Amid growing momentum, the UN-REDD Programme and World Bank Group convened with partner countries, government ministers and senior leaders at UNFCCC COP 23 in Bonn, Germany to highlight how REDD+ and other forest-focused land-use initiatives have been instrumental in triggering positive change.
This COP 23 side event, which drew over hundred-and-fifty people, explored how the existing ongoing effort to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) is scaling up to help countries access results-based payments and other financing sources. Throughout this event, forests and REDD+ initiatives were recognised as fundamental to reducing emissions, with different finance streams now available to assist countries in moving from REDD+ readiness to implementation. The discussion demonstrated that the UN-REDD Programme and the World Bank Group are well positioned to support countries in this transition towards achieving their SDGs.
Ecuador’s Minister for Environment Tarsicio Granizo spoke about his country’s unique model for reforestation in the Amazon and how REDD+ initiatives have provided an incentive for reforestation. Ecuador is the first country to obtain financing from the Green Climate Fund for the implementation of REDD+. These payments will be important in ensuring the sustainability of reducing deforestation in Ecuador over time.
The next phase of REDD+ implementation will build on the extensive readiness work carried out by the UN-REDD Programme across 64 developing nations over the past decade. “This new step,” said Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund Howard Bamsey, “is well underway and central to improving livelihoods and reducing emissions.”
Director of the Vietnam REDD+ Office Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy explained that REDD+ has “presented an opportunity to invest in the forestry sector and make it more sustainable.” Vietnam submitted its Forest Reference Levels (FRLs) to the UNFCCC in 2016 and will soon start its Emissions Reduction Programme under the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Carbon Fund.
Cote d’Ivoire’s Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development Anne Désirée Ouloto summarised her country’s key challenges and achievements when reducing emissions from forest degradation. With an economy that relies on the agricultural production of cocoa and palm oil, forest degradation continues to be “a real threat,” she said. “We have a very sensitive situation and we need to act fast and well, and sustainably, to save our forests.”
Other high-level speakers at this event were Norway’s Minister for Climate and the Environment Vidar Helgesen; Deputy Programme Coordinator of the Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education (Tebtebba) Grace Balawag; Director of the National Forestry Financing Fund for Costa Rica Jorge Mario Rodriguez; Director of Forestry, Policy and Resources for FAO Eva Mueller; and Senior Director of Environment and Natural Resources for the World Bank Group Karin Kemper.