EU, OECS Fund Climate Change Mitigation

TWO days of consultations held in Saint Lucia recently have laid the groundwork for implementation of a National Strategy for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).

Agencies and experts in attendance during the two-day consultations included the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Forestry Department, Department of Sustainable Development, Physical Planning Department, Project Manager for the Iyanola Project, Caribbean Youth Environmental Network (CYEN), Invest St. Lucia, Fauna and Flora International (FFI), Physical Planning Department and Japan Climate Change Alliance.

The workshop was facilitated by Climate Change Expert, Eduardo Reyes, of Panama, who was contracted by the OECS Commission, with funding from the EU, to provide technical assistance for the establishment of a REDD+ National Strategy.

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The workshop provided attendees with a brief synopsis of climate change and its impacts. It also explained REDD+ as an initiative developed to mitigate climate change by reducing deforestation, forest degradation, conservation of existing forests and the enhancement of carbon stocks through reforestation and afforestation.

Deforestation and Forest Degradation account for nearly 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It has become increasingly clear that in order to lessen the impacts of climate change to tolerable limits, global average temperatures must not be increased to more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. This goal will not be attainable without reducing emissions from the forest sector, in addition to other mitigation actions.

Reyes informed the workshop that REDD+ is an initiative with a three-phased approach.

“The first phase would allow a country to decide on actions within REDD+ that it may choose to carry out without having to report formally on these actions,” he said.

He added: “The second phase builds on the first and usually includes projects that enhance the existing carbon stocks within the country. In the third phase, the country applies to access the payment mechanism under the REDD+ initiative. This payment mechanism allows countries to sell carbon credits through bilateral agreements or receive payments for carbon credits through the green climate fund.”

Reyes cautioned that while Saint Lucia was indeed on the right path towards REDD+, there was still a lot of work to be done. He elaborated that data requirements such as GIS data, a forest definition and a more comprehensive and transparent Green House Gas (GHG) Inventory would be needed. He also explained that assessments of the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector was necessary to get the country ready for the third phase of the project.

This REDD+ initiative is part of iLand Resilience, the OECS Commission’s Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Land Management Project funded by the EU.

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