Nepal’s new REDD+ Program to protect 2.4 million hectares of forests
Kathmandu, Nepal – A new REDD+ program in Nepal is poised to protect about 2.4 million hectares of forests between 2019-2024 thanks to the approval of Nepal’s Emissions Reduction Program Document (ERPD) without conditions at the 18th meeting of the FCPF Carbon Fund last month in Paris.
The performance-based Emissions Reduction (ER) Program covers 12 contiguous districts of Nepal’s Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) with the potential to recover up to US$45 million in lieu of 9.16 million tons of CO2e sequestered over a six-year period ending 2024.
This represents a benchmark achievement for Nepal in its efforts to support local communities and end forest loss in the TAL. The ER Program is a model for implementation of performance-based activities to address drivers of deforestation and degradation in Nepal to enable full implementation of REDD+ in alignment with the Paris Agreement.
“The approval of the ERPD, which aims to reduce emissions through enhanced sustainable management of forests and community based forest management, is a milestone for Nepal’s REDD+ Program,” said Dr. Sindhu Prasad Dhungana, Chief of National REDD+ Center of the Ministry of Forests and Environment. “We are thankful to our partner organizations including WWF for this achievement and look forward to the collaboration of government agencies, non-governmental organizations and local communities along with indigenous people for effective implementation of the ERPD.”
The ER Program, under the leadership of the Ministry of Forests and Environment, will expand community-based forest management regimes (community forestry and collaborative forestry), and enhance the benefits of localized forest management with increased knowledge and application of Sustainable Forest Management principles. The program’s activities will also expand on years of work providing rural households with energy alternatives to fuelwood in the form of improved cookstoves and biogas plants that reduce pressure on forests.
WWF Nepal is a key partner to the government in the implementation of the ER Program while having provided technical leadership in drafting the ERPD and development of the Emissions Reduction Program Idea Note (ERPIN) as the basis for the ERPD.
“With immense support from WWF US, WWF Finland, WWF Network and the USAID funded Hariyo Ban Program, we have been successful once again in delivering an innovative conservation approach in Nepal through the new REDD+ program,” stated Dr. Ghana S Gurung, Country Representative of WWF Nepal. “This maiden undertaking will provide added impetus to Nepal’s work with local communities as stewards in biodiversity conservation while protecting the homes of our iconic wildlife such as tigers and rhinos.”
WWF Nepal’s engagement in REDD+ began in early 2008 with the Carbonated Tiger Project which looked at estimating carbon stock in tiger habitats. This was later expanded to a landscape level approach to develop the first forest carbon inventory in Nepal in the Terai Arc Landscape in 2011, used as the subnational carbon stock baseline, and later upscaled in the Sacred Himalayan Landscape in 2012 to build access to international climate finance to local communities through carbon sequestration in these regions.
Following 10 years of engagement in the REDD+ process, Nepal is poised to deliver stronger conservation results through the performance-based REDD+ program following final contract negotiations with the World Bank.