Dec 032012

In the lead up to today’s REDD+ side event, TNRF would like to share two exciting new publications on equitable benefit sharing and REDD+ in Tanzania.

TNRF, together with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), CARE Tanzania, Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), Mpingo Conservation and Development Initiative (MCDI), Tanzania Community Forest Network (MJUMITA), Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG), Tanzania Traditional Energy Development Organization (TaTEDO), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST), have prepared a report and information brief with the goals to:

  • Facilitate documentation of emerging examples and lessons on benefit sharing from REDD+ pilot projects;
  • Enhance Tanzanian stakeholders’ understanding of equitable REDD+ benefit sharing; and
  • Identify practical benefit sharing options for the consideration of REDD+ implementers in Tanzania.

They build upon individual interviews with staff of the NGOs facilitating the REDD+ pilot projects, as well as a roundtable discussion with pilot project staff, and existing publications on REDD+ and CBNRM.


REDD+ is based on incentives from the transfer of financial benefits, and can, if well designed, implemented and enforced, generate additional benefits such as enhanced governance, more secure (tenure) rights, improved environmental services, and income from REDD+ related activities. REDD+ also poses substantial potential costs, including restricted access to land and resources, and the costs of improving policy and governance frameworks.

Equitable benefit sharing is imperative if REDD+ is to result in sustainable emissions reductions, realize substantial benefits for forest communities, and avoid making vulnerable people worse off. Benefit sharing is, in other words, an ethical obligation that helps make REDD+ effective, equitable, sustainable, and accepted.

Establishing equitable benefit sharing is likely to be challenging in practice, including because of: lack of clarity and difficulty estimating what actual REDD+ benefits and costs will be, weak governance, weak or poorly enforced land tenure rights, and high resource needs for effective implementation and monitoring.

Despite these challenges, many countries, including Tanzania, are forging ahead in getting ‘REDD+ ready’, including through implementation of several REDD+ pilot projects. Emerging lessons from these pilot projects, as well as longer standing experience in community based natural resources management (CBNRM) and payment for environmental services (PES) schemes, should be considered in the design of REDD+ benefit sharing.

The report:  Equitable Benefit Sharing: Exploring Experiences and Lessons for REDD+ in Tanzania

As benefit sharing is an increasingly recognized, but largely unresolved issue in REDD+, and as the benefit sharing mechanisms being tested under the pilot projects are in relatively early stages of development, this report focuses on raising key questions and options, rather than identifying clearly established lessons learned.

The Info Brief: Equitable Benefit Sharing: Emerging lessons from REDD+ in Tanzania

This briefing aims to document emerging benefit sharing examples from REDD+ pilot projects; enhance Tanzanian stakeholders’ understanding of equitable benefit sharing; and identify practical options for REDD+ in Tanzania.  The following are the brief’s key messages:

  • If effectively implemented, equitable benefit sharing can help ensure REDD+ reduces emissions, realizes substantial benefits for forest communities and does not make vulnerable people worse off.
  • REDD+ financial incentives and other benefits will need to be shared among many actors at multiple levels, but substantial benefits should go to forest communities.
  • Establishing effective and equitable benefit sharing is challenging; therefore, mechanisms should be designed, implemented and monitored in accordance with social and environmental safeguards.
  • Lessons learned from REDD+ projects and other community based natural resource management initiatives should help inform benefit sharing mechanisms, so that they are equitable, realistic and effective.
Dec 032012

There will be a lot of new posts coming your way today, but first and foremost, there are some things to catch up on:

1.  Wrap ups of week one:

2.  Week Two Happenings:

Christina Figueres announced today that, “Texts for all tracks of the climate negotiations have been produced over the weekend as promised and will be the basis for talks this week.”  Maybe this means we’ll see some forward movement…?

3.  Upcoming Events

And, it’s official – TNRF and IIED’s side event on REDD+ will take place in just a few hours in Doha:

COP 18 Official List of Events

4. GoT’s COP 18 Showcasing materials

As mentioned, the Government of Tanzania hosted a side event on REDD+ on Saturday.  They also have a booth at the COP, and you can see what they are showcasing at the booth here (and note – there are some very interesting policy briefs and materials worth reading!).


Dec 012012

Guest blog post by Sara de Wit, PhD candidate at the University of Cologne, who is carrying out research on climate change adaptation in Tanzania, focusing on Maasai communities in Simanjiro.

 “Under the dictatorship of time”

As the first week has come to and end, the time pressure is increasing and the tension during the informal working group sessions of the subsidiary bodies can be felt. The Subsidiary Body for Implementation (or SBI) develops recommendations to assist the COP in reviewing and assessing the implementation of the Convention. And the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (or: SBSTA) serves as the link between the policy oriented needs of the COP and the scientific assessments provided by groups such as the IPCC. Both bodies are in the process of finalizing their draft documents that they will present to the COP during the high level segment. Negotiators work until very late at night to compromise, rethink, propose, review and bundle different interest in order to finish their work on time. It is not unusual that lengthy discussions are centered on the question on where to insert or delete a comma, a word or a sentence. During the informal SBI session yesterday on National Adaptation Plans the parties basically negotiated between the words “decides”, and “invites”, which are apparently of crucial importance for respectively LDCs (Least Developed Countries) on the one hand and developed country parties on the other…and once again, time is not on our side

A starker contrast between the world I just came from in Northern Tanzania – a Maasai village in the heart of The Simanjiro plains – and Doha’s futuristic skyline of Qatar is hardly imaginable. Under the motto “Count me in” some 11,000 delegates and participants from all over the globe gathered Monday at the COP in yet another attempt to bundle the interests of 7 billion people into a comprehensive framework for action to save our home. The location for the climate talks is unique in many respects, but certainly the most remarkable (and controversial) characteristic of this host country is that the construction of every single piece of modern architecture, including the venue for negotiations, the extraordinary posh cars that are driving around, as well as all the four star hotels (cheap hostels or budget hotels simply do not exist) that we are inhabiting have been made possible on the basis of the oil wealth of the country. Doha, a rapid growing city – which ironically means “the big tree” and is build in the desert – has the aura of being the epitome of ‘modernity’. The only traces of green that we find are the irrigated grass lanes on the roundabouts, and the planted palm trees on the side of the corridors. Talking about how to combat a changing climate in this, serene, modified and highly air-conditioned environment has therefore something surrealistic.

During the opening session, and in all the sessions that follow, we learn that time plays an ever more vital role in this particular conference. The newly elected COP president H.E. Abdullah binHamad Al-Attiyah’s words echoed through the plenary room: “We are under serious time pressure, I hate using this stick to interrupt people so please respect time ladies and gentlemen.” While most parties need 5 minutes to make their point, an honorable time sloth of 30 seconds has been reserved for the NGOs to raise their voice during the plenary. Realizing that these are the organizations that represent, and work with marginalized groups like the Maasai, and many other populations in vulnerable societies across the globe, it is a deeply sad observation as it discloses once again the discrepancy between lived experience and negotiating power.

While the Maasai have never heard of global warming or climate change, their accounts reveal the lack of rainfall they experience and how this increasingly leads to livestock losses and poverty. During the COPs, in turn, this visible experiential focus seems to not be convincing enough since people having been talking about climate change for already 20 years without reaching any effective treaty to reduce GHG emissions. This year marks the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, and a new treaty is needed in 2015 that will not come into force before 2020. Thursday, the head of the IPCC Rajendra Pachauri presented scientific results and future climate predictions from the 5th assessment report.  He reiterated that there is currently a much more comprehensive and detailed view of the changing climate, that time is not on our side, and strongly urged policy makers to listen to science and knowledge in their planning this time. If only the dictatorship of time would apply for the parties beyond the negotiation venue…”

Nov 302012

Will the commitments made in Durban last year unfold or not?  This is the 350 – 550 parts per million question in Doha. “The negotiations are not going well,” Dr. Julius Ningu, Director of Environment in Tanzania’s Vice President’s office, told TNRF in an interview today.  He explained:

Kyoto: There are pertinent reasons why delegates should be worried about these negotiations, specifically in regards to the question of whether rich countries will make any commitment to sign a binding deal this year or not. It still seems unlikely that the Kyoto Protocol (KP-1) will be extended to KP-2 – and for how long – and what countries will enter into agreements on any/all of this. While Canada and Japan do not agree to KP-2, EU countries agree to KP-2, but only if it includes countries in transition economies (e.g. China, India).

But there is also an issue of the KP-2 timeframe.  The Least Developed Countries (LDCs – which includes Tanzania) are arguing for 5 years for easy tracking of emission reductions.  Yet the developed countries are pushing for 8 years. Right now it is not clear what the agenda behind an eight years plan for KP-2 would look like.

Funding:  The issue of funds for climate is also hot in these negotiations. Up to now, there remains no clear mechanism for the Green Climate Fund and there are indications that little commitment will made by rich countries to put money into the fund.  The current global economic crisis creates concerns that rich countries may not be willing to contribute to, or rather invest in bailing out, countries that are in bad economic shape or invest in domestic economy.

REDD+: It is also important to note how these negotiations will affect the future of REDD+, a mechanism that has been put into place to reduce emissions. ‘They [developed countries]want REDD+ to be commercialized…and we are worried that if countries agree to that, it will pose actual threats to poor countries …land grabbing and marginalization of poor communities”.  We (Tanzania and LDCs) want most of the REDD benefits to go to the citizen…” Says Dr. Ningu.

This recent blog post from CIFOR shares a similar sentiment on Doha and on REDD to Dr. Ningu’s.  Below is a snapshot:

“While significant progress is being made at the local level to move ahead with an international scheme to reduce carbon emissions via decreasing deforestation (REDD+), countries at the Doha U.N. climate summit need to ‘think big on emissions targets and funding’ to ensure the scheme does not lose its focus, said leading climate change experts.

“There is no doubt that REDD+ must meet development objectives, but without emissions reductions commitments from the big players like US and China, the big funding won’t be coming in for REDD+ anytime soon,” said Louis Verchot, a leader of forests and climate change research at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).”

Nov 302012

Yesterday IIED held a workshop entitled, ‘what does it take to achieve pro-poor REDD+? Attracting participants from across the globe, the workshop explored and debated some critical questions about REDD+  - can it be pro-poor and if so, how?  It looked at evidence and lessons from countries piloting REDD+, including Tanzania, to learn more.

The workshop keynote address was made by Mette Loyche Wilkie, Interim Head of UN-REDD Programme Secretariat. The keynote served as a sort of teaser for the debate, outlining the types of questions and themes to be discussed. In her keynote, the UN-REDD Head, posed the question –  ‘why are we talking about pro-poor REDD+?’ This question shifted the keynote address to the crosscutting issues of global population forecast and its links to food security and possible expansion of agriculture in some parts of the world, which actually questions the sustainability of REDD+ in many ways. Wilkie urged the audience to make close links between food security, population growth and agriculture to better understand the feasibility and sustainability of REDD+.

A number of experiences emerged and were presented from research findings from six countries – Tanzania, Vietnam, Ghana, Uganda, Mozambique, and Brazil.  These findings and experiences paved the way for discussions in the workshop on how to make REDD pro-poor.  The research was part of the IIED-led initiative on REDD+ with partners across the six countries. In the discussions, a number of issues emerged:

  • transaction costs for REDD+ and what it means for carbon trade;
  • opportunity costs as key for defining the future of REDD+; and
  • the need to balance livelihoods options and incentives of maintaining commitment of communities to REDD+.

But there are still questions on livelihoods of communities in the context of REDD+ and some unexplored questions on actual REDD+ costs measurements. The issue of land tenure is also still a serious challenge to many countries, and REDD+ could pose even more threats to tenure security.  And then on top of that is the issue of carbon ownership – who actually owns the carbon?

The workshop brought up a lot of interesting points that Tanzania must consider if it continues to move forward with REDD+ – and if it wants it to move forward in a pro-poor way.  Policies and laws should be revisited – e.g. the Village Land Act – to ensure that REDD+ doesn’t actually contribute to land grabbing or that communities have real access to benefits. There have been debates on this already, but more will be needed to ensure REDD+ development in Tanzania is ‘smart’ and pro-poor.

Keynote Speaker Mette Loyche Wilkie, Interim Head of UN-REDD Programme Secretariat

Nov 302012

COP 18 promotes ‘paperless’ communications

Over the years, there’s been a gradual move towards making the COPs paperless.  When safari-ing through the exhibition center, you’ll often see USB drives replacing brochures or a single sample report to flip through with only a URL giving you access to read more.  This paperless move makes sense.  Tablets, smartphones and quick internet access makes acquiring documents one easy click away – and for those attending the COP, it saves a sore shoulder from lugging around pamphlets and policy briefs (and some carbon emissions on flights home).  And, of course, it saves trees, which is particularly relevant for information sharing on REDD+.

So…all that to say, TNRF is also doing our best to go paperless.  We’ve brought along sample documents for the browsers at our booth, but we’re mostly only sending visitors off with a one-page flyer that provides links to CSO-related REDD+ information in Tanzania.  And, since it’s all done online and paperless – you can access it all too.  Right here:


Nov 292012

Tanzania’s Ministry Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation stops by TNRF’s booth

Today,  Senior Foreign Service Officer of Tanzania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation , Honorable Songelael Shilla, stopped by TNRF’s information booth at the COP.  He’s seen here (left) speaking to our colleagues from MJUMITA and the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG), who are attending COP 18 as part of their REDD+ pilot project, ” Making REDD work for communities and forest conservation in Tanzania.”  Next Tuesday (Dec. 4th at 5:30PM - 7:30PM at Movenpick Hotel) Charles Meshack, Executive Director of TFCG, will be sharing experiences from their REDD project as a panelist in the side event, “Ready for REDD+: Lessons from the field.”

Tanzania and Uganda delegate stop by IIED’s booth at COP 18

Uganda and Tanzania government delegates visited IIED’s booth at COP 18. IIED and TNRF are close partners, doing a lot of work together in Tanzania on climate-realted issues: climate change, adaptation and pastoralism; land and investment; REDD+ and forestry.  We’re also hosting a side event with IIED on REDD+ next Monday…hopefully we’ll get a similar group of visitors to attend!

What’s needed to make REDD pro-poor? A Local and Global Perspective

Monday, December 3rd - 16:45—18:15 - Side Event Room 8

Hosted by -TNRF, IIED, Greenbelt Movement

This event explores the socio-economic dimensions of REDD, specifically pro-poor models and the private sector’s role. Tanzanian pilot projects will share lessons on pro-poor models and benefit mechanisms. And global lessons on private sector engagement with REDD will be shared. Is REDD pro-poor?

Speakers: Isilda Nhantumbo,Geofrey Mwanjela, Maryanne Greg-gran (Chair), Peter Ndunda

Nov 282012

Panelists at side event

This evening CIFOR and GOFC-GOLD co-hosted a side event entitled, “REDD+ stepwise progress in national forest monitoring, MRV, reference levels and assessing drivers”. The event ( presented the approaches for assessing drivers of deforestation and means for national forestry monitoring.  Some of it sounded familiar…(see yesterday’s post and messages from REDD pilot projects for COP 18: “We urge Parties to move forward and finalize decisions regarding the structure of MRV systems, the means for providing related technical and financial support, and the means for measuring and monitoring forest emissions within the technical guidelines… Deforestation and forest degradation are major contributors to global carbon emissions, and forests have the potential to sequester more carbon.”).

Indonesia showcased their experience, sharing the multiple stages they have gone through in setting up monitoring systems and how information on drivers of deforestation is important for national REDD+ strategy development. With experience from their global research, CIFOR stressed the need and importance of information about drivers of deforestation to be included in national monitoring systems and what it means for policy design under the National REDD+ strategies. Yet, despite the role that the information on drivers can play in formation of both the strategy and national REDD+ policies, CIFOR’s research has shown a general lack of national level information on drivers of deforestation for most countries – and particularly in Africa. In many countries little remains known about the scale of the drivers and many assessments are being based on outdated information.

This same issue – lack of information on drivers of deforestation – was also cited in Bagamoyo, Tanzania at the validation workshop of the final draft of the National REDD+ strategy.  Stakeholders expressed the need for the strategy to better prioritize focusing on drivers. This was emphasized in the CSOs recommendations for the strategy, but currently there is not enough information existing to effectively address drivers.

So what will all this mean for Tanzania now that we know the issue of drivers of deforestation will not be addressed during this COP? This is similar to what we were asking about what this kind of stumbling block and delays will mean for Tanzania when National REDD+ becomes operational. It seems that now is the time now for governments (especially those currently implementing REDD projects) to push these issues both at international level and national level when it comes to operationalizing the strategy especially during this time when countries are beginning to implement their strategies.


Nov 272012

TNRF caught up with a Tanzanian CSO representative in Doha today and spoke to them about REDD+ at the COP this year – their expectations and concerns. The representative explained that this year COP 18 will focus on four major issues under REDD:

  1. Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV)
  2. National Forest Monitoring Systems
  3. Drivers of Deforestation and
  4. Safeguards

Not surprisingly, these are the same key issues that the nine NGOs implementing REDD+ projects in Tanzania stressed in their “Key Messages to Parties to the UN FCCC at CoP18 from Tanzania REDD+ Pilot Projects.”

  1. An agreement on and support for the implementation of REDD+ financing mechanisms is a matter of urgency.
  2. Robust, credible, timely and mandated reporting is needed to ensure implementation and adherence to environmental and social safeguards.
  3. Continued progress towards clarifying and supporting MRV systems is needed to help move REDD+ forward.
  4. REDD+ should remain a priority because it can bring local and global benefits… though it is not a standalone approach.

Although the COP just started, these four issues were highlighted yesterday at a SBSTA (Subsidiary Body on Science and Technology Advice) plenary, which Richard Muyungi of Tanzania is the Chair of.  Countries are pushing for at least two issues to be discussed for this year – MRV and National Forest Monitoring Systems. It seems that the other two issues including finance for REDD will not likely to be discussed this year due to time limitations.

In February, in a public statement on behalf of SBSTA, Chairman Muyungi stated:

“The SBSTA will continue to work at full speed to ensure the delivery of all mandated activities to support the effective implementation of the Cancun Agreements and the Durban Agreed Outcomes and for a successful outcome of our COP 18 in Doha.”

Further, the future for REDD+ after this COP might look gloomy if decisions are not made about where REDD+ should be governed under UNFCCC. The AWG-LCA, the main body that has been dealing with REDD+, is in principle coming to an end under the Kyoto protocol, and there is possibility that REDD+ might either be shifted to SBSTA or remain under AWG-LCA if granted an extension .

The future for REDD + – and key decisions on how it might unfold after this COP – remains up in the air at COP 18.