Peru’s National Strategy for Forests and Climate Change (ENBCC), which provides a multisectoral framework for the design and implementation of policies and measures to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, has recently been approved by the President.
The Strategy seeks to ensure the conservation of forests through integrated landscape management, comprehensively addressing drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, while increasing productivity and human well-being through a green growth strategy. In addition to highlighting the potential for climate change mitigation and adaptation through REDD+, the strategy also recognizes the additional social and environmental benefits that can be secured through REDD+ implementation. The strategy notes that these multiple benefits (sometimes referred to as “co-benefits”) may contribute to the long-term sustainability of REDD+, and provide opportunities to establish synergies with other national objectives in Peru, such as biodiversity conservation, support to culture and livelihoods, and sustainable use of natural resources. Designing REDD+ programmes to achieve a range of social and environmental benefits, and to avoid risks, is also an important approach for addressing the UNFCCC’s safeguards for REDD+.
In order to assist Peru’s Ministry of the Environment (MINAM) in the implementation of the ENBCC, and as part of a UNEP Targeted Support on “Involvement of the private sector in the conservation of forests and REDD+ in Peru”, the UN-REDD Programme supported the development of Geodecision: a flexible spatial tool to help guide environmental decision-making (Geodecisión: una herramienta espacial flexible para orientar la toma de decisiones ambientales). The concept for the tool is based on two key considerations: 1) the importance of individual social and environmental benefits and risks of REDD+ implementation will vary according to the priorities of different stakeholder groups; therefore, an element of flexibility and dialogue can be instrumental in designing REDD+ policies and measures that meet multiple objectives and 2) the benefits and risks will also depend on where and how the policies and measures are implemented. Spatial analysis can provide useful information and context to different stakeholders on where REDD+ may achieve additional benefits, and avoid risks. It can also provide information on where implementation may not be possible or desirable – such as areas with mining concessions, or locations that already have REDD+ or other forest conservation projects.
Geodecisión is an open-access, online tool that was developed by MINAM and the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), together with a national software development consultancy, building on priorities and key functions identified through a series of consultations and participatory workshops held with a wide range of stakeholders between 2014 and 2016. The tool allows users to visualize, query and download information and analytical reports based on the data layers available, offering the following range of functions:
Visualize data layers, which include land-use and land-cover categories; carbon; biodiversity and other ecosystem services; and existing conservation initiatives, among others. Query individual elements for each data layer, filtering these according to user preferences; as an example, users can choose to visualize areas that meet certain criteria, such as number of threatened species or areas with certain biomass carbon values, or specific legal designations.
Select areas of interest and obtain information about these areas, either by drawing polygons or selecting territorial categories, such as districts or protected areas. Generate and download analytical reports.
As Geodecisión facilitates access to a wide range of information relevant for land-use planning and management, it is thought that it will have uses beyond REDD+, and be of interest to different stakeholders, including government institutions, the private sector, NGOs and local communities. It can thus become a tool to support more sustainable and integrated land-use planning and investments across sectoral boundaries.
A beta version of Geodecisión, hosted on MINAM’s Geoservidor (Geoserver), was launched in May 2016, and is available here: http://bit.ly/geodecision_minam.
A flyer (in Spanish) with more information on the tool is available on the UN-REDD Multiple Benefits Country Resources Hub.
About the author:
Judith Walcott is Programme Officer at UNEP-WCMC