Deforestation and forest degradation account for 12 per cent of carbon emissions, more than the entire global transportation sector and second only to the energy sector. The destruction of forests also threatens millions of people who depend on them for their livelihoods. Many of these people are among the world’s most vulnerable. Finally, deforestation is a key factor behind the current biodiversity crisis. Without halting deforestation, the targets in the Paris Climate Agreement and the SDGs cannot be achieved.
Despite many efforts to fight deforestation, it continues at an alarming rate: 13 million ha of forests were lost every year between 2000 and 2010. Although there are many different drivers of deforestation, they all have in common the profit motive: it is currently more profitable to convert a forest to other uses, such as agriculture, than to leave it as a natural ecosystem.
Towards a Solution
To increase the value of forest ecosystems and recognizing the importance of preserving forests in the fight against climate change, a comprehensive technical process known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) was developed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It aims to halt greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. Since its inception a decade ago, the UN- REDD Programme has been at the forefront of climate action by supporting country- led efforts to implement REDD+. It has been playing a transformative role in supporting 64 partner countries across Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean. A partnership between FAO, UNDP and UN Environment, the Programme, in addition to providing technical assistance to respond to country needs, facilitates the identification, production and exchange of knowledge between developing forested countries.
Knowledge sharing across its 64 partner countries has been a key activity for the Programme. Driven by country demand, it has successfully facilitated South-South exchanges. Every year, several dozen knowledge-sharing events are facilitated, among them six South-South exchanges in 2017, ranging from two to 11 participating countries.
Technical experts from 11 Asia-Pacific countries convened in Nepal in April 2017 for a regional exchange on Forest Reference Levels, giving countries going through the UNFCCC technical assessment process the opportunity to benefit from the experience of those who had already completed it. Another regional Asia-Pacific knowledge exchange in October 2017 brought together ten partner countries to discuss issues related to REDD+ financing.Theeventalsobenefittedfrominputsfrom Cote d’Ivoire and Ecuador, providing a platform for sharing knowledge and experience in REDD+ investment planning and associated resource mobilization.
An African regional knowledge exchange in September 2017 witnessed the participation of 22 forestry sector experts, civil society organizations and indigenous representatives from 11 partner countries in the region. The event provided a space for focused technical dialogue and sharing of experiences on how countries are navigating the transition from REDD+ readiness to implementation. As with all UN-REDD Programme South-South knowledge exchanges, the topic had been chosen by the countries themselves through a needs assessment survey.
In Latin America, the UN-REDD Programme supported the Virtual Centre of Excellence on Forest Monitoring to develop the work plan for South-South cooperation on forest monitoring, which has been agreed by ten countries based on a systemic evaluation of capacity gaps and knowledge needed to enhance their national forest monitoring systems. This follows a mandate of the Council of Ministers of the Mesoamerican Strategy for Environmental Sustainability.
South-South and triangular cooperation helped in strengthening the sharing of knowledge and lessons learned among countries. Such exchanges have led to partnerships that have been translated into bilateral memorandums of understanding (MOUs). For example, the UN-REDD Programme supported the partnership between Costa Rica and Cote d’Ivoire which aims at facilitating effective exchanges of technologies and best practices. The partnership was formalized through an MOU in 2017 between the Ministers of Environment of the respective countries. A three-year project was established with the objective of providing a cooperation framework for the scaling up of best practices and experiences, and ultimately strengthening knowledge hubs in Cote d’Ivoire and Costa Rica.
The combination of the Programme’s in-country presence and well-established global reach allow for the scaling up of knowledge from local experiences to global lessons learned and best practices. The Programme supports countries by systematizing and aggregating the collection of know-how and converting and elevating local knowledge into lessons learned, best practices and success stories with global relevance, targeted to various audiences. In this way, the Programme also boosts the individual and collective impact of local knowledge and ensures South-South learning and cross-fertilization of ideas and approaches across countries.
Supported by the Programme’s South-South knowledge-sharing and peer-learning activities, in 2017 Ecuador became the first partner to become eligible to receive results-based payments, Mexico launched the world’s first fully operational safeguards information system, Sri Lanka developed a National Forest Inventory methodology, and Côte d’Ivoire developed its National REDD+ Strategy.
Countries/territories involved: 64 from all three regions (Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean)
Supported by: FAO, UNDP
Implementing entities: UN-REDD Programme
Project status: Ongoing
Project period: started 2008; current phase 2018-2020
URL of the practice: www.un-redd.org
Name: Mr. Florian Eisele, Global Communications and Knowledge Management Coordinator, UN-REDD Programme