Progress towards REDD+ implementation

Despite the disruption that the COVID-19 crisis caused to national governance and international co-operation and technical assistance, including to UN-REDD, many UN-REDD partner countries made significant progress towards implementing REDD+ actions and mobilizing funding for them. The foundation established by UN-REDD technical assistance in preceding years was resistant to the COVID-19 crisis, and adapted to it, allowing a number of countries to complete their fulfillment of the UNFCCC REDD+ requirements (Warsaw Framework), account for REDD+ results in past years, and even access REDD+ RBPs, notably through the GCF pilot programme for REDD+ RBPs.

In particular, during 2020, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Indonesia built on their compliance with the Warsaw Framework for REDD+ and their reported forest-based emission reductions to successfully access RBPs from the GCF, together with securing $286 million. These national achievements demonstrate the viability of the REDD+ concept as well as the political commitment of many countries (both tropical forest nations and climate-finance donors) towards turning the tide on deforestation. UN-REDD contributed to this milestone of global climate action, through capacity-building, seed funding through national programmes, technical assistance, and policy advice to countries. These measures tangibly advanced the fulfillment of Article 5 of the Paris Agreement, which sanctions REDD+ as a primary avenue for addressing the climate and deforestation crises. These countries join Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, and Paraguay as frontrunners in fully applying the four components of the Warsaw Framework for REDD+ and be rewarded a cumulative $496 million for 102 MtCO2 of forest-based avoided emissions, to the point of exhausting the pilot phase of the GCF’s REDD+ RBP programme.

To ensure these REDD+ proceeds feed a virtuous cycle of inclusive and enduring REDD+ action, the beneficiary countries used their national REDD+ strategies, REDD+ safeguards, and REDD+ multi-stakeholder mechanisms – many of which were built with UN-REDD support over years – to frame RBP programmes. Details of these approaches, and the related UN-REDD support, can be found in the section on REDD+ funding mechanisms of this report REDD+ funding mechanisms of this report.

In addition, UN-REDD knowledge and advisory support during 2020 served many other countries to undertake a wide range of actions to implement their REDD+ policies and measures. Such support included advice on pilot initiatives, national REDD+ financing strategies, investment programs, jurisdictional approaches, and scoping deforestation-free commodity supply chains. A few examples of country implementation with UN-REDD engagement are described below:

Chile completed the implementation of four forest management models and five pilot projects of payments for ecosystem services (PES) projects while extracting lessons to scale these models up to the regional and eventually national levels, under its +Bosques project.

Colombia advanced community forestry management (CFM) through stakeholder dialogues as well as a CFM pilot programme covering 11,626 hectares across eight departments. Colombia also progressed in designing forest investment models that integrate ethnic, gender, and generational parameters. Successful production chain supplies were achieved in collaboration with the FAO’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade (FLEGT) program, boosting fair trade, legal timber, and social benefits.

Congo undertook a set of analyses of the forest, fuelwood, and agricultural value chains, as well as rural finance sectors with a REDD+ vision, which then served to inform several investment programmes with various international funding mechanisms, notably the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) and the GCF.

Côte d’Ivoire advanced more than 10 draft decrees aiming to enforce the forest code under the Ministry of Water and Forests, covering issues such as benefit-sharing, NFI, forest products, and community forestry. In addition, economic models for sustainable cocoa production were consolidated and disseminated, with field testing started. The country also completed the multi-stakeholder design of two jurisdictional strategies for forest-based development, working through a project of the Governor’s Climate and Forests Task Force, and aiming to help deploy zero-deforestation cocoa production and trade, as well as partnerships with international cocoa companies.

Indonesia developed policy, legal and operational documents to inform REDD+ fund distribution that is advancing towards international best practices. The Plan for Peat Ecosystem Protection and Management received technical and policy inputs from all administrative levels and is currently being implemented.

Myanmar’s initiative titled Integrating Mangroves into REDD+ Implementation was approved and launched, with initial efforts focused on reviewing and revising existing institutional processes and guidelines for sub-national planning and implementation of forestry and land use interventions as they relate to mangroves and to mangrove-dependent communities.

In Peru, five bankable initiatives aligned to Peru’s REDD+ objectives were identified in the Amazon region, with ongoing discussions with potential funders. The country also progressed on community-based forest monitoring, with capacities of 45 indigenous and Campesinos (smallholder farmers) communities in eight Departments of the Amazon region enhanced.

In line with its national action plan for REDD+, Viet Nam developed and secured EU funding (EUR 5 million, or around US$6 million) for its project titled Integrated sustainable landscape management through deforestation-free jurisdiction approach in Lam Dong and Dak Nong provinces.

To support the implementation of its national REDD+ strategy, Zambia advanced its proposal to the GCF on reducing GHG emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in Zambia’s North-Western Province in support of NDC implementation and for RBPs.

The flagship initiative Sustainable Forest Trade in the Lower Mekong Region was launched, aiming at enhancing verified legal and sustainably sourced intra-regional forest trade.

In summary, UN-REDD partner countries harnessed their REDD+ commitments, as well as their fulfilment of the UNFCCC Warsaw Framework for REDD+, to undertake pilot initiatives, design and launch investment programmes, scope jurisdictional approaches and mobilize international climate finance, among other valuable endeavours for implementing REDD+. In addition, some of them took further steps and successfully pursued performance-based finance for their demonstrated REDD+ progress and results, thus closing the circle of REDD+. As finance is recognized as a key factor for REDD+ action, UN-REDD was instrumental to several countries in accessing a wider range of financing sources in support of the implementation of their NSs and NAPs, including through the GCF (Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Republic of the Congo and Zambia, in addition to the countries mentioned above with regards the GCF RBP pilot scheme), the EU (Viet Nam) and the Government of Norway (Myanmar).