Thursday, April 03, 2014


BRIEF: Status of Forest Carbon Rights and Implications for Communities, the Carbon Trade, and REDD+ Investments (RRI)

The Rights and Resources Initiative announces the release of its latest research on the challenges of establishing carbon rights and its implications on Indigenous Peoples and local communities. The brief, Status of Forest Carbon Rights and Implications for Communities, the Carbon Trade, and REDD+ Investments, reveals that there are very few legal protections and safeguards regarding forest communities' rights to trade carbon.

This brief presents findings from forthcoming research and examines the status of existing legal frameworks regarding Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ rights to trade forest carbon. There has been limited cross-comparable research on this question, despite its importance, and the lack of information has constrained full understanding of the nature and scope of the issue, thus limiting informed debates and the development of adequate action plans. The World Bank Carbon Fund’s Methodological Framework, for example, does not identify or provide adequate guidance on how to address the risks associated with the existing ambiguity on carbon rights. The Methodological Framework notes, “The status of rights to carbon and relevant lands should be assessed to establish a basis for successful implementation of the emissions reduction program,” but says nothing about the need to respect or enforce those rights. While acknowledging that title to emissions reduction may not be entirely clear in many countries, the guidelines for the transfer of emissions reductions state, “At the time of transfer of the emissions reductions, the Emissions Reductions Program Proponent must be able to demonstrate that it has obtained authority to transfer title to emissions reductions to the Carbon Fund.” It is not clear whether those who wield the “authority” to transfer title and those who hold the rights to these resources are the same entity.

The brief is available here (pdf).

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