WWF Forest Carbon Initiative: Response to Noel Kempff Climate Action Project

Posted on October, 20 2009

To prevent average global temperatures from increasing by more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, global CO2 emissions must be reduced by a rapid shift away from the use of fossil fuels, increased energy efficiency and a sustained effort to reduce deforestation and forest degradation.

Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) represents a significant opportunity to curb as much as 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Previous efforts to include REDD within the global climate change regime have fallen through, in part, due to concerns that the policy could not be feasibly implemented. In the years since the Kyoto protocol was enacted, however, significant technical advances have been made – for example, improvements in satellite technology to monitor and measure deforestation. It is now possible to create more robust monitoring, verification and legal frameworks around REDD.

WWF believes that the challenges that have halted REDD implementation in the past are now largely surmountable.

WWF recommends that the post-2012 climate agreement include a clear and effective REDD framework.

The Noel Kempff Climate Action Project

The Noel Kempff Climate Action Project (NKCAP) in Bolivia, initiated by The Nature Conservancy and its partners, is among the first REDD field projects. Projects like this are vital to developing and testing the scientific and technical tools required to develop national-level REDD programs in forested countries. Probing the models underpinning such REDD projects is also an important process to advance understanding of how to develop sound REDD mechanisms.

The weaknesses and challenges encountered in the implementation of this project should not be taken to negate the need for rapid action on REDD but rather should be used as a basis for learning and for improving future implementation.

Among the key lessons learned from NKCAP are:

  • A strictly project-level approach is insufficient to deliver the required emissions reductions from REDD. National level initiatives are required and any project level activities should be implemented as part of such national programs..


  • Conservative approaches with substantial buffering or discounting must be used to estimate emissions reductions from REDD projects.


  • Benefits for local communities and Indigenous Peoples must be prioritized.


  • It is too early to rely on carbon markets and carbon offsets as a significant source of funding for REDD.

WWF believes that delivering quality carbon emissions reductions from forests is achievable provided that REDD is developed within national level programs as part of an international framework for REDD and is implemented in phases to ensure proper institutional and technical capacity.

This will require significant and predictable flows of new and additional public funding.

WWF recommends that national capacity and baselines are adopted to ensure MRV and robust emissions reductions.

In Brazil, for example, advanced monitoring technologies are sophisticated enough to deliver reliable measures of deforestation rates. The Brazilian state of Acre has implemented a deforestation monitoring system that combines remote sensing data and property level monitoring as part of an ambitious REDD policy. As more REDD pilot projects are implemented at the local, state and national levels, the capacity for MRV will only improve.

The use of national-level REDD programs is an effective way of addressing concerns with in-country leakage and difficulties in determining additionality that are present with project-level and sub-national initiatives. Various options have been proposed to address the risk of non-permanence. These include activities that can be implemented in the country to reduce the risk of losing the forest, for example, through law enforcement, land use planning, ensuring rights of local communities and Indigenous Peoples are retained and benefit sharing.

WWF recommends that before full-scale REDD implementation can be achieved, countries need to develop national strategies, strengthen domestic institutions, pilot approaches, and build technical capacity to effectively support making REDD a reality. The funding required to meet these near-term needs will primarily come from public financing arrangements, which must be incorporated under the UNFCCC as part of the post-2012 climate change agreement. Copenhagen negotiations should also address the need for interim financing, which will be vital for the period running through 2012.

Rainforest, Pando, Bolivia.
Rainforest, Pando, Bolivia.
© WWF / Eduardo RUIZ