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Developing a Blockchain to Power the first Ecosystem Services Market Place that Rewards Communities to Restore the Eastern Ghats in India.

Building bridges between community driven mountain ecosystem restoration using blockchain technology for sustainable development financing.

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The project idea is about addressing the challenges of total ecosystem collapse from serious land degradation that local indigenous communities living in Araku Valley along the Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh, South India are facing. We want to help them by increasing their food security and building resilience from the impact of global climate change. The successful implementation of our mountain ecosystem restoration project requires financial incentives. To this end Route2’s role is the design, development and implementation of a new ecosystem service assessment and evaluation standard and tradeable token (i.e. Ecosystem Service Coin [ESC]), using blockchain distributed ledger technology. This standard will measure the annual economic value of ecosystem services delivered by the mountain ecosystem. The value of these services will be translated into digital currency for corporates, institutional investors and consumers to buy and sell. The former (corporates) can buy and hold these ESCs to offset the ecological damage of their economic activities (including greenhouse gas emissions). Through the effective and compensated land management of these ecosystems ESCs will appreciate in value. ESCs will offer competitive return on investment [ROI] and this ROI will provide the missing incentive that will enable the successful expansion of the outlined project. This idea is a collaboration between a management consulting firm Route2 in London with VCCSL an enviro-social enterprise in Kakinada that tackles the problem of environmental degradation and loss of livelihoods and with VIKASA an NGO in Visakhapatnam working in Araku Valley. Together we are addressing the big problem by restoring degraded mountain ecosystems rapidly on the large scale basis while working with local indigenous communities to rebuild peace, ensure mountain forests preservation and building a robust green economy. The project intersects the three topics of peace, prosperity and planet

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

The beneficiaries of this project are the vulnerable indigenous communities living on the Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh who have been suffering from the impact of climate change and conflicts over the years. To help prevent future disastrous ecological collapse, reverse the trend and provide significant economic benefits to mountain communities, our collective approach has synergetic benefits: 1. Provide better food security with restored and secured breeding habitat 2. Sequestrate CO2 from trees and reduce escalations of climate change 3. Create high value-added livelihood opportunities to disadvantaged indigenous communities by reducing poverty especially among women by raising orchids, collecting NTFPs and bee honey, and providing other new sources of revenue 4. Save lives and improve environmental health for thousands of people via adaptation to climate change 5. Contribute to social and economic development of a peace building process in conflict zones of the Easter Ghats

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

The objective of this collaboration, is design and development of a business model to enhance the rate, scale and economic viability of ecosystem restoration in affected areas along the Eastern Ghats in India, thereby improving and protecting the Natural, Human and Social Capital value of the target mountain ecosystem. It is acknowledged that successful ecosystem restoration requires: Improved rate and efficiency of mapping, planting and monitoring using appropriate technology on the ground land management, administration, education, community engagement and monitoring by local partners; and the development of an ecosystem service assessment and evaluation standard which supports an ecosystem service market place that incentivizes long term economic viability. The project will be measuring the economic benefit of the ecosystem services generated by ecosystems in the target community. The mountain protection services provided by a mountain ecosystem would be quantified and valued.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Early Adoption: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have begun to expand the pilot for early adoption.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Route2 is a management consulting firm based in London that is working in partnership with Veda Climate Change Solutions Ltd. (VCCSL) an enviro-social enterprise, knowledge processing organisation based in Kakinada that links people at grassroots with international organisations through UNFCCC global mechanisms and with VIKASA an NGO based in Visakhapatnam working with 3000 farming families in Araku Valley Route2 http://route2.com/ VCCSL http://vccslindia.org/ VIKASA http://vikasaindia.in/

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.
  • Yes, we are a registered company.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

The inspiration on developing this project came when the Route2 team met with the VCCSL team in London and decided to collaborate in tackling the problem of environmental degradation, loss of livelihoods and conflict resolution. This strategic partnership will address the big problem by restoring degraded mountain ecosystems rapidly on the large scale basis while working with local indigenous communities to rebuild peace, ensure mountain forests preservation and building a robust green economy.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

The idea is about Improving Rural Livelihoods (IRL) by restoring fragile mountain ecosystems in 25 villages the Araku Valley along the Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh, India and adopting environment friendly technology based agroforestry practices. The main threats facing the northern Eastern Ghats include deforestation, hydropower projects, bauxite mining and road widening. The massive impoundments that dams and their reservoirs have formed between the Andhra Pradesh and Odisha borders have submerged thousands of hectares of forests. Mitigation of forest encroachments, restricting road traffic particularly during the nights on the roads traversing the Eastern Ghats and the Andhra-Odisha borders, and capacity building of local stakeholders will contribute to conservation of the northern Eastern Ghats region. The IRL project implemented by our partner VCCSL benefits more than 1500 small and marginal farmers in the six backward districts addressing about 1600 hectares of degraded land.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

The Route2 team will work alongside the VCCSL and the VIKASA team that has experience of working with the corporate sector to mobilize collaborative partnership development for our communities. The proposed activity in the Araku Valley along the Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh involves building on the success of one of the very few A/R CDM projects through scaling up and replication of activities that have been successful in delivering additional revenue to the participating indigenous communities from the sale of carbon credits generated from the ecosystem restoration on degraded mountains in partnership with the private industry. The proposed project would move beyond the carbon sequestration and value the total ecosystems. This offers a paradigm shift in addressing conservation activities. The present conservation efforts work in silos either for biodiversity, reforestation, social carbon. Our project undertakes a holistic approach to address issues at larger landscape level.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Our target communities have a surplus of indigenous people ready to work with us in implementing our project. The project will be implemented inline with achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, in addition to effective mitigation of CO2 contributing to the 2015 United Nations Paris Climate Agreement as well as providing valuable ecosystem services by enhancing biodiversity over the life of the project. VIKASA is working with 20,000 rural families in the Eastern Ghats.

Geographic Focus

We will be implementing our project in Araku Valley on the Eastern Ghats, Andhra Pradesh South India

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

We will need 36 months to implement our proposed project that would be measuring the economic benefit of the ecosystem services [ES] generated by ecosystems in our target community in the Eastern Ghats. The mountain protection services provided by a mountain ecosystem would be quantified and valued. Clearly these benefits are ‘external benefits’ and therefore the landowners receive no financial compensation and therefore no incentive to maintain the integrity and functioning off the ecosystem.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No
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Attachments (9)

Porposed Project zones.pdf

Proposed Project zone on the Eastern Ghats of Southern India.

Route2 Value2Society Framework.pdf

Route2 Value2Society (V2S) Framework used for measuring impact across 6 capital stocks.

Route2 SGS Corporate Sustainability Report.pdf

Route2 SGS Corporate Sustainability Report measuring impact on UN SDGs using Value 2 Society (V2S) Framework.

Route2 Crown Estate Total Contribution Report.pdf

Route2 Crown Estate Total Contribution Report (TCR) measuring Natural Capital using Ecosystem Services Standard.

Route2 Ecosystem Services Market Place Proposal.pdf

Route2 Ecosystem Services Market Place (ESMP) Proposal

VCCSL Implementation Status & Results Report.pdf

Implementation Status & Results Report for Improving Rural Livelihoods (IRL) Project

VCCSL Monitoring Report.pdf

Monitoring Report for Improving Rural Livelihoods (IRL) Project

VCCSL Validation Report.pdf

Validation Report for Improving Rural Livelihoods (IRL) Project

VCCSL Project Design Document.pdf

Project Design Document for Improving Rural Livelihoods (IRL) Project

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