UN-REDD: Why we should be more optimistic about forests and climate change...
If you skimmed the news, 2017 may have seemed like a tough year for climate change.
The US and the Caribbean endured a devastating hurricane season. People across Africa felt the impact of consecutive seasons of drought that scorched harvests and depressed livelihoods. And severe rains and flooding forced tens of thousands of evacuations in Asia.
We’ve all seen these headlines, and perhaps several others that leave us feeling discouraged, to say the least. The thing is, these headlines do not tell the full story.
Year round, I work side-by-side with climate leaders from developed and developing countries across the world through the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility(FCPF) and the BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes (ISFL) and with partners like the UN-REDD Programme. Together, we work on the design and implementation of ambitious, large-scale programs to shift entire forestry, agriculture and other land use sectors towards more sustainable (and often more profitable) production models that take pressure off primary forests.
It’s work that doesn’t move as fast as some of the negative headlines roll out. But these are groundbreaking programs with tremendous potential for mitigating climate change and improving livelihoods. They are programs that need to be part of the conversation when we are talking about the state of the planet and climate change.
2017’s encouraging progress and results
Under the FCPF last year, nearly all the 47 participant countries are well on the way to building the foundation needed to implement REDD+ (which stands for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation). These activities include improving governance, boosting stakeholder engagement, designing safeguards systems, preparing climate action strategies, and developing forest emission reference levels and national forest monitoring systems. Nineteen of these countries have made significant progress and are now onto designing their programs on the ground.