Verra has published a Request for Proposals (RFP) (PDF) for the development of jurisdictional activity data and forest cover benchmark maps for Avoiding Unplanned Deforestation (AUD) projects in the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program. AUD projects represent a type of project under the broader Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) approach.

Jurisdictional activity data captures the area deforested – measured in hectares – over a given time. The allocation of this jurisdictional deforestation activity data to projects in proportion to the relative risk of deforestation in project areas is one of the key innovations of Verra’s new REDD methodology. Such jurisdictional activity data will enable Verra to establish deforestation baselines and project proponents will no longer rely on reference regions to project future deforestation. Verra plans to publish its new REDD methodology by the end of the month.

This approach to baseline setting ensures that the number of verified emission reductions generated by all projects in this jurisdiction is proportionate to the total potential emission reductions in that area. As a result, the carbon credits Verra issues to VCS AUD projects will reflect the highest level of integrity.

This work will provide allocated baselines for VCS AUD projects. It does not replace or question government Forest Reference Emission Levels (FRELs). As Verra implements this new approach to baseline setting, it will engage with governments, use official data where possible, and share all final data with relevant government agencies.

To facilitate a smooth transition to its new REDD methodology, Verra is committed to ensuring that, by the end of 2024, jurisdictional baselines will be set in all 40+ jurisdictions that have VCS AUD projects.

In July 2023, Verra launched the process of activity data collection and began gathering activity data in five Brazilian states and seven other jurisdictions. This new RFP will initiate the data gathering process for the remaining jurisdictions that include existing or planned VCS AUD projects.

More information, as well as instructions on applying, can be found in the Request for Proposals: Development of Jurisdictional Activity Data and Forest-Cover Benchmark Maps for VCS Avoiding Unplanned Deforestation Projects. The deadline to apply is January 12, 2024.