21 Civil Society Organization (CSO) leaders and stakeholders convened a workshop on Wednesday 16th March 2016 from 8.30am to
4.30pm to establish the National CSO Platform and elect Platform members representing Civil Society Organizations in all 6 provinces of Vanuatu. The meeting took place at the conference room of the Department of Forestry discussing the Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) of the project on the Reduction on the Emissions from Deforestation and Land Degradation or REDD+. This is an initiative of the World Bank under the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and implemented by the Government of Vanuatu through the Ministries responsible for Climate Change and Forestry.
Climate change is one of the most pressing problems currently facing humanity. Overwhelming scientific evidence concludes tha t we need to drastically reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions by up to 13 billion tonnes by 2020 in order to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change.
Tackling deforestation is central to this challenge, as deforestation and forest degradation currently contribute approximately 15 per cent of global GHG emissions – more than the entire global transportation sector. Deforestation has other devastating impacts such as endangering biodiversity, reducing fresh water supply, and threatening the livelihoods of our communities and indigenous peoples who live in and around forests.
REDD+ offers an innovative and effective approach to tackling deforestation and reducing emissions without massive investment in unproven technologies. REDD+ is therefore rapidly emerging as a key strategy in climate change mitigation.
In contrast to previous attempts to save forests, REDD+ aims to create financial value for the carbon stored in forests, offe ring incentives for developing countries to protect forests, reduce emissions from deforestation and invest in low-carbon pathways to sustainable development.
The workshop was being coordinated and facilitated by the National REDD+ Unit within the Department of Forestry, the VANGO Secretariat, Live and Learn Vanuatu and funded under the World Bank’s FCPF and the Widening Informed Stakeholder Engagement
(WISE) of the US Government. The WISE REDD+ project is being administered by CSO Live and Learn Vanuatu.
Civil society participants were being presented with information on the World Bank’s FCPF R-PP and the importance of the establishment of the CSO Platform for REDD+. The significance of engaging the indigenous people in the REDD+ program was re- emphasized and participants elected 12 members from within the various local CSOs to form the initial National CSO Platform for REDD+.
The elections were being facilitated by the National REDD+ Unit, the VANGO Secretariat and Live and Learn Vanuatu. Of the 12 elected members, Mrs. Merelyn Arhambat Abel was further elected as the Chairperson, Mr. Taman Willie Onesmas as the Vice Chairperson, Mr. Daniel Tommy as the Secretary and Miss. Litiana Carlo Kalsrap as the Vice Secretary to the CSO Platform for REDD+. This is an interim arrangement to get the CSO Platform for REDD+ up and operational before a platform proper is established by the end of March 2016. All CSO members are being fed through word by word the Terms of Reference by which clearly spells out the key responsibilities, define the membership rules and their conditions of their service as a committee member.