Nepal’s Community Forestry Programme, which is used as a role model among the world’s forest conversation initiatives, has been shortlisted for the 2011 Future Policy Award. The award is for the most inspiring, innovative and influential forestry policies worldwide.
Forestry groups have been making money by absorbing carbon dioxide released through the burning of bio-fuels. The communities are being rewarded through the Forest Carbon Trust Fund for managing carbon stocks in forests under the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus (REDD+), a mitigating mechanism under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
REDD+ is an effort, recognised under UNFCCC to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests, offering incentives for developing countries from developed countries to reduce emissions and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development. It goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation, and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
Nepal’s successful community forest and its 13, 000 thousands users group are autonomous, self-governing local institutions comprised of village residents using common forests. “It has evolved towards a broad-based strategy for sustainable forest use that empowers local communities to manage forests for livelihoods while also improving forest conservation,” said the World Future Council, an international policy research organization.
The forestry programme has produced a range of positive impacts, improving forest coverage and conditions in community managed areas, nurturing democracy at the grassroots level, improving employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for forest-dependent people and providing promising examples of biodiversity protection.
By 2009, around1.6 million households or 32% of the country’s population took part in the Community Forestry Programme, directly managing more than 25% of the country’s forest area and providing significant income streams to rural communities. Policies from six countries have been shortlisted for the 2011 Future Policy Award: Bhutan, The Gambia, Nepal, Rwanda, Switzerland and the USA. The three winning policies will be announced on 21st September 2011 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The announcement will be followed by an awards ceremony hosted by the World Future Council, the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) Secretariat, the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Wildlife Conservation Society. The organisations will be joined by government representatives, high level officials of international organizations and non-governmental organizations, as well as media and civil society.
Alexandra Wandel, Director of the World Future Council, says, “With the Future Policy Award we want to cast a spotlight on policies that lead by example. The aim of the World Future Council is to raise global awareness of visionary policies and speed up policy action in the interests of present and future generations.”