Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Using carbon as a funding mechanism for conservation

Taking tree measurements in Kenya

Is REDD+ right for you?

An introductory guide based on the World Land Trust (WLT) and IUCN National Committee for the Netherlands (IUCN NL) training programme 2010; knowledge and networking for African NGOs. Now available to download

Introduction to the training programme

In 2010, the WLT, in consultation with IUCN NL, developed and carried out a training programme on the use of carbon as a funding mechanism for conservation with the aim of enabling our African partner NGOs to benefit from increased carbon funding opportunities.

The programme focused on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation-Plus (REDD+) in particular as it is considered the most promising bio-carbon financing mechanism for the future. The programme was funded mainly by IUCN NL’s Ecosystem Grants Programme with additional contributions from the WLT.

Background: WLT's history in climate change

The relationship between IUCN NL and WLT has developed over several years with demonstrated success. Both share the view that the best way of achieving long-term, sustainable conservation is by strengthening local NGOs.

The WLT has been committed to addressing climate change for over a decade and was involved in one of the first pre-Kyoto Protocol pilot projects in Belize in the 1990’s; the Rio Bravo Climate Action Project. Since then it has developed its environmental services programme with experience in restoration ecology, ‘softer’ climate-offset projects and large-scale verified REDD+ projects. Through mutual networks, additional trainers with a range of valuable experiences were sourced from:

Why choose African NGOs?

Funds are becoming increasingly available for REDD+ carbon projects and most buyers in the voluntary carbon market are willing to pay a premium for projects with biodiversity and community benefits. Africa is behind in this opportunity despite being one of the continents most vulnerable to climate change. IUCN NL has a large network of African NGO partners and was looking to support them in REDD+ projects.

Working on REDD+ feasibilitiy studies

A group session at the 2nd workshop in Uganda. Participants work on their REDD+ feasibility studies

Workshops: Participatory Approach

Partners from all over Africa were approached to register their interest in the training and asked to describe the main barriers they had experienced when trying to develop a REDD+ project, the programme was then tailored to these needs using this participatory approach.

Workshops were held in Ghana and Uganda and attended by participants from 21 organisations from all over Africa. The objective was to assist partners through training and networking to assess whether REDD+ was a suitable option for their organisation and to improve access to carbon funding, thereby adding to their conservation effectiveness and long term financial sustainability. This would also be creating a network of stronger African NGOs positioned to profit from carbon opportunities, and to spread knowledge and capacity to mitigate climate change whilst delivering many other environmental benefits.

Is REDD+ right for you? An introductory guide to using carbon to fund conservation

Results: workshop outcomes and questions

The programme has received excellent feedback and confirmed the need and demand for capacity building for REDD+ projects in Africa. It is clear that good, innovative demonstration projects are needed to get policy-makers to start talking with project implementers and to help link the climate negotiations to practical experience. Early success is important for leveraging more political acceptance and stakeholder interest.

One of the key outcomes from these workshops was the realisation of the commitments required from a NGO to fully engage in a REDD+ project and that it is not necessarily suitable for everyone in their present capacity.

  • So how does an organisation know if it is ready to tackle a REDD+ project?
  • What sort of questions do they need to ask themselves?
  • And if they’re not ready, what alternatives are there to help prepare for future engagement?

We hope the report will help NGOs answer these questions and will add to existing resources.

Networking and knowledge exchange

Continued networking and discussion is encouraged on these evolving topics along with the creation of partnerships to help tackle the difficulties for small organisations and small scale projects. A list of staff, participants and organisations involved in both workshops is provided in the annexes of this report, all of which are happy to be contacted. IUCN NL’s Nature and Poverty portal is also an additional tool for continued knowledge exchange and networking in the field of carbon as a funding mechanism for conservation.

Pages from the interactive REDD+ pdf

A preview of the interactive PDF report

The Report: Introductory guide based on the training programme

WLT has produced a report based on the training programme - Using carbon as a funding mechanism for conservation; Is REDD+ right for you? An introductory guide, which we hope will be of use to a wider audience.

Included in the Report:

  • See the full contents page
  • Introduction to climate change and carbon sequestration
  • Introduction to REDD+ and status within Africa
  • Organisational commitments
  • Common risks and barriers
  • Guidelines for a feasibility study
  • Alternatives to REDD+
  • Further tools and resources


The training was held in English but both French and English versions of this report are available to download below. The report is also available in CD format for those NGOs who have difficulty with reliable internet access.

Download the Report

Please note these are interactive PDFs and may take some time to download. You will need to have Adobe Acrobat to view these files interactively - Download Adobe Acrobat for free. For faster download please use the zipped versions below. Please feel free to send any feedback or comments on the usefulness of this report to Neil Williams, Carbon Programme Officer as these may be incorporated in future training efforts.


English PDF file PDF (47MB) French PDF file PDF (52MB)
Zipped file
English PDF file PDF zip (10.6MB) French PDF file PDF zip (11.9MB)


To request a CD Version: Email:

Mark van der Wal, Co-ordinator Central Africa
IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands
Plantage Middenlaan 2K, 1018 DD Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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