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Entries with Years 2021 .

Season's greetings and 2021 in review

by Christophe van Orshoven 

As 2021 draws to a close, I’d like to take this opportunity to share some highlights from this year’s work by the EU REDD Facility. 

This year we celebrated the 10th anniversary of our founding, taking the opportunity to reflect on the lessons we learned over the last decade. We’re working to ensure these insights help to shape and accelerate action for protecting and restoring the world’s forests.  

Taking stock of progress towards addressing deforestation 

The Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use, drafted as part of the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) process, is a significant achievement. The Declaration brings more than 130 countries to work collectively to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030.  

We’re collaborating with partner countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America to understand the governance challenges driving deforestation, track private finance for tropical forests, and develop pragmatic approaches that monitor and deliver change for forest and land-use sector governance. 

Assessing the revised climate plans of several of our partner countries, we’ve seen many opportunities to work in partnership to address forest land-use sector challenges. But we’ve also found a mixed picture in terms of overall pledges to reduce emissions, and forest-related targets.  

A new pathway to decoupling deforestation and trade  

In launching our Transparency Pathway, we offer a pragmatic method for turning policy aspirations into measures to decouple deforestation and trade. Our first Transparency Pathway insight demonstrated how supply chain data can be used to develop new understandings of commodity trade contexts. This information unlocks potential for partnerships between producers, consumers, and trader groups to shift commodity markets towards sustainability. Building on our partnership with the Trase Initiative and the support we provided to our Indonesian partners tracking jurisdictional sustainability, we found growing interest from our partner countries in supply chain transparency approaches. 

Land-use planning processes get easier with an updated website and training 

This year we gave our flagship Land-use Planner a major overhaul. Partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America used the tool to help develop land-use scenarios, compare social, economic and environmental impacts, and weigh policy decisions. The tool is now available in 6 languages and more than 100 participants have been trained throughout the year, now taking the tool forward in their own programmes and land-use planning activities across the globe.   

Towards 2022 

In 2022, we look forward to: 

  • Consolidating the work on inclusive land-use planning at local level in Central and West Africa 

  • Strengthening our tools with new modules and data, such as spatial applications for the Land-use Planner and private finance mapping guidelines for the Land-use Finance Tool, and developing a knowledge base on forest and land-use governance in our partner countries 

  • Continuing to work with country partners to increase transparency in palm oil, cocoa and coffee supply chains in light of emerging market requirements for promoting legal and deforestation-free trade  

  • Providing support to jurisdictional approaches to promote sustainable land use and inform public and private sector dialogues and policy development in Côte d’Ivoire, Republic of the Congo, Indonesia and Vietnam.  

If you’d like to know more about any aspect of our work, subscribe to the EU REDD Facility newsletter.   

Christophe van Orshoven 

Team Leader

EU REDD Facility

 

Tracking private finance in tropical forest countries – COP26 side event

By Adeline Dontenville

On the second day of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, world leaders announced a pledge to save and restore our planet’s forests. With that deal came a long list of commitments from public and private sector actors to combat deforestation.

These included ambitious financial commitments to support forest protection and zero-deforestation commodities - including $7.2bn from the private sector - as well as commitments to align investments to sustainable land-use objectives. For instance, CEOs from more than 30 financial institutions, with over $8.7 trillion of global assets, have committed to eliminate investments in activities linked to agricultural commodity-driven deforestation. These commitments add up to almost a decade of announcements aimed at mobilizing private finance to support forests.

Despite this global recognition of the importance of unlocking private finance at scale to address deforestation, there is still very limited information available on the volume of capital flows into land use. These financial flows are not tracked or reported consistently. Monitoring of private finance is challenging across any sector, yet tracking flows related to land-use change in tropical forest countries is particularly challenging for many reasons. These include the issue of defining what constitutes sustainable land-use; the difficulties in accessing disaggregated data on private flows due to confidentiality and market regulations; and the very nature of land-use activities which are embedded into often largely informal rural economies.

Building robust approaches to track private flows in land-use is essential to increase the transparency of investments impacting forests and ecosystems, hold actors accountable to their commitments, and measure progress.

On 8 November, the EU REDD Facility hosted a COP26 side event to explore tracking private finance in tropical forest countries. The virtual event provided a public platform for practitioners who are paving the way towards building approaches that shed light on the private sector’s role in financing nature-based solutions and sustainable land-use.

Three presenters spoke to this topic from different angles:

  • The Forest Stewardship Council’s Chief Climate and Ecosystems Officer Asger Olesen discussed the diversity of angles through which private land-use investments can be approached, and made practical recommendations on how to implement tracking studies.
  • Gabriela Coser from Climate Policy Initiative shared a country perspective, namely Brazil’s experience in identifying private investments into land-use, and lessons learnt from that comprehensive exercise. The study demonstrated that supporting tropical forest countries in understanding their financial landscapes and the leverage effect of their public policies is key to enhancing domestic resource mobilisation efforts.
  • Ivo Mulder, head of UNEP’s climate finance unit, presented results of UNEP’s efforts in quantifying global investments into nature-based solutions, and described concrete steps for action to deliver on the ambitious pledges coming out of COP26.

Their remarks were followed by a question and answer session. We invite you to watch the event recording.


Adeline Dontenville

Land-use finance expert

EU REDD Facility

 

The lessons of COVID-19: facilitation for meeting sustainability goals

By Frédéric Baron


When the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a pandemic, I was in Bogota on a work mission, living the last moments of what some could now consider a “normal” professional life. I returned home to Barcelona early and impassively observed how the world was dramatically changing, with a feeling of being useless in the crisis and disrupted in my personal work. Since then, the pandemic has harshly impacted all populations around the globe, in terms of health, of course, but also economically and socially. 

We cannot overlook the impact of the pandemic on the environment too, and the management of natural resources. In Colombia, of the 62 protected areas that fall under the National System of Protected Areas, 25 were engaged in ecotourism, as were 33 of the 59 protected natural areas in Ecuador. Their financial sustainability has been affected as national and international public investments were diverted towards managing the pandemic. There’s now a rising risk of criminal activity such as illegal logging, as resources for forest management decrease and ranger patrols are suspended. At the same time, a lot of cooperation projects aimed at reducing deforestation or improving biodiversity conservation have suffered delays and breaks in their activities. 

Most actors and experts involved in these programmes or working on environmental solutions – including the EU REDD Facility – need to work at a distance, and mostly from home. For everyone in this field, this situation has required creativity, not just to maintain workflows but also to generate tangible results for those who were vulnerable even before the pandemic. As an expert working in international cooperation, this panorama has forced me to reconsider and rethink the modalities and methodologies of our day-to-day work.
 

New technologies as threat and opportunity

One of the biggest personal lessons of these challenging last 18 months has been the urgency of reconnecting actors and stakeholders that are more isolated than ever. Facilitators and/or facilitation skills are greatly necessary if we want to make 2021 and years ahead not “lost years”, but “opportunistic or transition years” in achieving sustainable development goals and Nationally Determined Contributions targets. With or without a pandemic, environmental and social challenges cannot wait until “normality” returns. 

Another lesson has been the potential for information technology and virtual connections. The pandemic accelerated a major modern phenomenon: the rise of the virtual. We have all experienced the massive improvement and democratisation of social media and internet technologies, allowing us to connect and exchange information faster, from long distance, and at any time. But this is just one edge of the sword. All technologies can also serve bad intentions. We can be quantitatively more informed, but qualitatively less so. We may be connected to more people, but maybe less well connected. With the pandemic having generated global fear and insecurity, the misuse of virtual technologies contributed, in some cases, to compromising trust amongst people, organisations, and governments. What we call “common sense” or consensus may now seem harder to achieve. Now more than ever we see the need for well-informed and open dialogue, and processes for facilitation. If used correctly, social and information technologies can afford great opportunities.


Central African rainforest by Travel Stock
 

Dialogue and consensus through facilitation

Within the EU REDD Facility team, I’m focusing on our Latin America partner countries, Colombia and Ecuador, along with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). When looking at the complex nature and diverse drivers of deforestation in these countries, there is general agreement that there are no “silver bullet” solutions for national REDD+ objectives. Rather, what’s needed is mechanisms that provide flexibility and the capacity to adapt to different sectors, local contexts and actors. 

Through my work in Colombia, I’ve supported the development of local intercultural land-use governance mechanisms in the Amazonian area of Caquetá, where significant deforestation occurs. This project took place over several local administrative areas known as “veredas” of the Solano municipality, just at the deforestation frontier. The main challenge has been dialogue between indigenous Inga people and local cattle ranchers, to develop consensus on land-use management and reducing deforestation while ensuring a decent living income for farmers. What struck me from the beginning is that the real bottleneck preventing dialogue – and thus consensus on action and co-management of the territory – wasn’t discrepancies in visions and culture between communities. Rather, it was ignorance and lack of knowledge and understanding of each other. Once the first steps of the facilitation process allowed both communities to come to know and better understand each other’s perspectives and governance mechanisms, a dialogue became possible. 

The lesson here has been that negotiations, dialogue, and consensus can be achieved if a facilitating third party can ensure this first layer of knowledge and understanding. It does not mean that the way towards a final agreement will be easy, but certainly easier and possible. 

Thus, for our 2021 support to these three countries, we decided to increase the facilitation component of our work to generate technical dialogue – first to share information and generate common knowledge, and then to identify potential solutions or mechanisms to improve governance and sustainability of land use. Of course, our plan is to do this virtually, given the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
 

Towards a common understanding and feasibility of traceability and transparency

In both Colombia and Ecuador, the cocoa sector involves several actors with varied interests. Colombia’s cocoa market is characterised by strong internal demand for chocolate (80% of cocoa produced is consumed locally) while Ecuador has a significant cocoa export market (85% of national production is exported). Both countries registered great production increases in the last years: between 2000 and 2017, Colombia’s total cocoa production has doubled while Ecuador registered almost a six-fold increase in cocoa. Ecuador is now the third-largest cocoa producer country worldwide, with 7% of global production. While cocoa is not considered a driver of deforestation in these countries, the expansion of land for cocoa cultivation has been increasing since 2007 and poses a potential risk for deforestation in the future, along with associated social and environmental risks. 

In this context, traceability and transparency systems are crucial for identifying, monitoring and tackling environmental and social issues in supply chains. 

Traceability refers to methods of tracing a commodity through the supply chain, while transparency is the disclosure of sourcing information to increase the accountability of relevant stakeholders. However, the exact definition of these concepts is not always the same amongst supply-chain actors, and the use of such systems is not always associated with the same objectives. It has led to the current situation where actors with enough financial capacity have developed their own private traceability systems, sharing only a small part of their database publically, and withholding data from existing national monitoring systems. 

COVID-19 and its related restrictions has reduced access to information and deeply modified our economies, putting many sectors in a fragile position. Ignorance and poverty are the enemy of good governance, and persistent asymmetry of information will never allow for social and environmental sustainability and justice. There is need for a common understanding and definition of concepts of traceability and transparency and what they serve. Adequate systems also need to be designed through participatory processes. If not, traceability will only empower the upstream side of supply chains where the bulk of information and data will circulate, not always for or with full transparency. For unscrupulous business operators, maintaining the ignorance of clients, competitors and even partners can be used for competitive advantage. Reducing the asymmetry of information by promoting more transparent traceability systems would lead to improved governance of supply chains.

The EU REDD Facility facilitated technical and multi-stakeholder dialogues in Ecuador and Colombia, virtually, to evaluate the feasibility and options for national traceability and transparency systems (in line with the Transparency Pathway tool developed by the EU REDD Facility). We are now finalising proposals to be used as the basis for further political dialogue and decisions.


Dried cocoa seeds by Joel Bubble Ben
 

Civil society preparations for DRC’s national forest policy development

In DRC’s climate change and deforestation policy process, national civil society organisations (CSOs) are officially represented under the umbrella of the national Groupe de Travail-Rénové REDD network, or GTCR-R. Created in 2013, the network has proven its capacity to improve coordination amongst its members and to some extent to influence DRC decision and policy-making processes.

However, as in many countries in the region, civil society is sometimes involved only after the design phase of a project, a programme or a policy document, during the “consultation” phase for their validation. To change this paradigm, with GTCR-R and its members, the EU REDD Facility chose to organise an “ex-ante consultation”, or what we decided to call a “concertation”. In this new process, two aims were achieved:

  • Capturing the diverse visions of CSOs, along with their propositions for the future forest sector regulatory and policy framework. 
  • Demonstrating the capacity of national CSOs to generate information and data, and to be considered as a starting partner rather than just a “validation” partner.

As in Latin America, COVID-19 increased isolation of remote actors in many African countries and it has been quite challenging to support such dialogue from a distance, with technology as our only option. However, this experience showed a better capacity to adapt than expected, and this should be reinforced in the future.

The final civil society position paper will be considered as a relevant basis for the Sustainable Management Programme soon to be launched. This programme has the objective (amongst others) of elaborating a national Forest Policy.

This concertation process amongst CSOs did not bring full consensus on the orientations and recommendations for the future policy, but it did help to nuance and somewhat soften initial and purely ideological positions, and even sometimes build bridges between positions. More importantly, by sharing the same level of information in a transparent way, conflicts over facts were eventually set aside to concentrate on needed solutions. In my view, that is already half the problem solved.

Of course, the reality of decision-making processes is complex, and does not succeed only through facilitating multi-stakeholder dialogue with technical information. Even more when this facilitation is done virtually. However, having those two elements will always catalyse and prepare a solid and recognised basis, as well as generate information that is valuable and additional to what an ad hoc expert analysis could provide.

This pandemic made facilitation activities complicated, but at the same time more needed than before. We should take available technologies and virtual options as opportunities to do our best. I’m convinced that facilitation is more crucial now than ever. We cannot let global health crises like this pandemic separate us more than we already were.

 


Frédéric Baron

Forest and land-use governance expert

EU REDD Facility

 

The EU REDD Facility’s 10 lessons for ending tropical deforestation

By Christophe Van Orshoven


Since its inception a decade ago, the EU REDD Facility’s ambition has been to support dialogue and partnership between state and non-state actors to strengthen efforts to ensure tropical forests meet their potential to limit climate change.

As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of our Facility, we’re taking the opportunity to reflect on lessons learned over these years, as we worked towards empowering stakeholders to strengthen the rule of law, promoting sustainable land use and investment, and enhancing supply chain transparency.

It’s fitting that we share these insights as the 14th edition of the EU Development Days on the Green Deal for a Sustainable Future gets underway. The EU has a strong track record of global leadership in dealing with deforestation and forest degradation, and the European Green Deal commits to measures to support deforestation-free value chains. Our work is aligned with this ambitious response to the continued widespread destruction of the world's forests.

Significant progress has been made over the past few years towards ending deforestation and understanding the drivers and solutions to this complex problem. Yet governments, the private sector and citizens all over the world need to urgently step up action to protect and restore the world’s forests. We hope that the lessons we have learned over the past decade help to shape and accelerate future action: Ending tropical deforestation: 10 lessons for laying the foundations

1. There must be clear and well-enforced legal frameworks for land use.

Unclear legal frameworks — and a lack of implementation and compliance with these frameworks — often lead to illegal land allocation and forest conversion, including for the expansion of commercial agriculture. Giving forest and agriculture sector actors incentives to comply with the law strengthens efforts to make commodity production and trade deforestation-free. It also promotes better land-use governance and helps achieve climate targets.

2. Participatory and informed land-use planning is key to reduce land conflicts and deforestation.

Inclusion and collaboration are important for designing and implementing land-use plans. If all stakeholders at different levels – including local communities and organisations – are involved in important official decisions about land use, there is more compliance with land laws, and more sustainable outcomes are achieved for everyone.

3. Partnership approaches build an enabling environment for sustainable land-use.

Clarifying definitions and responsibilities, sharing credible information for decision-makers, and fostering trust between partners builds transparency and accountability in the forest and land-use sectors. These efforts build an enabling environment for forest-friendly development and investment, and help countries put their climate change targets into action.

4. Open, reliable information on global forest-risk commodity supply chains is needed to build trust on both sides of the trade. 

The complexity and opacity of global supply chains has made it difficult to tackle deforestation in mainstream markets. For most commodities with deforestation risks, there’s simply no information to support action and policy implementation. Improving supply-chain transparency helps to hold global supply chain players – including producing and consuming governments – accountable to their commitments to deal with deforestation and risks linked to products in their supply chains.

5. Consensus on definitions and data is needed to track progress towards sustainability.

Agreed sustainability definitions and monitoring systems help authorities improve their governance of land and forests. By developing these indicators through multistakeholder consultation, trust and legitimacy are entrenched. Using simple and objective ways to verify sustainability performance, grounded in national laws and regulations, is a mutually beneficial approach for producer and consumer countries.

6. Nationally Determined Contributions offer opportunities raise the profile of forest and land-use governance.

The majority of tropical countries have integrated forests and agriculture into their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Robust and participatory NDC processes offer opportunities to address the drivers of deforestation by combining climate, aid and trade-related interventions, and raising the profile of forest and land use governance. Failing to address underlying governance drivers of deforestation puts the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change at risk.

7. Community forestry can improve livelihoods and achieve climate commitments.

Communities protect, manage, and use their forests in many ways. Some rely on logging and the timber trade to make a living. This trade needs to be economically viable and support livelihoods, while at the same time supporting sustainable management and protecting against deforestation. Legal timber production can unlock livelihood opportunities for vulnerable groups, while also reducing illegality, deforestation, and forest degradation.

8. Tracking investments in land-use helps to deploy resources for supporting forest and climate objectives.

Tropical forest countries can get valuable support from international public finance sources to help achieve their climate and forest goals, but these funds can’t meet the scale of investment needed. By presenting a transparent analysis of land-use investments and plans to improve the coherence of forest and climate-friendly spending, countries can attract private finance and make the case for more international support. There are opportunities to redirect the hundreds of billions spent annually on land-use activities around the world towards low emissions, without sacrificing productivity or economic development.

9. Socio-economic factors driving smallholder land-use decisions must be considered.

Smallholder farmers are central to the transition towards sustainable production, but they can’t invest in sustainable practices when they live in poverty and have limited access to finance. For change to happen at scale, initiatives offering financial incentives to smallholders must not only support the initial costs of agroforestry and replantation, but also provide opportunities to diversify their incomes. Understanding the economy of smallholders and the potential profitability of new production models is a prerequisite for transitioning towards more sustainable land-use practices.

10. Commodity and trade approaches provide a powerful lever for governance reform.

To address forest and land-use governance challenges, it’s useful to look to commodity and trade approaches like the EU’s Voluntary Partnership Agreements. There are lessons from the timber sector for creating the basis for zero-deforestation production and related trade. It’s essential to capitalise on initiatives that are effectively bringing visibility, support and competence to forest and land-use governance.

In the years ahead, we’ll continue to support countries to find innovative approaches and solutions to their land-use governance and development goals, and to find opportunities for dialogue and partnership. We look forward to sharing new lessons along this journey.
 

 


Christophe Van Orshoven

Team leader

EU REDD Facility

 

Taking stock of national climate plans: what’s in it for forests?

By Alice Bisiaux


In the lead up to the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2015, each country was asked to outline its post-2020 climate plans, known as their nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Taken collectively, the initial plans put forward by countries did not go far enough to reach the Agreement’s goal: to limit global average temperature rise to “well below” 2 ºC above pre-industrial levels, and to “pursue efforts” to limit it to 1.5 ºC.

However, the Paris Agreement gives countries the opportunity to increase their climate ambition, by updating their NDCs every five years. It’s now time to take stock: have countries’ revised climate plans matched the increase in ambition needed to effectively address climate change?
 

Nature-based solutions as an opportunity for raising climate ambition 

For countries updating their plans to take more ambitious action on climate change, nature-based solutions offer essential tools and opportunities. Conserving, restoring and improving management of forests, wetlands, grasslands and agricultural lands can deliver a third of cuts in emissions needed by 2030 to help keep warming below 2 °C. These nature-based solutions also help countries and communities adapt to the impacts of climate change and contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A large majority of the first round of NDCs included nature-based solutions in one form or another, but overall, these pledges were not quantified and did not outline coherent strategies for achieving them. Moreover, most didn’t consider the forest and land-use governance reforms that are essential to their implementation. The NDC revision process therefore provided an opportunity to strengthen the role of these natural solutions.

The EU REDD Facility has assessed the revised NDCs of several of its partner countries, and that of Brazil. Brazil, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Indonesia are home to four of the top five largest remaining tropical forests. Looking at these countries as well as Cameroon, Ghana, Laos, Liberia, the Republic of the Congo (RoC), Thailand and Vietnam, a very mixed picture emerges in terms of increased ambition generally, and of the treatment of nature-based solutions in particular. 


Colombia’s updated NDC is one of the most ambitious of Latin America, it is 6–22% stronger than the first NDC. It includes agricultural sector mitigation targets on coffee by Jess Kraft
 

Have countries ramped up their climate ambition?

On overall pledges to reduce emissions, the glass is half full. Some countries have ramped up ambition in varying degrees, such as Colombia, Cameroon, DRC, Laos or Vietnam. Others, such as Ghana, Indonesia or Thailand, have resubmitted their 2015 pledges, while RoC has reduced its mitigation ambition.

In terms of NDC scope, the revision process has led most countries, apart from Thailand and Ghana, to cover more sectors and greenhouse gases than in their initial contributions. For example, Liberia’s revised NDC covers emissions from the forest sector, which were excluded in its first NDC.
 

A missed opportunity for the forest and land-use sector

In their revised NDCs, countries have an opportunity to be clearer and more specific by adopting measurable targets and explaining how they were calculated. To help determine how they can be supported to achieve their climate targets, they can also be clearer about their financial needs. On these aspects, overall, the revised climate plans we analysed made progress. For example, Colombia, Liberia and Vietnam, which had not provided cost estimates in their first NDCs, did so in their revised submissions. Cameroon, Colombia and DRC also detailed the emission estimates for each sector and planned activity.

More countries have included an overall target for the agriculture, forest and land sector in their revised NDCs, including Colombia and Liberia. All countries assessed, other than Thailand, put forward at least one quantified target related to this sector: 

  • All countries but Cameroon, Thailand and DRC have reduced deforestation targets. 
  • Cameroon, Colombia, Liberia, Thailand, Laos, RoC, DRC and Indonesia mention restoration efforts.
  • Laos and Vietnam have quantified forest cover targets.
  • Cameroon, Colombia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Liberia and DRC refer to protected areas.

Nonetheless, numerous forest-related targets are still unquantified. This is a missed opportunity to enhance understanding towards countries’ commitments, raise the profile of the agriculture, forest and land sector and attract more public and private support.
 

Giving forest governance efforts the place they deserve

Overall, forest governance is still insufficiently addressed in the revised NDCs. Few mention participatory processes, indigenous and local communities’ rights, land tenure or forest monitoring efforts. And when governance issues are mentioned, they are often not adequately articulated to ensure they will be integrated into the NDC’s implementation:

  • Conflicting interests and competition over land and resources have been major driving forces of deforestation, forest degradation, soil erosion and loss of soil fertility. However, only Cameroon, Colombia, Laos, Liberia and Indonesia make reference to land-use planning efforts. 
  • While Cameroon, Colombia, RoC, DRC and Liberia refer to gender, Colombia, and to some extent, Cameroon, are the only countries to detail how such considerations will be taken into account in implementation.   
  • Nine of the ten countries analysed are either negotiating or implementing a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) with the EU. But DRC is the only country to refer to the gains achieved through its VPA negotiation. 
  • All countries but Cameroon and Thailand mention REDD+. However, often, these are general mentions and the link with the implementation of the national REDD+ strategy is not clearly articulated.


The revised NDC of Vietnam includes the objective of protecting, conserving and sustainably using forests and forest land to increase carbon sequestration and forest certification by Robin Kay
 

Considering deforestation drivers and trade-offs among sectors

Most deforestation drivers, such as agricultural expansion, mining or the collection of fuelwood, come from outside the forest sector. A number of revised NDCs address them:

  • Cameroon, Colombia, Ghana, Laos, Liberia and DRC mention efficient cookstoves or efficient charcoal/clean cooking technology. 
  • Liberia includes the goal to implement a net-zero deforestation mining policy by 2030. 
  • Many countries refer to climate-smart agriculture, increased productivity and agroforestry.

However, only Colombia, Liberia and DRC clearly draw links among sectors.

Other countries, such as Laos and Indonesia, present renewable energy targets that rely heavily on biomass or hydropower, which carry the risk of driving deforestation. These countries do not analyse the potential impact of these energy or agricultural targets on achieving their forest and land-use objectives.

The small number of countries that analyse the trade-offs across sectors of their NDC pledges illustrates that inter-ministerial coordination is still often lagging.

Liberia is one of the few countries that mentions the creation of an inter-ministerial task force on land-use planning to ensure coherence in NDC implementation. However, this task force does not include the energy and mining sector stakeholders, although mining and charcoal and biofuels production could have significant impacts on the forest emissions of this country. RoC also envisages the creation of an institutional mechanism to ensure inter-ministerial coordination. However, its articulation with the existing relevant coordination mechanisms in the country is unclear.
 

Revised NDCs as strategic planning documents

Overall, many of the revised NDCs analysed do not read like strategic documents integrating existing and planned national policies. For example, revised NDCs should draw linkages with the SDGs to ensure and assess the alignment and integration of climate-related policies and measures with development needs and strategies. The alignment of these two agendas, as well as with other relevant processes, such as national adaptation plans or FLEGT processes, is imperative to increase efficiency and maximise resources, technical capacity and expertise sharing. While more countries have drawn links with the SDGs in their revised NDCs, in many cases, such as in Liberia, Ghana or RoC, only general references to the SDGs are made, without specific information on how synergies and coordination will be ensured.
 

Paving the way to partnerships

Achieving the objective of the Paris Agreement will depend on countries’ ability to turn their climate plans into action and work towards more ambition. By enhancing the forest sector components of their NDCs, Colombia, DRC, Liberia and Laos have paved the way to achieving their mitigation and adaptation goals. They have also raised the profile of the forest sector to attract the required investments and support to implement nature-based solutions. The increased granularity and ambition contained in these NDCs can provide the basis for future partnerships with national and international stakeholders to design and implement effective agricultural, forest and land sector policies. More countries would do well to follow suit.


Alice Bisiaux

Legal expert

EU REDD Facility

 

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the EU REDD Facility, or other contributors to this site.