Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance

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Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance
Founded 2003
Focus The CCBA brings together diverse actors to develop global standards that drive creation of forest carbon policies, programs and projects to stabilize global climate change, benefit the world’s poor and maintain biodiversity and healthy ecosystems.
Location
Members CARE, Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, Rainforest Alliance, WCS
Website www.climate-standards.org

The Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) is an initiative led by Conservation International, CARE, The Nature Conservancy, Rainforest Alliance, and the Wildlife Conservation Society to promote the development of land management activities that simultaneously deliver significant benefits for climate, local communities, and biodiversity.

The CCBA was established in 2003 and works to increase public and private investment in forest protection, restoration and agroforestry by developing standards that enable policy makers and project developers to demonstrate the delivery of social and environmental benefits from activities that reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.

The CCBA has two major initiatives:

  • The Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards, which are in use by more than 100 projects around the world. The Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards enable investors, policymakers, project managers and civil society observers to evaluate land-based climate change mitigation projects by identifying high-quality projects that adopt best practices to generate significant benefits for local communities and biodiversity while delivering credible and robust carbon offsets.
  • The REDD+ Social and Environmental Standards are a being developed in collaboration with the governments of Ecuador, Nepal and Tanzania to enable government programs to demonstrate that their programs for reducing emissions from land are designed and implemented in a way that ensures a high level of social and environmental performance.

History of the Standards[edit]

The development of the CCB Standards aims to be an inclusive and transparent process. The first draft was written by the NGO members of the CCBA and opened to the public for a 3-month comment period in 2004. Community and environmental groups, companies, academics, project developers and others contributed comments. The draft Standards were then field-tested on existing and planned projects in Indonesia, Tanzania, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Scotland, and Madagascar. Based on the public comments and field test results a second draft was created and turned over to three independent Advising Institutions. These institutions worked with the original Standards authors to produce the First Edition of the Standards, which was released in May 2005.

In February 2008 the CCBA began a revision of the Standards as described in the Terms of Reference, Procedures and Work Plan for the Revision of the CCB Standards. The CCB Standards was revised by a Standards Committee composed of a diverse range of interested parties with expertise relevant to the subject matter of the standards and/or materially affected by them. The revision process was completed in December 2008, and the CCB Standards Second Edition was launched on Dec 6, 2008, at Forest Day 2 in Poznan, Poland.[1]

Use of the CCB Standards[edit]

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The CCB Standards have become a widely used international standard for the multiple-benefits of land-based carbon projects. The CCB Standards provide rules and guidance to encourage effective and integrated project design. The Standards can be applied early on during a project’s design phase to validate projects that have been well designed, are suitable to local conditions and are likely to achieve significant climate, community and biodiversity benefits. This validation helps to build support for the project at a crucial stage and attract funding or other assistance from key stakeholders, including investors, governments and other important local, national and international partners. The CCB Standards can be applied throughout the life of the project to evaluate the social and environmental impacts of land based carbon projects. The standards can be combined very effectively with a carbon accounting standard, such as, the CarbonFix Standard (CFS), the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) or the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS).

As of December 2010, a total of 28 projects have completed validation, and 23 other projects have initiated the validation process. Of these 51 projects, 41 are in developing countries and represent exciting initiatives to stimulate investment, jobs, biodiversity conservation and many other social and environmental benefits. At least 100 projects are planning to use the standards, representing over 7 million ha of conservation and over 370,000 ha of restoration of native forests with total estimated annual emissions reductions of over 12.7 million tons annually.

Structure of the CCB Standards[edit]

The Standards comprise fourteen required criteria and three optional "Gold Level” criteria. Once a project has been designed, a third-party evaluator will use indicators to determine if individual criteria are satisfied. Only projects that use best practices and deliver significant climate, community and biodiversity benefits will earn CCB approval. Gold status is awarded to projects that satisfy one of the optional criteria by providing exceptional benefits including explicit design for adaptation to climate change, benefits for globally poorer communities, or conservation of biodiversity at sites of global conservation significance. The Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards may be beneficial to a wide variety of users.

  • Project Developers can use the CCB Standards to develop projects that deliver a suite of environmental and community benefits. Projects that meet the Standards may garner new investments from multiple funders and supporters.
  • Project Investors can use the CCB Standards to identify exceptional initiatives and minimize risks. Projects using the Standards are unlikely to become tied up with controversy and roadblocks. Multiple-benefit projects generate valuable goodwill for investors by fostering synergistic and innovative solutions.
  • Governments hosting projects can use the Standards to ensure that projects contribute to national sustainable development goals. Donor governments can use the Standards to pinpoint official development aid projects that satisfy multiple international obligations, such as the Millennium Development Goals and the UN conventions on Climate Change and Biological Diversity.

CCB Standards Validation and Verification Process[edit]

An internal desk review of the project design against the CCB Standards (download a copy of the CCB Standards at www.climate-standards.org) would be the first step. This is best be done by someone familiar with the project so they can quickly check against each Standards criterion, and should take less than a day. From this, one will see whether there are things the project needs to revise in its design, or documentation (evidence) that needs to be gathered for the audit.

The next step would be to hire an independent certifier to do the CCB audit and validate the project. Currently, eligible CCB certifiers are the CDM certifiers (Designated Operational Entities - DOEs), like SGS, TÜV SÜD, etc., or the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certifiers (e.g., Rainforest Alliance). Once an independent certifier is chosen, a project design document can be created, with the assistance of the CCB Validation Guidance document, and submitted to the CCBA for validation. The CCB audit and validation should take about two months or sometimes more depending on the audit findings. Typically, the CCB auditor reviews all the project documents and once they find that the documentation is sufficient and appropriate to proceed with an audit they forward the documents to the CCBA for the mandatory public comment period. Once the auditor evaluates the responses they write up the final audit & validation report and forward this with their statement of conformance to CCB Standards to the CCBA for publication on the CCBA website. Then the project would be deemed “CCB validated”.

Combined Use with Other Certification Systems[edit]

The CCB Standards can be combined with many other standards, such as the Clean Development Mechanism, or the Verified Carbon Standard. In this case, the CCB Standards provide a basis for evaluating a project’s social and environmental impact, while the carbon accounting standard enables verification and registration of quantified greenhouse gas emissions reductions or removals. In this way, the CCB Standards verify the social and environmental benefits generated by the project, enabling investors to select carbon credits with additional benefits, while screening out projects with unacceptable social and environmental impacts.

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