Himalayan Bioresources: Volume 3, Issue 1

Volume 3, Issue 1: April-May-June-July 2012


Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification: Expanding at landscape level through incorporating additional ecosystem services

Payment of Ecosystem Services (PES) is emerging as an important market-based solution to global efforts for climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction. Markets for the ecosystem services, for example – forest carbon in the ‘voluntary’ markets – are also emerging at global level. But the business transactions for these services severely suffer from a lack of credibility and transparency, one of the reasons for which could be the lack of ‘instrumentation’ developed for these markets. As Nepal has gained a unique experience in ‘group certification’ for forest management, such as those being awarded by Rainforest Alliance/Smartwood (FSC), as well as forest based enterprises certification awarded under ‘Chain of Custody/FSC’, it is extremely relevant that Nepal should now explore the potential of enhancing the economic and environmental benefits through expanding forest certification by incorporating additional ecosystem services.

In 2010, ANSAB joined hands with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), FSC and other partners to develop a multi-country project “expanding FSC Certification at Landscape level through Incorporating Additional Ecosystem Services (ForCES)” to be implemented with Global Environment Facility (GEF) grant and co-finance of various partners with the goal to improve and promote responsible forest management for a range of ecosystem services through the medium of FSC Certification. The project is being implemented in four countries namely, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia and Chile for four years (September 2011- August 2015), with a purpose to improve and promote sustainable forest management for a range of ecosystem services through the medium of FSC certification. The project will incorporate expanded and enhanced global and national environmental standards of FSC certification which are applied to emerging markets for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services as an initial step for upgrading successful models in order to improve ecosystem functions.

In line with the objectives, the project will concentrate on pilot testing FSC certification for ecosystem services the four countries, at the local level. And at the international level, a number of actions will take place; in particular, design and testing of new certification business models in various habitat and landscapes, and market promotion of Ecosystem Services based forest certification.

With the project, it is expected to have enabled a global system of expanded FSC forest certification targeting a few key ecosystem services with (present or future) market potential, established a few certified sites for ecosystem services and to have successfully proven the (monetary as well as nonmonetary) benefits through the mechanism of FSC certification, such as revenue generated through PES for forest operations and local communities. In the longer term, Dr. Alan Smith, Gordian Fanso and Stefan Salvador, the policy managers at FSC International Center as of an international conference on food security, natural resource management and rural development in 2011 in Bonn expect that FSC certification will incorporate expanded and enhanced international and national standards which are applied to emerging markets for additional ecosystem services, so providing fully integrated measures of responsible management for whatever purpose within the forest management unit and the wider landscape.

In Nepal, the project is being implemented in two landscapes of Dolakha district namely, Charnawati (approx. 45,500 ha) and Gaurisankar (approx. 76,290 ha) encompassing 26 VDCs and one municipality and representing 15 ecological zones. The major ecosystem services considered in these two pilot sites are tourism, carbon enhancement, hydrological services, disaster risk reduction and NTFPs.

Know more on ANSAB’s current projects >>>

CFUG Enterprise Development Revolving Fund: An option to enable ultra poor for micro-enterprise development

Bajhang district, located in far western Nepal, is one of the most remote and rural areas with the lowest human development index in the country. Majority of the population in the district depend on traditional subsistence farming which further entangles them in financial burden and hinders their escape from extreme poverty. ANSAB focused its program in the district on enterprise orientation and entrepreneurship development which includes capacity building of communities for identification, planning and development of enterprises and enhancing enterprise management and production capacity – all to develop the basic capacity of the target groups to be engaged into productive enterprise and generate some economic returns on their labor. The previous programs focused on the Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs) have shown concrete results in forest management practices, proven by FSC certification, however, the lack of access to finance and the resultant risk averse nature of the communities have been hindering the process of enterprise development for the poor communities in the area. Although there are provisions for CFUG group fund which provides a start-up capital for some micro-enterprise development; these are not enough for the many enterprise development activities in demand.

ANSAB through a Ford Foundation funded project – Transforming Local Communities into Enterprises for Economic Security in Nepal (August 2007 to July 2010) – supported the community by providing seed money to 13 CFUGs to establish CFUG Enterprise Development Revolving Fund (EDRF). These EDRF grew to a sizeable amount of Rs. 259,569 (equivalent to USD 4,000 in 2010) through contribution from CFUG funds, interests collected from loan provided through the seed money, CFUG and other organizational grant, income of CFUG enterprises and incomes from various fund raising traditional and cultural activities. Each CFUG developed a subcommittee to manage the EDRF with the coordinator selected from within the executive committee of CFUGs.  These fund management committees also developed their guidelines and operating procedures with ANSAB’s support to the committees in capacity building on accounting, book keeping, group mobilization, enterprise selection, planning of funds and loan management. Since the inception of the revolving fund, the fund has provided loans of Rs. 371,377 to 58 entrepreneur and community enterprises with a 100% repayment record.

ANSAB’s experience in revolving fund shows that the productive utilization of these funds depends upon strong fund mobilization mechanisms, appropriate selections for investment and above all unbiased and transparent selection criteria. In case of ultra poor members, the selection of enterprise is even more crucial since it has to be weighed against their ability to perform the required tasks and their skills and experiences in doing so. Similarly, communities have realized that they need to increase the size of loans to attract large enterprises and start marketing their services to a wider audience since they now have the financial capacity to do so.

Learn about ANSAB past projects >>>

PUBLICATION


Value chain studies published online by the partners

USAID Nepal and High Value Agriculture Project in the Hill and Mountain Areas (HVAP) have published the value chain reports that ANSAB prepared last year for the Nepal Economic Agriculture and Trade (NEAT) Activity, a USAID funded contract being implemented by Chemonics International Inc., and the SNV Netherlands Development Organization to provide insights for intervention designing and program implementation. ANSAB provided its support to the NEAT in carrying out in-depth value chain/market assessments of the four agricultural commodities – Orthodox Tea, Ginger, Lentils and Off-season vegetables, and to SNV in carrying out value chain analysis of ginger sector in the HVAP project districts.

1.     Find Value Chain/ Market Analysis of the Off-Season Vegetable Sub-Sector in USAID Nepal website (PDF 1.04 MB) >>>
2.     Find Value Chain/ Market Analysis of the Lentil Sub-Sector in USAID Nepal website (PDF 1.04 MB) >>>
3.     Find Value Chain/ Market Analysis of the Ginger Sub-Sector in USAID Nepal website (PDF 1.33 MB) >>>
4.     Find the Value Chain/ Market Analysis of the Orthodox Tea Sub-Sector in USAID Nepal website (PDF 1.34 MB) >>>
5.     Find the Value Chain Analysis of Ginger subsector in HVAP website (Word 2.7 MB)>>>

EVENTS

Stakeholder Forum Workshop on a voluntary national draft quality-of-governance standard for sustainable management and use of forest biomass in Nepal

University of Southern Queensland (USQ), Australia, the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Japan, and Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources (ANSAB) organized a two day Stakeholder Forum Workshop on a voluntary national draft quality-of-governance standard for sustainable management and use of forest biomass in Nepal on 13 – 14 December 2011. The workshop as a part of a research- designed by USQ for developing principles, criteria and indicators of forest governance standard, and it developed verifiers or sub standards for the indicators developed by USQ by online questionnaire survey and face-to-face interviews of key stakeholders.

Read the news in USQ’s website >>>

ANSAB presents in HVAP workshop

Value Chain Experts from ANSAB presented on the preliminary findings of the value chain and baseline studies of the select four products – Turmeric, Off-season Vegetables, Goat and Timur in a regional value chain consultation and intervention strategy development workshop conducted by the High Value Agriculture Project in Hills and Mountain Areas (HVAP) on February 15 and 16, 2012 in Nepalgunj. ANSAB is providing its technical services to HVAP for conducting value chain analysis and baseline assessment of the four products with special focus on nine districts of Mid-western and one district of Far-western Development Regions.

IN BRIEF


blue moon fund (bmf) supports ANSAB for the next phase of the Nepal Center of Excellence in Rural Development project

After the first year of implementation of the project – Nepal Center of Excellence in Rural Development, the blue moon fund (bmf) has supported ANSAB to build on the success and to a) ensure wider dissemination and maximum use of the recently developed toolkits and develop most needed new toolkits; b) institutionalize knowledge gathering, analysis and dissemination through the creation of Demonstration and Experimentation Centers; and c) develop a system of policy advocacy through regular production and dissemination of evidence-based, ready-to-use recommendations for policy-makers and civil society stakeholders. During the first phase of the project, ANSAB successfully developed eight prioritized rural development toolkits for promoting sustainable forest management and integrating community enterprises into value chains, developed 5 most needed service packages and a strategic document to strengthen ANSAB Resource Center (ARC).

ANSAB also solicits the preference of the rural development toolkits and training packages from different organizations for their wider dissemination and maximum use. If you need more information on the project and or have preference over the training packages, please contact us.


ANSAB’s experience on climate change adaptation and mitigation through community-based sustainable management of forests published in the Mountain Forests in a changing world

FAO-hosted Mountain Partnership Secretariat and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation published “Mountain Forests in a Changing World” on December 2011 to raise awareness on the global importance and the need for sustainable management of these unique ecosystems, also in view of the many threats that are increasingly endangering it (such as, for instance, deforestation, population growth, the expansion of intensive agriculture, etc.). The publication also features a case by ANSAB that focuses on climate change adaptation and mitigation through community-based sustainable management of forests in Nepal.

Download the case by ANSAB (PDF, 785.5KB) >>>

Download Mountain Forests in a changing world (PDF, 3.51MB) >>>

Green Business in the Himalaya now available on YouTube

A video documentary produced last year by ANSAB has been uploaded on the ANSAB YouTube Channel. The video entitled Green Business in the Himalaya – Pioneering Market Driven Solutions to Improve Livelihoods and Conserve Biodiversity features ANSAB assisted enterprises in seven districts of Nepal involved in production and marketing of several non timber forest products including handmade paper, essential oils, juice and bio-briquettes; and also captures the principles adopted by the organization to support local communities for enterprise development.

ANSAB has also produced the Nepali version of the video with the title Basera Hudaina (staying idle is not an option). You can contact us if you need further information.