Africa’s Largest REDD+ Project by Hectarage Verified in Zambia

BCP is pleased to announce that the Luangwa Community Forests Project (LCFP) has been successfully validated and verified by the Verified Carbon Standard.  This is the culmination of over 6 years of joint implementation with The Forestry Department and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife.
The LCFP becomes Africa’s largest REDD+ project by hectarage at 944,000 hectares.  To the best of our knowledge, LCFP is the largest REDD+ project in the world by quantified social beneficiaries of approximately 175,000 beneficiaries.  LCFP was also validated to the highest standard possible of CCBA triple gold for exceptional community, climate and biodiversity impacts.  Chieftainess Msoro of Msoro Chiefdom, one of the LCFP community proponent partners stated that: “Our communities protect habitat in one of the last great wildlife strongholds left on the planet, but we also need to ensure that our communities are nutrition secure.  We applaud FD, DNPW and BCP’s social impacts in the LCFP which have helped us to see standing forests as engines of growth.”
The LCFP was developed in Zambia’s iconic Lower Zambezi to Luangwa ecosystems: a biodiversity stronghold of global importance.  The project interconnects 5 national parks to create a contiguous wildlife corridor in one of the last remaining strongholds on earth for lion, elephant, wild dog and other species.  The project teams up with 12 Chiefdoms represented by their Community Resource Boards, private wildlife reserves, Government agencies and BCP in project implementation and took 6 years to develop to verification.  LCFP’s US$ 16 million in start-up costs blended capital from BCP, USAID, Musika Development Initiatives, The Lion Recovery Fund, Elephant Crisis Fund, and the Mills Foundation.
A key risk REDD+ projects is not making the project beneficial to local communities.  LCFP aims to catalyse a new conservation economy in Eastern Zambia to create jobs, improve social conditions, attract new investment and enhance conservation co-management.
One of the largest barriers to conservation is the absence of community rights to forests.  The LCFP worked closely with the Forestry Department to support the process of communities accessing forest carbon rights from Government.  Zambia’s community forestry legislation is one of the most progressive in the world.  Dr. Hassan Sachedina, BCP CEO added: “Granting clear rights over natural resources to local community institutions are a key foundation for successful conservation approaches, and to unlock investment into those resources.  We are proud to partner with the Government and our Chiefdom partners in LCFP.  LCFP shows that scale and triple gold social impacts are not exclusive”. 
Mr. David Antonioli, the CEO of Verra which administers the VCS and CCB Standards said: “The successful registration of the Luangwa Community Forests Project with both the VCS Program and the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards, where it achieved triple gold certification, is a tremendous milestone given the project covers nearly a million hectares and will be working with thousands of stakeholders.”

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