S 1023

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 1023

To authorize the President to provide assistance to the Government of Haiti to end within 5 years the deforestation in Haiti and restore within 30 years the extent of tropical forest cover in existence in Haiti in 1990, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 18, 2011

Mr. DURBIN (for himself, Ms. COLLINS, and Mr. KERRY) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations


A BILL

To authorize the President to provide assistance to the Government of Haiti to end within 5 years the deforestation in Haiti and restore within 30 years the extent of tropical forest cover in existence in Haiti in 1990, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Haiti Reforestation Act of 2011'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS; PURPOSE.

    (a) Findings- Congress finds that--

      (1) the established policy of the Federal Government is to support and seek protection of tropical forests around the world;

      (2) tropical forests provide a wide range of benefits by--

        (A) harboring a major portion of the biological and terrestrial resources of Earth and providing habitats for an estimated 10,000,000 to 30,000,000 plant and animal species, including species essential to medical research and agricultural productivity;

        (B) playing a critical role as carbon sinks that reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, as 1 hectare of tropical forest can absorb up to approximately 3 tons of carbon dioxide per year, thus moderating potential global climate change; and

        (C) regulating hydrological cycles upon which agricultural and coastal resources depend;

      (3) tropical forests are also a key factor in reducing rates of soil loss, particularly on hilly terrain;

      (4) while international efforts to stem the tide of tropical deforestation have accelerated during the past 2 decades, the rapid rate of tropical deforestation continues unabated;

      (5) in 1923, over 60 percent of the land of Haiti was forested but, by 2006, that percentage had decreased to less than 2 percent;

      (6) during the period beginning in 2000 and ending in 2005, the deforestation rate in Haiti accelerated by more than 20 percent over the deforestation rate in Haiti during the period beginning in 1990 and ending in 1999;

      (7) as a result, during the period described in paragraph (6), Haiti lost--

        (A) nearly 10 percent (approximately 11,000 hectares) of the forest cover of Haiti; and

        (B) approximately 22 percent of the total forest and woodland habitat of Haiti;

      (8) poverty and economic pressures are--

        (A) two factors that underlie the tropical deforestation of Haiti; and

        (B) manifested particularly through the clearing of vast areas of forest for conversion to agricultural uses;

      (9) 80 percent of the population of Haiti lives below the poverty line;

      (10) two-thirds of the population of Haiti depend on the agricultural sector, which consists mainly of small-scale subsistence farming;

      (11) 60 percent of the population of Haiti relies on charcoal produced from cutting down trees for cooking fuel;

      (12) soil erosion represents the most direct effect of the deforestation of Haiti, as the erosion has--

        (A) lowered the productivity of the land due to the poor soils underlying the tropical forests;

        (B) worsened the severity of droughts and flooding events;

        (C) led to further deforestation;

        (D) significantly decreased the quality and, as a result, quantity of freshwater and clean drinking water available to the population of Haiti; and

        (E) increased the pressure on the remaining land and trees in Haiti;

      (13) tropical forests provide forest cover to soften the effect of heavy rains and reduce erosion by anchoring the soil with their roots;

      (14) when trees are cleared, rainfall runs off the soil more quickly and contributes to floods and further erosion;

      (15) in 2004, Hurricane Jeanne struck Haiti, killing approximately 3,000, and affecting over 200,000, people, partly because deforestation had resulted in the clearing of large hillsides, which enabled rainwater to run off directly to settlements located at the bottom of the slopes;

      (16) research conducted by the United Nations Environmental Programme has revealed a direct (89 percent) correlation between the extent of the deforestation of a country and the incidence of victims per weather event in the country;

      (17) the consequences of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which destroyed much of the infrastructure of Port au Prince, were greater because of deforestation which reduced hillside stability and increased the likelihood of mudslides, soil erosion, and flooding--factors that also negatively impacted the water supply and heightened concerns for the spread of waterborne diseases;

      (18) finding economic benefits for local communities from sustainable uses of tropical forests is critical for the long-term protection of the tropical forests in Haiti;

      (19) on July 29, 2010, the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-212) was enacted into law, which included $25,000,000 for `the reforestation and other restoration of Haiti's key watersheds'; and

      (20) tropical reforestation efforts would provide new sources of jobs, income, and investments in Haiti by--

        (A) providing employment opportunities in tree seedling programs, contract tree planting and management, sustainable agricultural initiatives, sustainable and managed timber harvesting, and wood products milling and finishing services; and

        (B) enhancing community enterprises that generate income through the trading of sustainable forest resources, many of which exist on small scales in Haiti and in the rest of the region.

    (b) Purpose- The purpose of this Act is to provide assistance to the Government of Haiti to develop and implement, or improve, nationally appropriate policies and actions--

      (1) to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in Haiti;

      (2) to increase annual rates of afforestation and reforestation in a measurable, reportable, and verifiable manner--

        (A) to restore social and economic conditions for environmental recovery of 35 percent of Haiti's land surface area within 5 years after the date of enactment of this Act;

        (B) to restore within 30 years after the date of enactment of this Act the forest cover of Haiti to at least 10 percent of the land in Haiti; and

        (C) to establish within 10 years after the date of enactment of this Act agroforestry cover of land in Haiti to more than 25 percent; and

      (3) to improve sustainable resource management at the watershed scale.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:

      (1) AFFORESTATION-

        (A) IN GENERAL- The term `afforestation' means the establishment of a new forest through the seeding of, or planting of trees on, a parcel of nonforested land.

        (B) INCLUSION- The term `afforestation' includes--

          (i) the introduction of a tree species to a parcel of nonforested land of which the species is not a native species; and

          (ii) the increase of tree cover through plantations.

      (2) AGROFORESTRY-

        (A) IN GENERAL- The term `agroforestry' refers to systems in which perennial trees or shrubs are integrated with crops or livestock, and where perennials constitute a minimum 10 percent of ground cover.

        (B) INCLUSION- Actual forest cover resulting from agroforestry programs can be counted toward the total forest cover goal set forth in section (2)(b).

      (3) APPROPRIATE COMMITTEES OF CONGRESS- The term `appropriate committees of Congress' means--

        (A) the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate; and

        (B) the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.

      (4) DEFORESTATION- The term `deforestation' refers to the conversion of forest to another land use or the long term reduction of the tree canopy.

      (5) FOREST-

        (A) IN GENERAL- The term `forest' means a terrestrial ecosystem containing native tree species generated and maintained primarily through natural ecological and evolutionary processes.

        (B) EXCLUSION- The term `forest' does not include plantations, such as crops of trees planted primarily by humans for the purposes of harvesting.

      (6) REFORESTATION-

        (A) IN GENERAL- The term `reforestation' refers to the establishment of forest on lands that were previously considered as forest, but which have been deforested.

        (B) INCLUSION- The term `reforestation' includes the increase of tree cover through plantations.

TITLE I--FORESTATION AND WATERSHED MANAGEMENT ASSISTANCE TO GOVERNMENT OF HAITI

SEC. 101. FORESTATION ASSISTANCE.

    (a) Authority-

      (1) IN GENERAL- In accordance with section 117 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151p) and consistent with the provisions of paragraph (2), the President is authorized to provide assistance to the Government of Haiti in the form of financial assistance, technology transfers, or capacity building assistance for the conduct of activities to develop and implement 1 or more forestation proposals under paragraph (2)--

        (A) to reduce the deforestation of Haiti; and

        (B) to increase the rates of afforestation and reforestation in Haiti.

      (2) PROPOSALS-

        (A) IN GENERAL- Assistance under this title may be provided to the Government of Haiti to implement one or more proposals that contain--

          (i) a description of each policy and initiative to be carried out using the assistance;

          (ii) adequate documentation to ensure, as determined by the President, that--

            (I) each policy and initiative will be--

(aa) carried out and managed in accordance with widely accepted environmentally sustainable forestry and agricultural practices; and

(bb) designed and implemented in a manner by which to improve the governance of forests by building governmental capacity to be more transparent, inclusive, accountable, and coordinated in decisionmaking processes and the implementation of the policy or initiative; and

            (II) the proposals will further establish and enforce legal regimes, standards, and safeguards designed to ensure that members of local communities in affected areas, as partners and primary stakeholders, will be engaged in the design, planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the policies and initiatives; and

          (iii) a description of how the proposal or proposals support and aid forest restoration efforts consistent with the purpose set forth in section 2(b).

        (B) DETERMINATION OF COMPATIBILITY WITH CERTAIN PROGRAMS- In evaluating each proposal under subparagraph (A), the President shall ensure that each policy and initiative described in the proposal submitted by the Government of Haiti under that subparagraph is compatible with--

          (i) broader development, poverty alleviation, sustainable energy usage, and natural resource conservation objectives and initiatives in Haiti;

          (ii) the development, poverty alleviation, disaster risk management, and climate resilience programs of the United States Agency for International Development, including those involving technical support from the United States Forest Service; and

          (iii) activities of international organizations and multilateral development banks.

    (b) Eligible Activities- Any assistance received by the Government of Haiti under subsection (a)(1) shall be conditional upon development and implementation of a proposal under subsection (a)(2), which may include--

      (1) the provision of technologies and associated support for activities to reduce deforestation or increase afforestation and reforestation rates, including--

        (A) fire reduction initiatives;

        (B) forest law enforcement initiatives;

        (C) the development of timber tracking systems;

        (D) the development of cooking fuel substitutes;

        (E) initiatives to increase agricultural productivity;

        (F) tree-planting initiatives; and

        (G) programs that are designed to focus on market-based solutions, including programs that leverage the international carbon-offset market;

      (2) the enhancement and expansion of governmental and nongovernmental institutional capacity to effectively design and implement a proposal developed under subsection (a)(2) through initiatives, including--

        (A) the establishment of transparent, accountable, and inclusive decisionmaking processes relating to all stakeholders (including affected local communities);

        (B) the promotion of enhanced coordination among ministries and agencies responsible for agroecological zoning, mapping, land planning and permitting, sustainable agriculture, forestry, and law enforcement; and

        (C) the clarification of land tenure and resource rights of affected communities, including local communities;

      (3) the development and support of institutional capacity to measure, verify, and report the activities carried out by the Government of Haiti to reduce deforestation and increase afforestation and reforestation rates through the use of appropriate methods, including--

        (A) the use of best practices and technologies to monitor land use change in Haiti, including changes in the extent of natural forest cover, protected areas, mangroves, agroforestry, and agriculture;

        (B) the monitoring of the impacts of policies and initiatives on--

          (i) affected communities;

          (ii) the biodiversity of the environment of Haiti; and

          (iii) the health of the tropical forests of Haiti; and

        (C) independent and participatory forest monitoring; and

      (4) the development of and coordination with watershed restoration programs in Haiti, including--

        (A) agreements with the Government of Haiti, nongovernmental organizations, or private sector partners to provide technical assistance, capacity building, or technology transfers which support the environmental recovery of Haiti's watersheds through forest restoration activities, provided that the assistance will help strengthen economic drivers of sustainable resource management, reduce environmental vulnerability, and improve governance, planning, and community action of watersheds in Haiti;

        (B) actions to support economic incentives for sustainable resource management, including enhanced incentives for the replacement of annual hillside cropping with perennial and non-erosive production systems;

        (C) enhanced extension services supporting the sustainable intensification of agriculture to increase farmer incomes and reduce pressure on degraded land; and

        (D) investments in watershed infrastructure to reduce environmental vulnerability, including the establishment of appropriate erosion control measures through reforestation activities in targeted watersheds or sub-watersheds.

    (c) Development of Performance Metrics-

      (1) IN GENERAL- If the President provides assistance under subsection (a)(1), the President, in cooperation with the Government of Haiti, shall develop appropriate performance metrics to measure, verify, and report--

        (A) the conduct of each policy and initiative to be carried out by the Government of Haiti;

        (B) the results of each policy and initiative with respect to the tropical forests of Haiti; and

        (C) each impact of each policy and initiative on the local communities of Haiti.

      (2) REQUIREMENTS- Performance metrics developed under paragraph (1) shall, to the maximum extent practicable, include short-term and long-term metrics to evaluate the implementation of each policy and initiative contained in each proposal developed under subsection (a)(2).

    (d) Reports-

      (1) INITIAL REPORT- Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the President shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report that describes the actions that the President has taken, and plans to take--

        (A) to engage with the Government of Haiti, nongovernmental stakeholders, and public and private nonprofit organizations to implement this section; and

        (B) to enter into agreements with the Government of Haiti under subsection (a)(1).

      (2) BIENNIAL REPORTS- Not later than 2 years after the date on which the President first provides assistance to the Government of Haiti under subsection (a)(1) and biennially thereafter, the President shall submit to Congress a report that describes the progress of the Government of Haiti in implementing each policy and initiative contained in the proposal submitted under subsection (a)(2).

    (e) Additional Assistance- The President is authorized to provide financial and other assistance to the Government of Haiti, local government bodies, or nongovernmental organizations for the purpose of--

      (1) providing local communities information relating to each policy and initiative to be carried out by the Government of Haiti through funds made available under subsection (a)(1);

      (2) promoting effective participation by local communities in the design, implementation, and independent monitoring of each policy and initiative; and

      (3) promoting, consistent with supporting the sustainability of forestation activities, enhanced watershed governance, national planning, and community action programs that lead to increased--

        (A) development of a national watershed management policy for Haiti with the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Land Management, the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry of Planning and External Cooperation;

        (B) establishment of an effective forum for donor coordination related to management and reforestation in Haiti;

        (C) support for the National Center for Geospatial Information (CNIGS) to provide technology, data, and monitoring support for improved watershed and forest resource management at a national scale in Haiti; and

        (D) development of effective governance structures in Haiti for stakeholder engagement, coordination of approaches, and land use planning and disaster mitigation at the watershed scale.

TITLE II--GRANTS FOR REFORESTATION

SEC. 201. REFORESTATION GRANT PROGRAM.

    (a) Establishment- The President is authorized to establish a grant program to carry out the purposes of this Act, including reversing deforestation and improving reforestation and afforestation in Haiti.

    (b) Grants Authorized-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The President is authorized to award grants and contracts to carry out projects that, in the aggregate, reverse deforestation and improve reforestation and afforestation.

      (2) MAXIMUM AMOUNT-

        (A) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the President may not award a grant under this section in an amount greater than $500,000 per year.

        (B) EXCEPTION- The President may award a grant under this section in an amount greater than $500,000 per year if the President determines that the recipient of the grant has demonstrated success with respect to a project that was the subject of a grant under this section.

      (3) DURATION- The President shall award grants under this section for a period not to exceed 3 years.

    (c) Use of Funds-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Grants awarded pursuant to subsection (b) may be used for activities such as--

        (A) providing a financial incentive to protect trees;

        (B) providing hands-on management and oversight of replanting efforts;

        (C) focusing on sustainable income-generating growth;

        (D) providing seed money to start cooperative reforestation and afforestation efforts and providing subsequent conditional funding for such efforts contingent upon required tree care and maintenance activities;

        (E) promoting widespread use of improved cooking stove technologies, to the extent that this does not result in the harvesting of tropical forest growth and other renewable fuel technologies that reduce deforestation and improve human health; and

        (F) securing the involvement and commitment of local communities--

          (i) to protect tropical forests in existence as of the date of enactment of this Act; and

          (ii) to carry out afforestation and reforestation activities.

      (2) CONSISTENCY WITH PROPOSALS- To the maximum extent practicable, a project carried out using grant funds shall support and be consistent with the proposal developed under section 101(a)(2) that is the subject of the project.

    (d) Application-

      (1) IN GENERAL- To be eligible for a grant under this section, an entity shall prepare and submit an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the President may reasonably require.

      (2) CONTENT- Each application submitted under paragraph (1) should be consistent with the findings of the 2007 United States Agency for International Development report entitled, `Environmental Vulnerability in Haiti: Findings and Recommendations', and shall include--

        (A) a description of the objectives to be attained;

        (B) a description of the manner in which the grant funds will be used;

        (C) a plan for evaluating the success of the project based on verifiable evidence; and

        (D) to the extent that the applicant intends to use nonnative species in afforestation efforts, an explanation of the benefit of the use of nonnative species over native species and verification that the species to be used are not invasive.

      (3) PREFERENCE FOR CERTAIN PROJECTS- In awarding grants under this section, preference shall be given to applicants that propose--

        (A) to develop market-based solutions to the difficulty of reforestation in Haiti, including the use of conditional cash transfers and similar financial incentives to protect reforestation efforts;

        (B) to partner with local communities and cooperatives; and

        (C) to focus on efforts that build local capacity to sustain growth after the completion of the underlying grant project.

    (e) Dissemination of Information- The President shall collect and widely disseminate information about the effectiveness of the demonstration projects assisted under this section.

SEC. 202. FOREST PROTECTION GRANTS.

    Chapter 7 of part I of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2281 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 466 the following new section:

`SEC. 467. PILOT PROGRAM FOR HAITI.

    `(a) Submission of List of Areas of Severely Degraded Natural Resources- The President, in cooperation with nongovernmental conservation organizations, shall invite the Government of Haiti to submit a list of areas within the territory of Haiti in which tropical forests are seriously degraded or threatened.

    `(b) Review of List- The President shall assess the list submitted by the Government of Haiti under subsection (a) and shall seek to reach agreement with the Government of Haiti for the restoration and future sustainable use of those areas.

    `(c) Grant Program-

      `(1) GRANTS AUTHORIZED- The President is authorized to make grants on such terms and conditions as may be necessary to nongovernmental organizations for the purchase on the open market of discounted debt of the Government of Haiti, if a market is determined to be viable, in exchange for commitments by the Government of Haiti to restore tropical forests identified by the Government under subsection (a) or for commitments to develop plans for sustainable use of such tropical forests.

      `(2) MANAGEMENT OF PROTECTED AREAS- Each recipient of a grant under this subsection shall participate in the ongoing management of the area or areas protected pursuant to such grant.

      `(3) RETENTION OF PROCEEDS- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a grantee (or any subgrantee) of the grants referred to in section (a) may retain, without deposit in the Treasury of the United States and without further appropriation by Congress, interest earned on the proceeds of any resulting debt-for-nature exchange pending the disbursements of such proceeds and interest for approved program purposes, which may include the establishment of an endowment, the income of which is used for such purposes.

      `(4) TERMINATION OF PROGRAM- The authority to make grants under the pilot program shall terminate five years after the date of the enactment of this Act. The authority may be renewed for one additional five-year period during the 30-year reforestation period targeted by this Act if the President determines and certifies to Congress that the pilot program is effective in meeting the goals of the Act and the commitment of the Government of Haiti to returning land in Haiti to long-term sustainable forests. The cumulative duration of the pilot program may not exceed ten total years.'.

TITLE III--ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISION

SEC. 301. DELEGATION.

    The President (or the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development or the Secretary of State as the President's delegee) may draw, as appropriate, on the expertise of the United States Forest Service in designing and implementing programs pursuant to this Act relating to reforestation, watershed restoration, and monitoring of land use change.

END