Knowledge Management Results Knowledge Management Results

Text for anchoring


UN-REDD recognizes that reducing deforestation and forest degradation depends upon coherent policies and actions across sectors, including ensuring sustainable production while conserving or restoring key ecosystem values and socio-economic benefits. The world is facing an unprecedented challenge to turn the tide on deforestation, achieving SDGs, and meeting Paris Agreement goals. This can only be accomplished with a paradigm shift at an unprecedented scale and reimagining business models, including our food and land-use systems. REDD+ can be catalytic for this purpose, for example by supporting enhanced integrated land use planning (ILUP) for simultaneously meeting multiple policy objectives, and boosting a deep and systematic (transformational) change towards synergies among agriculture, forestry, and other land uses; a change of even greater urgency in the post-COVID-19 pandemic world.

In 2020 UN-REDD continued highlighting the importance of such an approach and actions by generating and consolidating knowledge, for example through the brief on integrated land-use planning and approaches to REDD+, engaging in expert meetings, or influencing key international events through its partner organizations. The need for transformation of food systems, its connection with land use, and reduced deforestation, and the catalytic role of REDD+ was brought to attention through a World Forestry Week Event and at the Committee on Forestry High-Level Dialogue on turning the tide on deforestation. Elements, drivers, and barriers for transformational change across landscapes were further elucidated through this virtual meeting of experts on transformational change in land use and climate change, making linkages with NDCs, NAPs, investment plans, and climate finance country programming. In partnership with CIFOR, key collaborations with the Transformational Change Learning Partnership, World Economic Forum, Tenure Facility, and key representatives from donors, research institutes, and civil society were boosted.

Moving from global discourses and knowledge generation to facilitating tools supporting practitioners on the ground, detailed guidance was finalized titled ’How to Present Complex Data on Maps and other Visuals for Effective Policy Communication: Using visual tools and spatial information to support decisions for REDD+ implementation.’ The guidance was part of the UN-REDD series titled ’Step-by-step tutorials: Using spatial information to support decisions on safeguards and multiple benefits for REDD+.’ A review of UN-REDD partner agencies’ tools that can contribute to, and be integrated with, interventions related to reducing deforestation from agriculture was also undertaken. Forty-two tools were identified and analyzed for their support in decision-making at the landscape level. The review has been undertaken as preparatory work to design and pilot the interactive tool navigator to inform decision-making at the landscape level, reducing conflicting priorities for resources and deforestation from agriculture expansion.

At the country level, despite the impacts of the COVID-19-related restrictions, progress has been made in promoting landscape approaches. Technical backstopping and consultations had to be reorganized to largely take place online, for example in the case of agroforestry mapping work in Côte d’Ivoire. A methodology has been developed for mapping potential areas for cocoa agroforestry and quantifying carbon storage and other ecosystem service gains from agroforestry implementation, given the country’s target of restoring forest cover to 20 percent of land area by 2030. This methodology is being finalized integrating feedback from a stakeholder consultation in January 2021. Challenges can also highlight opportunities, such as the beneficial collaboration that was developed with the Cocoa Soils project in Côte d’Ivoire, funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). Support in Myanmar has also moved online due to COVID-19 restrictions: The technical assistance on integrating the sustainable management, restoration, and conservation of mangroves into REDD+ implementation kicked off through a virtual inception workshop, ensuring participation of key actors and partners.

Text for anchoring


In 2020, and despite the coronavirus pandemic, UN-REDD continued its proactive engagement to raise the profile of secure tenure rights, to mainstream indigenous rights, and to promote social inclusion in REDD+ policy and actions. Innovative digital approaches were necessary to sustain cooperation on multi-stakeholder and rights-based affairs. This approach served to prepare the ground for the digital transition in development cooperation and to examine barriers and opportunities for digital inclusion.

The UN-REDD knowledge and policy engagement on forest tenure and the rights of indigenous peoples continued at global, regional, national, and local levels.

At global level, the collaboration with the UNFCCC Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform continued, adapting to the digital processes established by the UNFCCC. UN-REDD continued participating and contributing to the Platform’s coordinating sessions and knowledge and capacity segments. Current and former UN-REDD Programme executive board indigenous peoples’ representatives and other stakeholders participated in the Platform’s digital events in 2020.

The global knowledge work on securing forest tenure rights continued in 2020, especially through the Dgroup on REDD+ and Forest Governance, which has members across more than 100 countries. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis, attention turned to the importance of secure land titles and tenure as a key factor in boosting community resilience and recovery to the impacts of the pandemic. The platform helped reveal how forest tenure rights are indispensable in any green recovery effort involving land-based investments, such as in forest restoration or agroforestry. Attention to the particular vulnerability of women – who commonly have more limited tenure rights – was acknowledged as an important consideration in designing green recovery strategies. In addition, an Information Brief on tenure and REDD+ was published in early 2021. This brief will inform the green recovery dialogue and the intense climate agenda foreseen throughout 2021, especially on the road to the Glasgow Climate Change Conference, 2021.

In addition, UN-REDD helped to organize and contributed to a number of global knowledge and civic events by integrating country and field cases of inclusive approaches to solving forest challenges, as well as by facilitating the participation of indigenous peoples’ representatives from forested territories. For instance, the indigenous representative to the UN-REDD Executive Board was a speaker at the Local Action Day organized during the UN General Assembly on 29 September 2020. A special edition of the UN-REDD newsletter on indigenous peoples was issued in August 2020 on the occasion of the 2020 International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, highlighting key issues for indigenous peoples and their rights in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, while disseminating indigenous views on green recovery strategies to address the climate emergency.

At regional level, UN-REDD continued a joint initiative with the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact to hold consultations on the interface between indigenous rights, environmental affairs, and climate action to inform NDC reviews in 14 countries across the region. Although financing from various partners was secured and coordinated (including Sida, NICFI, the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, TCF, and UN-REDD), the actual activities could not be accomplished due to travel restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan remains alive and is being implemented in 2021, progressively, as country circumstances allow, with the aim of informing the forthcoming intergovernmental conferences of the UNFCCC and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

At national level, UN-REDD helped diverse processes to integrate forest tenure and the rights of indigenous peoples in REDD+ policy, investments, and performance-based finance. Further details are available in the country sections. In response to the challenges and disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, UN-REDD applied innovative digital approaches to keep multi-stakeholder processes alive, turning to virtual tools to facilitate the participation of remote communities in a safe and inclusive manner.

These digital consultation processes, crafted and supported by UN-REDD at the request of partner countries and indigenous peoples’ stakeholders, resulted in invaluable lessons on how to sustain multi-stakeholder processes and social inclusion in the digital transition during the pandemic. Experience showed that digital cooperation and engagement is feasible, although it requires user-friendly tools, new skillsets, new mindsets, and capacity building. Issues of social inclusion and gender equality also require careful consideration: Digital tools open new opportunities but do not automatically solve the social divisions as underlying structural and cultural factors remain. Digital cooperation reduces travel and the related carbon footprint and opens new avenues for stakeholder engagement, but it can dilute the human contact that is so valuable for inclusive and engaging policy processes. Under the lead of UNDP, the UN-REDD Programme has started a process of documentation and critical analysis of digital approaches to technical cooperation and policy processes, with a focus on social inclusion. The experience gained in 2020 will inform the integration of innovative digital cooperation approaches in UN-REDD’s new strategic framework (2021-2025).

Text for anchoring


UN-REDD finalized a brief titled ‘Lessons learned from private sector engagement, finance, and investment,’ highlighting main results achieved over the past years, challenges encountered and lessons learned. A UN-REDD private-sector event was organized during the Global Landscapes Forum online conference in June 2020.

Business case studies were also finalized, highlighting the conditions needed for a transition to sustainable land use, including incentives that need to be provided to farmers and producers.

Unlocking private finance will be critical if sustainable and long-term REDD+ results are to be generated. Some proof-of-concept transactions are highlighted below. These are amongst the few long-term loans and investments that require changes in the underlying business models and whereby both the client (farmer or producer) as well as the financier (bank or investment firm) have spent significant time and resources to agree on a business and financial (repayment) model. In all these cases some form of blended finance, using public funds to attract and support private capital investment, was needed to make a financial transaction viable from both bank and client perspectives.

The anticipated environmental returns include:

Text for anchoring


Since 2008, UN-REDD has supported the development of a variety of technical solutions to assist countries in REDD+ MRV and for transparency in REDD+ efforts and catalyzing climate actions. These tools include the free and open-source Open Foris (OF) suite maintained under UN-REDD. OF enables countries to design and host NFI databases (the Collect function), carry out efficient field data collection (Collect Mobile), and analysis (Calc). It also includes tools for collecting activity data with the help of Collect Earth, Collects Earth Online, and SEPAL. With the help of these tools, countries can provide information on NFI and FRL/FREL reporting to the UNFCCC secretariat. OF tools and platforms continue to attract new users: there were 8,847 software downloads from the website in 2020, and the OF home page had 19,174 unique page views. In 2020, the planned launch of OF Online (also known as Arena) platform was delayed but the system’s online data database management, data entry, validation, and main processing parts were successfully completed, and data aggregation for reporting were developed.

For other OF tools, Adobe Flash was removed from the OF Collect in December 2020, and a new Project Development Manual was developed for OF Collect Earth Online. In addition, UN-REDD developed a new practical R/Shiny application for tree species list validation and synonym search. That tool will be launched by mid-2021. OF training and support were switched to virtual from March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictions. The active online support for OF users was provided through emails and OF Support Forum, with 138 questions addressed in 2020

The training and information sharing focused on promoting existing and new OF tools for forest and land monitoring, showing implementations for efficient field data collecting, management, and processing as well as lessons and good practices learned in the country projects. The following training events were organized in 2020:

FAO Forestry Division Technical Network webinar titled ‘FAO Open Foris tools in action in the Myanmar National Forest Inventory,’ 3 December 2020. Two online meetings (in English and in Spanish) about OF Arena for forestry experts, held on 8 and 11 December 2020.

A total of 239 people attended training events and meetings, of which 90 were women (38 percent). Many more viewed recordings of the sessions, which were made available online



In early 2020, UN-REDD provided technical inputs and review to inform the inclusion of forest-related activities in the workplans for NDC enhancement for at least 15 countries, in the context of the Climate Promise, UNDP’s 2019 commitment to help more than 100 countries meet their climate targets. Through the Climate Promise, a total of 20 countries have been supported to enhance the role of forests and land use in their NDCs planned for submission in 2021.

UN-REDD developed the Paris Agreement LULUCF and NDC Tool (PLANT) tool to support this technical assistance to countries on NDCs, as well as to evaluate Article 6 opportunities within the NDC context. The tool is an Excel-based rubric developed in the context of UNDP’s Climate Promise initiative and has been populated with country-specific NDC, GHG-inventory, and REDD+ data. The tool can be utilized to evaluate, for example, the level of ambition of a country’s NDC vis-à-vis REDD+ submissions, prospects for generating results beyond the NDC targets using ART TREES and the Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+ (JNR) standard developed by the US-based organization Verra, as well as consistency with the national GHG inventory. PLANT is being applied to provide guidance and support on the development of diversified financial strategies to support the implementation of the forest component of the NDC, through both market and non-market-based resources.

UN-REDD also contributed to the development of customized briefing notes for REDD+ countries on Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for NDCs. These ‘Nature for Climate’ briefs include an introduction to NbS and their role in climate mitigation and adaptation. They also analyze some potential climate mitigation benefits of various NbS and provide an overview of existing commitments for NbS within national environmental policies as well as national development policies. UN-REDD contributed inputs on REDD+ data, frameworks, and policies for a number of these briefs.

Knowledge sharing via webinar events as well as production of knowledge products were carried out throughout 2020. UN-REDD staff contributed to planning and design and participation on panels in webinar sessions on NDCs and markets. These included the WRI Webinar titled ‘Enhancing NDCs in 2020: Opportunities in Forest and Land Use,’ which took place on 23 April 2020, and the UN-REDD webinar on Accounting for reductions in a Paris-era world, of 5 May of that year. In June 2020, as part of UN-REDD technical assistance support, a webinar was also held with country offices in LAC about carbon markets as part of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. UN-REDD contributed to the LEDS-LAC webinar on 8 October 2020 titled ‘Integrating Nature-based solutions, Forests, and Indigenous Peoples into NDCs in LAC.’ UNDP Regional Technical Specialists participated as speakers, presenting on both forests in the NDCs as well as the role of indigenous peoples and local communities in the NDCs. UN-REDD contributed to the development of the paper ‘#NDCsWeWant: Enhancing Forest Targets and Measures in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs),’ which was launched in November 2020, with production led by WWF and including a number of other contributing authors from various partner organizations. The paper provides recommendations for decision-makers in governments to incorporate the full potential of forests for climate change mitigation and adaptation in NDCs under the Paris Agreement. It seeks to inform policymakers in developing measurable policies and actions for NDCs and other national climate strategies and policy documents. Drawing on lessons from UN-REDD’s support to countries on REDD+, an information note was finalized titled ‘Considerations for Integrating Nature-based Solutions in Nationally Determined Contributions: Illustrating the Potential through REDD+,’ and an information brief was developed, titled ‘Linking REDD+, the Paris Agreement, NDCs, and the SDGs: Realizing the Potential of Forests for NDC Enhancement and Implementation,’ planned for release in Q2 of 2021. Both papers reflect the important linkages and lessons offered by REDD+ in the context of NDC enhancement and implementation.



In 2020, UN-REDD continued to generate, tailor, and provide specialized knowledge on national financing mechanisms, instruments, and innovations to underpin the REDD+ agenda. Some country examples follow:

Advice was provided to Indonesia in the context of the creation and operationalization of the BPDLH, a national Environmental Fund Management Agency under the Ministry of Finance. This work was done in close collaboration with the World Bank and NICFI, all supporting the same process of assessing BPDLH’s capacity and areas for improvement, leading to a shared recommendation in terms of improvements required to ensure BPDLH is effective and transparent. In particular, UN-REDD has: (i) presented the international standards and best practices for National Funds with country case studies, and in particular the critical elements for a Fund to be eligible to ODA funding; (ii) undertaken a preliminary assessment of capacity and gaps to be addressed, later followed and widened in scope; and (iii) reviewed and provided guidance on various key regulations for the operationalization of the Fund.

Ecuador received support in the design and piloting of an innovative mechanism to incentivize municipal governments to create and maintain local protected forest areas. Through this mechanism, pilot municipalities will receive up to $2 million in transfers, conditional on performance in terms of forest area under effective conservation. The mechanism will be implemented through the Sustainable Environmental Investment Fund (FIAS) as the responsible party for the implementation of this activity.

Also in Ecuador, UN-REDD supported an analysis of gaps of national institutions that have expressed an interest in becoming accredited by the GCF, as well as the action plans of the entities prioritized. The entity recommended for accreditation is the Banco del Estado. This was then approved by the NDA of Ecuador, and a NAP to close the gaps for its accreditation has been developed. In 2021, UN-REDD will continue to support Banco del Estado’s accreditation and proposal development on its behalf to the second phase of RBPs under the GCF.

Costa Rica, Ghana, and Paraguay received support in the creation of optimization strategies to mobilize REDD+ RBPs from a variety of market and non-market sources while ensuring environmental integrity through sound national accounting procedures. The PLANT tool was used to estimate the carbon market potential for these two countries based on two key existing standards for REDD+ market-based transactions: ART TREES and Verra’s JNR. Multiple RBP opportunities were explored with a range of actors such as oil majors and Microsoft. By the end of 2020, these efforts opened significant new opportunities in Ghana and Costa Rica. In Ghana, an agreement is under negotiation between the Forestry Commission and the oil company Eni SPA for the purchase of REDD+ credits. In Costa Rica, negotiations with Microsoft for the sale of REDD+ credits failed. However, a TREES concept note has been submitted by the Ministry of Environment and Energy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a tremendous economic crisis, which can severely affect REDD+ financing. At the same time, REDD+ finances can serve in the COVID-19 livelihoods recovery. UN-REDD has started to develop thinking and knowledge briefs on how to align REDD+ funding mechanisms to the forthcoming COVID-19 economic and livelihoods recovery plans. PESs were identified as a key mechanism to transfer needed cash resources directly to impoverished groups to support the COVID-19 recovery phase. In addition to being widely used to cushion the economic damage from sudden shocks such as this pandemic, cash transfers have long been an effective tool for poverty reduction.

In the context of the COVID-19 recovery phase, cash transfers offer three important forms of relief: (1) a rapid and cost-effective way to provide basic needs like food and shelter; (2) a means to recover and rebuild after the crisis; and (3) protection from future shocks. Cash transfers accomplish all of this while giving individuals the autonomy to manage their own expenses and stimulating local economies. PESS is not like any other cash-transfer program. One key requirement is that payments must be conditional upon performance that is, participants, achieving certain outcomes or doing (or refraining from) certain activities. Four key government programs received support from UN-REDD in the COVID-19 recovery phase to improve targeting to achieve desired environmental and social outcomes, taking into account the particular goals of the programs as well as synergies and trade-offs with other goals, programs, and sectors. These are as follows:

Brazil’s Floresta+ is a new and innovative program that aims to provide incentives for environmental services (IESs) in the Legal Amazon region for family farmers, traditional communities, and indigenous peoples. UN-REDD has supported the design of the operations manual for this program.

Ecuador’s Socio Bosque Programme, which provides financial incentives to individual and community landowners who voluntarily commit to conserving native forests for a 20-year period. New agreements were signed with indigenous communities of the Amazon with support from UN-REDD.

Indonesia’s Social Forestry Programme, which aims to alleviate poverty, halt deforestation, and end forestland conflicts by giving local communities the opportunity to manage forests themselves – and to develop sustainable livelihoods based in and around them. Support was provided to national institutions in putting an innovative, performance-based disbursement instrument into practice. This modality will be used to channel USD $93.4 million in the context of a GCF REDD+ RBP proposal approved at the 26th meeting of the Board in August 2020.

Costa Rica’s PES Programme received support to mobilize additional resources from the GCF as well as on the improvement of procedures for monitoring and evaluation and the participation of women and indigenous peoples. This is critical given that the PES is the only existing government cash-transfer programme that directly targets indigenous people in Costa Rica. Over the last five years the PES programme has been fully funded by the national carbon tax, and water fees, and minimal contribution of the national private sector. In the current economic downturn, recently mobilized international resources from the GCF are of enormous importance to further consolidate the gains of the last 25 years of effective implementation.



The year 2020 will go down in history as the year the world reconsidered its relationship with nature. The global health emergency has added to the triple planetary crisis of climate, nature, and pollution, with forests at the heart of its solutions.

As major climate and biodiversity conferences were postponed, UN-REDD rapidly adapted and moved the action online, running engaging global and regional digital sessions for audiences across the world on forest issues. Examples include the series of webinars in spring 2020 on large-scale corporate investments in forest solutions, culminating in the Green Gigaton Challenge launch at the London Climate Action Week. As part of the Race to Zero Dialogues, UN-REDD organized a Landscapes in Action session, bringing together environment ministers from Norway, the UK, and Costa Rica, as well as youth and indigenous peoples’ representatives to explore how to achieve high-quality emissions reductions from forests. At the Global Landscapes Forum, UN-REDD ran several sessions on deforestation-free supply chains, building back better, and fighting illegal wood trade in the Lower Mekong Region.

Other UN-REDD global webinars focused on private-sector investments in NbS, on boosting rural and indigenous women’s roles in forest management, and on opportunities for corporate mitigation. An expert meeting on transformational change in land use and climate change was co-organized together with FAO and CIFOR. Webinars on safeguards processes and community forestry management practices brought forward experiences from Latin American countries. The UN-REDD’s Global Knowledge Exchange, initiated in 2020, was carried over to early 2021.

The South-South exchange is meant to share lessons learned and good practices from the first pilot phase of RBPs and to familiarize countries with ART TREES. In Latin America, UN-REDD facilitated a virtual South-South dialogue on sustainable deforestation-free cattle ranching between Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, and Paraguay. Experts presented initiatives that are building sustainable production and conservation initiatives based on local governance and partnerships with NGOs, state institutions, and local communities. Participants identified factors such as growing demand for sustainable meat products, marketing models based on transparency, and supportive government policies to encourage integrated agricultural-livestock-forest systems to recover degraded areas and protect forests.

In Asia, UN-REDD’s project titled Sustainable Forest Trade in the Lower Mekong Region, launched in 2020, ran a combination of online and in-person knowledge exchange events. National consultations in Viet Nam, Lao PDR, and Thailand, as well as a regional dialogue with project stakeholders, helped identify priorities to develop the next steps, including a campaign for fighting illegal wood trade.

UN-REDD continued its storytelling strategy of highlighting forests’ key role in the green recovery, featuring regional and global stories on national progress on REDD+, indigenous approaches to forest monitoring, and local forest communities’ empowerment among others.

A series of videos produced under the hashtag #BetterWithForests showed how forests provide safeguards from climate change, extreme weather events, and health issues.

Event-driven communication campaigns, compelling social videos, and ongoing interactive engagement with diverse audiences brought the UN-REDD Programme’s social media following to more than 53,000 followers. The ‘Cities and Heatwaves‘ video received more than 800,000 views on Facebook, becoming the Programme’s most engaging social post of 2020.

A wide range of knowledge products was published. Globally produced information briefs highlighted UN-REDD support on safeguards, lessons, and impacts, the importance of the landscape approach, and strategies for making SISs operational.

In 2020, UN-REDD also initiated work on 10 briefs summarising the knowledge and good practices within the Programme’s main action areas: landscape approach and planning, forest tenure, indigenous peoples’ rights, financing and private sector, forest monitoring systems, and MRV, linking REDD+, the Paris Agreement, NDCs, and the SDGs, REDD+ funding mechanisms, safeguards, gender, and NS/AP.

Knowledge and country-based lessons on REDD+ were shared through 116 blog posts, often in several languages, via the quarterly REDD+ Resource newsletter, which now has over 10,000 subscribers, and through the reimagined bi-monthly REDD+ Round-Up newsletter, with regional or thematic foci. The blog posts were seen by 120,000 visitors. A new web page dedicated to the Sustainable Forest Trade in the Lower Mekong Region was launched in November. The year 2020 also marked the start of an overhaul of UN-REDD’s document repository, the Programme’s knowledge management core, aiming to strengthen capacity development across agencies and serving partner countries as well as other REDD+ actors with lessons learned and proven good practices.

UN-REDD communications and knowledge management activities in 2021 will focus on boosting momentum for forests as a key NbS. The Programme’s participation in the upcoming UN COP26 in Glasgow and other meetings will guide communications activities and campaigns aiming to gain global attention and action around forest conservation and restoration. Digital engagement will also build upon the lessons learned from 2020’s challenges, while continuously ensuring gender balance and inclusiveness.