REDD+: Funding for carbon trading projects halted
Dar es Salaam. Funding for a carbon trading system known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) has been suspended until further negotiations between poor countries and powerful industrial nations.
In the first phase of REDD project between 2008 and 2010 Tanzania received about $100 million (Sh170 billion). The main beneficiaries of the funds were Non Governmental Organisations comprising TaTEDO, Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST) and Tanzania Forests Conservation Groups (TFCG). But at a recent Durban conference on Climate Change further funding was suspended as no consensus was reached on funds disbursement.
Speaking to BusinessWeek the Chairman of Journalists Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET), Deodatus Mfugale said that Tanzania which is one of the beneficiaries of REDD fund was still uncertain on the future modality of carbon funding because it was postponed.
“The postponement of REDD at the COP 17 Durban Conference was due to the fact that there was no consensus about the approach of disbursing funds to developing countries from developed countries.While most of members from developed nations proposed to channel funds through the private sector, many representatives of developing countries were for channeling the funds through governments,” said Mr Mfugale who also attended the conference.
He said the issue has been postponed until next meeting slated for this November in Qatar, whereby representatives from developing and developed countries must reach consensus on the modality of channeling REDD funds.Asked what his position was, he said he would rather support the channeling of funds through the private sector based on competition among players to ensure transparency, effectiveness and efficiency in the use of funds to meet the intended objectives of REDD.
Mr Mfugale also said that the formula for calculating returns to investment on REDD projects was also declared at the Durban UNFCCC, but he declined to narrate it on the ground that it was a purely technical issue.
Speaking at the recent forum to review COP 17 Durban Conference, an Environmental expert working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the country, Finias Magesa, said that the country must improve the capacity to absorb multi-million US dollar funds set aside for reduced carbon emissions.
He said during COP 17 conference the European Union declared that they were still committed to purchase carbon credits under Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) worth millions of US dollars for supporting the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), including Tanzania.
During the same forum, the Environmental manager in the Vice President’s Office, Dr Ladislaus Kyaruzi said the government was still preparing the National Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan, which will encompass the National REDD Strategy.
Dr Kyaruzi said currently the National Secretariat on REDD is under the Institute of Resource Assessment (IRA) based at the University of Dar es Salaam which has been entrusted with responsibility of technical co-ordination of REDD activities.
The intended objectives of REDD, according to the latest report on Carbon Trading in Africa based on research findings supported by South Africa’s Institute of Social Securities (ISS), are mitigation of emissions of Green House Gases (GHG) in developed countries and mobilizing African countries to reduce emissions of GHG through embarking on agro-forest projects and other Clean Development Management (CDM) Projects like harnessing renewable energies.
GHG include carbon dioxide, methane and other gases that cause depletion of ozone layer due to permanent emissions of those gases causing global warming and climate change, according to environmental scientists.
The ISS report also shows that excluding South Africa, Africa’s share in carbon market is still negligible that it’s only 0.6 per cent, indicating that countries of Sub Saharan African countries, including Tanzania have low capacity to absorb carbon funds released since 2008 after the 2005 Kyoto Protocol.
The report further shows that project-based activities under CDM reached the $6.5 billion mark in 2008 and it shrank to $2.7 billion in 2009, whereby China is the biggest seller of carbon credits accounting for 66 per cent of carbon market followed by India and Brazil.