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Jamaica to earn from reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
Published on May 15, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Denise Dennis

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) -- Jamaica has embarked on the first phase of a global initiative that will enable the country to cash in on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forestry Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD) aims to provide positive incentives to countries to contribute to climate-change mitigation through activities in the forestry and land use sectors.

“So, the programme is basically trying to provide a dollar value for the carbon that is stored in trees and allow the value to be greater than any other opportunity cost that is out there,” said senior research officer of the Forestry Department, Brahim Diop.

He said the mechanism, which falls under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), seeks to curb emissions, particularly in the forestry sector, most of which are tropical forests in developing countries.

Diop explained that, globally, the land use sector – forestry, agriculture and mining – contributes approximately 25 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

The forestry sector is responsible for 11 per cent of those GHG emissions.

The UNFCCC developed a set of guidelines for countries to implement the REDD+ mechanism which are to be implemented over three phases.

The first is REDD+ Readiness, where countries are expected to design national strategies and action plans alongside relevant stakeholders, to be able to combat the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, build capacity and develop policies.

Diop said Jamaica has conducted a land use assessment of the island, the results of which were used to revise the national forest management and conservation plan, to be used as the national strategy.

This document is now with the ministry of economic growth and job creation for approval. Jamaica is expected to complete Phase One by 2021.

The phase also includes establishing a national forest monitoring system, which is a holistic system to monitor forest cover nationally over a period of time, as well as a measurement reporting and verification (MRV) system.

The country will also establish the forest reference emission levels, to estimate the total carbon dioxide the forested areas are emitting on an annual basis. This is used as a baseline to determine how well the country does in REDD+ activities.

A safeguard information system will also be set up to ensure that REDD+ activities are environmentally friendly and that any benefits accrued are distributed equitably to all stakeholders involved in the mitigation activities.

Phase two of the programme will be the implementation of policies and measures, and phase three includes the results-based payments.

“Therefore, if the Forestry Department were to put on an activity to restore a degraded area, once you plant trees, the carbon content in that area will increase; and once you can prove, through calculations, that the carbon content has been increased, then the country can get payment for that difference,” Diop said.

The UNFCCC is willing to pay up to US$5 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent.

The national initiative is to be driven by collaboration with the relevant stakeholders, including the agriculture, mining and transportation sectors.

The UN-REDD was launched in 2008 and builds on the convening role and technical expertise of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Jamaica is receiving support for the programme through the Green Climate Fund of the UNEP.
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