Deforestation in tropical forests has gained salience in public debate on climate change mitigation policies. Such salience stems from the negative externalities caused by deforestation, such as the release of greenhouse gases emissions, the loss of biomass, forest degradation etc. Recent research on CO2 emissions point out that tropical deforestation represents about 15 to 17 percent of anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) .
To curb the emission of greenhouse gases emissions from tropical forests, the parties to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Convention have initiated a mitigation policy called “REDD+” (Reduction of greenhouse gases emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) to be implemented in tropical countries on a voluntary basis . The REDD+ scheme is a financial transfer mechanism aimed at compensating countries for avoided deforestation and limited forest degradation. The REDD mechanism is supported by various donors, bilateral and multilateral alike.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the tropical countries participating in the REDD partnership. The DRC possesses the second tropical rainforest in the world, spanning around 145 million hectares. It is estimated that 40 gigatonnes of carbon stock –equivalent to 140 gigatonnes of potential CO2 emission-is sequestered in the Congolese forest alone . It is also worth noting that more than 70 percent of Congolese population live off of agriculture for subsistence, particularly in rural areas. Given this background, the objective of the research paper is to evaluate the capacity of the Democratic Republic of Congo to efficiently and successfully implement its REDD+ plan so as to contribute to the mitigation of climate change.
In addition to the introduction and the conclusion, the paper will proceed as follows. Section one will briefly present the background of the REDD+ mechanism. Section 2 will discuss the importance of tropical forests in climate change mitigation, the market failure stemming from deforestation and the main drivers of deforestation. Section three will briefly present the tropical forest of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the main actions of its REDD+ plan, and evaluate the implementation of such a policy.
Section 1. Background on the REDD+
The specific objectives of this section are to describe the origin of the REDD+ scheme, its pre-requisites and to illustrate its different levels for payments for environmental services that it entails.
1.1. Origin of REDD+
The concept of reducing carbon emissions from deforestation (RED) was first discussed at the 11th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-11) to the UNFCCC summit held in Montreal, Canada in 2005. At the session, participating parties acknowledged that deforestation leads to emissions of C02 and as such there was a need to reduction such emissions. The concept was then expanded to include the reduction of emissions from forest...