Facts behind the historic decision of the Green Climate Fund

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has set the rules for its first initiative to pay for REDD+ results. In a historic decision, its Board defined the terms of reference for a REDD+ Results-Based Payments pilot program, as well as a scorecard to assess countries’ submissions to the GCF.

The pilot program under the GCF will pay for results achieved in the forest sector in emissions reductions and enhancement of carbon stocks. The eligibility criteria will require compliance with the 4 REDD+ pillars agreed at COP 19.

Unlike typical investment-type projects, where the GCF provides funds for an activity in the future, in this case, funds provided by the GCF will be in respect of results achieved by an activity in the past. Countries submitting their request would need to state in their concept note that the following UNFCCC requirements have been met:

  • Preparation of a National REDD+ Strategy or Action Plan.

  • Submission to the UNFCCC of Forest Reference Emission Level/Forest Reference Level (FREL/FRL) applicable to the results period for which payments are requested and assurance of the convention’s technical assessment of this information.

  • An operational National Forest Monitoring System.

  • A safeguards information system (SIS) to inform how the safeguards are addressed and respected. And a summary of information on how all the Cancun REDD+ safeguards were addressed and respected.

Image from UN-REDD Programme Photobank

“The focus of the UN-REDD Programme is to support partner countries to fulfill the UNFCCC requirements for accessing results-based payments. The eligibility criteria of the GCF strongly reaffirm the relevance of the mandate of UN-REDD”, says Gabriel Labbate, UN Environment/UN-REDD Programme Senior Official.

“More than 70 percent of the 25 countries that have submitted FREL/FRELs to the UNFCCC received UN-REDD Programme support. Besides this, a total of 40 countries have made progress towards the development of their national forest monitoring systems with the UN-REDD Programme and, since 2013, we have worked with 32 countries in advancing their national REDD+ strategies or action plans,” he adds. Regarding safeguards, the UN-REDD Programme assisted 13 partner countries in preparing their approaches to meet UNFCCC requirements on safeguards.

Valuation of results

The GCF REDD+ pilot programme will be limited to a maximum amount of USD 500 million. Considering a valuation of USD 5/tCO2eq, the GCF would be able to pay for up to 100 million tCO2eq. The maximum amount of payments per country would be set at 30 percent of the total amount (30 MtCO2eq).

The pilot programme will consider ex-post payments for results achieved between December 2013 and December 2018. The process of evaluation by the GCF will be done on a rolling basis, so the first approval of results-based payments (RBPs) could take place prior to December 2018 for results that are already submitted or about to be submitted, and the last approval of RBPs for results achieved in 2018 could take place at the last Board meeting of 2022.

According to the GCF document titled: Request for proposals for the pilot programme for REDD-plus results-based payments, as of September 2017, 25 countries have submitted their reference levels, and the technical analyses have been completed by the UNFCCC technical assessment team and published on the UNFCCC web portal for 12 of them. Also, four countries have submitted REDD+ results to the UNFCCC secretariat and undergone the technical analysis. Considering a period of eligible results for payments from December 2013 to December 2018, it is probable that around ten countries could participate in the pilot programme.

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