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NDC forest ambitions

Forest solutions are critical to developing countries’ ability to deliver ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement

NDC forest ambitions and REDD+

The Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector can provide up to one-third of the emission reductions needed to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change (IPCC, 2019). Conserving and sustainably managing forests can unlock significant emission reductions, with approximately 3.3 GtCO2/year of cost-effective mitigation potential in the tropics alone, representing the most significant opportunity to increase the ambition of NDCs in many tropical forested countries.

Many countries refer in their NDCs to reducing deforestation as a priority with high mitigation potential, including efforts to implement Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). As of 1 May, 2021, 47 out of 55 countries that submitted enhanced or updated NDCs to the UNFCCC mention forests. Many Parties also highlight the importance of social and environmental co-benefits resulting from these mitigation activities, including adaptation co-benefits.

Despite this demonstrated political will, both public and private efforts have not made sufficient progress towards reducing emissions from forest loss. Tropical primary forest loss has generally increased, with 4.2 million hectares lost in 2020 (NYDF Assessment Partners, 2021). Substantially accelerated efforts (at least five-fold by 2030 and three-fold by 2050) are needed to ensure that reduced deforestation and restoration contribute fully to achieving the Paris temperature goal.

How do UN-REDD work with NDC forest ambitions?

The UN-REDD Programme provides technical assistance and policy advice to countries to assess, enhance, and accelerate NDC mitigation actions in the forest and land use sector by:

  • Facilitating high-level policy coordination and multi-stakeholder dialogues for the review, alignment and enhancement of NDC forest-related targets and actions.
  • Developing action plans, assessing costs and scoping financing and investment opportunities for the implementation of the NDC forest and land-use components.
  • Supporting expansion of forest and land-use coverage in NDC scope, including introduction of new policies and measures for REDD+ informed by enhanced national forest monitoring systems including GHG inventory data improvements.
  • Capitalising on synergies between REDD+ finance (including results-based payments, or RBPs, as well as carbon market-based finance) and enhanced ambition and implementation of NDC forest components. This is key considering a significant number of country targets are conditional on international climate finance.
  • Facilitating stakeholder inclusion in forest and land-use aspects of NDC review processes, preparation of the NDC action plans and monitoring NDC implementation.

UN-REDD approaches to enhancing NDC forest ambitions

Drawing from 10-plus years of REDD+ experience, UN-REDD has identified considerations that are key to enhancing NDC mitigation action through forest solutions:


Unique characteristics

Careful consideration of the unique characteristics of the land-use sector (e.g. highly dynamic, already occurring impacts of climate change) when designing forest-based climate solutions, including the risk of reversals as well as emissions displacement.


UNFCCC landscape

Awareness of the evolving UNFCCC landscape, particularly the newly agreed Article 6 and Transparency aspects of the Paris Rulebook.


Flexible approaches

Supporting flexible approaches to meet NDC goals through innovative financing and implementation of forest solutions.



Fostering enhanced inter-ministerial coordination bodies at the institutional level.


NDC targets

Facilitating access to results-based finance to support implementation of the forest sector contribution to the NDC targets or goals.


Key REDD+ components

Integrating key REDD+ components, particularly social and environmental safeguards and national forest monitoring systems, into the broader forest and land use sector to foster NDC ambition and contribute to implementation.

Key tools or communities to link to

Recommended key documents