Forests, Climate & Sustainable Development

Forests, Climate & Sustainable Development

The UNDP Climate and Forests Team supports countries with the design and implementation of national policies and measures to reduce deforestation and manage forests sustainably, hence contributing to the mitigation of climate change and advancing sustainable development. The global team has advisors in Geneva, New York, Panama, Bangkok and Nairobi, New York supporting a ~ USD 400 million portfolio of programmes across circa 30 countries.

Forests provide the dwelling and livelihood for over 1 billion people – including many indigenous peoples – as well as hosting the largest share the world's biodiversity and providing essential ecosystem services, such as water and carbon storage (hence mitigating climate change). Deforestation and forest degradation, which continue at high rates after several decades, contribute severely to climate change, currently representing about a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions (i.e.more than the whole transportation sector worldwide).

REDD+ stands for ‘reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks’ in developing countries and refers to the provisions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to provide financial incentives to forest-based approaches to mitigating climate change. It was specifically endorsed in the Paris Agreement (article 5). Hence REDD+ policies and finance are indispensable to mitigate climate change and set nations and communities in the path for sustainable development. REDD+ represents an innovative approach for sustainable development, offering a gateway for climate finance – a new source of finance for development, under a results-based philosophy.

The work of the UNDP Climate & Forests Team contributes to both SDGs 13 (climate action) and 15 (forest ecosystems), addressing their close linkages. When promoting REDD+ policies and investments in countries, the Team employs a social inclusion approach, particularly by ensuring stakeholder engagement, promoting the rights of indigenous peoples and forest communities, mainstreaming gender equality, and encouraging policy reforms towards more equitable land use and tenure systems.

The UNDP Climate & Forests Team manages or implements a diverse range of programmes and initiatives, including as follows:

§  UN-REDD Programme – UNDP is a founding partner of UN-REDD, a UN partnership to support REDD+ in developing countries. The partnership was launched in 2008 and is composed by three UN agencies (FAO, UNEP, UNDP), 64 partner countries and six donor countries. The UN-REDD Programme provides countries with capacity building, policy design and multi-stakeholder dialogue towards embedding REDD+ actions and results in national development. UN-REDD has a multi-stakeholder governance system and its three implementing agencies together manage a budget of USD 256 million.

§  Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) – UNDP is a delivery partner for the FCPF in seven countries, with the Climate and Forests Team playing key roles in technical assistance, policy advice and quality assurance. In addition, UNDP and the FCPF have elaborated joint guidelines on safeguards, stakeholder engagement, disclosure of information and on grievance redress mechanisms for the REDD+ readiness activities.

§  Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) – UNDP hosts the Secretariat of CAFI, an initiative and fund to support the implementation of strategic reforms and multi-sectoral investments for the sustainable management of forests  and REDD+ results in the Central African region. That region, is home to 240 million hectares of tropical rainforest – the second largest in the world and 90% of Africa's dense humid forests– , a carbon sink (six years of global emissions and containing 30% of tropical peat carbon dioxide in its subsoil), habitat to invaluable animal and plant biodiversity, the majority of which is endemic in this region, and a source of livelihoods for millions of people. As several countries in the region seek to become emerging economies in the coming decades, CAFI supports them to reach their development goal in a low-emission way that spares their forests. CAFI, as a collaborative partnership, gathers 6 Central African countries with high forest cover (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, DR Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon), a coalition of donors (EU, France, Germany, Norway, UK, the Netherlands and South Korea) and a South-South partner (Brazil). The CAFI Secretariat, hosted by the UNDP Geneva Office, supports the CAFI Executive Board, a multi-donor body that concludes agreements with the partner countries and decides on funding allocations to support country-driven national investment frameworks.

§  Governor’s Climate and Forests Task Force Launched in 2009 by ten Governors from Brazil, Indonesia, and the U.S., the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCFTF)was designed to advance jurisdiction-wide approaches to REDD+ and low emissions development. The GCFTF now has 38 states and provinces in ten countries, including 35 tropical forest jurisdictions. UNDP is supporting innovative GCFTF tropical forest states and provinces to develop jurisdictional strategies for REDD+ and low emissions development and catalyze transformative financing opportunities.

§  UNDP-IMELS Partnership - UNDP and the Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea (IMELS) of the Republic of Italy signed a Third Party Cost-Sharing Agreement, to undertake a range of climate change and REDD+ forest-related joint and coordinated activities at the global, regional and national level. The first three countries to receive support through the partnership are Ecuador, Ghana and Myanmar.

§  National investment programmes for REDD+ results – The Climate & Forests Team supports countries in their efforts to secure financing for the implementation of their REDD+ strategies or plans, through the negotiation and co-design of large-scale investment projects and results-based payments schemes under the Green Climate Fund or other relevant bilateral and multilateral initiatives.

Further Information

Contact: Tim Clairs, Principal Technical Advisor, Climate & Forests Team, UNDP -

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