Nepal’s Emission Reductions Program Idea Note (ER-PIN) to the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’s Carbon Fund was among the first to be accepted in April 2014. The Carbon Fund’s Methodological Framework (MF) provides guidance to countries on both the development of proposals and the implementation of REDD+ programs so that fund requirements can be met and regular reviews facilitated (FCPF, 2013). Criteria 28 and 36 of the MF focus on land and natural resource tenure concerns, and the ability of a national entity to sell carbon credits to the Carbon Fund respectively. This assessment of the present status of Nepal’s land and natural resource tenure within the Emission Reductions Program Accounting Area (ERPAA), that forms part of the Terai Arc Landscape (TAL), has been prepared in order to support Nepal’s REDD+ Implementation Centre (RIC, previously called the REDD+ Cell) in developing its ER Program design. Based on this assessment, the report provides a set of recommendations for Criteria 28 and 36.
OBJECTIVES OF THE ASSESSMENT
Understanding the current status of land and natural resource tenure rights forms part of the MF’s Criterion 28 in the section on Sustainable Program Design and Implementation because tenure conditions will have multiple impacts on REDD+ initiatives. Tenure over natural resources refers to the social relations, institutions, and rules that govern people’s access to and use of land and natural resources. Natural resource tenure, therefore, determines who is allowed to use which resources, in what way, for how long, and under what conditions, as well as who is entitled to transfer rights to others and how. Secure tenure rights play a key role in weakening the drivers behind deforestation and degradation, improving forest condition and cover, guiding effective development of safeguard measures, informing equitable benefit sharing plans, and determining responsibility for reversals. Secure land and natural resource tenure can therefore provide the enabling conditions (preconditions or factors that promote positive transformations) for successful REDD+ design and implementation. In addition, Criterion 36 of the MF on transfer of Title to ERs to the Carbon Fund helps to establish clear ownership of the carbon credits in order to ensure smooth transfer to the Carbon Fund while respecting the existing land and natural resource tenure rights of rights holders.