Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Carbon Rights in REDD+: Towards a common understanding

REDDnet’s event on Carbon Rights took place last Saturday. There were 3 presentations followed by a panel discussion and an open floor discussion.

The presentations by Robert O’Sullivan (Climate Focus - US); Guillermo Navarro (CATIE – Costa Rica); Alvaro Umana (Costa Rica), Yaw Osafo (Ghana), Marlea Munez (CoDeREDD – Phillipines) attempted to answer a set of questions. These included: what a carbon right is and whether, or under what circumstances, carbon rights constitute a new form of legal right that is specific to REDD+; Why and whether carbon rights need to be defined at all; implications on the interpretation of carbon rights in national REDD+ processes and projects doe different actors (opportunities and risks for local communities and indigenous peoples, governments and project developers); and the steps needed to ensure that the interpretation of carbon rights in REDD+ results in systems which are environmentally effective and equitable.

Robert O’Sullivan introduced the concept of carbon rights and drew a distinction between Carbon rights and carbon credit. He noted that carbon rights includes rights to carbon credits and / or benefits form the sale of carbon credits or other payments or benefits received from emission reductions or removals. On the other hand, carbon credit is a tradeable unit (credit, offsets, and allowances) that include a bundle of legal rights for example in the ownership, sale or use.

He further drew gave the options on REDD+ carbon rights and benefit flows: funding source being from non market or market-based approaches, in which case the role of governments will vary.

Guillermo and Alvaro gave experiences from Costa Rica, where they noted that carbon rights are not explicit in the law, resulting in complexity in who owns land and forest resources.

Yaw and Marlea gave their experiences of carbon rights in Ghana and the Philippines, noting that the concept is yet to be fully understood, brings up capacity gaps and the need to scale up access to information to local communities, indigenous peoples and other stakeholders.

Some learning points from this side event are:

- Recognition of carbon rights is a slow process requiring institutional reforms, transparency and trust among the relevant stakeholders in the respective countries

- Land tenure clarity is an issue that will take long to sort out in many developing countries with implications on the carbon rights regime(s).

- Carbon rights are not alienated from other rights and hence need to be looked at from this perspective.

For a summary of the issues raised visit the link

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