The UN-REDD Programme reflects on the successes of 2009, and the challenges and opportunities of extending REDD+ efforts around the world in 2010
© Luiz C. Marigo
The start of 2010 marks the most exciting, and pivotal, time for REDD+ and the UN-REDD Programme. As the world weighs in on the results of COP-15, REDD+ stands stronger than ever, backed by more consensus and more references in the Copenhagen Accord than any single other climate action. In early December, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the World Bank President Robert Zoellick defined REDD+ as, "an essential element of tackling global climate change," and they highlighted the emerging, "community of practice, policy development, and on-the-ground lesson learning around REDD+." These kinds of endorsements are powerful and they build the case for collaboration and advancement on REDD+ issues. It is now more important than ever to ensure momentum, awareness and REDD+ partnerships continue to build in the coming year.
In the face of these heightened stakes, the UN-REDD Programme remains committed and poised to play a leadership role on REDD+ issues. The Programme, a joint collaboration of the FAO, UNDP and UNEP, was launched in 2008 to support efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. Since then, the UN-REDD Programme Policy Board has moved quickly to approve US$24 million in funding for nationally-led REDD+ processes, and another US$9.5 million for global programmes that provide support to national efforts. The Programme is now working with nine member countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and in October 2009, five more countries were given observer status, bringing the total number of countries involved in the UN-REDD Programme to 14 in just over one year of operation.
These countries, in turn, have helped to create a REDD+ community of practice that has significantly advanced their efforts to establish the capacity, institutions and processes for REDD. Countries such as the DRC, Indonesia, Tanzania and Viet Nam are now set to start implementing their REDD+ activities.
Throughout 2009, the UN-REDD Programme was also active at the international level, helping to organize several high-profile events such as the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Event on REDD in September. In addition to coordinating the participation of over 100 governments, the Programme was instrumental in bringing key people from civil society, including local and international NGOs, media, and the private sector to this meeting, which in turn communicated the political urgency of REDD+ among influential heads of states from around the world. The Programme also produced several cutting-edge documentaries and short videos on various aspects of REDD+ that were broadcast on BBC World to 300 million homes in 170 countries.
All of these national and international efforts have been made based on strong national leadership, flexibility, low barriers to entry and a focus on Indigenous Peoples and Civil Society participation.
The Road Ahead
The UN-REDD Programme acknowledges there is still much ground left to cover in 2010 and beyond. The Programme is encouraged by the growing number of countries requesting to join. But to meet this ground-swell of demand, the Programme must actively seek out new streams of funding to ensure the good work already done on REDD+ gets pushed farther and deeper in the coming year.
The Programme’s technical work, especially in the area of Measurement, Verification and Reporting (MRV) also needs to be scaled up in 2010, so that countries have the necessary tools to develop new laws, policies and institutional frameworks aimed at reducing deforestation.
The UN-REDD Programme will also seek to play even more of a convening role at an international level; one that brings the right expertise and stakeholders to the table to ensure REDD+ mechanisms are more accessible, and more successful than ever.
2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity which will provide the UN-REDD Programme with an excellent opportunity to further explore and highlight the co-benefits of REDD+ and fully demonstrate how it can benefit biodiversity in forest ecosystems.
A key priority in 2010 will be to ensure even closer coordination between the UN-REDD Programme, the World Bank and other multilateral and bilateral initiatives supporting REDD+ efforts. The UN Secretary-General and World Bank President recently stated that, "the United Nations agencies and the World Bank stand ready to work together with bilateral and other partners to support a REDD+ governance structure with delivery channels that capitalize on the comparative strengths and capacities of the United Nations System and the World Bank Group."
Both leaders further suggested that the UN-REDD Programme and the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, could be, "a starting point in the design of a unified and coherent institutional architecture for REDD+... to meet country requirements in a timely, effective and coordinated manner."
The UN-REDD Programme is fully aware of these priorities and remains flexible to adapt to a new REDD+ institutional architecture, and committed to supporting coordinated national REDD+ programmes at the country level.
There is no question that 2010 is full of opportunities and challenges for the UN-REDD Programme. REDD+ must continue to deliver the climate change mitigation it promises, and the UN-REDD Programme is resolved to support such efforts at both the national and global level. We will do our part, and look forward to collaborating closely with the many other initiatives that are bringing all their resources and commitment to bear on this opportunity. Our planet and our future generations require nothing less.