(San Jose, Costa Rica) – Governments around the world are taking steps to harness the carbon sequestration power of their forests by adopting the Verified Carbon Standard’s (VCS) Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+ (JNR) program. Already a world leader in carbon mitigation, the government of Costa Rica, through its National Fund for Financing Forestry (FONAFIFO), today took its efforts one-step further by becoming the latest national government to move toward piloting VCS’s revolutionary new JNR guidelines. JNR enables governments to leverage carbon finance to support programs that reduce forest carbon emissions on a national scale while at the same time leveraging individual private sector projects. VCS signed a similar agreement with the State of Acre in Brazil and with Chile earlier this year.
“For Costa Rica it´s very important to have a uniform, methodological framework and to receive further guidance on our accounting of emission reductions at multiple levels, since our country has been implementing REDD+ activities for over 15 years. With the implementation of VCS JNR in Costa Rica, the goal is to increase the project scale in different regions and develop a transparent accounting system at the national and subnational levels in order to guarantee the atmospheric benefits and create an environment of trust. This will help to increase the fundraising prospects in the private sector for overall emissions reductions,” said FONAFIFO’s Jorge Mario Rodríguez.
“It is an honor to be working closely with the government of Costa Rica to implement a JNR program which will not only help save the rainforests there, but unlock the power of carbon finance for the Costa Rican people,” said VCS Chief Executive Officer David Antonioli. “The Costa Rican government has pledged for Costa Rica to be carbon neutral within a decade. We look forward to helping Costa Rica achieve this laudable goal.”
The agreement, signed by the Executive Director of FONAFIFO, Jorge Mario Rodríguez, and the Chief Executive Officer of VCS, David Antonioli, is the first step toward a national-level JNR pilot providing Costa Rica with a robust carbon accounting framework, advancing understanding of jurisdictional accounting among stakeholders, and helping to inform Costa Rica’s national REDD+ strategy. The pilot is expected to be a leadership model for other countries to support and replicate.
Since 1997, FONAFIFO has implemented a largely successful Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) program in Costa Rica with support from the World Bank. When fully implemented, REDD+ programs like the VCS JNR can provide a new stream of financing and contribute to making the PES mechanism more effective and sustainable. Costa Rica expects to generate an estimated 80 million carbon credits between now and 2020 from its emission reduction and PES programs. Demand for the credits is expected from a variety of domestic and international sources, which will include Costa Rica’s emerging voluntary carbon market.
This collaboration lays the groundwork for Costa Rica to assess whether the national accounting approach offered by VCS’s JNR framework could be used to achieve its goals. VCS JNR would guide the registration of Costa Rica’s REDD+ program and baseline, and allow for the eventual verification and issuance of high-quality emission reductions that are real, additional and verifiable, and easily linked to domestic and international markets.
Founded in 2005 by the Climate Group, the International Emissions Trading Association, the World Economic Forum, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Verified Carbon Standard has become one of the world’s most widely used carbon accounting standards. VCS has revolutionized the market developing trusted and innovative tools, as well as pioneering efforts to develop standardized methods that will streamline the project approval process, reduce transaction costs and enhance transparency. Across the world, projects using the VCS Standard have issued more than 100 million credits.
The National Fund for Financing Forestry was founded in 1997 as Costa Rica´s chief institution for the promotion and development of the forestry sector. It is a leader in the creation of markets for the goods and services produced by forest ecosystems. It aims to improve the productivity and competiveness of the forestry sector while enhancing the quality of life of small and medium-scale foresters. FONAFIFO created one of the first Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) programs that has shown the world that forests are worth more than just the wood they bear. Costa Rica has made global history thanks to its outstanding role in the development of systems for the management, conservation and sustainable development of natural resources. Its role in the creation of innovative financing mechanisms for the forestry sector has contributed to the country´s success in ensuring a future in which development and the environment go hand-in-hand.