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10 African Countries converge in Arusha: To boost region’s access to REDD+ finance and knowledge on social inclusion and benefit sharing

Blog | Tue, 07 Nov, 2023 · 8 min read

Forests in Africa cover about 624 million hectares (20.9%) of the continent’s land mass and represent 15.6% of the world’s forest cover. Nevertheless, African countries are experiencing multiple challenges related to management of their forests including obtaining upfront and results-based financing for their REDD+ implementation and challenges addressing social inclusion and benefit sharing mechanisms. 

To support the region on these important work areas, UN-REDD Programme in collaboration with Africa Forest Forum (AFF) organized a learning lab and a knowledge exchange with government practitioners drawn from 10 African countries namely: Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The two-day event that took place in Arusha, Tanzania from 26-27 October 2023, aimed to equip the government practitioners with a comprehensive understanding of REDD+ finance types and sources to achieve a holistic grasp of international results-based finance, including carbon markets (both compliance and voluntary), along with an overview of underlying standards and financial opportunities. The knowledge exchange event helped in providing a platform for peer-to-peer exchange between regional countries to share their approaches and experiences on stakeholders’ engagement, social inclusion and benefit sharing mechanisms. 

UNEP/UN-REDD experts namely, Gabriela Flores (REDD+ Finance Officer), Kamran Hussain (Technical Advisor on Forest Carbon Markets), and Sekai Ngarize (REDD+ Regional Advisor for Africa) were at hand to provide participants with a better understanding of REDD+ finance, results based finance, compliance and voluntary carbon market the Article 6 of the Paris Agreement and cross cutting thematic areas particularly “Nesting”






Following an interactive approach, a number of realizations and insights, specific to the African region, were gained and became apparent:    

  • Africa’s governance and policy framework could be strengthened addressing transparency and accountability in designing climate mitigation actions and distribution of benefits, that are based on principles of social inclusivity towards REDD+ implementation. 

  • African countries have opportunities to deepen their accessibility and engagement to/with forest carbon markets, effectively harnessing carbon finance as a part of their climate strategy. 

  • Africa has the potential to actively pursue private finance. An alternative is via the from the Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM).  

  • There are various potential market and non-market based opportunities for Africa to access REDD+ finance such as Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Financing (LEAF), Scaling Climate Action through Lowering Emissions (SCALE), Green Climate Fund and voluntary cooperative approaches under Article 6.2 of the Paris Agreement among others that African countries need to tap in order to enhance NDC ambition by incentivising  REDD+ implementation at jurisdictional scale.  

  • Africa’s key challenges in accessing and effectively engaging with forest carbon markets are multifaceted including, but not limited to, issues around social inclusivity in decision making process, translating benefit sharing mechanisms into legal acts and need to bolster technical and institutional capabilities of harmonizing REDD+ implementation across scales.   

  • The comprehensive knowledge and capacity on REDD+, with a holistic understanding of its international finance (up-front) and markets mechanisms (results-based), plays a critical role in facilitating well-informed decision-making processes enabling the African region to diversify its funding sources to catalyze climate mitigation in forestry sector. 

  • African REDD+ countries could advance to enhance their human, technical and institutional capacity to engage with forest carbon finance mechanisms to access REDD+ results-based finance. 



The knowledge exchange session gave an opportunity to participants’ countries to share information on challenges and success factors for effective social inclusion and equitable benefit sharing mechanisms as a basis for future actions aimed at promoting stakeholders buy-in and involvement for successful and sustainable REDD+ outcomes. A number of realizations and insights, specific to the African region, were gained and became apparent; 

  • African countries have been employing varying benefit sharing mechanisms to incentivise the implementation of REDD+ at various scales and across different landscapes that require to be embedded  into local laws and regulations to to ensure the rights of REDD+ beneficiaries, particularly Indigenous People and Local Communities (IPLCs), are protected. . 

  • It is essential to bolster local, indigenous, and traditional governance systems to propel stakeholder engagement approaches forward. This is pivotal in guaranteeing comprehensive social inclusion, fair benefit sharing, and the successful execution of REDD+ initiatives.

  • Achieving social inclusivity and equitable benefit sharing demands the translation of these principles into an integrated regulatory framework across the sectors to ensure that indigenous peoples and local communities have well-informed access to the diverse benefits offered by REDD+. 

The key messages and recommendations formulated by participants in the two-day event were delivered to countries’ Directors of Forest and other high level African forestry stakeholders during the Plenary session of the 24th African Forest and Wildlife Commission (AFWC). The document was then officially handed-over to the 24th AFWC chairperson, and attached as an Appendix to the final report of the 24th AFWC.   

Written by Michael Muratha with inputs from UNEP/UN-REDD Africa team, Gabi Flores and Kamran Hussain.