As world leaders gather at COP27 to discuss how to make good on their commitments to end deforestation, the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Ministry of Environment agreed today to sign contracts with a select group of international corporate buyers for over 10 million tonnes of Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) from three of Cambodia’s pioneering voluntary REDD+ projects, developed by the Wildlife Conservation Society and Wildlife Alliance in partnership with the Royal Government of Cambodia.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, deforestation and forest degradation are among the largest contributors to the global climate and biodiversity crises, responsible for 10-12% of all emissions. It will not be possible to stabilize the climate below 1.5 degrees of global heating without stopping deforestation by 2030. REDD+, an acronym for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, is a proven UN-envisioned climate change mitigation approach that enables communities and governments to secure performance-based payments from the voluntary carbon markets for emissions reductions generated through effective forest protection. REDD+ projects address the root causes of deforestation, by enabling governments, local landowners, and forest communities to gain value from conserving their standing forests.
Through these sale transactions, the Cambodian Ministry of Environment has secured critical financing to protect some of the most vulnerable forests in Cambodia, and support communities on the frontlines of stopping deforestation. Sale proceeds will be invested to scale up site-based activities within the project landscapes, strengthen local and community-based institutions to govern community-level revenue sharing, increase access to jobs, education and healthcare for the local communities, and secure the long-term financial stability of the projects.
Cambodia’s Minister of Environment H.E. Dr. Say Samal said, “Project-based REDD+ is an essential part of Cambodia’s strategy to achieve its nationally determined contributions (NDCs), while ensuring that communities and our government have the resources needed for Cambodian projects to deliver emission reduction results at scale. Funds generated from VER sales help Cambodia’s Ministry of Environment enact effective policies that support our country’s efforts to reduce deforestation, including our transition to a nested jurisdictional REDD+ program. At a time when the world is struggling to meet the commitments enshrined in the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, Cambodia’s experience demonstrates how project-based REDD+ can help countries like ours, which are ready to preserve its forests, to secure immediate, sustainable, and large-scale financing.
Cambodia is currently scaling up its REDD+ program by expanding its portfolio of projects, led on the ground by developer partners including the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Wildlife Alliance.
Todd Stevens, Executive Director for Markets at Wildlife Conservation Society said: “Today’s announcement is a testament to the transformative partnership between the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Ministry of Environment and WCS. Our close cooperation has advanced science-based forest conservation and provided sustainable development pathways to Indigenous and local communities for over a decade. Tried and true projects such as the Keo Seima REDD+ project lay the foundation for a nationwide REDD+ program capable of delivering durable community benefits and conservation outcomes to more of Cambodia’s protected forests.”
Dr Suwanna Gauntlett, Founder and CEO of Wildlife Alliance said: “Cambodia’s REDD+ projects adhere to the most rigorous monitoring, evaluation, and independent verification processes. They produce high-quality verified emissions reductions that protect forests, reduce emissions, and safeguard the populations of endangered species in addition to ensuring services and livelihoods for forest communities. These life-changing benefits demonstrate to forest nations that they can pursue economic growth while preserving the natural beauty of their countries.”
The REDD+ sales were generated through a recent carbon credit offering that was facilitated by Everland, a conservation marketing company appointed by the Royal Government of Cambodia to market the VERs generated by the projects. Leading international corporate buyers participated in the offering, which generated 15 million tonnes in total bids, as part of their strategy to offset unavoidable emissions, while contributing to wildlife protection and community development.
Jeremy Manion, Managing Director of Carbon Markets at Arbor Day Carbon said: “REDD+ should be an important part of any corporate strategy to achieve decarbonization goals while meaningfully contributing to urgent global climate and biodiversity goals with a scalable solution. The Arbor Day Foundation is proud to support Cambodia’s forest conservation efforts through the purchase of VERs that make it possible for high-quality REDD+ projects, such as Keo Seima, to advance their successful forest conservation into the future.”
Pamela Brazier, SVP of Business Development for Everland, said: “We are overjoyed with the swift, positive market response for Cambodia’s high-quality REDD+ project model, which has been proven to deliver transformative climate and sustainable development impacts. The voluntary carbon market is ready to provide transformative financing right now. We invite other forest nations to collaborate with us to bring the benefits of project-based REDD+ to their national REDD+ efforts.”
Everland represents the world’s largest portfolio of high-impact, forest conservation (REDD+) projects in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America which play an effective role in stopping deforestation while protecting wildlife and generating investment for local community development. Everland brings forest communities and corporations together in a common cause to protect some of the world’s most important and vulnerable forests.
Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquariums to achieve its conservation mission.
About Wildlife Alliance
Wildlife Alliance is a global leader in the direct protection of threatened forests and wildlife. Wildlife Alliance delivers hands-on direct protection to 1.7 million hectares of the Cardamom Rainforest Landscape, one of Southeast Asia’s last unfragmented rainforests in Southeast Asia. Wildlife Alliance has invested 14 years in helping to conserve the Cardamom Rainforest and has an unrivaled track record of effective law enforcement and protected area management in the landscape. Our unique approach of structured, supervised, and managed law enforcement, in which we technically mentor and coach government law enforcement staff 24-7 in the field, has created a culture of excellence in enforcement and zero tolerance of corruption. WA’s work produces genuine carbon emission reductions and supports local communities whilst protecting the fantastic biodiversity of the Cardamom Rainforest Landscape.