The world’s largest annual conference on fighting climate change, COP28, has come to a close. The paradox of having a critical climate talk in the sweltering, oil-rich city of Dubai was hard to ignore. Despite the contentious debate, the science is clear that we need to phase out fossil fuels and to protect our planet's remaining standing forests in order to prevent the worst effects of climate change. The voluntary market was created to fill the gap between lagging public sector action, and to protect threatened forests by paying forest communities directly for their conservation efforts. Fortunately, for the first time in history, this COP’s agreement successfully included direct language on transitioning away from fossil fuels. At COP28, Wildlife Works' mission was to ensure protecting forests is recognized as a key strategy for fighting climate change, and to amplify the voices of forest community members and Global South countries on how they want the voluntary carbon market to be designed. Below, catch up on our key takeaways and Wildlife Works' activity at COP28.
A REVOLUTIONARY SHIFT FOR THE CARBON MARKET
Equitable Earth is a coalition pioneering a new standard for the voluntary carbon market (VCM) that prioritizes forest communities and Global South Countries. At COP28, they hosted a discussion on the revolutionary shift that is needed for the voluntary carbon market. The Minister of Environment for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Eve Bazaiba, spoke powerfully at this event on what countries like the DRC want in exchange for their vital work of protecting their forests.
While the loss and damages fund was successfully established at this COP, the funds committed are a fraction of what Global South countries actually need to adapt to climate change. There is also still ambiguity on how much agency Global South countries will have in managing this fund. Minister Bazaiba made it clear that the climate finance from the voluntary carbon market works for communities in her country, now. "Our partner Wildlife Works understands our role and is delivering on the alternatives we need at the Mai Ndombe project. Schools have been built, and there have been improvements to health care and sustainable agriculture. We can now adapt ourselves to the climate crisis.”
Sonia Guajajara, Brazil’s first Minister of Indigenous Peoples, also spoke on the panel about the importance of the voluntary carbon market.
GETTING THE CARBON MARKET RIGHT FOR COMMUNITIES
The Peoples Forests Partnership, of which Wildlife Works is a founding member, hosted a fireside chat between Indigenous leaders such as Francisca Arara and Gustavo Sanchez on how to get the carbon market right for communities. They shared their direct experience and recommendations for both project-based REDD+ and jurisdictional REDD+.
A WOMEN'S PANEL ON FAIRNESS, TRANSPARENCY AND EQUITY
At a women’s panel on fairness, transparency and equality, powerful leaders from the National Organisation of Indigenous Ancestral Warrior Women (ANMIGA) spoke about how they live in harmony with nature, and their mission at COP28.
As Anna Lehmann, Wildlife Works Global Policy Director pointed out at the panel, "The global GDP could be 30% higher and several hundred million people could be lifted out of poverty if women had equal decision making power and equal access to financial resources. The abuse of land and of women goes hand in hand. Gender-based violence increases in areas of environmental destruction and deforestation, where it perpetuates vicious-circles of exploitation and cements existing inequalities. Market and finance standards need to be strengthened to stop this violence. Nature based solutions will only be successful if they allow women to have rights and sovereignty over their lives."
The voluntary carbon market and project developers such as Wildlife Works are continually improving our standards and methods, so that, when done right, this financial mechanism can strengthen the security and resilience of women in the Global South. Stay up to date with our continuous journey improving the rights of women at our project in Kasigau here.