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[BALI] The World Bank has launched a financing scheme to help developing countries reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation.

The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) was launched last week (11 December) at the UN climate change conference in Bali, Indonesia.

It aims to provide forest-rich countries with incentives to discourage illegal logging and forest clearance for agriculture.

The fund is currently worth US$160 million thanks to contributions from nine developed countries and the Nature Conservancy, a US nongovernmental organisation.

It consists of two separate mechanisms. The Readiness Mechanism, to eventually be worth US$100 million, will assist 20 countries to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation, including establishing proper monitoring systems.

The Carbon Finance Mechanism, with a target size of US$200 million, will then enable these countries to 'sell' their emissions reductions to developed countries on the global carbon market.

World Bank president Robert Zoellick said at the launch that the facility would reward developing countries for carbon dioxide reductions resulting from protecting their forests.

"The scheme will support programmes targeting the real drivers of deforestation and develop concrete activities to reach out to poor people who depend on forests to improve their livelihoods," Zoellick added.

He said it will help developing countries "build the technical, regulatory, and sustainable forestry capacity to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation". He added that the scheme was designed to be compatible with any new climate change protocol agreed after 2012.

Zoellick said at least 30 countries from Africa, the Asia Pacific region and Latin America have expressed interest in taking part.

But Anne Petermann, co-director of the Global Justice Ecology Project, a nongovernmental organisation, says some carbon finance projects are subsidising industrial tree plantations at the expense of communities, ecosystems and food production.

Petermann told SciDev.Net that forest-dependent communities may have to bear the real cost of climate mitigation projects based on carbon finance, while garnering none of the benefits.

"They've packaged up their carbon trading agenda under the guise of forest protection, when in fact this scheme will result in more forest destruction, more displacement of indigenous peoples and more carbon emissions," she adds.