Can REDD+ contribute to private sector development in sustainable fuelwood and charcoal production in Rwanda?:
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AbstractThe expected increase in future demand of biomass feedstock in Rwanda cannot be met because of constraints at the supply side. This has a negative effect on the energy security for Rwandese in the future and the income generated for the Rwandan population involved in biomass feedstock production. There are, however, opportunities to stimulate the typically informal private sector in such a manner that the biomass energy production is made more sustainable. This thesis conducts research into the REDD+ mechanism (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (UN, 2011)) and the role it can play for the Rwandan biomass feedstock market. Next, an exploration is made of the current charcoal and fuelwood value chains to be able to better promote sustainable production of biomass. Then, an adapted version of business model generation theory from Osterwalder and Pigneur (2010) of Vastbinder, Kroesen, Blom, and Ortt (2011) is applied to generate sustainable business models. It is shown through a charcoal and a fuelwood cooperative business model that existing, improved and economically viable techniques exist in Rwanda which can be exploited to improve the sustainability of practices within the charcoal and fuelwood value chains; and leverage private investment. It is also shown that REDD+ can provide the financial argumentation for private smallholders to provide a tangible benefit of being in a cooperative, but that there is a lack of data available to prove it. Based on the research findings, the Government of Rwanda is recommended to build institutional capacities at different levels of Government in order to: (1)Align laws and policies applying in the different sectors involved in biomass energy production so that competition for land between energy, agriculture and forestry is decreased; (2)Develop and implement laws and policies specifically addressing charcoal and fuelwood in Rwanda which can be monitored uniformly and are applied consistently across the various levels of Government; (3)Promote increased social, economical and ecological benefits of improved charcoal and fuelwood production cooperatives to reach more formal organization of the charcoal and fuelwood sector and more equally distributed income across the value chains; (4)Gain insight in what the economic characteristics of the charcoal and fuelwood markets in Rwanda are, so that intervention to create long-term economic sustainability is founded on better reasoning; (5)Operationalize additional value of their project-involved activities, so that sustainable benefits of practical intervention can be proven and continued funding for the longer term can more easily be derived. Based on the research findings, it is recommended to DGIS (the Directorate General for International Cooperation) to: (1)Reconsider their food security definition to include domestic cooking energy for developing countries which are densely populated and rely on traditional biomass. The current food security definition increases competition between wood production for domestic energy provision and agricultural food production - without the energy to cook there are no means to achieve food security; (2)Convince the international developing aid community that a reconsideration of the food security definition is needed; (3)Provide aid to the Government of Rwanda through bilateral agreements for: a.Capacity building activities (e.g. institutional or business); b.Gaining an insight in the economic characteristics of the charcoal and fuelwood markets in Rwanda; (4)Develop guidelines for the REDD+ mechanism on which data can be collected in what way to be able to prove additional value of certain projects. Currently these guidelines do not exist. Hence, sustainable benefits of practical intervention are short term. This is because involved parties lack the time and resources to consider long-term sustainability – potentially through carbon finance – since short-term results are needed; (5)Follow up on the previous recommendation so that current and future funding of projects requires not just a focus on practical intervention, but focuses on proven long-term additionality of practices as well; (6)Research opportunities to develop a mechanism by which such supply-side interventions in woody, traditional biomass value chains can be funded. Although these interventions are beneficial in terms of sustainable development, the old-fashioned image of woodfuels and the complexities with terrestrial carbon – including forest carbon – calculations hamper the possibilities for funding of wood energy interventions at the supply side.