This impact story was originally published by Emergent here.
Kenya has become the second African nation to sign a Letter of Intent (LOI) to supply high-integrity emissions reductions and removals credits to the LEAF Coalition. The East African country follows Ghana in pioneering progress to reduce deforestation, with the support of LEAF.
The agreement was signed between the Kenyan Government and Emergent, the administrative coordinator of The LEAF Coalition. It demonstrates the commitment of both parties to progress negotiations towards a binding Emissions Reductions Purchase Agreement (ERPA) and signals significant progress for LEAF in Africa. The LEAF Coalition is a public-private initiative that will provide payments to forest countries and states for reducing emissions through jurisdictional REDD+ programs.
Kenya has an estimated 3.6 million ha of forest and an additional 24.5 million ha of bush land. The country loses about 12,000 ha of forest on average each year, according to figures from the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility.1
The LOI with LEAF complements Kenya’s already ambitious plans to tackle deforestation and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In 2021 the Kenyan government announced it had a national REDD+ strategy in place, along with a comprehensive framework for safeguards, as well as functional multi-stakeholder engagement and capacity building programs.2 The country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) commits to abatement of GHG emissions by 32% by 20303 and last year, Kenya committed to plant 15 billion trees to achieve 30% tree cover by 2032.
‘This Letter of intent (LOI) with the LEAF Coalition is in line with the Government of Kenya’s determination to mobilize climate finance to support forestry development, climate change response and land restoration goals. We look forward to the Forestry sector as a significant source of development capital. The 15 billion National Tree Growing and Restoration Campaign, recently launched by the Government, presents a big opportunity for the country accelerate and enhance Kenya’s efforts to reduce emissions from the forestry sector and address barriers to new afforestation programs. As a government, we are delighted of this opportunity and look forward to implementation of the next steps towards the signing of the Emissions Reduction Purchase Agreement.’ Hon Soipan Tuya, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry.
‘This agreement triggers the start of negotiations that will enable the people and government of Kenya to unlock a significant new source of finance for preserving their forests, protecting biodiversity and supporting sustainable development.’ Said Eron Bloomgarden, CEO of Emergent. ‘This is an important first step on the road to a transaction between LEAF buyers and Kenya that can support the country’s work to achieve its climate goals. We look forward to working closely with the Kenyan government to progress towards a final agreement over the coming months.’
The LOI with Kenya is the 10th Emergent has signed with forest governments on behalf of the LEAF Coalition, following those with Ghana, Nepal, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Vietnam and four Brazilian states, Amapá, Amazonas, Mato Grosso and Pará.
The LEAF Coalition ensures the highest environmental and social integrity by only purchasing emissions reductions credits verified and issued by ART, following its TREES Standard for jurisdictional REDD+ emission reductions and removals. Each credit represents one tonne of CO2 equivalent reduced or removed as a result of activities to tackle deforestation or conserve forests.