The McCall MacBain Foundation invests in issues of global concern, primarily health, education, and the environment. Liberia
received the foundation’s first grant in July 2007 to enable the country to develop a carbon offset program as an engine of economic renewal. CI is working with the foundation and recently spoke with John McCall MacBain.
Q. Describe your foundation’s investment in Liberia?
A. We are focusing on three areas: health care, education in sub-Saharan Africa, and the environment. Our grant in Liberia checks two of the boxes – development and the environment.
Q. Explain the importance of partnering with an organization like CI?
A. We don't have in-house the expertise that CI has to develop good policy responses and good practices for the environment, especially forestry and working with governments. We were looking for an NGO that had the expertise, and Conservation International has the expertise and was already interested in the Liberian situation.
Q. Why are carbon markets an effective conservation tool?
A. I think they are one of the many tools. We want to see the Kyoto Protocol widened and include avoided deforestation. That was one of the goals of our CI grant. We think carbon markets would be more effective if they include forestry. A price on carbon is very important for climate change.
Q. How do you hope the carbon market will benefit the people of Liberia?
A. We look at Liberia as a place that is sequestering more carbon every day and provides a long-term carbon sink. We’re hoping that carbon markets will enable monies to flow from the developed world to the developing world for maintaining and protecting forests.
Q. When might the people of Liberia see this benefit?
A. We hope that fairly soon they will be registered with the U.N. to do carbon projects. On forests, I think there will be some test projects in the next 12 to 18 months. If these are finalized into a stable protocol, then I hope by late 2009, early 2010.