United States Supports Zambian Community Forests Program

In the recent U.N. Climate Summit in New York in September 2014, more than 125 heads of state and government resoundingly demonstrated the rapidly converging global consensus that the impacts of climate change are real and costly, and that they no longer have to choose between economic growth and climate action—they go hand-in-hand.

The world loses more than 13 million hectares of forests each year.  When we destroy forests, we eliminate one of our most potent natural carbon sequestration technologies. Millions could be spent developing extravagant artificial technologies to sequester carbon, but they wouldn’t come close to the efficiency or elegance of a forest.  The reason is simple; Trees “breathe in” carbon dioxide and “exhale” oxygen.

Through the award of a cooperative agreement to BioCarbon Partners (BCP) to implement the Community Forests Program (CFP) in Zambia, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is taking a leadership role in harnessing the sequestration potential of preserving the world’s remaining intact forests.

USAID is the principal arm of the United States Government offering economic, humanitarian and technical assistance to more than 80 partner-countries, such as Zambia, and the citizens of those countries.

The CFP is the flagship activity of the USAID mission in Zambia’s Global Climate Change (GCC) project under the Presidential GCC Initiative. It is designed to exemplify and support the Government of the Republic of Zambia’s (GRZ) Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) strategy by establishing the largest REDD+ program to-date in the country. The CFP is a 5 year, $14 million program implemented jointly with the Forestry Department and the Zambia Wildlife Authority.

CFP activities will be primarily based in Lusaka, Eastern and/or Muchinga Provinces, and will focus on establishing REDD+ project areas across a minimum of 700,000 hectares within the Zambezi and Luangwa ecosystems. In total, the CFP aims to undertake community livelihood and deforestation mitigation activities taking place on a total of up to 2 million hectares and involving up to 10,000 households. Across project target areas, the CFP aims to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, reduce poverty, and conserve biodiversity values.

BioCarbon Partners is proud to partner with USAID to address the challenges and opportunities of implementing this exciting project and to work together to carry out a common strategy for engaging communities, improving forest-compatible livelihoods that involve job creation, making community- based livelihoods more productive, and achieving more sustainable land management practices.

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Stakeholder consultation meeting about the Community Forests Program takes place in Luembe Chiefdom, in Nyimba District, led by representatives from the Government, BCP, USAID, and involving participation of Traditional Authorities, Community Resource Board members and key community representatives.

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Significant areas of community-owned forests exist in Eastern Province, Zambia, but they are threatened by high rates of deforestation caused by agricultural pressures, a growing population and demand for charcoal as an energy source.

 

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Habitat within Game Management Areas is intended to be managed and protected by local communities and the Government. Forest areas within GMAs provide important habitat for wildlife, such as the rare Thornicroft’s Giraffe, which is endemic to the Luangwa Valley.

 

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The Senior Community Engagement Manager for the CFP guides community stakeholders in Nyimba District through an informational comic about REDD+, as part of the Sensitization program for the CFP, which takes place in line with the principles of obtaining Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).

 

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Participatory mapping takes place in Rufunsa District, led by the local District Commissioner, to identify new areas of forest that may be viable for REDD+ implementation, under the CFP.

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The CFP builds upon the work that BCP has begun at the pilot Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project (LZRP), taking place in Rufunsa District. BCP’s REDD+ model places a strong focus on community engagement, and supporting livelihoods interventions that promote sustainable natural resource management, provide viable alternatives to deforestation-dependent lifestyles, reduce local poverty and improve quality of life.

 

This blog is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The content of this blog are the sole responsibility of BCP and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

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