bolivian-forester

Forest Carbon Policy Advisor Rane Cortez tells us about getting the world ready to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation through workshops and online trainings, and how these trainings relate to the climate negotiations underway now in Bonn:

Here at the UN climate negotiations in Bonn, there is a lot of talk about “getting ready for REDD.” REDD is shorthand for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

For the past year, I have been living in a world of REDD, providing training around the globe — in Indonesia, Peru, Guatemala and the Democratic Republic of Congo — to instill a basic level of knowledge among key stakeholders on the technical, political and implementation aspects of REDD.

In partnership with the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance, Conservation International, GTZ, Rainforest Alliance and WWF, The Nature Conservancy led the development and delivery of this 3-day training course titled An Introduction to Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation. Over the weekend in Bonn we announced an online version of this training that will be live next week.

In each country’s training, national and government officials, local NGO members and indigenous people participated together to gain a fuller understanding of what REDD is.

It’s been very interesting to see the similar concerns and issues that countries are grappling with as they think about REDD, including:

  • technical issues like creating reference levels or baselines for carbon emissions;
  • social issues of how to ensure stakeholders are involved and their rights are recognized in the process;
  • governance issues that improve the legal, financial and institutional structures for forest management.

One of the most valuable outcomes of the workshops is the strengthening of relationships between these diverse actors. For example, no matter where we are, representatives of indigenous peoples always speak up to the national governments, asking to be more involved. These trainings begin to create relationships and help level the playing field so all stakeholders have a similar understanding of what REDD is.

The training also gives countries some ideas about what they can start on now, even though the international policy on REDD hasn’t been figured out yet. By building networks of people who are working on REDD, we keep everyone from having to reinvent the wheel.

And it’s nice to know that our efforts will help strengthen forest institutions and stakeholder relationship no matter what REDD shapes up to be. (You can read more about the Conservancy’s thoughts on how REDD should work here.)

The Nature Conservancy knows first-hand from our involvement in places like Bolivia with the Noel Kempff Mercado Climate Action Project and in the Berau district of Indonesia that significant capacity building is needed to make REDD work. Much work has already begun in many countries, but much more is still needed. We hope that making our training course available online will help fill that need.

Download the Participant Manual and Instructors Manual, as well as corresponding presentations.

The self-guided, interactive online course — free and available to all — is a fun and interesting way for anyone to learn the basics of REDD. It features interactive content with quizzes, assessments, and activities and provides a comprehensive overview of REDD, including topics like: the role of forests in climate change, drivers of deforestation, technical and political elements, social considerations, and project development. Available soon at: www.conservationtraining.org.

(Image: Measuring trees in Bolivia as part of a sustainable forestry project. Source: Ami Vitale.)

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