Bhutan may soon be able to sell its carbon credits to the industrialized countries once everything is in place
Bhutan will adopt a phased program of implementing REDD+ (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and forest Degradation) in securing its ecological and economic benefits.
REDD+ is a mechanism that establishes incentives for developing countries to protect and better manage their forest resources by creating financial value for the carbon stored in forests.
The Watershed Management Division (WMD) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest will be organizing a National level workshop on REDD+ strategy and action plan development.
The focal person for REDD+ program for Bhutan, TashiSamdrup, WMD, said one of the main objectives of the workshop is to bring all the stakeholders together and provide opportunity for the participants to familiarize with the concept of REDD+ scheme and educate them on the process of a REDD+ strategy development.
“REDD+ program is in the initial stages at the moment but we have started it,” said TashiSamdrup.
REDD+ is linked with a market mechanism that allows developed countries to offset their emissions by purchasing carbon credits from developing countries. “Once Bhutan is ready for the implementation we will have to look for a market for our stored carbon,” said TashiSamdrup.
A feasibility study conducted on REDD+ program in Bhutan revealed that Bhutan has a huge potential. “There is a huge potential for Bhutan as more than 70% is under forest cover, and in addition 50% of the total area is protected areas,” said TashiSamdrup.
However, without proper guidelines it poses a challenge to implement REDD+ programs in Bhutan.
“We will have a National consultative workshop on REDD+ strategy and this will guide us on how REDD+ program in Bhutan will be implemented,” saidTashiSamdrup.
As of now Bhutan has no carbon estimation of its own. “Until we have the capacity to estimate our own carbon capacity we may have to use the default value (to estimate carbon storage) of neighboring countries like Nepal,” he said.
He said to implement the REDD+ program, capacity building and creating awareness among stakeholders involved is being carried out.
“We need scientific based knowledge to estimate the carbon stored in our forests,” he said.
He said to cultivate REDD+ program in the country, Bhutan must have a National Forest Inventory which is still in the process at the moment.
“To fully implement REDD+ it might take around 5 to 6 years,” said TashiSamdrup.
The feasibility study also recommended forming a National REDD+ Advisory Group and a REDD+ Technical Working Group.
“The very reason for institutionalizing the working group would be to guide the REDD+ readiness process,” he said.
The groups’ will develop a National REDD+ strategy, setting out the intention and possible pathways over time and formulate a REDD+ policy. It will also have the responsibility to give technical guidance to the Bhutanese negotiators to the Conference of Parties (COPs) and the representation in the UN-REDD framework.
Bhutan is a country of high-forest and low deforestation and forest degradation. It has been declared as a carbon neutral country which means that it will ensure that carbon emission level shall not exceed its capacity to sequester at all times.