Report of main proceedings for 13 November 2017
UN-REDD+ Programme Events at COP 23
Scaling Up Implementation for Accessing REDD+ Payments
This high-level event convened on 13 November 2017, in Bonn, Germany, on the sidelines of the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The event was organized by the UN-REDD Programme and the World Bank Group, with panelists highlighting how REDD+ and other forest focused land-use initiatives have been instrumental in triggering change at the country level.
Ellysar Baroudy, Coordinator, Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF)/BioCarbon Fund, World Bank, and Mario Boccucci, Head, UN-REDD Programme Secretariat, moderated the event. Baroudy applauded successes in developing REDD+ initiatives and attributed these to the enthusiastic stakeholder network of governments through their ministries of environment and forestry, the private sector, and civil society and indigenous peoples groups.
Vidar Helgesen, Minister for Climate and Environment, Norway, recalling the Cannondale-Drapac cycling team’s Ride for Climate initiative, highlighted forests’ multiple functions, including as biodiversity hosts, vehicles for carbon capture and nature’s cathedrals. Noting that carbon emissions, after declining for the past three years, have resumed increasing in 2017, Helgesen suggested that forests hold a third of the solutions to implementing the Paris Agreement and reforestation efforts should be scaled up. He urged multilateral environmental platforms to strengthen efforts to save remaining forests, and to save the livelihoods of more than one billion forest dwellers who act as custodians of forests worldwide.
Eva Müller, Director, Forestry Policy and Resources Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), highlighted significant progress in UN-REDD Programme implementation and capacity-building efforts, visible in the increased forest reference emission levels, national inventories and measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) efforts of countries. She lamented that two thirds of agricultural land globally has increased in size as a consequence of land clearing of forests, and suggested that solutions need to be found in the agriculture-forestry nexus, since feeding a growing world and satisfying the demand for forest products are equally important. Müller outlined as triggers of success: finding commonalities between the two sectors; coordinating cross-sectorally; promoting more integrated approaches; and transferring comprehensive information for decision making.
Howard Bamsey, Executive Director, Green Climate Fund (GCF), citing the Samuel Beckett play, ‘Waiting for Godot,’ said “the wait for seeing REDD+ at scale is over.” He pledged GCF contributions to assist during the third phase of REDD+ implementation, and announced the Fund’s intention to seek submissions from countries before the end of the year.
Karin Kemper, Senior Director of Environment and Natural Resources, World Bank Group, emphasized the Bank’s goals to eliminate extreme poverty and bring about shared prosperity, which is “at the heart of REDD+.” She identified three actions that “will move the needle” on upscaling REDD+: continuing work on cross-cutting partnerships to implement forest-smart development; exploring innovative financial avenues and expanding results-based payments and domestic resource mobilization; and engaging the private sector to strengthen supply chains in the forestry sector.
Anne Désirée Ouloto, Minister of Sanitation, Environment and Sustainable Development, Côte d’Ivoire, shared her country’s experiences with REDD+, and described the loss of 12.6 million hectares of forest from the 1980s until 2015. She highlighted reforestation initiatives, including commitments to the New York Declaration on Forests, the Bonn Challenge, REDD+ and a national strategy for integrated forestry conservation through key policies and measures such as zero deforestation in the palm oil and cocoa sectors.
Tarsicio Granizo Tamayo, Minister of Environment, Ecuador, noted his country’s aims to integrate the values and products of the forest into its GDP and to develop MRV measures, as well other steps to strengthen the country’s capacity for implementing REDD+. He stressed the need to, through these steps, support social issues that will contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and urged developing specific incentives for countries that have a high reforestation rate.
Grace Balawag, Deputy Program Coordinator, Indigenous Peoples International Centre for Policy Research and Eduation (Tebtebba), noted the challenges of understanding REDD+ for indigenous peoples, and said she was encouraged by how much their capacity has been strengthened during recent years. She commended inclusion of text in the Paris Agreement to integrate traditional knowledge systems related to adaptation and mitigation, and comprehensive consultations with indigenous peoples on the SDGs and REDD+ Safeguards under the Cancun Agreements.
Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy, Director, Viet Nam REDD+ Office, suggested that the national REDD+ programme offered her country an opportunity to invest in forestry and agriculture, and shared experiences using incentives, including payment for environmental services and forestry schemes, over the past decade.
Jorge Mario Rodríguez, Executive Director, National Forestry Financing Fund, Costa Rica, pointed to his country’s commitment to become a “green country” by developing strategies to achieve development without compromising natural forests, including through: tripling the forested area since the 1970s and 1980s; and increasing the country’s conservation area to 26%. He further highlighted his country’s regulations to ban illegal logging, and emphasized the role of indigenous peoples in establishing these regulations.