Features & Commentary
The Road Ahead for REDD+ in Ecuador
On the heels of Ecuador's new funding allocation from the UN-REDD Programme, Daniela Carrión, REDD+ Specialist for Ecuador's Ministry of Environment, highlights the country's next steps and challenges in developing and implementing their national REDD+ strategy.
|Woman working in a Nature Foundation tree nursery in Ecuador |
Credits: Roberto Faidutti
In March 2011, Ecuador had its National UN-REDD Programme proposal approved at the sixth UN-REDD Programme's Policy Board meeting. The technical and financial contribution of the UN-REDD Programme will allow Ecuador to match other sources of cooperation to finalize its REDD+ readiness phase. The expected outcomes of Ecuador's National UN-REDD Programme contribute to the national REDD+ strategy implementation. Ecuador’s National Programme places emphasis on the design of a national measuring, reporting and verification system and a multi-stakeholder engagement process.
In addition, the technical support of the UN-REDD Programme, will contribute to Ecuador’s work on one of the most important challenges of REDD+ implementation in the country, which is to link REDD+ to sustainable development policies. By doing so, the mechanism will play an important role in social and economic development, especially for those who depend on forests.
Some planned activities for REDD+ in 2011 include (1) continuing field data collection for the country's national forests inventory and to address the information gap of the deforestation baseline due to persistent cloud cover; (2) signing conservation agreements for 200,000 additional hectares as a part of the country's domestic incentive-based policy for forests conservation, called the Socio Bosque Program; (3) setting up the legal, financial and institutional framework for REDD+ implementation, including the benefit sharing mechanism and setting up the national registry for REDD+ projects/activities; (4) carry out economic analysis to determine REDD+ costs and potential benefits; (5) defining the reference level scenario for emissions from deforestation; (6) implementing the multi-stakeholder engagement program; (7) building up South-South cooperation platforms with REDD+ countries that currently face similar challenges; (8) applying the REDD+ social and environmental standards; (9) inter-institutional coordination among strategic sectors and; (10) designing an incentive-based policy for sustainable forests management.
Past and Current REDD+ efforts
Ecuador´s National Development Plan includes, as one of the environmental goals, to reduce the country's deforestation rate. Additionally, through an executive presidential decree in July 2009, mitigation and adaptation to climate change was declared to be a State policy. Since 2008, the government of Ecuador has carried out activities to prepare the country for REDD+ implementation, including the design of a national REDD+ strategy. The strategy seeks to simultaneously contribute to climate change mitigation and the sustainable management of forests by putting into operation specific activities, projects, measures and policies to reduce deforestation and the associated GHG emissions.
Among the activities currently in implementation are (1) the Socio Bosque Program that, by December 2010, has signed conservation agreements for more than 600,000 hectares; (2) collecting preliminary data of Ecuador’s deforestation rate estimate in the country; (3) collecting field data for the country's national forest Inventory and; (4) designing an incentive-based policy for sustainable forest management (see Graph 1).
Regarding the cross-cutting components of the strategy, Ecuador has been working on several activities including (1) the definition of the legal, financial and institutional framework for REDD+ implementation; (2) ensuring multiple benefits and cross-sectoral planning; (3) ensuring effective multi-stakeholder engagement and; (4) fundraising activities for long-term financial sustainability of REDD+ implementation.
|Graph 1: Components of Ecuador’s National REDD+ Strategy |
After two years of work on REDD+ readiness activities, some challenges that need to be addressed in Ecuador during the readiness phase have been identified. Firstly, the importance of engaging other sectors, rather than only the environmental sector is now recognized as essential. The need of making REDD+ part of a broader strategy, not only related to climate change and forestry but to sustainable development policies is crucial to ensure successful implementation of REDD+ in the future.
Secondly, although Ecuador has started a multi-stakeholder engagement process through several meetings and workshops with key stakeholders; creating a unified effective multi-stakeholder platform, that ensures adequate participation and involvement in REDD+ implementation at a national level, is one of the challenges in the readiness process. To establish this multi-stakeholder platform in the country, technical and financial support needs to be mobilized.
Finally, the field data collection at a national level and to harmonize sub-national with national methodologies for baseline definition, carbon estimates and creating a unified MRV system represents another challenge that needs to be addressed in Ecuador. Technical issues, capacity building and costs should be taken into account when addressing it.
Even though further work is needed in Ecuador to implement a REDD+ mechanism, the country is willing to finalize its readiness phase by the end of 2012. To do so, to continue implementing ongoing activities and start with the planned ones is key to successfully comply with the Ecuador’s goal.
|Daniela Carrión is a REDD+ Specialist for the Ministry of Environment in Ecuador. |