An REDD+ section will be set up under the Watershed Management Division (WMD) as an immediate follow-up to the National Workshop on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).
The agriculture ministry is yet to approve the proposal.
REDD is an effort to create a financial value for stored carbon in the forests, it offers incentives to developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon path for sustainable development. It goes further than just deforestation and forest degradation. It includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancing carbon stocks in the forest
The REDD+ Focal Officer of WMD, Tashi Samdrup said a technical officer will look after the section for the starters and a national consultant who will basically handle managerial issues and function as a support staff will be attached with the section.
“The challenges are many which include the complexities and the need for a lot of technical people but in terms of technical capacity, Bhutan would benefit immensely,” he said.
Further the country would be in better position to manage the forests and in the long run the benefit would also be on the financial front.
The SNV would also help draft the REDD+ strategy.
The head of WMD, Chado Tshering said that in principle the creation of the section has been approved. The ministry, according to him has fully committed to take REDD+ on board as a program in collaboration with UN-REDD (United Nations REDD program).
Thus far, the forest resources have been decentralized from the central way of management. Some analysts worry about it getting centralized however, when the carbon storage is accounted, it would be done at the national level.
“But the benefits should not be recentralized,” Chado Tshering said.
Different countries have different needs and criticisms on the REDD+ projects around the world would not necessarily be the same with Bhutan.
The other criticism on REDD+ raised at the global level was locking out indigenous people from use of forest resources to ensure the forest remained intact. To this, he said that REDD+ is putting different safeguard measure and also include the marginalized people at times of consultation.
“We should be positive as I feel REDD+ is the cheapest way to reduce carbon emissions. There are alternatives such as replacing polluting cars with those non-polluting and others but it comes with a cost,” he said.
Further it would be much easier with the practice of community forest already in place.
On the commitment front, all those that were committed at the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations have not come through except for Norway’s contribution. “Because of its importance, the funding will ultimately get through. Besides, a concrete agreement with a major portion on REDD+ might come through in another five years,” he added.