Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project achieves CCBA Gold Level validation

In June 2013, BCP’s Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project achieved validation against the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) Standards. Not only did the project “pass,” but the LZRP was also validated to the “Gold level” for “exceptional” impacts to local communities, biodiversity and climate change adaptation—the highest validation possible.

This is a significant achievement for Zambia’s first and currently only verifiable REDD+ project, and we are proud to be recognized against robust international standards as a project designed to bring “exceptional” positive community and environmental impacts. We are among the very first REDD+ projects in SADC to achieve all three gold level validation criteria. This validation illustrates the strength of the community, conservation and forest carbon science programming that the BCP Team in Zambia is implementing.

BCP strongly believes—and we are proud of the fact—that our “gold level” validation for exceptional community impacts is the result of our strong community focus, which has allowed us to develop positive relationships with local stakeholders, including local traditional leaders and government authorities. Throughout the validation process, local traditional leaders and government authorities even submitted Letters of Support to the CCBA auditors, demonstrating their support and commitment to the project.

Mr. Deuteronomy Kasaro, National REDD+ Coordinator of the Forestry Department, in the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection stated that: “BioCarbon Partners REDD+ efforts in Rufunsa District is providing fertile ground for a ‘learning by doing’ platform for stakeholders and policy makers to integrate lessons into the National REDD+ Strategy.  The project will provide lessons in the design and implementation of REDD+. We are pleased to partner with BCP in this pilot project, and that the project has received international recognition from CCBA, illustrating Zambia’s progress on the REDD+ front.”

The high rates of deforestation due to the proximity of Lusaka’s urban charcoal markets are impacting community natural resources.  The late Chief Bunda Bunda stated, on behalf of local traditional leaders: “We are enthusiastic to partner with the government and BioCarbon Partners to reduce deforestation in the Bunda Bunda Chiefdom. We [are] alarmed at the high rates of deforestation threatening community well-being, and we are keen to partner to conserve forests and find alternatives to charcoaling.”

The Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project is addressing deforestation mitigation through a suite of 18 interconnected community-based deforestation mitigation interventions, such as sustainable ‘eco-charcoal’ harvesting, conservation farming, improved chicken production projects, and job creation designed to provide alternatives and incentives to reduce deforestation.   Rufunsa District Commissioner, Mr. Paul Kasongo stated that: “I wish on behalf of the government to convey my gratitude to the works that are being done…BioCarbon Partners’ Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project is one project which is making life easier and more productive. The community is being positioned in a way that they will live to appreciate nature and also earn a living by not destroying forests…”

Dr. Hassan Sachedina, Managing Director of BCP added that: “The BCP team is very proud to receive such a strong validation of our activities, which include our robust community engagement strategy, strong local presence and focus, and innovations in community-based MRV techniques using smartphone technology.  Zambia has the highest annual amount of deforestation by land cover in Africa according to UN-REDD.  This first validated REDD+ project will hopefully pave the way for other REDD+ investments in Zambia with transformational community and environmental benefits.”

With CCBA validation complete, BCP now aims to achieve verification against the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) by the end of 2013.

P1050907Children in Mweeshang’ombe plant trees for a school fruit orchard, with help from BCP Trust and participants in the BCP-supported Conservation Farming Training Program.