Rainforest Nations Back Community-led Projects to End Deforestation

Equitble
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At the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), Ministers and Indigenous leaders from the most important tropical forests in the world spoke at the launch of Equitable Earth.

Equitable Earth is a recently developed standard for voluntary carbon markets, aiming to channel climate finance directly towards Indigenous peoples and traditional communities.

The governments of Brazil and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reiterated commitments to end deforestation, highlighting the crucial role of community-led forest carbon projects in achieving this goal.

 H.E. Sonia Guajajara, Minister of Indigenous Peoples, Brazil said:

“We must end deforestation in the Amazon to help solve the climate crisis. And we must do so with justice and human rights for the forest people for whom forests are home. Therefore, I welcome project initiatives led by communities and respecting Free Prior Informed Consent, as they will help achieve our climate goals, preserve the forest and the life within it, and bring equity to our people.”

The IPCC is clear that ending deforestation is critical to addressing the climate crisis.

According to the UN, where the rights of Indigenous peoples are recognized, rates of deforestation tend to be lower and carbon stocks tend to be higher. Despite this, less than one percent of climate finance currently reaches Indigenous peoples and local communities to help secure land tenure rights and manage tropical forests. Community-led, forest carbon projects can change this, by driving private sector finance directly to the Indigenous peoples and traditional communities that live there.

For example, the Mai Ndombe project in DRC is funded by companies voluntarily purchasing carbon credits. The project works with over 50,000 community members to help meet their development ambitions while protecting 299,640 hectares of forest which has avoided 38,843,976 tons of CO2e emissions to date.

The world asks us – Amazonia, Congo Basin, Mekong Basin – to preserve our forests. But to do this means adaptation of our lives, our agriculture, of everything. And this adaptation needs funds” said H.E. Eve Bazaiba, Environment Minister, DRC speaking of the Mai Ndombe project at the event today, “So, we say OK and we entered into the carbon markets.

We have now built more than 16 high-level schools, we have hospitals, and they support us with resilient agriculture. Now we are going to have more social infrastructure like roads, bridges, solar energy, airports, ports, and so on. This is all to help us adapt to the new situation of the climate crisis,” said Minister Bazaiba.

The Amazon and the Congo Basin are the two largest rainforests in the world. Combined, the territories of the two nations who spoke today include over 600 million hectares of tropical forest – an area roughly two-thirds the total size of the U.S.

Equitable Earth is a coalition of leaders committed to delivering a compelling new voluntary carbon market standard and platform to end deforestation and biodiversity loss in equitable partnership with Indigenous peoples and local communities, and Global South countries.

About the author

Avatar of Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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