Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project Achieves 2nd VCS Verification!

Apology: It has come to BCP’s attention that, due to an administrative error, an earlier version of this blog was posted online which erroneously said that LZRP was the 1st project in Africa to achieve two VCS verifications.  This is not the case: LZRP is one of several African REDD+ projects to achieve at least 2 VCS verifications.  We apologize to Wildlife Works, and the wider community for this error.

– Hassan Sachedina, Managing Director

The BCP Team is proud to announce that in August 2015 our Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project has achieved its 2nd verification against the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) for the monitoring period stretching from 2013-2014.

The Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project (LZRP) is only the third VCS verified REDD+ project in Africa that we are aware of to achieve at least two VCS verifications.  We are also the 2nd company in Africa to achieve this milestone.  It is also the first VCS-verified REDD+ project in Africa to have also achieved “triple gold” level validation against the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standard for “exceptional” climate, community and biodiversity benefits.  The LZRP was the second VCS-verified REDD+ project in the world to obtain CCB triple gold validation, after Terra Global Capital’s implemented Oddar Meanchey Project in Cambodia.

BCP's Forest Monitoring Team pose for a group photo

FMT & SCS team: Lawrence, Chimunye, Elvin, Francis (SCS), and Liason

The Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project conserves Rufunsa Conservancy, located in Rufunsa District of Lusaka Province, Zambia. The project area protects 40,000 hectares of intact miombo forest adjacent to the northwestern boundary of the Lower Zambezi National Park adjacent to the Lower Zambezi-Mana Pools Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA), which contains a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Mana Pools NP).  The TFCA is home to an estimated 23,000 elephants, one of Africa’s largest populations, and also provides habitat for lion, IUCN-listed vulnerable southern ground hornbill, wild dog, and locally threatened species such as sable, eland, and roan antelope.

Rufunsa Conservancy strategically protects 60 kilometers of the National Park’s boundary by providing a buffer zone between the park and customary lands, which are under significant commercial charcoal, immigration, and land use change pressure due to proximity to Lusaka.  In a straight line the conserved forest is approximately 100 kms from the center of the capital city, Lusaka. Zambia has the 5th highest deforestation rate in the world, and the highest deforestation amount by land cover of any country in Africa [UN-REDD, Benefits of Forest Ecosystems in Zambia and the Role of REDD+ in a Green Economy Transformation, 2015]. The proximity to the Great East Road, a major thoroughfare from Lusaka to Malawi and Mozambique, means that this area is at the front of a deforestation wave emanating from the capital city that is particularly intense, posing a threat to forests in Rufunsa Conservancy and national protected areas.

Through the affiliated BCP Trust, the project is also supporting community-based deforestation mitigation projects that are designed to address the major drivers of local deforestation by reducing poverty, improving livelihoods and providing meaningful alternatives to deforestation-dependent livelihoods. In particular, BCP Trust is supporting sustainable charcoal production (Eco-Charcoal), improved conservation farming practices, small livestock production projects and critical social services investments in local schools, all of which are linked explicitly to efforts to reduce deforestation and protect forests within the REDD+ project area. Total investment in community projects (net of BCP expenses and in addition to revenue share from VER sales) reached $80,000 in 2014.  BCP is very grateful to USAID for its support to Rufunsa District livelihoods through the USAID/Community Forests Program.

The LZRP is implemented by BCP— an African-headquartered, majority African-citizen owned and Zambian-based REDD+ social enterprise.  BCP works actively with local partners, including local Traditional Leaders, the Forestry Department and Zambia Wildlife Authority, to support project activities.

“We are very proud of our team and grateful to our partners in Zambia who helped to achieve this second verification milestone.  This verification shows that projects like LZRP can have meaningful impacts in reducing deforestation while generating significant poverty reduction benefits”, said Dr. Hassan Sachedina, MD of BCP.

Leon-Jacques Theron, BCP’s Senior Carbon Accounting Manager led the audit and added: “BCP has built a capable community based forest monitoring team consisting of Elvin Muchimba (Team Leader), Nichimunya Simweendenswe, Liason Chiakamba and Lawrence Musani. The team uses a smart phone to digitally collect all VCS forest inventory, soil data, biodiversity monitoring, leakage monitoring, disturbance monitoring and eco-charcoal inventory data.  It shows that community-based teams can collect high quality data that is integral to rigorous VCS audits. ”

The 2nd VCS audit was conducted by SCS Global Services (SCS) based in California, USA.  The first VCS verification and validation was conducted by DNV based in Europe.  Francis Eaton, a Master’s trained forester from the Yale School of Forestry led the audit. Mr. Eaton has performed assessments of REDD+ projects in many countries around the world and is also an accredited verifier under the state of California’s Air Resources Board.  He led a very rigorous audit schedule, including visiting the leakage area which involved a nine hour road trip in the Chiawa Game Management Area. “The LZRP is a remarkable area of pristine miombo woodlands within a matrix of extreme deforestation,” said Dr. Robert J. Hrubes, Executive Vice President of SCS Global Services. “It was clear during our time on-site that project personnel worked hard to ensure essential benefits to surrounding communities through the protection of LZRP, and we were pleased to confirm the project’s achievements against the Verified Carbon Standard.”

SCSGlobalLogoWith the addition of this new vintage of credits, BCP seeks buyers of these offsets from this project to support our ongoing efforts. In order for this project to succeed, it is essential that this project is able to remain funded through the sale of verified emissions reductions (VERs)—commonly known as “offsets” generated through our activities. If you are interested in learning more about opportunities to purchase bulk offsets generated through this unique project, please do not hesitate to contact us at: info@biocarbonpartners.com.

Individuals wishing to purchase offsets, please visit the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project’s Stand for Trees page.

 

BCP's Forest Monitoring Team showcase forest monitoring tools outside BCP's Rufunsa Conservancy office, Rufunsa District

BCP’s Forest Monitoring Team showcase forest monitoring tools outside BCP’s Rufunsa Conservancy office, Rufunsa District

 

This blog is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The content of this blog are the sole responsibility of BCP and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

Anabezi in Lower Zambezi National Park goes Carbon Neutral

Anabezi Camp in Lower Zambezi National Park (LZNP) is now the second camp in Zambia to go carbon neutral from VCS-verified forest carbon offsets as part of the initiative to achieve carbon neutrality status for the entire Park. Anabezi is a high end tourism camp in the LZNP near Kulefu Airstrip.  Working with BioCarbon Partners (BCP), Anabezi Camp has purchased carbon credits from the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project which plays a vital role in protecting the habitat and boundary on the northern boundary of the park. Anabezi Camp has provided a critical contribution and leadership in supporting this initiative which seeks to generate innovative conservation finance solutions to improve conservation of this important ecosystem and trans-frontier conservation area.  BCP assisted Anabezi to quantify its emissions footprint from fossil fuel and food consumption for the lodge and the Lusaka office.

The addition of Anabezi to this scheme follows upon the earlier partnership with Chiawa and Old Mondoro Lodges in the park, which signed up in June 2015. With Anabezi on board, it means that 50% of the total operators in the LZNP are now carbon-neutral from operations in 2015 through purchase of verified forest carbon offsets! This globally innovative initiative not only generates important conservation funds for local biodiversity but also aims to enhance the marketing of Lower Zambezi National Park, but also engages and creates awareness within the tourism sector about carbon neutrality from verified sources as a new benchmark in sustainable tourism.

BCP, together with Conservation Lower Zambezi, are excited about partnering with the tourism sector, and aim to finalize the Lower Zambezi National Park carbon neutral from operations status in 2015, which hopefully other parks in Africa will emulate as a gold standard for park operations and conservation.

Individuals wishing to offset their household annual emissions, please visit the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project page at Stand for Trees site, where you can offset your carbon impact.

To learn more about Anabezi Camp, please go to: www.anabezi.com

Anabezi Camp in Lower Zambezi National Park (LZNP), Zambia

Anabezi Camp in Lower Zambezi National Park (LZNP), Zambia

BioCarbon Partners Extend Operations To Mambwe District

As part of our expanding REDD+ activities under the USAID-funded Community Forests Program (CFP), BioCarbon Partners (BCP) has opened another office in Mambwe district, Mfuwe.

The Mfuwe support office will act as an operational base that will oversee various REDD+ and community engagement activities earmarked for Eastern Province, under the CFP.  BCP currently has four other offices supporting USAID/CFP; including two operational offices in Rufunsa District, one operational office in South Africa, and another support office in Lusaka.

The CFP aims to reduce  emissions  from  deforestation  and  forest  degradation,  reduce  poverty,  and  conserve biodiversity values in the Lower Zambezi and Luangwa Valley ecosystems; which are areas of global biodiversity value. BCP has been collaborating with GRZ, USAID and community partners to implement REDD+ under the CFP since 2014.

The new Mfuwe office has been opened with support from Musika, a long-term partner of BCP and the CFP. Musika is a Lusaka-based organization committed to reducing poverty by linking rural smallholders to agricultural markets. In 2014, Musika awarded a grant to BCP to support the expansion of community engagement activities under the CFP. Support covered by this grant included costs related to the establishment of new field-based offices, including the procurement of new office furniture and community engagement team equipment.

On behalf of the CFP, BCP would like to say thank you to Musika and our other old and new partners for their on-going support as we expand our field-based operations. We are excited to begin this new phase of REDD+ expansion into Eastern Province!

This blog is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The content of this blog are the sole responsibility of BCP and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

The CFP Mfuwe Site team poses in front of the newly opened Mfuwe office in Mambwe district

The CFP Mfuwe Site team poses in front of the newly opened Mfuwe office in Mambwe district

Mpanshya CRB Elections Supported Under CFP

Governance is critical to community-based work and forest protection under REDD+.

In May, under the USAID-funded Community Forests Program (CFP), BCP facilitated elections for the Community Resource Board (CRB) elections in Mpanshya Chiefdom, Rufunsa District. Technical, logistical (transportation) and financial support was provided to the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA), as the Government agency responsible for CRBs, in order to make these elections possible.

The elections process lasted 10 days, and was aimed at facilitating representative and fair elections of new CRB representatives from the Chiefdom, after CRBs had been disbanded earlier this year.

Since 2013, ZAWA has embarked on a process of restructuring community institutions, such as CRBs, with the aim of strengthening their governance capacity and promoting community ownership and sustainable management of wildlife.

In Zambia, CRBs are community-based democratically elected institutions that work with ZAWA to conserve wildlife resources in Game Management Areas, as well as open areas. As part of this, Village Scouts are employed through CRBs to work alongside ZAWA Wildlife Police Officers to monitor and protect wildlife and other natural resources.

 

In Rufunsa, BCP is working with Village Scouts from Mpanshya CRB to monitor and protect forest resources under the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project (LZRP). This partnership includes collaboration with ZAWA to patrol the northern boundary of the Lower Zambezi National Park, which shares a 60km boundary with the LZRP. The LZRP is implemented with support from USAID under the Community Forests Program (CFP), and in close collaboration with ZAWA and FD. Earlier this year, BCP signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ZAWA, formalizing this partnership under the CFP.

For more information about the USAID-funded CFP, see: http://biocarbonpartners.com/united-states-supports-zambian-community-forests-program/

 

This blog is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this blog are the sole responsibility of BCP and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

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