After seven years of pioneering work, the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund has launched a report that describes the lessons learned from supporting over 20 reforestation and afforestation projects around the world.
When the BioCarbon Fund first started its work in 2004, it set out in unchartered territories. There were no guidelines for implementing reforestation and afforestation projects, the Kyoto Protocol wasn’t ratified until a year later, carbon accounting methodologies to provide guidance on how to account for greenhouse gases from such projects didn’t exist, and there were no auditors to verify the implementation of projects.
In time, the BioCarbon Fund helped build the capacity and infrastructure needed for the reforestation and afforestation carbon market: it convinced investors, from both the public and private sector, to join the Fund, it developed the first methodologies – a laborious and costly process – and auditors became accredited using BioCarbon Fund projects. In the first year, nine projects were added to its portfolio despite the lack of infrastructure.
Today, the BioCarbon Fund has 18 projects registered with the UNFCCC under the Kyoto Protocol, generating carbon credits under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The World Bank consequently has one of the largest and most significant reforestation and afforestation portfolios in the world.
The projects range from the first reforestation project, the Guangxi Watershed in the Pearl River Basin in China, to the first reforestation project in Africa, the Nile Basin project in Uganda. More recently, building on its experience in reforestation and afforestation projects, the BioCarbon Fund is branching out into sectors outside of those allowed by the CDM, such as REDD and soil carbon. In fact, the first ever soil carbon methodology developed by the BioCarbon Fund was just approved and registered with the Verified Carbon Standard in December 2011, for a project involving sustainable land management practices in Kenya.