Fishermen return after a day of work in the Congo River a few kilometers from the city of Kisangani, Tshopo province, northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Sept 01, 2022. (PHOTO / AFP)
RABAT — Countries that are home to rainforest and peatland vital to limiting climate change want easier access to sovereign carbon credits, a financial scheme to reward them for preserving their ecosystems, Congo Republic's environment minister told Reuters.
Slightly bigger than Italy, Congo Republic shares with the much bigger and much more populated Democratic Republic of Congo the world's largest tropical peatlands and Africa's largest rainforest that absorb planet-warming carbon dioxide.
The sovereign credit markets require much stricter levels of oversight and more scrutiny than the more common voluntary carbon credits traded by private companies
Sovereign credit markets, established by UN climate agreements, are designed to allow such countries to seek financial reward for protecting ecosystems including forests and peatlands.
READ MORE: Global initiative outlines criteria for carbon offsets
Arlette Soudan-Nonault, the Congo Republic's minister, said in an interview access to the sovereign carbon market could help to grow the country's GDP by up to 40 percent and fund the energy transition and sustainable job-creation.
But she said multilateral financial institutions such as the World Bank needed to simplify procedures for issuing the credits.
The World Bank was not immediately available to comment.
The sovereign credit markets require much stricter levels of oversight and more scrutiny than the more common voluntary carbon credits traded by private companies.
READ MORE: Carbon markets can help accelerate the net-zero transition
As things stand, that means countries are pushed into using the voluntary carbon credits market, which are an "unregulated Wild West," Soudan-Nonault said.
"The rich world breathes through the green lungs of countries of the global south," she said further, adding the polluter pays principle should be applied. The developed world has been by far the biggest source of global emissions, while many emerging countries bear the brunt of climate change.
Soudan-Nonault was in Rabat to drum up support for the United Nations' summit scheduled to take place in Congo Republic's capital Brazzaville in June, which will bring together countries of the world's largest rainforest regions – Amazon, Congo and the Borneo-Mekong.