The Livelihoods project of restoration of mangroves in Senegal validated by the United Nations

The mangrove carbon project in Senegal has received final approval of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework convention on Climate Change), the international authority responsible for validation and registration of projects eligible for the inssuance of carbon credits. This decision is very important for Océanium who directed the project and Livelihoods Fund, which funded the project and led the registration process. This is the first project of mangrove plantation on a large scale registered at the United Nations.

What does “register a carbon project” means?

This is a procedure that validates the quality of the project, its ecological and social coherence and the amount of carbon that will actually be stored for 20 years by forest or other ecosystem restoration through the project. It begins with a validation of the project at national level by the State where the project is located (here, Senegal) and the State where the project developer headquartered (here, France). The project is then reviewed by international specialized committees of the UNFCCC working out technical audits and a report by an independent body recognized by the United Nations. In the case of Océanium project, the complete procedure lasted two years.

This procedure is long and complex but it is also a protection and a guarantee that obtaining carbon credits is subject to a rigorous procedure and an evaluation based on objective criteria. The recording is not the end of the process: carbon credits will be obtained when plantations are “verified”, that is to say, when independent experts will check on the field the effective growth of the trees and measure by sampling the amount of carbon stored. In the case of Océanium, plantations 2008 and 2009 could be verified for the first time in 2013 or 2014 and result in a first delivery of carbon credits

 Carbon storage is only one among others indicators for ecosystem restoration. Other indicators such as the reproduction of species of fish, crustaceans, filtration of salt, coastal protection and agricultural fields, etc., must also be evaluated over time because they can measure the environmental impact but also socio-economic communities that are directly involved in these projects.

Livelihoods Project: The steps

Livelihoods project is at once a planting project, a carbon project and a development project. The conditions established by methodologies structured and engage carbon project developers over long durations (20 years for forestry projects and 10 years for energy projects)

The first step is to choose the project (due diligence) by evaluating it on all the criteria set by Livelihoods and assessing risks.

The second step is planting itself with the organization of all human activities, technical, logistics that ensure quality own plantations to last 20 years

The third step is the registration of the planting carbon project, in order to gain recognition of planted forests as generating carbon credits, which recognizes the project owner a right to credit … but this right will be converted into credits after completion of the next step

The fourth step consists in measuring (monitoring) plantations and tree growth. And at a frequency of about 3 years, a neutral organization (not necessarily Swiss) but approved by the United Nations certifies that our actions are good and allow the UN to provide us this time credits.

Livelihoods Venture participated in the verification and calculation of all these equations together with the experts (cartographers). The validation of the Oceanium project Senegal by the UNFCCC is an encouragement and a strong signal for Livelihoods Venture teams and all the experts who were mobilized on this project (mangrove ecologists, cartographers, auditors, etc.) and for all actors in the Livelihoods Fund. An important step on a long way … To be continued.