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ACTIVITIES IMPLEMENTED JOINTLY (AIJ)
ACTIVITIES IMPLEMENTED JOINTLY
Structure of the program:
The National Program of AIJ is executed by the Costa Rican Office on Joint Implementation (OCIC). OCIC was created
as a cooperative effort between the government, represented by the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), as
the rector entity, and a private organization specialized in the attraction of foreign investment CINDE (Costa
Rican Trade and Development Board) and two non-governmental organizations, FUNDECOR and ACOPE, of respectively
recognized experience in the area of forestry management and in the private generation of electricity.
By Executive Decree, the OCIC was legally consolidated to define, within the framework of the UNFCCC, ratified by
the Costa Rican Congress in June 1994, the policies and criteria for the preparation, evaluation, and approval of
AIJ projects, including international marketing to attract additional investment to finance the country's long
term sustainable development priorities.
OCIC, the designated national authority under the UNFCCC for Activities Implemented Jointly (AIJ), set the objectives, goals and parameters to evaluate and to endorse the projects that has been presented to United States Initiative Joint Implementation (USIJI) and to other countries such as Norway, The Netherlands, Canada, Germany, etc.
The OCIC Evaluation Panel is who receives and evaluates the AIJ project proposals, and gives the recommendations
for the leading Minister endorsement.
For the project evaluation, OCIC established a minimum time limit of eight weeks from the date received. The
project developers will be kept informed about the revision, and at the same time, the Evaluation Panel will make
observations to the projects before they are sent to the investor country.
The proposals that receive the leading Ministry endorsement will be sent to the counterpart AIJ Office. No proposal
will be conducted without the host and investor country approval.
Project proposals should be sent to:
B) Description of the criteria for acceptance of AIJ:
All proposals submitted to the OCIC should contain sufficient supporting data and analyses to allow for a full
evaluation by the Evaluation Panel, according to the criteria listed below. Fulfillment of all criteria is the
prerequisite for official project acceptance by the Costa Rican Government.
The criteria are meant to fulfill the following objectives:
Trough a executive decree, published on April 1996, the President of Costa Rica and the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), determined to increase the Costa Rican Office on Joint Implementation (OCIC) to the rank of "technical-administrative highest deconcentration organ" from the MINAE. This permits OCIC to become the national authority to address national policies and lineaments, with technical executable character, for the implementation of AIJ projects to mitigate GHGs. By granting this status, OCIC guarantees that its policies and definitions will be linked to both governmental and private national interests, and by increasing it to the status of highest deconcentration, it is allowed to act with the enough technical and administrative autonomy that assure an objective, sustainability on the fringe of political considerations.
Legal Framework for the Execution of Projects to Mitigate Greenhouse Gases through carbon offsets demand:
Through the Forestry Law (Nº 7575), published on April, 1996, Costa Rica created the legal framework to proceed with the offsets demand at international level. In article 3, the concept of "payment for environmental service" was defined as a mean to internalize the costs for greenhouse gases (GHG) mitigation (offset, reduction, sequestration, storage and absorption). The others environmental benefits given by the forest and consider by the law are: the protection of the bidiversity, the scenic beauty for the promotion of the ecotourism industry, and the protection of aquifers and watershed for respectively water consumption and electricity generation.
In this way, Costa Rica establishes a double contribution to GHG mitigation. In one hand, the State is authorized to internalize the cost of environmental service for GHG mitigation, establishing an effective national financial contribution to the efforts (e.g. reforestation, sustainable management and forest protection) executed by private forest owners to mitigate those gases. On the other hand, the State is authorized to claim the costs of environmental service at international level. This guarantees to the AIJ foreign investors, that the State has enough faculties, within the legal framework, to facilitate the financing and execution of AIJ projects.
Financial Framework: Establishment of the "National Specific Fund for Greenhouse Gases Sinks and Deposits":
Under the aforementioned legal framework, which guarantees transparency in the AIJ process, Costa Rica established an efficient mechanism to direct and manage AIJ foreign investments. For these effects, the Executive Decree published on April, 1996, created the "National Specific Fund for Greenhouse Gases Sinks and Deposits." The motivation for this Fund is only and exclusively to facilitate the financing and the execution of national scope AIJ projects of strategic value to the country and to reduce transaction costs, opening in this way, AIJ to a large number of Costa Rican participants. This fund is administrated under a trusteeship, with management regulations to guarantee the best use of the economic resources.
National Contribution to Greenhouse Gases Mitigation
As it was indicated, Costa Rica also has recognized the need to give national support to GHG mitigation through the development of two items. First, through the interiorization of environmental services costs, specifically for GHG mitigation, and second, through the promotion of no-regret measures. In this regard, Costa Rica has developed two specific items:
Ministry of Environment and Energy, with the objective to prepare and to execute a national program for energy efficiency.
Trying to emphasize the national efforts for energetic saving, Costa Rican Congress on October, 1994, promulgated the Energy Rational Use Law (Nº 7447), through which it is established the obligation to execute programs of rational use of energy in Companies with high consumption levels.
Costa Rican National Scope Projects
Within this framework, OCIC designed three national scope carbon offset projects to facilitate and attract foreign AIJ investments, two integrated forestry projects and a renewable energy project.
The "National Proposal for Territorial and Financial Consolidation of Costa Rican National Parks and Biological Reserves", to be endorsed by the USIJI during its 4th round, will provide protection for about 600,000 hectares (ha) within National Parks already established by Law. The objective is the financial and territorial consolidation of the National Parks and Biological Reserves in Costa Rica. The acronym for this project is PAP, that stands for Protected Area Project"
The "Private Forestry Project" (PFP) will provide annually environmental services payments for about 7,000 ha of natural forest protection, 50,000 ha for sustainable management of the secondary forest and the plantation of 15 millions trees.
The Costa Rica / Norway Reforestation and Forest Conservation AIJ Pilot Project was the first international financing contribution to the FESP program. The FESP program is one of the financial mechanisms of the PFP.
The "Renewable Energy Project" bundles a group of small energy projects to export energy to neighboring countries in Central America, which might otherwise use electricity generated by fossil fuels.
The Commodity Approach:
The financial mechanism to be used in the implementation of the umbrella projects is the Certified Tradable Offset (CTO). The CTO is defined as a certification of specific number of units of GHG, expressed in carbon equivalent units, reduced/sequestered or to be reduced/sequestered by AIJ actions, in which all project implementation phases have been completed. They are pre-certified by an independent third party and fully transferable.
In return for the AIJ additional financial contribution to abate GHG, the AIJ foreign investors will receive the GHG benefit through the CTO financial mechanism. Therefore, an AIJ investor does not need to get directly tied to a project. The investors simply purchase the offsets.
The baseline (without project reference case) is certified by a third party verificator for the project lifetime and the CTOs are issued only when all project implementation phases are completed. Therefore, CTOs are implementation and baseline risk free. Each CTO is guaranteed by the Government for a period of years, according with the lifetime of the project. During the guarantee period, any CTO that may be declared invalid as a result of the monitoring and/or external verification, will be replaced.
The CTO would include all the categories of AIJ projects, and only those projects that have been approved by the parties. It is important to note that CTO derived from different forestry/energy projects will be traded in the international stock market with a commodity approach. Authorizing brokers to match AIJ GHG benefits and investors, have advantages over a system where all deals were negotiated bilaterally. Brokerage could add an aura of credibility to the AIJ regime, promoting greater numbers and greater diversity of players. In addition, external offsets traded in an open market could achieve high levels of reductions and transfer of resources, without involving developing countries in international agreements.
List of Activities Implemented Jointly in Costa Rica
by the USIJI (4th round). Therefore, this AIJ (Costa Rica/USA) has not still been reported
to the UNFCCC Secretariat