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, all together supporting a portfolio of programmes across circa 30 countries and a financial volume of about USD 350 million.

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+ refers to the provisions of the climate convention (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 REDD+ unit contributes to both SDGs 13 (climate action) and 15 (forest ecosystems), addressing their close linkages. When promoting REDD+ policies and investments in countries, the unit 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 REDD+ unit manages or implements a diverse range of programmes and initiatives, including as follows:

§  UN-REDD Programme – The UNDP REDD+ unit is a founding and management partner of UN-REDD, a UN partnership to support REDD+ in developing countries. The partnership was launched in 2008 and is composed by 3 UN agencies (FAO, UNEP, UNDP), 64 partner countries and 6 donor countries. The UN-REDD Programme provides countries with capacity building, policy design and multi-stakeholder dialogue towards embedding REDD+ actions and results in their national development. UN-REDD has a multi-stakeholder governance system and its 3 implementing agencies together manage a budget of USD 248 million.

§  Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) – UNDP is a delivery partner for the FCPF in 7 countries, with the UNDP REDD+ unit playing key roles in technical assistance, policy advice and quality assurance. In addition, UNDP and the FCPF have elaborated joint guidelines on stakeholder engagement and on grievance redress mechanisms for the REDD+ practice.

§  Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) – UNDP hosts the Secretariat of CAFI, a financial platform to support the implementation of strategic reforms and multi-sectoral investments for sustainable forest management and REDD+ results in the Congo basin (which is home to 240 million hectares of tropical rainforest – the second largest in the world – and represent a carbon sink equivalent to 6 years of global emissions). As several countries in the region seek to become emerging economies in the coming decades, CAFI supports them to reach this goal in a low emission way that spares their forests. CAFI, as a collaborative partnership, gathers a number of Central African countries (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, DR Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon), a coalition of donors (EU, France, Germany, Norway, and UK) and a South-South partner (Brazil). The CAFI Secretariat, hosted by the UNDP Geneva Office, supports the CAFI Executive Board, which is the 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 - The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the  Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea of the Republic of Italy signed a Third Party Cost-Sharing Agreement today, to undertake a range of climate change and REDD+ forest-related joint and coordinated activities at the global, regional and national level. The activities undertaken under this partnership will provide support to REDD+, a voluntary process for developing countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to reduce emissions from deforestation, forest degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

§  National investment programmes for REDD+ results – the unit advises and supports countries with the implementation of a number of large-scale investment programmes for REDD+, some under bilateral agreements and, forthcoming, under the Green Climate Fund.

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