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South-South Exchange on Community Forestry and REDD+

February 11, 2011


Virgilio Viana (right), CEO, Amazonas Sustainability Foundation, talks with the African delegates during the 10-day South-South Exchange on community forestry and REDD+ in Brazil. 

Monick Maciel/FAS

  • Participants from six African countries attended a 10-day South-South Exchange on community forestry and REDD+ in Brazil.
  • The exchange aimed to support countries to better understand the role that community forestry can play in their national REDD+ strategies.
  • Countries learned from Brazil's experience in community forestry by interacting with federal and state governments, the private sector, civil society, and indigenous peoples organizations.

A 10-day South-South Exchange on community forestry and REDD+ just took place in Brazil with participants from six African countries. The exchange aimed to support countries to better understand the role that community forestry can play in their national REDD+ strategies. The activity brought together participants from Africa (Central African Republic, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Madagascar and the Republic of Congo) to exchange experiences on “Community Forestry and REDD+” with various Brazilian counterparts, including federal and state governments, the private sector, civil society and indigenous peoples organizations.

The event was organized by the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), with the help of the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS), the Office National des Forêts International (ONFI) and a grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Here is an interview with André Aquino, Carbon Finance Specialist at the World Bank based in Kinshasa, who led the delegation.

1. What are the key objectives of the South-South Exchange on REDD+ that was held in Brazil 

The main goal of the delegation was to learn from Brazil’s experience in community forestry and its link to the REDD+ agenda. To do this, the group of government and civil society representatives from six African countries visited several sites in the Amazon.

2. What are the benefits to the delegates visiting from Africa?

Brazil has many relevant experiences to share with its African counterparts. For example, the Amazon Fund, managed by BNDES (the Brazilian Development Bank), is currently the largest national REDD initiative in the world. It has created an innovative model for managing and disbursing funds for activities that contribute to the objective of REDD.

Also, Brazilian civil society has just gone through a process of establishing national environment and social safeguards for REDD initiatives in the country, which will contribute to the preparation of a national REDD strategy for Brazil. In local communities, participants have had the opportunity to experience a program of payment for ecosystem services (a PES scheme) called Bolsa Floresta which, through payments, rewards households and communities that support forest conservation.

3. Did the interaction facilitate knowledge-sharing?

Participants were able to learn from what Brazil has achieved so far. They were particularly impressed by the transparent and independent structure of the REDD fund management, developed by the Amazon Fund. It was great to see delegates experience firsthand how communities are benefiting from REDD revenue flows and how this is impacting their daily life. For example, they are funding health facilities and schools, including the use of satellites for distance learning.

4. What has been the main achievement of the initiative?

It is fascinating to see how this event allowed representatives of countries that make up the second largest forested area in the world (the Congo Basin) to learn from the experiences of the largest forested area in the world (the Amazon). The purpose of the initiative was to support these countries in their effort to ‘get ready for REDD+’ and we think that this has been achieved. It builds on the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’s continued support for knowledge-sharing and capacity building for REDD+ in developing countries.

The activities also allowed participants to network and open up channels of communication for future cooperation, not only between the African and Brazilian delegates, but also among the African delegates themselves.

5. What are the next steps?

Our participants are now highly motivated to go back home, share their new knowledge with their colleagues and continue their preparation of national REDD+ strategies. However, as you know, only six countries could participate in this trip and so one of our objectives has been to document the learning that went on here and put that into a Guidebook on Community Forestry and REDD+, which we will use to disseminate this knowledge. Please keep an eye out for it on the FCPF website. See the Communiqué Final from the trip - Lessons Learned and Next Steps (In French only, En Francais).

Andre Aquino works for AFTEN – the Africa Environment Department of the World Bank, based in the Kinshasa Country Office, Democratic Republic of Congo. His main focus is forestry and carbon finance. He moved to Kinshasa about a year ago, and was previously working in the Carbon Finance Unit at the World Bank in Washington DC. He was interviewed by Isabel Hagbrink, Senior Communications Officer at the World Bank's Carbon Finance Unit, on February 8, 2011.