The triple bottom line: Making the case to link REDD+ and Green Economy

As the implications of climate change become more dramatic for developing countries, demand is growing to strengthen the mutually reinforcing links between activities of Reducing Emissions for Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and a green economy transition.

“We need to equip countries with the knowledge how REDD+ funding can generate a triple bottom line: for green growth, for forests, and for the climate,” says Ibrahim Thiaw, Director of the UNEP Division of Environmental Policy Implementation. “Currently, we do not know enough about the economic returns from climate change funding, and how public funds can be best used to help leverage large-scale private sector investments, and trigger a transition to a green economy.”

A new global report by the UNEP International Resource Panel on REDD+ in a Green Economy is being developed to bridge the knowledge gap. Based on scientific research and lessons learned from pilot projects in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, the report will provide key decision makers with a rationale for linking REDD+ investments and activities with green economy efforts. In this context, the report will in particular focus on the role of integrated land-use planning for capturing environmental, economic and social benefits from REDD+ investments. It will serve as a high-level reference document to guide informed, data-driven policy planning and evaluation.

The report will be produced by a working group of international experts that was established by the UNEP International Resource Panel at a meeting in Berlin, Germany on 26 April 2013.

“The group is deliberately diverse and multidisciplinary, as we are dealing with a complex issue. We are bringing together leading economists, land-use planners, remote sensing specialists, and poverty reduction experts,” says Jeff McNeely, the Chair of the Working Group.

Their work will build on case studies, strategic dialogues, and analyses of challenges and opportunities to be discussed at a Global Symposium on REDD+ in a Green Economy taking place 19-21 June in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The new global report, scheduled to be completed in January 2014, will come at an opportune time to help steer REDD+ investments in a way that aligns with green growth strategies to generate high returns.


UNEP defines a green economy as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. Since the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) held in June 2012, the concept of a green economy has gained wide acceptance and interest.

REDD+ efforts have also gained momentum, with activities of the UN-REDD Programme (a collaboration of UNEP, UNDP and FAO) in 46 countries. REDD+ activities have expanded in scope to include biodiversity conservation and social components such as local stakeholder engagement and issues of land tenure and indigenous rights. More than US$4 billion have been pledged for REDD+ readiness and implementation by donor countries.

The draft study proposal for the International Resource Panel on REDD+ in a Green Economy is available here.

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