The Nakau Program is the first and only Pacific Islands regional 'Payment for Environmental Services' (PES) programme for rainforest & mangrove protection. The Pacific Islands are one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to natural disasters. The Nakau Program reduces indigenous community vulnerability to climate-related risks and poverty by helping indigenous landowners sell carbon offsets and conservation credits instead of timber as a way to deliver community economic development. Carbon offsets and Habitat Hectare units are sold to buyers seeking carbon certification, brand alignment with rainforest protection or wanting to fund organised rainforest protection outcomes.
Nakau applies the principles of fair trade where the majority of project benefits are delivered directly to indigenous landowners. Businesses and individuals partner with Nakau to create life-changing impacts for local landowners and the rainforests under their stewardship. Funding from sales of conservation credits allows indigenous landowners to switch from activities that degrade or clear forest, to a new conservation economy that protects forests and provides capital for new and sustainable development pathways.
Landowners in project sites in Fiji, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands have given up rights to logging timber in exchange for the opportunity to sell rainforest carbon offsets as a way of generating revenue for local economic development, such as producing and selling rainforest honey, agroforestry products such as nuts, and learning centres and visitor accommodation. The sites across Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu produce 62,222 carbon credits annually, which have been purchased by companies such as at Optus Australia.
In Fiji the project site is protecting the endangered Fiji Ground Frog and several other endemic plant and animal species. This rainforest also provides valuable protection from cyclones, floods and droughts for the Drawa local people and those living downstream in their catchment. In Vanuatu the project site is protecting the critically endangered Vanuatu Megapode bird and the critically endangered Coconut Crab. This rainforest also provides valuable protection from cyclones, floods and droughts for the Loru local people. In Solomon Islands the project site is protecting lowland coastal rainforest that is habitat for 19 of the 21 frog species found in the Solomon Islands.
The Nakau Programme is designed to enable replication / scaling up beyond the current projects. This is possible because the current projects establish methodologies that make it simpler and cheaper for additional projects to follow. A comprehensive community engagement and education program has been implemented to ensure that communities have genuine and effective input into project development. Each project comprises a local landowner group supported to govern their project, manage their forest resources and manage income generated as a result of protecting or enhancing their rainforests. Live & Learn assists the forest owners through an intensive program of field visits, including land use planning, governance support, and business planning.
The carbon offsets are certified to the Plan Vivo Standard - the world's leading community-based, fair-trade styled rainforest carbon standard – and audited by CPMA International using auditors experienced in the CDM and VCS Standards. Carbon offsets were issued by Markit Environmental Registry in London (a global leading environmental registry). The Nakau Programme Ltd is a business registered under Australian Law and wholly owned by two charities: Live & Learn International and Ekos. More information can be found at www.nakau.org