Unenvironment: Forests: A natural solution to climate change, crucial for a sustainable future
Throughout history, times of crisis have yielded extraordinary innovation and social cooperation. Not only has this been essential for conquering many seemingly insurmountable challenges, but it has also shown one of the greatest strengths of human nature: we can best face and overcome crises through joint, creative action.
Anthropogenic climate change constitutes one such historical crisis. The UN-REDD Programme, a joint undertaking of FAO, UNDP and UN Environment to fight deforestation and forest degradation, was developed to advance the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and to foster innovative and collaborative approaches to address the existential challenge of climate change.
Founded ten years ago with the sustained and substantial support of Denmark, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the European Union, UN-REDD was the first joint global UN programme on climate change; it has been a pioneer of innovative policy and financing approaches to valuing and protecting forests and their social and ecosystem services.
The Programme now encompasses 64 partner countries, and it has become a flagship UN partnership for the Paris Agreement and for delivering on the Sustainable Development Agenda. Today, it is a global knowledge hub for solutions to deforestation and forest degradation and a major world partner in the implementation of nature-based solutions to climate change.
The Programme has accompanied its partner countries in improving governance and advancing national policy and institutional systems to safeguard forests and mitigate climate change. Ecuador, for example, with support from the Programme, became the second country after Brazil to meet all the requirements for the REDD+ mechanism (known as the Warsaw Framework for REDD+). Since 2012, Ecuador has reported reductions of over 28 million tonnes of CO2 emissions; in 2017 it became the first country to receive Green Climate Fund investment to co-finance its national REDD+ Action Plan.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the multifaceted support of the UN-REDD Programme has served the country to put forests at the core of its national development, enacting policy reforms, developing innovative and cross-sectoral investment plans and programmes, increasing technical capacity for efficient data collection, analysis and reporting, and supporting the establishment of a national fund that is a pioneer in national climate finance instruments, thus facilitating the engagement of different national stakeholders, international partners and donors.