Reducing emissions linked to deforestation and forest degradation is an officially-recorded worldwide priority since Bali in 2007. Since then, and in spite of the collapse of the carbon markets these last years, a number of instruments have been devised to measure and calculate the emissions avoided in order to turn them into carbon credits and now train project operators.
The last notable progress announced in Bonn was that Wageningen University and the Forest Carbon Partnership have launched a complete series of modules accessible to all. Everybody all over the world can now be trained in REDD+ from A to Z, from the preliminary stages right up to monitoring and inspection assignments, and including the instruments to be implemented on a national level. All the training modules can be extracted here free of charge: https://www.forestcarbonpartnership.org/redd-training-material-forest-monitoring.
In full or à la carte depending on the specific needs of the countries or users, they can be reused (under a creative commons licence) to train national experts, players on the ground or those who will go on to train others. Exceptionally, Vietnam is pushing back the limits of appropriation by planning to create a Redd+ Academy which the state-employed forestry engineers will go through. The main advantage of this tool is that the expert’s knowledge and know-how will be examined from every angle, harmonised and shared globally via a single portal. The official delegates present in Bonn for the launch during the June climate recesses praised this initiative, which puts an end to the incessant movements of international experts in their countries, whose interpretations and viewpoints often differ. Knowledge is therefore now accessible to everyone, and expertise can gain in maturity by way of self-training on the ground.
Another remarkable tool, promoted by the World Resource Institute and launched a year and a half ago, also supports foresters throughout the world: www.globalforestwatch.org.
This site compiles a register of all freely accessible official forest information, and then presents it in the form of maps and databases.
So, the toolboxes are becoming sophisticated and their content more accessible from a knowledge standpoint for setting up REDD+ projects thanks to the efforts of the scientific community and institutional grants. On the other hand, the World Bank remains the sole sizeable funder – in terms of forward buying – of REDD+ credits. A crucial question is thus still just beneath the surface: Eight years on from Bali, where is the market for REDD+ credits? Will there be a forest carbon market one day? Is that even really desirable? Is a “project highway” – which will end up leading nowhere – not in the process of being created? Unless – as the political decision-makers are whispering and hoping – the private sector takes over these credits deliberately and en masse for the sake of climate responsibility.