It is a new day in the Bonobo Peace Forest!
We are delighted to announce that Carbon Streaming Corporation entered into an exclusive term sheet with BCI over the summer, providing initial funding to develop two carbon credit projects in the Bonobo Peace Forest. This venture presents an unprecedented opportunity for the Peace Forest to grow and thrive, allowing us to vastly scale up our protection of bonobos and their irreplaceable habitat while securing ongoing support for local, indigenous community partners and their conservation efforts.
The proposed projects will be located within the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve and the Sankuru Nature Reserve. Together, these reserves have the potential to avoid and remove hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) over the 30-year span of the agreement. Removing this much carbon from the atmosphere is a big win in the fight against climate change.
The partnership will also be a huge boon for Peace Forest communities. BCI has always championed a community-based conservation approach in which local people steward their own natural resources. We have helped train and equip over 200 Peace Forest residents as trackers and eco-guards, enabling them to join field teams to protect bonobos and the integrity of their forests. We have worked in collaboration with communities to make sure their humanitarian priorities are met. Within the project sites, the established community programs will get much-needed support, with the opportunity to add more development programs as needed. Local people will continue to take the lead in implementing conservation measures and will enjoy a number of benefits in areas such as agriculture, education, healthcare, and sustainable income opportunities.
We need to act now to protect our precious planet and its vast biodiversity. Nature-based solutions (NbS) are critical to the ultimate success of conservation. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) defines NbS as “actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural and modified ecosystems in ways that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, to provide both human well-being and biodiversity benefits.” We can mitigate a number of dangers to society—including climate change, natural disasters, food insecurity, and economic disparity—by ensuring healthy ecosystems and supporting sustainable development. Carbon offsets are one nature-based solution that helps people value the services that nature provides, while protecting irreplaceable ecosystems for generations to come.
Justin Cochrane, President & CEO of the Carbon Streaming stated, “Carbon Streaming is thrilled to be partnering with BCI to develop these two vital projects that fight climate change, invest in their local communities and protect the endangered bonobos and many other species.” Mr. Cochrane continued, “This investment builds on CSC’s previously announced blue carbon project investment in Mexico and shows our commitment to supporting carbon credit projects around the world that also provide substantial community and biodiversity benefits.”
The REDD+ framework developed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be used to define the projects. The goal is to certify both of them through the Verified Carbon Standards (VCS), the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Gold Level standards, and the Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD Vista), all administered by Verra, an international institution based in Washington D.C. that manages carbon offset standards.
We humans have pushed our planet to the brink. We must do all we can to protect it: reduce use of fossil fuels, consume resources more wisely, reuse and recycle whatever we can. Carbon offsets are one part of a sustainable future, simultaneously reducing atmospheric carbon, protecting forest and wildlife, and supporting rainforest communities. Like the Peace Forest itself, this approach is a win-win-win.
Sally Jewell Coxe, Founder and President of BCI, said, “We and our Congolese partners are overjoyed that after 20 years of laying the groundwork for the Bonobo Peace Forest, new market-based solutions will enable us to fulfill our vision and sustain the Peace Forest for generations to come.”
Stay tuned for more updates from the field as we enter this exciting new chapter in the Bonobo Peace Forest!