GSF timely support to the Finalisation of the Suriname’s REDD+ Reddiness Preparation Proposal Paved the Way for National REDD+ Implementation and other Related Projects.

The Suriname REDD+ Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) is a true grassroots product and serves as a roadmap for REDD+ consultations as well as a blueprint for government and civil society engagement on Suriname’s climate compatible development. The World Bank’s approval of Suriname’s R-PP document in June 2013 qualified the country to receive funding and implement REDD+ readiness activities nationally.

After two unsuccessful attempts by the country to acquire approval for Suriname’s R-PP from the World Bank, the GSF recognizing the importance of such initiative to Suriname’s climate-compatible development and within the context of its focus on payment for ecosystem services to service the Multilateral Environment Agreements, provided funding to finalise the R-PP. The innovative idea of the GSF, and its precursor Guiana Shield Initiative, is to link transfers of financial resources (and technology) from the developed countries to the efforts of those responsible for maintaining the integrity of the ecology of the Guiana Shield as one of the last large (270 million hectares) intact tropical rainforest areas in the world and therefore from a climate, a biodiversity and a freshwater perspective of global significance.

As such, the current Suriname R-PP is the result of a rich and intense collaborative effort of over 50 project group members, REDD+ assistants, tribal chiefs and hundreds of stakeholders who have contributed both content and contextual insights to the process to establish capable institutions for REDD+ implementation, improve national planning, maintain sustainable forest management and low forest degradation as well as create a system for sustainable livelihoods for forest dependent communities.

The Government of Suriname has recognized its role in the global battle against climate change by continuing efforts for sustainable forest management and conservation of carbon stocks. The country has also demonstrated its commitment towards conservation, minimizing deforestation and forest degradation by establishing protected areas covering a total of 13% of forested lands.

As such, Suriname followed the path of sustainable forest management, by developing a National Forest Policy, a Strategic Action Plan for the Forestry sector in 2009, a ‘Code of Practice’ for timber exploitation and a National Biodiversity Strategy. These enabling actions paved the way for the development of a R-PP to mobilize resources to enable Suriname to support forest conservation and sustainable forest management in order to contribute to preserving the global commons whilst supporting the country’s social and economic development aspirations.

It is against this backdrop that, Suriname’s Climate Compatible Development Agency (CCDA) and National Institute for Environment and Development (NIMOS) were identified to implement sequential phases of the project during the periods 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, respectively.

The delivery of targeted GSF’s support to the CCDA was primarily for the finalization and submission of the finalized R-PP for financing to the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) to enable Suriname to support conservation and sustainable forest management, while support to

NIMOS was for the transition of the R-PP to the implementation phase through the preparation, approval and implementation of the R-PP project document.

The CCDA was specifically responsible for the improved institutional and technical capacity of CCDA for national REDD+ coordination, awareness and understanding of REDD+ and its contribution to sustainable development increased among stakeholders, draft the R-PP with necessary technical components addressed and the final version updated.

To this end, the CCDA embarked on a series of activities to produce an updated R-PP which had to be nationally supported by stakeholders. This support was generated through awareness and consultation processes with various stakeholders such as policy makers, development organizations, NGOs, private sector and gender and youth organizations.

The results of these sessions were documented and incorporated into several components of the R-PP, leading to a document which reflects the opinions of stakeholders. It is against this backdrop that the R-PP was developed and submitted to the World Bank and subsequent approval was received, enabling Suriname to access REDD+ financing of minimum USD3.8 million. Click here to download the R-PP.

Through increasing capacity, awareness and extensive consultations, the Project was also consistent with GSF’s strategy to support exchange of knowledge and capacity building to enhance the conservation and sustainable development of the Guiana Shield eco-region.

The image hyperlinked below is to a video which provides an overview of the preparation process.

According to the R-PP, “Suriname, as a High Forest Low Deforestation (HFLD) country, will develop a REDD+ Strategy which will focus on limiting the growth in the forest transition curve and associated emissions, without limiting economic and social development.”

Following the approval of the R-PP, as one of several HFLD countries, Suriname took the initiative, in collaboration with the GSF and other partners, to organize and host the first international REDD+ conference for HFLD countries on 14th and 15th May 2014.
The objectives of the conference were to:

    • Exchange experiences and learn how to make national REDD+ systems more robust and credible in order to attain benefits in the international arena
    • Increase collaboration among the HFLD countries, creating a platform to discuss strategies to maximize benefits from REDD+ and strategies to form an unified block in negotiations
    • Increase understanding of REDD+ as a tool for sustainable development
    • Maintain the existing national and international momentum for REDD+
    • While HFLD countries have high forest cover and low deforestation rates in common, each country has its own unique context and may be in a different phase of implementing REDD+. As such, the conference provided an opportunity for countries to share experiences and start looking into the best approach for making a case in the international policy arena.

The conference concluded with participants recommending:

    • Creating a platform for sharing knowledge and experiences between HFLD countries through a series of international and national conferences;
    • Keeping the momentum going and making information available both at international and national level;
    • At a next conference organize a simultaneous separate session for indigenous and tribal
    • peoples and create the opportunity for international exchange of experiences in that aspect as well;
    • Looking into the ways that REDD+ can influence national circumstances in HFLD countries, such as land rights.
    • Determining how international organizations can support HFLD countries to use REDD+ as a tool for sustainable development.

Photograph of participants at the ConferencePhotograph of participants at the Conference

Click here to download the full report.

NIMOS is now tasked with the responsibility of executing specific activities to achieve all the outputs as outlined in the R-PP project document. This implementation period commenced on 30th August, 2013 and concluded on March 31, 2014.

It is against this backdrop, NIMOS hosted an inception workshop on December 10, 2014 to develop a strategy to commence implementation. UNDP Suriname was identified as the Delivery Partner for the World Bank FCPF.

NIMOS will also execute a number of activities which includes national consultations with key stakeholders through education awareness campaigns, strengthening institutional capacity within NIMOS and preparing fundraising and partnership strategy for R-PP implementation.

The implementation will see Suriname establishing a national forest reference level (RL), which will have a national scope and focused on deforestation and forest degradation. It will also include above and below ground tree biomass, dead wood, and soil, and it will distinguish among emission factors on the basis of drivers.

In addition, the GSF has enhanced the education awareness component of R-PP implementation with the issuance of grants under its Call for Proposals in 2013. The grants provided the opportunity for two NGOs, Tropenbos International Suriname (TBI Suriname) and the Association of Indigenous Village Leaders in Suriname (VIDS) to execute projects that will feed into the strategy for achieving Suriname’s objectives as outlined in the R-PP.

Tropenbos International Suriname focused on the “development of a culturally appropriate manual on REDD+ for indigenous and tribal communities in Suriname, using horizontal cooperation techniques.”

The manual was developed to help forest dependent communities in the understanding, planning, execution and evaluation of REDD+ activities and also to create a good understanding of communication and conflict resolution.
The project sought to strengthen the capacity of Suriname to support the exchange of knowledge on, and capacity building in REDD+, with an emphasis on indigenous and tribal communities, thereby contributing to the conservation and sustainable development of the Guiana Shield eco-region.

It is hoped that with the aid of the manual, indigenous and tribal communities in Suriname will have sufficient understanding of REDD+ to effectively participate in the planning and implementation process of the R-PP.

The manual was launched on 9th December, 2014 during a national REDD+ workshop where approximately one hundred (100) copies were distributed to relevant stakeholders and village leaders. It consists of three chapters focused on REDD+ and Climate Change, preparation and execution of REDD+ projects and on the rights of indigenous and maroon communities.

Tropenbos International will now focus on developing a follow up project to present the manual to communities and at the same time provide them with the necessary training.

From left to right - Rudi van Kanten of Tropenbos presenting the manual to indigenous leaders, basia Christiaan Ebicilio and Mavis Ebicilio (both from Powakka) and kapitein Earl Tapota (Pikin Saron).From left to right - Rudi van Kanten of Tropenbos presenting the manual to indigenous leaders, basia Christiaan Ebicilio and Mavis Ebicilio (both from Powakka) and kapitein Earl Tapota (Pikin Saron).

The REDD+ manual produced by Tropenbos. Click here to download the manual.

The GSF also supported a project with VIDS focused on developing a cultural sensitive toolkit for indigenous peoples in Suriname.
The toolkit will help indigenous village leaders make well-informed and balanced decisions about how to deal with various challenges relating to forest and climate policies affecting Indigenous peoples’ rights, lands and communities in Suriname and to inform indigenous communities about Climate Change, REDD+, Indigenous Peoples’ rights and its relations to sustainable development.

The specific objectives of the project were to:

    1. Design and develop a culturally-sensitive, gender-sensitive and rights-based toolkit for the effective transfer of information on climate change and REDD+

    2. Achieve, within the project duration period, the understanding of at least 10 indigenous and at least 3 tribal maroon communities in Suriname of climate change and REDD+ issues, and their potential impacts for indigenous and tribal peoples in Suriname, through the implementation of an information and awareness raising programme utilizing this toolkit; 

      From left to right - Rudi van Kanten of Tropenbos presenting the manual to indigenous leaders, basia Christiaan Ebicilio and Mavis Ebicilio (both from Powakka) and kapitein Earl Tapota (Pikin Saron). 

      The REDD+ manual produced by Tropenbos. Click here to download the manual.
    3. Achieve the horizontal exchange and documentation thereof, of experiences on climate change and REDD+ between at least 5 indigenous peoples’ representatives of Suriname and at least one other country in the region.

The toolkit is comprised of several information materials such as brochures, flyers, pamphlets in plain language to educate on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Rights related to land and territories, self-determination and Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).

It also includes a series of posters and PowerPoint presentations, CD’s with easy radio plays related to the particular themes, an animation film spoken in local languages; a documentary of a visit of maximum five Indigenous men and women, including youth to Indigenous peoples in another country and a description of the overall methodology and strategy, as described under the project strategy above, plus a manual on how to use the toolkit.

Click on the videos below to view some outputs that form part of the toolkit on the GSF Youtube Channel.

During the week of March 30, 2015 VIDS executed a ‘training for trainers’ workshop on climate change and REDD+ and planning for the future. Approximately 100 persons participated.

Both community-based projects were executed over a one year period and have yield excellent feedback on their usefulness.

The Government of Suriname has expressed gratitude to the GSF for the funding, guidance and support received to produce the approved R-PP. TBI Suriname and VIDS have also echoed similar sentiment. GSF remains committed to ensuring the successful implementation of Suriname’s R-PP and supporting projects at the community level.