Executive Summary

This annual report presents the results of the UN-REDD Programme up to and including 2020. It builds on and continues a progressive series of technical, policy and knowledge achievements at the nexus between climate and forests since the Programme’s launch in 2008. UN-REDD partner countries are making ever-greater progress in preparing for and implementing efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation through the conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. UN-REDD is increasingly focused on responding to country demand for technical assistance to implement REDD+ and access results-based payments (RBPs) for REDD+ and, ultimately, to realize commitments under the Paris Agreement. As of December 2020, UN-REDD had enabled its 65 partner countries across Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean to access knowledge and make significant progress towards adopting and implementing REDD+ actions.

In 2020, a key focus of the Programme remained to assist partner countries in their efforts to complete the four pillars of the Warsaw Framework for REDD+, a requirement for RBPs. Adopted in 2013, the Framework outlines four areas of REDD+ readiness: national REDD+ strategies or action plans (NS/AP), national forest monitoring systems (NFMS), forest reference emissions levels/forest reference levels (FREL/FRL), and safeguards information systems (SIS).

With UN-REDD support, Myanmar and Peru made notable advances with their national REDD+ strategies or action plans in 2020, bringing to 32 the number of UN-REDD partner countries that have finalized these strategic policies for nature-based emissions reductions from the forest and land-use sector. UN-REDD also supported the integration of such strategies and action plans into the land-use and forest sector components of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for climate change mitigation in 15 countries. To date, UN-REDD has provided support to more than 45 countries in developing NFMS.

During 2020 the Programme provided technical support for maintaining and developing forest monitoring information systems in the Republic of Congo and Côte d’Ivoire, while Colombia, Ecuador, Kenya, Honduras and Mexico submitted an updated and improved FREL to the UNFCCC Secretariat. On the safeguards front, Peru and Myanmar finalized their summaries of information and submitted these to the UNFCCC. Moreover, six countries advanced in the design and operation of their SIS at the national level in 2020: For example, Côte d’Ivoire and Zambia developed their SIS platforms, and Myanmar made progress on the operationalization of its SIS.

Despite the disruption and delivery challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many REDD+ countries made significant progress towards REDD+ implementation in 2020 with UN-REDD Programme support. Notably, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Indonesia achieved the milestone of accessing RBPs from the Green Climate Fund (GCF), securing $286.1 million for emissions reductions from the forest sector. These countries join Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, and Paraguay as the frontrunners in fully applying the four elements of the Warsaw Framework to be rewarded with a cumulative $496.8 million for avoided emissions totalling 102.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2), completing the first phase of the GCF’s pilot programme for RBPs.

Throughout the year, 10 partner countries and one region received customized UN-REDD support through national programmes and technical assistance for REDD+ implementation. In addition to supporting three national programmes in Chile, Myanmar and Peru, UN-REDD continued to deliver its multi-annual 2018-2020 technical assistance to REDD+ implementation projects in nine countries,1 the Lower Mekong region, and six knowledge management areas.

UN-REDD knowledge management support complements its country-level work and is critical to the achievement of the four pillars of the Warsaw Framework and the goal of REDD+ implementation. Below are some highlights of the Programme’s knowledge management work from 2020.

UN-REDD continued to be active in raising the profile of issues such as securing land tenure, mainstreaming indigenous rights and promoting social inclusion in REDD+ policy and actions. Highlights from 2020 include continued collaboration with the UNFCCC Local Communities & Indigenous Peoples Platform; global knowledge work on securing forest tenure rights through the Dgroup on REDD+ and Forest Governance (“Development through dialogue”) which has members across more than 100 countries; and a joint initiative with the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact on the interface between indigenous rights, environmental affairs and climate action, aiming at feeding indigenous insights into NDC reviews in 14 countries across the region.

UN-REDD financing and private sector work focused on building business case studies highlighting the conditions necessary to transition to sustainable land use, including incentives that need to be provided to farmers and producers, such as for sustainable coffee production in Viet Nam and for low-carbon livestock in Costa Rica. Moreover, some proof-of-concept transactions to unlock private finance included the &Green Fund making an eight-year $10 million investment into Brazilian Roncador Group, and signing a $30 million and 10-year loan facility with PT Dharma Satya Nusantara Tbk (DSN) in Indonesia.

Furthermore, UN-REDD continued highlighting the importance of landscape approaches and actions by generating and consolidating knowledge and tools to support practitioners on the ground, such as detailed guidance on using visual tools and spatial information to support decisions for REDD+ implementation.

The Programme also continued to generate, tailor and provide specialized knowledge on national financing mechanisms, instruments and innovations to underpin the REDD+ agenda, for example providing advice to Indonesia on the creation and operationalization of its national Environmental Fund Management Agency under the Ministry of Finance, and supporting Ecuador in the design and piloting of an innovative mechanism to incentivize municipal governments to create and maintain local protected forest areas.

UN-REDD supported 10 countries in integrating gender equality and women’s empowerment principles within REDD+  action. This support has helped many partner countries to take large strides in incorporating gender into their safe guards-related work: In Peru, a gender perspective has been a cross-cutting element to inform safeguards processes and was integrated into the country’s first summary of information on REDD+ safeguards, as has also been done in Côte d’Ivoire and Myanmar.

UN-REDD furthered synergies and supported the inclusion and enhancement of forest and land-use action as part of nature-based solutions in NDCs and the broader 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a theme that has achieved notable traction following the Climate Action Summit.

The policy and institutional support that UN-REDD provided through its national programmes, technical advice and knowledge  dissemination served countries to advance their sustainable development agendas, not only with respect to SDG 13 (Climate Action) and SDG 15 (Life on Land), but also across the spectrum of the SDGs.

Executive Summary can be downloaded here in : English, French and Spanish.