Planning for REDD+ benefits beyond carbon

The main goal of REDD+ is to combat climate change, but it can also contribute to securing additional environmental and social benefits, such as:

soil erosion control;

  • biodiversity conservation;

  • the provision of food, fuel and fibre; and,

  • contributions to local livelihoods.

Incorporating these benefits into REDD+ planning can help ensure both carbon and non-carbon benefits are secured and can also help to meet several Sustainable Development Goals, from climate change to food security. When countries plan for REDD+, it is important to consider potential social and environmental benefits and risks, an approach in line with REDD+ safeguards, as well as how these vary across the landscape.

The UN-REDD Programme, in work led by the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), has supported over 20 developing countries to build capacity and conduct analyses using spatial data to help identify areas where REDD+ actions could deliver non-carbon benefits. The results of these analyses have helped countries to better plan for and implement REDD+. Maps showing the results of spatial analyses supported by the UN-REDD Programme and UNEP-WCMC have been included in 13 national and sub-national government documents setting out plans for REDD+ activities. The analyses have also helped countries to receive a premium for results-based payments for REDD+, such as in the case of Paraguay. The Green Climate Fund’s approval of up to $72.5 million US in results-based payments, with an initial disbursement of $50 million US approved in November 2019, included a 2.5% premium for providing information on the nature, scale and importance of non-carbon benefits, including how they can contribute to the long-term sustainability of REDD+.

These analyses, as well as lessons learned from country experiences, are also contributing to land-use planning in other sectors and contexts beyond REDD+, as the following series of articles illustrates. These articles explore:

  • how analyses of social and environmental benefits of six forest regions in Argentina can be used to support implementation of the National Action Plan on Forests and Climate Change in a way that delivers additional benefits, and have also been used to identify areas of national environmental importance;

  • how work in Côte d’Ivoire has identified priority areas where forest conservation and restoration could provide benefits, such as biodiversity conservation and soil erosion control, highlighting areas where private sector cocoa initiatives can play an important role in supporting national forest policy targets regarding deforestation and reforestation; and,

  • Lessons learned from integrated land-use planning for REDD+ in Vietnam, and how they are helping to implement new land-use planning processes and the move towards deforestation-free, sustainable landscapes

  • Links to the stories:



Cote d'Ivoire


Judith Walcott

Senior Technical Specialist at UNEP-WCMC, supporting safeguards and multiple benefits work in the Latin America and Caribbean region for the UNEP UN-REDD team

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