response to key messages from

stakeholders:

1. Supporting the development of

institutional capacity and lesson

sharing

The workshop highlighted the importance

of building institutional capacity in

developing countries, to enable local

NGOs to start and expand community

carbon projects. The Plan Vivo Foundation

recognises that, in addition to providing

standards and cost-effective audit

procedures, it is important to provide both

initial and continued institutional support

to project coordinators in all stages of

project development.

Support should include the provision of

quality guidance on project design,

guidance in advance and following up on

third-party audits, assisting in sourcing

technical support, advice on potential

funding sources, support in negotiating

and developing better administrative

capacity e.g. developing template

contracts.

The Foundation will develop more

detailed and user-friendly guidance for

project developers, and continue to

22


provide ongoing support as a charitable

organisation to project coordinators. The

Foundation will endeavour to coordinate

annual stakeholder meetings to enable

project coordinators to share experiences

and information.

The Foundation will continue to develop

the Plan vivo System and Standard in close

consultation with project coordinators and

other stakeholders, and will establish a

web forum for project coordinators to

promote information sharing. The

Foundation also plans to introduce a new

service of reviewing and circulating

potential funding sources to project

coordinators and providing support in

writing funding applications. To do this the

Foundation will focus on generating

philanthropic funding to provide a free

source of information and support to Plan

Vivo projects.

2. Simplifying technical methodologies

and providing templates

The Foundation recognises that clear and

simplified template methodologies and

methodological guidance are required,

particularly in the case of smaller scale

projects, to enable cost-effective project

development. Plan Vivo projects have

between them, amassed a wealth of

technical experience over the past two

decades and have the potential to

contribute significantly to the

development of practical and robust

technical methodologies and guidance.

The Foundation will develop template

methodologies and revise and expand

existing technical guidance in 2010 in

consultation with projects and other

stakeholders. The Foundation will also

work to expand its technical advisory

panel to include representatives from

developing country institutions and

projects to facilitate the building of

technical networks and incorporation of

practical experience and local knowledge

into technical outputs.

3. Developing tools for assessing

biodiversity and socio-economic

impacts

Community carbon projects, and Plan Vivo

projects in particular, are about much

more than just carbon. The Plan Vivo

System and Standard recognises that

generating sustainable climate benefits

cannot be separated from addressing

livelihood needs and supporting activities

to protect biodiversity; a ‘landscape

approach’ is required. The ability of

projects to attract funding is also often

dependent on and enhanced by their

ability to demonstrate strong rural

23


development and biodiversity benefits to

potential buyers, donors or investors.

In spite of this, tools to demonstrate and

monitor ‘non-carbon’ project benefits are

often not widely available or standardised,

to enable the development of simple

indicators and monitoring plans by project

coordinators. Workshop participants,

particularly project managers, highlighted

the need for such tools to be made

available to increase project transparency

and reduce costs.

The Foundation will work to include

standardised tools for monitoring

livelihood and biodiversity impacts in Plan

Vivo projects. The Foundation recognises

that many such tools have already been

developed and applied to vary degrees in

different projects, and does not plan to

‘re-invent the wheel’ by developing tools

from scratch, but plans to review existing

tools and mechanisms employed in

schemes and develop, in consultation with

projects, a set of guidelines for inclusion in

the Plan Vivo System.

24


Appendix 1: Workshop Working Groups

Group 1

Cristina Talens

Ivan Liebig

Elsa Esquivel

Fernando Paz

Julie Major

Marcela Delgadillo

Tracey Osbourne

Nicola Hernandez Perez

Group 3

Kate Hamilton

Marco Rondon

Nick Berry

Silvana Comino

Cecilia Mechellis

Anastancio Chelene

Group 5

Ezra Neale

Joysee Rodriguez

Jessica Brown

Pauline Nantongo

Wilson Turyahiko

Sara Comaleva

Group 2

Sotero Quechulpa

Ana Elisa

Steve Panfil

James Gray

Ivan Hernandez

Juan Manual Frausto

Fernando Lopez Aguilar

Group 4

Rob Harley

Simon Carter

Patson Nthala

John Nickerson

Christine Pendzich

Vatziri Zepela

Group 6

Anja Kollmus

Bo Lager

Elisha Moore Delate

Samuel Nnah

25


Appendix 2: Summary of field trip

The workshop included a field visit to

Yaluma, the first community involved in

the Scolel’Te programme. The objectives

of the visit were to meet project

participants, discuss their experiences and

visit some plots under Plan Vivo

management.

Producers from the community described

that before entering into the Scolel’Te

programme, they were using their land in

such a way that led to deforestation and

soil degradation in the area. The need to

improve land practices and support

provided by the project to do so was the

main motivating factor for participating.

Plots of land where reforestation systems

had been implemented were visited.

Participants described that the purpose of

the activity was not only to have woodlots

for future income from timber, but also to

regenerate secondary vegetation and

benefit from non-timber forest products

(NTFPs) such as medicinal plants (used

locally) and fire-wood. Project trees also

provide shade for crops including coffee,

and protect water-sheds necessary for the

growth of new species planted.

Project participants present from African

forest carbon projects commented on the

slow growth rate of trees in contrast to

their experience, and the length of time it

would take for participants to see a return

from timber income. Producers answered

that a driving motivation was to pass on

benefits to the next generation, and that

payments received for carbon services

helped them make this long term

investment.

26


Appendix 3: List of delegates

Name Organisation Contact

Alejandra Cors Reforestamos Mexico alejandra@reforestamosmexico.org

Alexa Morrison Plan Vivo Foundation Alexa.Morrison@planvivofoundation.org

Ana Elisa Pena del

Valle

Anastancio Jose

Mapera

Anja Kollmus

Consejo Civil Mexicano

para la Silvicultura Sostenible

Envirotrade

Stockholm Environment

Institute

anepvalle@gmail.com

antonio.serra@envirotrade.net

Anja.Kollmuss@sei-us.org

Antonio Serra Envirotrade antonio.serra@envirotrade.net

Bo Lager Vi Agroforestry bo.lager@viafp.org

Cecilia Michellis Social Carbon cecilia@socialcarbon.org

Christine Pendzich WWF Christine.Pendzich@WWFUS.ORG

Claudia Lechuga Reforestamos Mexico clechuga@reforestamosmexico.org

Cristina Talens Bettys & Taylors Cristina.Talens@bettysandtaylors.co.uk

Elisha Moore Delate Mercy Corps elisha.mooredelate@gmail.com

Elsa Esquivel AMBIO elsaesquivel@ambio.org.mx

Ezra Neale

BioClimate Research

& Development

Ezra.neale@brdt.org

Fernando Lopez AMBIO

soteroquechulpa@ambio.org.mx

Aguilar

Fernando Paz Colpos pellat@colpos.mx

Gmelina Juliana CONAFOR

gramirez@conafor.gob.mx

Ramirez

Ivan Hernandez Gold Standard ivan@cdmgoldstandard.org

Ivan Liebig EcoSecurites Ivan.Liebig@ecosecurities.com

James Gray Care International talktojames@ameritech.net

27


Jesica Brown

Overseas Development

Institute

J.Brown@odi.org.uk

John Nickerson Climate Action Reserve dogwoodspringsforestry@gmail.com

Jorge Etchevers Colpos jetchev@colpos.mx

Joysee Rodriguez

International Development

Research Centre

jrodriguez@idrc.ca

Juan Manuel Frausto FMCN jfrausto@fmcn.org

Julie Major International Biochar Initiative julie@biochar-international.org

Katherine Hamilton Ecosystem marketplace khamilton@ecosystemmarketplace.co

m

Liliana Dávila Stern WWF ldavila@wwfmex.org

Lizbeth Ruiz Pérez Rainforest Alliance lruiz@ra.org

Lorena Soto Pinto ECOSUR lsoto@ecosur.mx

Marco Rondon

International Development

Research Centre

mrondon@idrc.ca

Maria Rosa Vidal Pronatura SUR rosavidal@pronatura-sur.org

Nickolas Berry Ecometrica nicholas.berry@ecometrica.co.uk

Patson Nthala

Malawi Environment

Endowment Trust

pnthala@yahoo.com

Pauline Nantongo ECOTRUST pnantongo@ecotrust.or.ug

Raul Murgia UNDP emurguia@prodigy.net.mx

Ricardo Hernandez Conservation International r.hernandez@conservation.org

Richard Tipper Ecometrica richard.tipper@ecometrica.co.uk

Robert Harley

BioClimate Research &

Development

Rob.Harley@brdt.org

Roberto Chuc CARE International Jose.Chuc@ca.care.org

Salvador Sánchez-

Colón

USAID

Ssanchez@usaid.gov

28


Samuel Nnah

Centre pour l’Environnement

et le Développement

samnnah@cedcameroun.org

Sandie Fournier AMBIO sandiefournier@ambio.org.mx

Silvana Comino MyClimate silvana.comino@myclimate.org

Simon Carter

International Development

Research Centre

SCarter@idrc.ca

Sotero Quechulpa AMBIO soteroquechulpa@ambio.org.mx

Steve Panfil

Climate, Community and

Biodiversity Alliance

spanfil@climate-standards.org

Wilson Turyahikayo ECOTRUST pnantongo@ecotrust.or.ug

29


Appendix 4: Workshop Agenda

Scaling-Up Community Carbon Projects

Workshop Agenda

Day One: 12 th October

08:30 - 09:00 Registration

09:00 - 09:40 Introduction

Welcome and introductions, aims and objectives

09:40 - 11:05 Session 1: Introduction to community carbon

Rural poverty, climate change and communities

Jessica Brown (Overseas Development Institute)

Opportunities for communities in the current carbon markets

Anja Kolmuss (Stockholm Environment Institute)

11:05 - 11:20 Coffee Break

11:20 - 13:10 Session 2: Perspectives from projects

Facilitator: Ezra Neale (BioClimate Research & Development)

1. Pauline Nantongo & Wilson Turyahikayo (ECOTRUST, Uganda)

2. James Gray (Care International)

3. Elsa Esquivel & Fernando Lopez Aguilar (AMBIO)

12:30 - 13:10 Panel of discussion

Panellists:

Antonio Serra (Envirotrade)

Wilson Turyahikayo (Producer working with ECOTRUST),

30


Jose Chuc Roberto Pacheco (CARE Guatemala/ Mi bosque)

Pauline Nantongo (ECOTRUST, Uganda – afforestation/reforestation)

Fernando Lopez Aguilar (Producer working with AMBIO)

13:10 - 14:20 Lunch

14:20 - 15:55 Session 3: Accounting, monitoring and reporting

Facilitator: Marco Rondon (IDRC)

1. How new technologies can improve transparency and monitoring

Richard Tipper (Ecometrica)

2. Community Based Measurement and Monitoring Samuel Nnah (Centre pour

l’Environnement et le Développement)

15:15 - 15:55 Panel

Panellists:

Fernando Paz (Colpos)

Richard Tipper (Ecometrica)

Sotero Quechulpa (AMBIO)

Samuel Nnah (Centre pour l’Environnement et le Développement)

15:55 - 16:10 Coffee Break

16:10 - 17:45 Session 4: Agriculture and soil carbon

Facilitator: Nick Berry (Ecometrica)

1. The potential role of biochar to overcome barriers to inclusion of soil carbon into the VCM

Julie Major (International Biochar Initiative)

2. New methodology developed in Kenya for soil and agricultural carbon

Bo Lager (Vi Agroforestry)

17:05 - 17:45 Panel

Panellists:

Jorge Etchevers (Colpos)

Julie Major (IBI)

Bo Lager (Via Agroforestry)

Lorena Soto Pinto (ECOSUR)

17:45 - 18:00 Conclusions and field trip details

Elsa Esquivel Bazan (AMBIO): The Scolel’Te experience

31


Day Two: 13 th October

Field visit to Yaluma – Villa Hermosa, Municipality of Comitan - and communities involved in the Scolel’Te

project.

32


Day Three: 14 th October

09:00 - 09:10 Introduction

09:10 - 10:25 Session 1: How standards can facilitate community carbon projects

Facilitator: Kate Hamilton (Ecosystem Marketplace)

1. Steve Panfil (Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance)

09:40 - 10:25 Panel

Panellists:

Cecilia Michellis (Social Carbon/CantorCO2)

Ivan Hernandez (Gold Standard)

Alexa Morrison (Plan Vivo Foundation)

John Nickerson (Climate Action Reserve)

Steve Panfil (CCBS)

10:25 - 10:40 Coffee Break

10:40 - 12:40 Session 2: Engaging with markets

Facilitator: Rob Harley (CAMCO)

1. Ivan Liebig (Ecosecurities)

2. Silvana Comino (MyClimate)

3. Katherine Hamilton (Ecosystem Marketplace)

12:00 - 12:40 Panel

Panellists:

Cristina Talens (Bettys and Taylors)

Silvana Comino (MyClimate)

Ivan Liebg (Ecosecurities)

Katherine Hamilton (Ecosystem Marketplace)

12: 40 - 13:50 Session 3: Achieving development goals through carbon projects

Facilitator: Jessica Brown (ODI)

1. Christine Pendzich (WWF)

13:10 - 13:50 Panel

Panellists:

Ricardo Hernandez (Conservation International)

Christine Pendzich (WWF)

James Gray (CARE Guatemala)

Juan Manuel Frausto (FMCN)

13:50 - 14:55 Lunch

33


14:55 - 16:05 Group work 1: Identify key barriers

16:05 - 16:20 Coffee Break

16:20 - 17:50 Group work 2: Starting a roadmap

17:50 - 18:00 Conclusions

34

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