Climate Change 2001:
Working Group III: Mitigation
Other reports in this collection

4.5.2 Institutional Structures and Equity Issues

In order to realize the mitigation potential in part or in full, it would be helpful to have a set of institutions to translate the policies and measures into avoided emissions or carbon sequestration. In the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in 1992, the importance of sustainable forest management was emphasized under the “Forest Principles.” Subsequently, the formulation of criteria and indicators was worked out under the Helsinki and Montreal Processes, in which the maintenance and enhancement of forest resources to contribute to the global carbon cycle is described. The same is a criterion under the United Nations (UN-ECE/FAO, 2000). The three main types of necessary institutions are global and/or regional, national and local, and/or community based (IPCC, 2000b). At the global level, there exist government-based multilateral institutions such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Bank, and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). All of these institutions are involved in natural resource management, and can play a significant role in integrating mitigation objectives in tropical forest management. Also, a wide array of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) active in resource conservation and sustainable utilization, as well as bilateral aid organizations, could play a more important role in incorporating mitigation in their policy objectives. For example, investment promotion agencies could be created to assist in the co-ordination of investment into carbon projects (e.g., see Moura-Costa et al., 1999). Additionally, global private enterprises could be encouraged to include climate mitigation measures in their plans. Financial incentives may be required to achieve broad participation.

In tropical countries, forestry is dominated by government-based institutions, mostly the departments of forestry and agriculture and/or those involved in environmental management (WRI, 1987). These departments may need support and new insight in order to effectively incorporate mitigation policies and measures in their resource management activities. At a national level, there also exist some institutions involving NGOs that focus on conservation and forest expansion, as well as those dedicated to encouraging sustainable agriculture. Such institutions may also include umbrella organizations involved in developmental activities such as gender, poverty alleviation, etc. A few institutions, including non-governmental and especially those involved in nature conservation and environmental services, e.g., game reserves, tourism companies, and large-scale agricultural production, could also incorporate mitigation considerations in their efforts.

At the local level, effective institutions include community leaderships, religious institutions, schools, traditional organizations, and indeed the family. These institutions are essential with regard to natural resource management and agricultural practices, as well as for introducing mitigation-type activities that do not contravene their basic needs to use their land and natural resources for sustenance.

Public, NGO, and private institutions, at each spatial level where they exist, can focus on including GHG mitigation as one of their considerations, while they oversee the use of forest and land resources to meet the developmental aspirations of those in tropical countries and elsewhere. For example, a recent study on sustainable livelihoods and carbon management discussed arrangements to facilitate the involvement of small-scale farmers and rural communities in carbon trading (Bass et al., 2000). An optimal mix of conservation, sequestration, and substitution will be incidental or arise from the optimal management of forest resources for producing desired goods and services as shown under various tropical forest management stipulations (ITTA, 1983, 1994). In the tropical biome, the most likely use of the optimal mix of management strategies will be based on optimal management of forestry and agricultural resources in each country. For example, balance between forest conservation, afforestation, reforestation, and multiple land use of the forest and agricultural areas will predetermine the extent of utilization of the land-use sectors for mitigation activities. However, the existing policies in managing forest and agricultural resources have been criticized as non-optimal (see, for example, Poore et al., 1989). Optimal levels of substitution will be determined by the energy and industrial policies of these countries, rather than by carbon sequestration criteria.

The so-called “no regrets options” can be identified and pursued (see Chapters 7 and 8 for a discussion of no regrets options). Analysis has suggested that adequately designed and implemented GHG mitigation options in forestry and agriculture could help advance the countries’ own development priorities, at the same time providing significant carbon sequestration (see Sheinbaum and Masera (2000) for analysis at the country level).

Other reports in this collection