HONDURAS – Special Law on Forest Carbon Transactions for Climate Justice

It is well known how climate change and environmental degradation greatly threaten the future quality of life of people in Honduras and the world. Article 145 of the Constitution of the Republic of Honduras establishes that “The State shall preserve an adequate environment to protect the health of the people”.

For this reason, and in response to the commitments made by the State of Honduras as a member of the United Nations and specifically the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Sustainable Development Goal No. 15 “Life of Terrestrial Ecosystems”, states that “urgent measures must be taken to reduce the loss of natural habitats and biodiversity that are part of our common heritage and support food and water security worldwide, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, peace and security.

Taking into account that the State of Honduras has established within its internal policies that environmental protection and agroforestry development are part of its government plan, efforts have been made to achieve the approval of a new standard that will be part of the country’s internal regulations. This is of utmost importance for Honduras because there are commitments acquired as part of the Paris Convention to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In turn, there are regional agreements such as the Program for Adaptation and Mitigation of Climate Change with great relevance in Central America, so Honduras had, for some years, the need to create regulations to demonstrate its commitment to the advancement of this issue.

By the above, last October 30, 2023, Legislative Decree 54-2023 containing the Special Law on Forest Carbon Transactions for Climate Justice was published in the Official Gazette La Gaceta. Among the novelties stipulated in this regulation is the creation of a National Commission for Carbon Transactions and a technical entity under the Secretariat of Natural Resources and Environment to ensure compliance with the provisions contained in this regulation. Although in other jurisdictions, these processes have been underway for a couple of decades, Honduras is making an effort to bring its regulations into line and open up an opportunity in this important environmental issue.

Another of the novel provisions are the carbon transactions defined as a multimodal mechanism whose purpose is to bring the Honduran reality closer to climate justice, including debt-for-nature swaps, a national carbon market and the possibility of trading the bonds recognized in this law.

Although this law contains extremely interesting provisions, we must ensure that the institutions involved in the different stages of the processes create the mechanisms for its implementation and compliance in the country. There is no doubt that this is an interesting opportunity for public, private, non-governmental, national and foreign entities. We will be attentive and part of the oversight of the technical and governmental entities in compliance, trying to be guarantors of its streamlining and implementation at all stages.

If you have any doubts or are interested in obtaining more information, our specialists of CENTRAL LAW in Honduras, have extensive knowledge of the environmental legislation of the country and with the greatest of pleasure will be able to clarify your doubts about the application of this new standard. Contact us at info@central-law.com

By Jorge Romero

Senior Associate

Central Law in Honduras

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