A decade of REDD+ gains, challenges

A decade of REDD+ gains, challenges
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2023 marks a decade anniversary of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) implementation, a voluntary climate change mitigation approach that was developed by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change  (UNFCCC).  REDD+ aims to incentivize developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conserve forest carbon stocks, sustainably manage forests and enhance forest carbon stocks.

Since the Warsaw Framework for REDD+ was adopted in 2013, 60 developing countries have reported activities to reduce deforestation and forest degradation to the UN Climate Change secretariat. These include Brazil, Indonesia, Peru, Democratic republic of Congo (DRC), Colombia, Costa Rica among others.

Environmental benefits can come about when REDD+ prevents loss or degradation of forests, or even improves their condition. These include biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services such as water regulation, soil conservation, timber, forest foods and other non-timber forest products. Healthy forests play a crucial role in mitigating climate change by acting as carbon sinks, absorbing billions of metric tonnes of CO2 annually.

REDD+ activities implemented by developing countries cover a forest area of about 1.35 billion hectares – approximately 62% of forest area in developing countries. Moreover, 17 countries reported a reduction of 11.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide, fulfilling the requirements to obtain results-based finance.

REDD+ implementation

There were different starting points for countries as they embarked on their REDD+ journey. Peru started the process by establishing a Ministry of the Environment, while Saint Lucia joined the Coalition for Rainforest Nations (CfRN) this as reported on the UNFCC website..

Stakeholder awareness, consultation and involvement were crucial for the successful development of REDD+ activities. All countries stressed that indigenous communities, whose lives rely heavily on forests, as well as youth and women were key stakeholders in the process.

Additionally, private companies and NGOs often play pivotal roles in establishing the building blocks for REDD+ implementation, such as forest-area mapping, monitoring and reporting.

Common carbon financed REDD+ activities include, Farmer training on sustainable land management and biodiversity conservation, Non-timber forest product cooperatives like fruits, nuts, honey and cocoa, Unarmed forest patrols to prevent illegal logging or poaching, Wildfire prevention and firefighting brigades.

However, this realization is without challenges including  Lack of adequate finance and technical capacity for monitoring, data collection and analysis.

 

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