REDD+ Beyond Carbon

The goals of REDD+ are widely recognized as extending beyond climate change mitigation, since successfully protecting, sustainably managing and restoring forests can deliver additional social and environmental benefits. The Paris Agreement, reached at the 2015 UNFCCC Conference of the Parties, encourages country Parties to implement the UNFCCC framework for REDD+, “while reaffirming the importance of incentivizing, as appropriate, non-carbon benefits associated with such approaches” (Article 5.2). The UN-REDD Programme’s strategy for 2016-20 reflects this, with its first intended outcome being that ‘Contributions of REDD+ to the mitigation of climate change as well as to the provision of additional benefits have been designed’. Many countries are explicitly including these “multiple benefits” in their planning for REDD+ implementation, which as the strategy says, “can make REDD+ efforts more sustainable in the long-term, lend greater momentum and political will to REDD+ efforts, and by contributing to other existing goals, reduce overall costs for governments”.

Map: charcoal production areas for the major cities and towns, developed from national data. Charcoal production is both an ecosystem service and a driver of forest degradation, especially in dry areas of Kenya. Strategic options to increase sustainability include promoting more efficient cookstoves and use of alternative biofuels. Source: Maukonen et al. 2016, Mapping to support land-use planning for REDD+ in Kenya: securing additional benefits

In 2016, Kenya, Mongolia and Peru have drawn on UN-REDD Programme Targeted Support to make real progress in identifying how REDD+ can best deliver multiple benefits. Each country had requested technical support from UNEP-WCMC, experts on helping partners to identify and plan for the potential benefits of REDD+. In each case, UNEP-WCMC worked with national and international experts and a range of stakeholders to provide the best possible information on the topic. In Kenya and Mongolia, the objectives were to enhance national capacity for spatial analysis and develop inputs to spatial planning for REDD+. The teams worked to identify the most pressing questions on how REDD+ actions can be designed to deliver multiple benefits, build the capacity to answer these through map analysis, and present the results in an accessible form for decision-makers. For Kenya, the emphasis was on input to national-scale planning, with a final report released this year and widely distributed (see example map below). For Mongolia, the focus was on developing information for key provinces, mainly on forest values but also on potential for restoration, and a recent validation workshop has provided feedback on how the maps can be presented and used. In Peru, the aim was to make existing map resources more accessible and useful through an online decision-support tool for the country, allowing users to visualize, query and download information and analytical reports based on data including land-use and land-cover; biomass carbon; biodiversity and other ecosystem services; and existing conservation initiatives. In all three countries, the Targeted Support was designed collaboratively and adaptively to meet country needs both for training and for planning inputs.

You can find reports, presentations and workshop materials from UN-REDD Programme supported work in these countries and many more at the Multiple Benefits Country Resource Hub. A growing set of mapping tutorials and tools for GIS experts is also available in several languages. We hope that these resources will help REDD+ teams across the world to achieve excellent outcomes for forest biodiversity and ecosystem services, and for the people that depend on them.

Vist the Multiple Benefits page on the UN-REDD Programme Workspace for an overview of our work in this area, key contacts, resources, multimedia and more.

About the author:

Lera Miles is Coordinator for UNEP-WCMC’s work on REDD+ benefits and safeguards.

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