Skip to main content

Putting Forests First: Global Forest Initiatives Enhance Collaboration

Blog | Sat, 06 Nov, 2010 · 8 min read

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 6, 2010— In recognition of the urgent need to accelerate and improve international support for the world’s tropical forests, the governing bodies of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), Forest Investment Program (FIP) and UN-REDD Programme – three of the largest global initiatives helping developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) – met in Washington, D.C. over the weekend. The gathering of representatives from 31 countries (both developing and industrialized) and a wide range of forest stakeholders, emphasized the continued work required to support forested developing countries in their efforts toward climate-smart and sustainable management of forests and low-carbon emissions development.

To date, 48 forest-rich, developing countries are collaborating with at least one of these three initiatives, which at times may subject countries to multiple but similar processing requirements. To streamline their support to these countries, the FCPF, FIP and UN-REDD Programme came together at this first joint meeting to advance a common approach for REDD+ assistance centered on individual country-led strategies and the phased approach to REDD+ supported by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

This harmonized support from the FCPF, FIP and UN-REDD Programme helps forested countries, and the people whose livelihoods depend on forests, to develop and benefit from more coherent national strategies, joint capacity-building efforts, and strengthened institutions and investment plans. The meeting was a dynamic gathering of country and other stakeholder participants to discuss collaborative approaches for the three initiatives and other strategic partners.

Now, just weeks away from the UNFCCC Climate Change conference in Cancun (COP16), this increasingly targeted and coordinated support for climate action in the forest sector is a crucial step, as governments and development partners continue to recognize the primacy of forest ecosystems as the “lungs of the earth".

“We should keep in mind the bigger picture and the need for a coordinated approach to meet the big challenges of our time: poverty, food security, the degradation of ecosystems and dangerous climate change”, said Alexander Müller, Assistant Director General, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in his opening remarks at the meeting. "On behalf of all three UN-REDD agencies, we are very encouraged with this special relationship with the World Bank on REDD+… we believe that in this way we bring the comparative advantages of the World Bank and the UN together to serve country needs," Müller said.

The meeting was also addressed by Andrew Steer, the World Bank’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, and Monique Barbut, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Observers from civil society, Indigenous Peoples and the private sector participated actively in the open dialogue throughout the meeting, as well as other global partners, including the UNFCCC and the UN Forum on Forests.

“With no international treaty to protect the world’s forests, it is encouraging to see how forest sector concerns are becoming part of a more cohesive daily focus of this set of global initiatives,” said Juan Carlos Jintiach, COICA, “particularly in support of the UNFCCC work. Today, four billion hectares around the globe – nearly a third of the earth’s surface – is forest. And we must ensure that we don’t lose any more. The rights of Indigenous Peoples and forest dwellers need to be part of the solution, and our dialogue with these three REDD+ initiatives including on issues such as free, prior and informed consent is key. This collaboration holds promise for an effective REDD+ impact globally.”

The joint meeting was structured to allow for open dialogue among the participants from governments, institutions, civil society, indigenous peoples, and private sector, to consider ways to maximize the impact of REDD+ activities at the country level. In the meeting, participants presented their perspectives, experiences, and reflections on progress, challenges and opportunities in implementing REDD+ initiatives around the world.

The FCPF, FIP and UN-REDD Programme will build on and complement one another, specifically to develop ways to maximize the impact of REDD+ activities at the country level. The FCPF Readiness Fund and the UN-REDD Programme assist forested developing countries in becoming ready for REDD+. The FIP provides financial assistance for transformational REDD+ investments, building on these readiness achievements. The FCPF Carbon Fund will provide performance-based payments for emission reductions from REDD+ activities, including potentially those financed by the FIP.