Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance (LEAF) Coalition 

#GS2 #POLICY #GS3 #CONSERVATION.

Context:

 At the recently concluded Leaders’ Summit on Climate in April 2021, Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance (LEAF) Coalition came up with a $1 billion fund plan.

LEAF Coalition - Emergent
  • It shall be offered to countries committed to arrest the decline of their tropical forests by 2030.
  • Tropical forests are massive carbon sinks and by investing in their protection, public and private players are likely to fill up on their carbon credits.
  • According to the UN-REDD programme, after the energy sector, deforestation accounts for enormous carbon emissions — on the brink of 11 per cent — within the atmosphere.  
  • Rapid urbanisation and commercialisation of forest produce are the most causes behind rampant deforestation across tropical forests.

About LEAF

  • It is a collective of the us , uk and Norway governments.
  • LEAF is supported by transnational corporations (TNCs) like Unilever plc, Amazon.com, Inc, Nestle, Airbnb, Inc also as Emergent, a US-based non-profit.  
  • The LEAF coalition initiative may be a step towards concretising the aims and objectives of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) mechanism.  
  • Financial support: It incentivises developing countries to capture extensive deforestation and supply livelihood opportunities to forest-dependent populations.  
  • A country willing to participate would wish to fulfil certain predetermined conditions laid down by the Coalition.  
$1bn to protect forests - Amazon steps up to save the Amazon | World  Economic Forum

Significance:

  • It is a novel initiative because it seeks to assist developing countries in battling the double-edged sword of development versus ecological commitment.  
  • The tropics have lost on the brink of 12.2 million hectares (mha) of tree cover year last year consistent with global estimates released by Global Forest Watch, an independent monitoring platform.  
  • Most of those lost forests were located in the developing countries of Latin America , Africa and South Asia.  
  • Implementation of the LEAF Coalition plan will help pump in fresh rigour among developing countries like India, that are reluctant to recognise the contributions of their forest dwelling populations in mitigating climate change.  

About REDD+

  • REDD+ was created by the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change (UNFCCC).  
  • It monetised the worth of carbon locked up within the tropical forests of most developing countries, thereby propelling these countries to assist mitigate climate change.
  • It creates a financial value for the carbon stored in forests by offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development.  
  • Developing countries would receive results-based payments for results-based actions.  
  • REDD+ goes beyond simply deforestation and forest degradation and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

Scenario in India

  • India’s estimated loss in 2020 stands at 20.8 kilo hectares.
  • Between 2002-2020, Brazil’s total area of humid primary forest reduced by 7.7 per cent while India’s reduced by 3.4 per cent.  
  • For India, this loss is like 951 metric tonnes worth greenhouse emission emissions released in the atmosphere.
  • This year India witnessed massive forest fires in early March rather than May.  
  • It is estimated that 0.2 metric tonnes of carbon was emitted within the Uttarakhand forest fires.

Role of indegenous tribes in checking deforestation and issues

  • These communities depend upon forests for their survival also as livelihood. Hence, they understand the necessity to protect forests.  
  • Not recognising the socio-economic rights of forest dwellers: consistent with data from the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs in December, 2020 over 55 per cent of this population has still not been granted either individual or community ownership of their lands.  
  • Ineffective implementation of Forest Right Act: The landmark Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 is ineffective in its implementation. The Act aims to legitimise claims of forest dwellers on occupied forest land.
  • The proposed amendments to the obsolete Indian Forest Act, 1927 give forest officials the power to require away forest dwellers’ rights and to even use firearms with impunity.
  • The Supreme Court’s order of February, 2019 directed state governments to evict illegal encroachers of forest land or many forest dwellers inhabiting forests since generations as a measure to conserve wildlife.  
  • There is the shortage of data on novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) deaths among the forest dwelling population.
  • Tardy administration, insufficient supervision, apathetic attitude and a scarcity of political intent defeat the explanation for forest dwelling populations in India, thereby directly affecting efforts at arresting deforestation.

Way forward:

  • Revised strategy: With the deadline for proposal submission fast approaching, India must act swiftly on a revised strategy.
  • Collaborating with forest dwellers: Although India has pledged to carry out its REDD+ commitments, it's impossible to do so without seeking knowledge from its forest dwelling population.
  • The first step is recognition of land rights.  
  • The second step is that the recognition of the contributions of local communities and indigenous communities, meaning the contributions of indigenous peoples.  
  • We also need recognition of traditional knowledge practices so as to fight climate change. Perhaps India can begin by taking the primary step.

 

SOURCE: DOOWN TO EARTH 

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