GCF Member Spotlight 

Madre De Dios, Peru 

By Madre De Dios

The GCF is starting 2012 by welcoming its 16th member, Madre de Dios, whose petition for membership was officially approved at the 2011 GCF Annual Meeting in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia and is effective as of January 1, 2012.

The Peruvian region (a geopolitical territory similar to a state or province) of Madre de Dios is located in the southern part of Peru in the Amazon region and shares borders with Brazil and Bolivia. Madre de Dios has a total area of 85,184 km2 and an estimated population of 80,309 inhabitants, according to the last national census in 2007. Around 3% of the population is indigenous, made up of 8 different ethnic groups organized into 32 native communities. This figure does not account for other indigenous groups voluntarily isolated in the forests of Madre de Dios.

This region has the highest population growth rate in Peru, 4.8%, almost 2.5 times the average national growth rate, and this growth is not limited to urban areas. Rural areas have shown a permanent positive growth pattern, different than most other rural areas in Peru, whose population is decreasing in absolute terms. This is important because rural populations tend to have a greater impact on deforestation than urban populations have.

Madre de Dios is known as the “capital of biodiversity” in Peru because of its remarkable wild fauna and flora and its low deforested area (4.75%). For this reason, 54% of its area is under legal protection. This is a challenge because the forested areas are in very high demand, mainly by migrants displaced by the recently paved Interoceanic Highway that connects Brazil and Peru and gold miners due to the growing prices of gold, one of the main threats to forests of the region. In 2007, the number of migrants amounted to 44,985, which was 56% of the total population that year.

Historically, the main economic activities in the region have been Brazil nut harvesting, timber logging, and ecotourism, but agriculture, cattle ranching, and especially illegal gold mining have increased in recent years. Large scale operations such as palm oil plantations or cattle ranching have not been a common practice in Madre de Dios in the past but this may change in the near future with the new highway attracting foreign investors.

Forest Activities

The Brazil nut is a non-timber forest product, the fruit of a hegemonic tree in the Southern Peruvian Amazon Rainforest that has been traded in international markets since the 1920’s, originally by Brazil. In Peru, Madre de Dios is the only region with Brazil nut forests (around 1 million hectares). The product is mainly exported (95%), generating about 15 million dollars per year for the Peruvian economy. Around 20,000 families depend, directly or indirectly, on this activity. For the families who manage a Brazil nut concession (around 1,100 concessionaries), the sale of the nut represents 67% of their annual income, even though it is a seasonal activity.

In 2009, timber production in Madre de Dios was 139,316 cubic meters of sawn wood and 290,450 cubic meters of round wood, which represents 17% of the national timber production. It is important to note that not all the timber comes from forest concessions. Around 23% comes from Brazil nut concessions or reforestation concessions. However, forest concessions produce the bulk at 77% of total regional supply, with an average productivity of 2.2 cubic meters per hectare per year. This is very low productivity which could easily multiply 4 times without affecting the sustainability of the forest resource. Some of the timber produced from Madre de Dios forests is exported and its value amounts to around 38 million dollars per year (in 2009).

The deforestation rate in Madre de Dios has increased from 12.461 hectares per year during the period of 1990-2000 to 22.621 hectares during 2000-2010, according to the National Institute of Natural Resources (INRENA) and the Research Institute of the Peruvian Amazon (IIAP). However, a technical conciliation process needs to be conducted as there are differences in the estimates of the deforestation rate. Other sources have found lower rates of deforestation.

Preventing Deforestation in Madre de Dios

Madre de Dios elected a new Regional President (similar to a Governor), José Luis Aguirre Pastor, in October 2010 whose term is from 2011-2014. The new Regional Government is fully committed to addressing the structural drivers of deforestation such as illegal mining and asked the national government to declare Madre de Dios in a state of Environmental Emergency. Approval of this request will allow the region to limit mining to specific pre-assigned concessions; avoid the establishment of new mining areas, (in suit with the National Government’s Initiative) and implement a permanent monitoring strategy and punishment for illegal miners, who will risk losing their machinery if caught.

An effort underway to promote REDD development in the region, The “Regional Roundtable for Environmental Services” (MSAR - acronyms in Spanish), was created in July, 2009 and formalized in September, 2010. MSAR is a branch of the national “REDD Roundtable” group, which is a discussion forum between civil society and governmental institutions. MSAR includes the participation of the Regional Government in Madre de Dios and public and private entities working on REDD initiatives. The group convenes weekly to discuss topics related to REDD such as legal, technical, and safeguard issues. The goal of the initiative is to strengthen local REDD capabilities and knowledge; organize debates and produce surveys and research; and contribute to the national REDD building process.

The Regional Government has officially recognized MSAR through a state law, revealing the level of importance the Regional Government gives the issue of deforestation and symbolizing the significance of the involvement of civil society in this effort. In addition, a Technical Cooperation Agreement has been signed between the Regional Government and civil society organizations aimed at developing a working group that will generate the regional baseline, projected scenarios for future deforestation and carbon stock maps. The results from this working group, projected to be complete at the end of 2012, will produce what will be considered the official scenario for REDD projects in Madre de Dios and will be submitted to the Environment Ministry for their consolidation into the national baseline for Peru. In a related effort, the Regional Government is in the process of establishing a comprehensive database for public usage that complies all the forest and carbon inventories carried out in the region, including the one developed by Carnegie Institute, High-resolution forest carbon stocks and emissions in the Amazon.

Madre de Dios also has also been addressing property rights issues on its agenda and is partly tackling it through the Regional Program for Forest and Wildlife Management (PRMFFS - its acronym in Spanish). PRMFFS is designing the terms of reference that will be used as guidelines for developing planning tools for the economic use of environmental services. The terms of reference are in line with the recently approved National Forestry Law that gives the right to trade and benefit from the sale of the carbon to the legal holder of the forest (concessionaries, titled landowner or state).

Several REDD initiatives are being developed in the region including, Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Tambopata National Reserve and in Bahuaja-Sonene National Park, Madre de Dios region - Peru (undergoing validation) and Madre de Dios Amazon REDD Project which was validated in 2009 - CCB Standards First Edition - Gold Level. Visit the CCB Standards website for more on the projects. The Regional Government is making efforts at preventing deforestation, but also acknowledges that many rely on the forests for their livelihood. The government is thus promoting sustainable economic activities such as Agroforestry Projects in the buffer zones. One example of this is promoting biodiversity though combining forestry and fruit trees with traditional crops in La Pampa Sector, the last barrier between the miners and Tambopata National Reserve (part of the famous biodiversity hotspot Vilcabamba-Amboró Conservation Corridor and home to many indigenous cultures). Similar to the national government, Madre de Dios is committed to promoting private investment as a source of income generation for urgent action to mitigate deforestation.

In This Issue

The Brazil nut tree is the most important tree in the Madre de Dios forests as it is the basis of a traditional source of income in rural areas.
Photo: Moises Benites
Aerial image of the devastating impact of illegal mining on the landscape in Madre de Dios.
Photo: Moises Benites
Variation in above ground carbon storage at 0.1 ha resolution throughout a 4.3 million ha area in the Peruvian Amazon region.
Source: Greg Asner
A bird at Lago Sandoval in Tambopata National Reserve.
Photo: Moises Benites

REDD Developments 

The Durban REDD+ Outcome 

By Gus Silva-Chávez, REDD+ Project Manager and Chris Meyer, Amazon Basin project coordinator, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)

In an annual ritual, government negotiators, NGOs and journalists attended the December 2011 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations in Durban, South Africa. Negotiators in Durban approved technical guidelines for ensuring that reference levels -- benchmarks for measuring progress in reducing emissions from deforestation -- have environmental integrity. EDF had been eagerly anticipating this technical decision going into Durban, these new guidelines will provide a framework and necessary guidelines on how to establish reference levels that are based on science and that can serve as a measuring stick for environmental performance and financial compensation.

REDD+ policies got a major boost in Durban when countries agreed that all sources of funding, including carbon markets, are eligible to pay for REDD+ activities. After years of exploring how to pay for all three stages of REDD+ (capacity building, early implementation and national-level pay-for-performance), the UN has put its seal of approval on the use of markets. Estimates indicate that while public financing is needed, especially for the capacity building stage, only large-scale, sustainable funding from carbon markets will generate sufficient funding. EDF applauds this decision.

The decision on REDD+ finance, in the “Long-term Cooperative Action” (LCA) negotiations, included a clear endorsement of all sources of finance, a call for a REDD+ finance workshop and a technical paper in 2012.

Looking forward to next year’s climate negotiations in Qatar, countries will start deciding on the details of reference levels, and some will begin to calculate their reference levels using the guidance decided in Durban. As more specific REDD+ financing methods are developed, countries will hold a REDD+ finance workshop and produce a technical paper that will attempt to answer some of the questions around financing REDD+.

Indigenous peoples & REDD+

Negotiators in Durban approved critical provisions for ensuring the rights of Indigenous Peoples are respected and will be safeguarded in the implementation of REDD+ programs. Parties also outlined the protections for Indigenous Peoples prominently in the LCA’s financing sections. Still, negotiators only developed a framework for implementation of REDD+ programs and decided to continue working on the content of the REDD+ systems next year. 

Durban resulted in a positive step forward in providing preliminary guidance for the reporting on the implementation of safeguards as countries launch REDD readiness initiatives already being financed through the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, UN-REDD program, and other bilateral initiatives. More importantly, we’re seeing indigenous peoples in many countries developing their own consultation and information gathering processes that will feed information into these systems.

The Durban conference as a whole produced surprisingly good results, given our modest expectations. However, it is important to note that there are a lot of concrete actions taking place outside of the UNFCCC forum, including efforts to open a path for REDD+ credits from Brazil, Mexico and beyond to flow into California’s emerging carbon market. Top-down efforts at the international level can only succeed if bottom-up actions like these are being successfully implemented.

For additional information on EDF’s international work, please visit www.edf.org/international

UN REDD $4 million grant to Nigeria 

Towards the end of 2011 at the seventh Policy Board meeting (PB7) in Germany, the UN-REDD Programme announced its approval of US$4 million in funding for Nigeria’s National Program for REDD+, after reviewing the National Program Document (NPD) submitted by Nigeria (assessment of the NPD available here). With this announcement, the total amount of approved funding for UN-REDD National Programmes has reached US$59.3 million, according to a press release from the UN-REDD.

Nigeria’s National Program proposes a two track approach which starts with a track on capacity building and strategic framework development for REDD+ at the national level. The second track focuses on the subnational level in Cross River State specifically. Cross River is the most forested state in Nigeria containing over 50% of the country’s remaining tropical high forests and is Nigeria’s only member of the GCF Task Force. The subnational track will carry-out institutional and strategy-building activities, serve as a demonstration model for the Nation, and encourage REDD+ efforts in other states. The involvement of other Nigerian states is crucial as it will help guard against leakage.

Click here for a presentation with more information on Nigeria’s National Program for REDD+.

Watch Odigha Odigha of Cross River, Nigeria discuss REDD in Nigeria at Forest Day 5 in South Africa.

Monitoring Deforestation from the Ground to the Cloud, a workshop by Google and Imazon 

By Humala Pontas, Central Kalimantan

8-10 November, Sao Paolo, Brazil

This workshop focused on the latest available techniques for collecting, managing, monitoring and validating environmental data developed by Google for Imazon’s Deforestation Alert System (SAD). All the tools presented at the workshop were based on an open source platform.

During the first day, participants were introduced to Open Data Kit (ODK). ODK is a set of tools that allows users to collect text, photos, videos, and data using an android device, even without internet connection, and then publish data to the web where it can be incorporated into Google Fusion Tables, Google Earth Engine and Google Earth Builder. ODK is evolving rapidly and is very promising for field work, with the potential to replace many common field tools like weatherproof paper and pencil and data loggers. While ODK eliminates the need to input the same data several times (removing the opportunity for human error), the overall performance of ODK depends on the quality of the device (smartphone) and its version of Android Operating System.

The second day focused on the tools Google has developed that can integrate deforestation related data and produce useful outputs. Google Fusion tables, for instance, make it easy to compile and manipulate the data gathered from android devices embedded with ODK. As the name suggests, the Tables are able to accept spatial, numeric, textual and graphical data and provide the user the option to visualize and publish the data as maps, timelines and charts. Once the data is uploaded to Fusion Tables, data processing and analyzing can take place, and the results can be presented and merged with more complex spatial data in Google Earth Builder, a tool that allows users to upload and manage data from multiple departments and create custom layers which can then be shared on Google Earth. According to Google, Google Earth Engine brings together the world’s satellite imagery and makes it available online with tools for mining the warehouse of data to detect changes and map trends.

Finally, we learned about the partnership between Imazon and Google. Google and Imazon worked together using the Earth Engine platform to develop SAD, an application for detecting deforestation. This project gives us some insight as to how the ground data gathered using ODK was linked with remote sensing data to create a deforestation alert system and creates a model that could be used in other parts of the world.

The last day of the workshop was reserved for discussion with a focus on the future. Remaining gaps and the steps which need to be taken to address the gaps were identified. As a representative of the GCF Task Force, I have the sense that in the not so distant future, these tools will allow us (at the subnational level) to be even closer to the communities who are doing really good things in managing forest resources. I’m excited about the promising future based on what has been uncovered at this workshop, as there is potential to bring communities together from around the world who are all working on preventing deforestation.

GCF News 

GCF at COP 17 

6 December, Durban, Zwazulu-Natal

Nine of the sixteen GCF member states and provinces attended the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa (COP 17) and participated in a dozen side events during the eleven-day conference. The side events provided excellent opportunities for sharing the progress of the GCF and its individual members and promoting the GCF’s core objective of reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation in tropical forest jurisdictions by supporting realistic pathways to forest maintaining rural development at the subnational level. GCF members also participated in the Forest Day 5 line-up and connected with fellow members during a GCF-hosted dinner. Click here for the GCF’s COP website and here for a full summary of GCF activities at COP 17.

Ana Euler of Amapá at the GCF booth at Forest Day 5.

Chiapas Establishes Climate Change Commission & Releases Climate Change Program 

18 November, Chiapas, Mexico

In mid-November, federal, state and municipal government officials, representatives from NGOs, academic institutions and the private sector gathered just outside the capital of the state of Chiapas in Chiapa de Corzo for the launch of Chiapas’ Climate Change Commission and presentation of the final Climate Change Action Program for Chiapas (CCAPCH) which analyzes deforestation and forest degradation in the state. The Climate Change Commission is tasked with coordinating the state government in the development and implementation of climate change adaptation and mitigation policies for the state of Chiapas and is made up of fifteen state government agencies in Chiapas who took oath to join the Commission at the event on the 18th.

Chiapas’ climate change law, The Adaption and Mitigation Climate Change Law for the state of Chiapas, issued in December of 2010, called for the Commission to be established and created a framework for climate change public policies in the state. CCAPCH provides a clear directive for the performance of the state government and guidelines for the development of climate change policies and institutional frameworks and will help inform the new Commission as it works to develop strategies for Chiapas.

Juan Sabines Guerrero, Governor of Chiapas with Judith MacGregor, Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Mexico at the event in Chiapa de Corzo.

GCF Workshop in Brazil 

By Mariana Pavan

7-9 November, Brasilia, Brazil

The representatives of the GCF Brazilian States gathered the 7th-9th of November, in Brasilia, for their third workshop of 2011. The objective of this meeting was to discuss what the GCF’s level of participation should be at COP 17, held in Durban, South Africa, and plan activities accordingly. Also at the workshop, the GCF Brazilian States started to prepare for and develop a strategy for the GCF in 2012, focusing on how the GCF can help leverage and accelerate the process of building REDD+ in Brazil. Another important item on the agenda was the Rio+20 Conference, to be held in Brazil in June 2012. At the workshop, the group discussed and identified where the GCF should focus its efforts during the conference.

The states also had a meeting with representatives of the Climate Change and Environmental Quality Department (Ministry of Environment), in order to establish a dialogue between the different levels of government about the ongoing REDD+ initiatives at the state and federal levels. Potential avenues for integrating efforts in the future to develop a national REDD+ strategy in Brazil were also discussed.

GCF Brazilian members at the workshop in Brasilia.

GCF Task Updates 

Task 4 GCF Communications 

The updated GCF brochure is now available at this link and on the GCF website. The GCF Secretariat is continuing work with the GCF members to develop informational materials about each state and province with information from Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Chiapas, and Mato Grosso already complete. The Secretariat is also working with members to develop a GCF primer for incoming Governors and new staff members in 2012. Please contact Carly Hernandez for more details or if you are a member and are interested in assisting.

Click here to see the full GCF brochure.

Upcoming events 

GCF Nigerian Workshop 

TBD February, Calabar, Nigeria

GCF Indonesian Workshop 

TBD February, Jakarta, Indonesia

Climate Focus GCF Meeting 

13-14 February, Barcelona, Spain

Rio +20 

4-6 June 2012, Rio de Janiero, Brazil

GCF 2012 Annual Meeting 

TBD September/October, Chiapas, Mexico


26 November – 7 December, Qatar

To receive GCF e-newsletters, sign up at the GCF Website or contact the GCF Secretariat.