One of the priorities taken by the Dominican Republic to the Climate Summit in Glasgow (COP26) is related to programs on emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
In this regard, Milagros De Camps, Vice-Minister of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Environment, explained to Listín Diario’s Encuentro Verde what progress was achieved and how the Vice-Ministry supports local initiatives.
What advances were presented in the COP26 related to the REDD+ Mechanism (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation)?
As a tropical forest country, we are members of the Coalition of Rainforest Nations.
In the negotiations on carbon market mechanisms, we were pushing to close the Article 6 negotiations and make this important instrument operational. And we succeeded! Among the achievements we can count the recognition of the rights of local populations, youth and women, and that 5% of the sale of carbon certificates or carbon credits will be used to finance adaptation to climate change.
However, there are still many gaps that need to be closed and undesired results such as leaving out of the text the recognition of carbon credits from forests before 2020, in order to obtain more financing for our forests.
Emissions trading was a complex issue and, due to the interest of two large developing countries, the recognition of certificates derived from the Clean Development Mechanism that have not been cancelled was included, but not that of forests. This is not desirable.
What support does the Vice-Ministry of Cooperation offer to the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Program (PREDD)?
The Vice-Ministry of International Cooperation underwent a transformation process and today it reflects a substantive area of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Climate Change.
The Government, understanding the importance that the fight against climate change has for the Dominican Republic, started a process of modernization of the Ministry in coordination with the Ministry of Public Administration, which resulted in the transformation of the Vice Ministry of International Cooperation into the Vice Ministry of Climate Change and International Affairs.
The internal structure already reflects this. Therefore, from the new vice ministry we have the Climate Change Directorate, the Directorate of International Agreements and Treaties and the Directorate of Financial Mechanisms and Portfolio Management. The REDD+ Program is executed within this structure.
Since we took office, and with the determination to contribute to economic growth, social equity, environmental sustainability, support local communities and avoid the displacement of greenhouse gas emissions, and with the vision of reducing net emissions of approximately 5 million tons of CO2 equivalent in a period of five years, the Emission Reduction Purchase Agreement (ERPA) was entered into with the World Bank.
The ERPA is an innovative instrument that promotes sustainable management and helps connect developing countries to other sources of climate finance. Financial resources provide new opportunities to mitigate the effects of climate change and promote the protection of natural resources, while supporting sustainable economic growth.
This agreement is an achievement for the country, a cause for celebration and progress in the fight against the impacts of climate change and is the result of the work of the REDD Program.
With this signature, the Dominican Republic became the thirteenth country in the world to achieve a negotiation of this nature. The funds received will be allocated to the forestry, agroforestry and silvopastoral sectors, in accordance with a benefit-sharing plan that guarantees an equitable and transparent distribution of funds.
We know that the funds donated to the country by the World Bank to cover the REDD+ Readiness preparation phase will soon run out, how do you envision the continuity of those efforts that the country has been making since 2017?
We are working in that sense to institutionalize the REDD+ Program, but in addition, our work at COP26 reflects the commitment we have to promote at the international level the creation of new sources of financing and with fairer prices as compensation for our emission reductions.