GCF 2017 Subnational Leadership in a World of Uncertainty
As 2016 draws to a close, the world seems much more fragmented and uncertain than it did a year ago. Brexit, the election of Donald Trump in the United States, and the rise of populist political movements in countries across the world all signal major shifts in the policies of national governments on many important issues and, more generally, on the possibilities of international cooperation. No one can say with any certainty whether we are witnessing the end of the liberal world order or a temporary disruption. But a few things are clear. The United States government will not lead on climate policy. Other nations will continue to move ahead and some will take on more prominent roles. But others will turn inward to focus on domestic priorities. Most importantly, climate change will not wait. It does not care about election results. And every day that goes by without serious action on climate change only makes the job harder for future generations.
As national governments shift their policies, sometimes dramatically, and as some turn away from international cooperation, the importance of subnational leadership only grows. States and provinces around the world continue to lead the way in developing innovative approaches to some of the world’s most pressing problems. Networks and coalitions of subnational governments such as the GCF Task Force, the Under 2 MOU, and many others continue to provide critical platforms for solving problems, leveraging collective experience, sharing knowledge, and empowering civil servants and their partners from civil society and the private sector to fashion durable approaches to low emissions development. These coalitions and partnerships will be the building blocks for any successful approach to reducing emissions, protecting forests, and enhancing livelihoods at scale.
Our recent GCF Annual Meeting in Jalisco stands as a testament to the growing power of our network. Co-convening with the Climate Summit of the Americas brought us important new opportunities for partnerships with several North American jurisdictions and stakeholders. The presence of Patricia Espinoza, Executive Secretary - UNFCCC, and her openness to subnational innovation and leadership sent a very positive signal to all of our GCF members and stakeholders that the UNFCCC recognizes the vital role of states and provinces in the fight against climate change. The addition of six new members to the GCF underscores the growing importance of subnational action and the power of bottom-up approaches to climate change. And the signing of the Jalisco Declaration and the launching of several new partnerships demonstrated to the world the ongoing commitment and leadership of our states and provinces.
On behalf of the entire GCF Family, we thank our outgoing GCF 2016 Chair Governor Sandoval, his incredible team, and the people of Guadalajara for welcoming us to Jalisco and hosting such a great meeting. We also welcome our incoming Chair for 2017, Governor Awang Faroek and East Kalimantan. We are working with Inobu, GCF Coordinator for Indonesia, and the team in East Kalimantan to plan our 2017 Annual Meeting next fall. Stay tuned for more information on specific dates and other details on that meeting.
The GCF Task Force is now a coalition of 35 states and provinces from 9 different countries. One-third of the world’s tropical forests are in GCF states and provinces, including roughly 80% of the Amazon and more than 60% of Indonesia’s forests. Put simply, the GCF is the only realistic platform in the world for protecting tropical forests at scale and reducing the associated greenhouse gas emissions.
Our unparalleled global reach allows us to connect and scale successful bottom-up approaches to protecting forests, reducing emissions, and enhancing livelihoods. We have the political leadership, the commitments, and the partnerships—with indigenous people’s organization, with civil society, and with the private sector—to stay the course in the face of uncertainty and get this done.
On behalf of the entire GCF Secretariat team, we wish everyone in the GCF family a safe and happy end to 2016 and we send our best wishes for the New Year. We especially want to send our thoughts and prayers to our friends in Aceh in the wake of the recent earthquake there.
Thank you all and we look forward to a productive 2017!
GCF Project Lead
GCF Members in Action at COP 22
Rosa Maria Vidal, GCF Fund
This year’s 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has been coined the “The COP of Action,” promising to put the Paris Agreement into action. In response, jurisdictions from the Governors Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF) have been actively involved in demonstrating the critical role of subnational governments in the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Guided by the Rio Branco Declaration (RBD), a commitment to reduce deforestation by 80% by 2020, GCF jurisdictional efforts will be crucial in achieving the Paris Agreement by accelerating the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), reducing deforestation, and closing the carbon gap. Participation in COP 22 from GCF member states and provinces from regions such as Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria, Peru, and the United States helped propel the advances of both the GCF's unique subnational network and the global climate action community (see catalog of events for comprehensive list).
The arrival of the GCF network in Marrakech at the COP follows the momentum garnered in Jalisco, Mexico at the 2016 GCF Annual Meeting under the visionary leadership of the 2016 GCF Chair, Governor Aristoteles Sandoval. In Marrakech, Governor Sandoval and the Director of California Governor Jerry Brown's Office of Planning and Research, Ken Alex, co-chaired the Under 2 MOU event organized by the Climate Group, which identified a plan to increase reporting from subnational governments and promote subnational leadership under the Paris Agreement. During this year’s COP, twenty-nine new signatories joined the Under 2 MOU, including GCF Task Force members East Kalimantan and West Kalimantan from Indonesia and Tabasco, Mexico. As a result, a total of 18 GCF members are part of the 165 jurisdictions endorsing the MOU.
Governor Sandoval (Jalisco), along with California representatives, and Cross River State Commissioner for Forestry and Climate Change, Dr. Alice Olok Ekwu, also attended the Climate Summit for Local and Regional Leaders where they shared insight from experiences within their states with fellow subnational leaders. At the Climate Summit, the Marrakech Road Map for Action, a global action framework towards localizing climate finance, was launched. Governor Sandoval’s dedication to climate action was also reflected in his promotion of an ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors within Jalisco, including land use, deforestation, and through initiatives such as the establishment of a "Green Fund" to reward environmental stewards.
The GCF Brazilian delegation included representatives from the States of Amazonas and Mato Grosso. Amazonas State Secretary of the Environment, Antonio Stroski, was involved in several side events organized by Fundação Amazonas Sustentável (FAS) and GCF’s Brazil Coordinator Instituto de Conservação e Desenvolvimento Sustentável da Amazônia (IDESAM). Secretary Stroski highlighted Amazonas’ climate efforts which include the promotion of green development and payments for environmental services to local communities, building on integrated intervention programs such as Bolsa Floresta, and encouraging participation from the private sector. As a result of efforts underway in Amazonas, the state still has 96% of its tropical forests intact (INPE/PRODES 2014), the most among any Brazilian state. As one of the founding members of the GCF Task Force, Amazonas has focused on reducing deforestation by preventing illegal logging and land encroachment due to the expansion of subsistence agriculture, amongst other causes. Secretary Stroski also participated in a side event organized by national Brazilian institutions that focused on the Amazon Fund and the national REDD+ Strategy.
The GCF’s RBD champions reduction in deforestation by both increasing collaboration with the private sector and linking production and protection activities. This approach was further explored during the “Jurisdictional Sustainability: A Bottom-Up Integrated Approach to Reducing Deforestation panel organized by Earth Innovation Institute and the Southern Tropical Alliance. GCF Governor Victor Manuel Noriega, from San Martín, Peru, advocated for jurisdiction wide sustainability. Fernando Sampaio, the new Director of the Conserve, Produce, and Include (PCI) Program in Mato Grosso, a founding GCF member, also participated in this panel, as well as various other events during the COP including the Global Landscape Forum. He promoted the PCI initiative as a way to achieve both economic and environmental benefits by simultaneously maintaining productivity of major commodities and reducing deforestation. His strategy includes a combination of policies, incentives, and investments that could lead to preferential sourcing. Jeff Seabright, Chief Sustainability Officer at Unilever, contributed by confirming Unilever’s vision of establishing long-term sourcing agreements that will produce positive performance for environmental and social indicators. He emphasized that with a common vision, governments and the private sector can work together to achieve improved sustainability.
The culmination of “The COP of Action,” brings further resolve and commitment to the RBD and the Paris Agreement. COP22 may be over; however, GCF members will continue their dedication to reducing deforestation and carbon emissions through subnational leadership, partnerships, and innovation. You can follow these jurisdictions as they turn their commitments into action on both the GCF Task Force and Governors’ Climate and Forests Fund (GCFF) websites.
Laying Foundations for Jurisdictional Sustainability: INOBU, Ministry of Agriculture, Central Kalimantan & Districts and Launch Online Tool and Sign MOU
Joko Arief, INOBU
Institut Penelitian Inovasi Bumi (INOBU), the GCF Coordinator in Indonesia, the Ministry of Agriculture, Central Kalimantan province and three districts (Gunung Mas, Kotawaringin Barat and Seruyan), recently solidified an ongoing partnership to accelerate the development of sustainable oil palm in Indonesia. The parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding and launched SIPKEBUN, an online system built by INOBU to integrate information on palm oil growers—from industrial scale plantations to independent smallholder farmers. For the first time, the Indonesian government will be able to electronically monitor all oil palm growers: where they are growing it and how they are growing it, a crucial component towards achieving sustainable palm oil in Indonesia.
The partnership signifies the importance of research and innovation in the Indonesian government’s effort to achieve sustainable oil palm through the jurisdictional approach. Emphasizing the important role of online monitoring processes, Ir. Bambang MM, the Director General of Plantations (Ministry of Agriculture) described SIPKEBUN as a big step towards Indonesia’s e-government goal. It replaces the current systems for collecting land-use data, integrating multiple types of land management data in a single online platform.
SIPKEBUN demonstrates the power of collaboration between national and subnational governments, as well as collaboration across districts. At the recent launch, the Regents of Seruyan, Kotawaringin Barat and Gunung Mas Districts noted that SIPKEBUN will not only monitor plantations but also be an opportunity for collaboration between the Central and Regional governments. It will systematically address the problems that regional governments have long battled with in isolation, such as forest and peat fires, conflict over land uses in forest areas and empowering smallholder farmers.
Supporting Smallholders towards Sustainable Palm Oil
The MOU recognizes the significance of smallholders in the palm oil industry and commits to supporting and empowering them. SIPKEBUN fills the information gap on smallholders: identifying the legality, productivity and profitability of each farmer. The data stored within SIPKEBUN enables local governments to streamline the process for issuing cultivation registration letters or STDB to smallholders. This data is also a stepping stone towards issuing land certificates to smallholders. SIPKEBUN enables local governments to understand how smallholders are farming, equipping decision-makers to more effectively target interventions for improving the productivity and profitability of smallholder oil palm plantations.
SIPKEBUN—which stands for Sistem Informasi dan Pemantauan Kinerja Perkebunan Berkelanjutan or “Information and Performance Monitoring System for Sustainable Plantations,”—is the product of close collaboration between INOBU and local governments in Central Kalimantan. As a first step, SIPKEBUN will store and display independent oil palm smallholder data for the three Central Kalimantan districts, including the location and area of plantations, level of production and socio-economic conditions. Currently there are data for 2,441 independent smallholders in Seruyan District stored in SIPKEBUN, and the target for 2016 is that all independent smallholders in the district, or about 5,300 farmers, will be mapped. Kotawaringin Barat and Gunung Mas Districts have also begun mapping independent smallholders and oil palm plantations.
SIPKEBUN’s potential application across Indonesia as a platform for jurisdictions to become sustainable is unprecedented. With SIPKEBUN, plantation data for hundreds of commercial plantations across millions of hectares will now be housed in a single provincial system. SIPKEBUN has the capability to be adapted to additional plantation commodities, which is important for the Ministry of Agriculture and their work in promoting sustainable agricultural commodities.
The national launch of SIPKEBUN follows the successful implementation of the system in Central Kalimantan. INOBU recently rolled out a series of training sessions in the three Central Kalimantan districts, training 45 government staff to begin the process of inputting plantation data into SIPKEBUN. The response was overwhelmingly positive—the workers on the frontlines of tracking data on palm oil plantations now have a tool at their fingertips that makes it possible to track, monitor, report and analyze data across entire jurisdictions. INOBU envisions an Indonesia where unique collaborative efforts like SIPKEBUN are replicated across the country to support the transition towards sustainable commodity production and better livelihoods.
Institut Penelitian Inovasi Bumi (INOBU) is an Indonesian research institute that works towards the vision of an Indonesia where land and seascapes are managed sustainably and benefit the communities that depend on them. Through innovative research, policy analysis, technology and alliance-building, INOBU seeks to improve public policies and strengthen civil society to sustainably manage Indonesia's natural resources and agricultural production systems, throughout the life-cycle of products.
Forest Defenders in Acre Meet with their GCF Counterparts in California
Colleen Scanlan Lyons, GCF
Governor Viana of Acre, Brazil and a high-level delegation of governmental and indigenous leaders from his state visited California in October 2016. The purpose of this visit was threefold: to foster collaboration with other early-mover GCF leaders (Governor Brown of California), to show support for California’s cap-and-trade program, and to seed new partnerships with forest product investors and the academic community in California. In meetings with civil society, private sector, and governmental leaders, including the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board, the Acre delegation highlighted how their sustainable forest economy provided a model for harmonizing rural development with reduced deforestation. This visit provided many opportunities for increasing the dialogue on how environmental sustainability and social inclusion could best come together in practical ways. A representative of the Kaxinawa tribe of Acre spoke with Governor Brown about the role of indigenous communities in reducing deforestation on tribal lands. Members of California’s environmental justice community interacted with Acre’s state-level bureaucrats on questions of social inclusion, climate justice, and sustainable production. The visit, hosted by the Earth Innovation Institute with support from the GCF Secretariat, the Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy and Forest Trends, was a model for cross-jurisdictional education and exchange across GCF membership from the global north and south.
Modernizing Public Management in Loreto through the Management of Spatial Data: Spatial Data Infrastructure for Integral Regional Development
Cristina López, Derecho, Ambiente, y Recursos Naturales
The Peruvian regional government of Loreto has been making great strides in in the implementation of Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). In recognition of their efforts, Loreto has received several awards including the "Presidency of the Council of Ministers’ Technological Innovation Award " (2015) and the "Good Practice in Public Management Award." Their award-winning work, initiated in 2012, aims to implement technological tools and institutional frameworks that promote transparency and improve services in public management.
The green economy - a regional integrated development policy based on forest conservation - requires quality spatial information to inform decision-making and planning for integral regional development through the promotion of investments and the unlocking of projects while counteracting climate change and ensuring the conservation of Loreto's 36 million hectares of forest.
By standardizing the way spatial data is produced and organized under certain standards, IDE enables information to be combined and visualized rapidly while making territorial decision-making more effective. For example, the Geoportal provides spatial information acquired for timber or non-timber concessions, forest permits, or forest management plans such as annual cutting plots or selective tree harvesting to decision-makers, concessionaires, and citizens alike.
With SDI, the regional government of Loreto has access to more information to make better decisions regarding the management of natural resources, as well as to monitor the potentialities of regional natural resources (such as forestry, fishing, or other resources). This allows the region to be much more competitive and above all contributes to the value of their forests.
The Loreto SDI Geoportal serves as the technological tool implemented by the regional government to facilitate timely access to quality spatial information on fundamental data such as forest management, regional conservation areas, fishery resources, populated centers, amongst others. Soon, information on schools, hospitals, infrastructure, mining, and wildlife will also be incorporated (http://geoportal.regionloreto.gob.pe/).
As more official information is integrated into this system, the more powerful it will become. Official criteria must be identified for each and every type of geographic data. In addition, the region must establish an institutional framework that validates the official character of these agreements, a set of specialists dedicated to promoting this process, as well as a virtual space to host already processed information.
The implementation of the SDI in Loreto serves as an excellent example of collaboration between the public sector and civil society. The different components of the SDI have been developed innovatively by the regional government of with the support of different civil society organizations such as DAR, WCS, and PFSI.
Challenges and Opportunities for the GCF in Brazil in 2017: In the midst of a rise in deforestation, we can commemorate advances and improvements in the REDD+ landscape in Brazil.
Mariano Cenamo & Fernanda Barbosa, IDESAM
The Brazilian Amazon contains the largest area of tropical forest on the planet. Spanning more than 4.1 million km2, it accounts for 60% of the nation’s land and is home to nearly 20 million people. The region, however, generates less than 8% of Brazilian GDP and faces serious social and environmental problems. Its economy basically depends on the extraction of natural resources and minerals and agribusiness, which to date has led to the substitution of nearly 20% of its original forest cover into pasture and other agricultural cultivation.
Over the past ten years, the Amazon has generated the largest contributions to date of any country to combat climate change. In this period over 4 GtCO2 were not released into the atmosphere, an amount equivalent to what the European Union emitted in 2013 (4.4 GtCO2e). As such, Brazil gained substantial distinction and international recognition.
However, preliminary data show that deforestation in 2016 grew by 7.989 square kilometers, 29% more than in 2015. This is the largest increase in the rate of deforestation since 2008, when a spike in devastation led the government to strengthen its control and block access to credit for agriculturalists in the most critical municipalities, according to the List of Priority Municipalities of the Amazon.
The high in 2016 is not an isolated incident: between 2014 and 2015 deforestation grew by 24%. These two consecutive increases take the country off track from its international commitments and the positive trend which had been taking place between 2004 and 2012. Reducing deforestation is expensive and the investment capacity of the Federal Government and of the states of the Amazon are seriously compromised with the financial crisis Brazil has been facing since 2014.
The mechanism called Emissions Reduction from Avoided Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) represents our best opportunity to leverage resources and deal with the social and economic challenges of the region. With REDD+, projects that conserve the forest are able to secure funding. Values can leverage investments in states and municipalities, creating a favorable environment for the participation of the private sector and a new direction toward an economy with low carbon emissions.
“It is worth re-stating that the states of the Amazon are going through a critical moment of economic recession and could be utilizing the resources of REDD to support activities that prevent and control deforestation,” noted Antônio Luiz Andrade, Deputy Executive Secretary of the state of Amazonas.
For this, however, a radical improvement in the funding strategy is needed in order to put the mechanism in place in Brazil. To date just over R$ 3 billion have been obtained as payment for REDD+ results. Funds, primarily from the governments of Norway and Germany, were allocated by the Amazon Fund and administered by the BNDES. The amount, though, represents less than 6% of the R$ 70 billion that could be raised by Brazil through REDD+ (using the reference value of $5 per ton of de CO2e used by the Amazon Fund in its contracts).
“REDD consists of a suite of mechanisms to consolidate a low carbon economy in the Amazon and is fundamental for achieving near zero rates of deforestation,” stated Alberto Tavares, director of the Company for the Development of Ecosystem Services of Acre. He added that “REDD+ promotes the diversification of revenue sources, supports gains up to the jurisdictional scale, and contributes to a continual and sustainable flow of investments.”
As the national coordinator for the Governors Task Force on Forests and Climate (GCF), Idesam has worked closely with the states of the Amazon to ramp up their dialogue with the Federal Government to support the raising of funds for state programs. This work has occurred through the Forum of Secretaries and the Forum of Governors of the Legal Amazon. We recently supported the scheduling of a meeting between state governments and the Ministry of Environment in Brasilia to re-establish the dialog about REDD+ in the Amazon- see national coverage and by the MMA.
We can celebrate that the political context is much more favorable with the entrance of the new Minister of Environment José Sarney-Filho. Despite the negative results of an increase in deforestation (caused by the previous government), the Minister’s mandate has been total support to the states and we hope for a very positive work plan for the year 2017. In recent events, shown by national media, Mato Grosso and Acre, Minister Sarney-Filho declared his support to the governments of Acre and Mato Grosso in advancing their REDD+ fundraising, reflecting an important signal to push forward with lasting policies and programs for the control of deforestation and promotion of sustainable development. The states of the Brazilian Amazon also note advances in the political context, as shared by Rubens Brito, Director of Environmental Management at SEMARH in Tocantins: “after 4 years at the GCF, the state of Tocantins faced challenges and new experiences, matured, and is now highlighted for its public policies and legal mechanisms for the conservation of forests and Cerrado, valuation of environmental assets, climate policies and sustainable environmental regulation.”
Other proof of the concrete advances in the national REDD+ agenda has been the beginning of meetings of the National Commission on REDD+ (CONAREDD+) and its Thematic Advisory Committees (CCTs) for (i) Financing, (ii) Federal Pact and (iii) Safeguards, with the objective to accelerate the regulation and implementation of REDD+ in Brazil. Active participation in these entities has become a priority in state agendas. As stated by Rubens Brito, “for 2017 the continuing challenges are for Jurisdictional REDD+ Program, Analysis and Valuation of our primary assets: Carbon, Water, Biodiversity. Besides this, we have another important agenda which is to consolidate the autonomy of the states in discussions about the national REDD+ strategy.”
The challenges for 2017 are to coordinate actions with civil society and state governments of the Amazon to achieve the improvements that need to be made in the governance structure and fundraising strategy of the National REDD+ Strategy. For this it will also be necessary to support the strengthening and organization of the Forum of Secretaries and Governors and ensure the qualified participation of state government representatives in CONAREDD+ and thematic advisory meetings in which the foundations for the regulation of REDD+ in Brazil will be defined.
Signing ceremony of the ASPY 2030 Agreement at COP 13
Renata Gomez, Pronatura Sur
On Saturday, December 10, the GCF member states of; Campeche, Quintana Roo and Yucatan, signed the Agreement for the Sustainability of the Yucatan Peninsula 2030 (ASPY 2030) at the Conference of the Parties (COP13) on biodiversity. The objective of this agreement is to promote the climate leadership of these states, which make-up the Yucatan Peninsula, at the national and international level.
The Governors of Quintana Roo, Carlos Joaquín González; Yucatan, Rolando Zapata Bello; and Campeche, Alejandro Moreno Cárdenas declared the agreement as a key opportunity to implement strategies for reducing the pledged emissions of the Peninsula as well as strategies to reduce deforestation, as committed under the Rio Branco Declaration, and restore forests as pledged to in the Bonn Challenge.
The Governor of Quintana Roo, Carlos Joaquín González, stated that "with this agreement, the Yucatan Peninsula becomes the first region in the country to work in a coordinated manner with a defined agenda with scopes and sustainability indicators”.
Some of the agreement objectives include:
- To join efforts from different sectors and actors to achieve low-emissions development and to promote the implementation of existing sustainability strategies.
- To strengthen the interinstitutional coordination at the state level and with the federation, the private sector, academic, financial, civil society and international institutions.
The agreement is a collaborative commitment between the three states of the Peninsula. Some of the common goals for 2030 include:
- Zero net deforestation by 2030 (and 80% by 2020, per the pledge of the Rio Branco Declaration).
- Restore two million hectares of land.
- Ensure that 50% of the land area and coastlines of the Yucatan Peninsula are under conservation and/or management programs.
- Promote Mayan biocultural sceneries.
- Attract resources from private and/or international sources representing the equivalent of the investment of public resources currently designated to promote the green economy.
- Restore 20% of reefs (54km) and 30% of the coastal sand dunes altered by human settlements (80km).
An unprecedented achievement in the area is the Declaration of the Private Sector for the Sustainability of the Yucatan Peninsula, which accompanies the ASPY. This declaration aims to bring together private sector companies concerned with moving towards environmentally-friendly production and working with communities within their spheres of action. Marcela Cristo, from the Modelo group, attended the signing ceremony on behalf of the national companies carrying out activities in the Yucatan Peninsula. Gustavo Rodríguez, president of Campeche’s Corporate Coordinating Council, attended the ceremony on behalf of local businesses.
In addition, the agreement has a collaborative component between the department of Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) and the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR), which establishes renewed relations for their collaboration to promote and facilitate land governance that aligns agricultural and forest policies.