The Paris Agreement on climate change, signed by 195 governments in December 2015, commits countries to holding average global temperature change at less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and as close to 1.5 degrees as possible. Governments agreed to significantly cut global greenhouse gas emissions in order to achieve this target.
Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, forestry and other land uses make up around one quarter of all global emissions, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Halting deforestation and speeding up reforestation and afforestation are crucial if the world is to stay within the global temperature limit. The majority of deforestation today occurs in the developing world and current policies, law enforcement and finance flows are inadequate to reverse this trend. REDD+ initiatives can address this crucial gap by helping to unlock finance for forest conservation.
REDD+ initiatives are not yet implemented on a large scale for several reasons. One is a lack of systems to accumulate data. Another is capacity: many developing countries have gaps in systems to analyse and accurately report on emissions from agriculture, forest and other land uses. If countries seek to receive results-based finance, they must submit greenhouse gas inventories to the UNFCCC, requiring accurate measuring and reporting.
The Reporting for Results-based REDD+ project will assist countries to create the emissions inventories, build their skills to measure and report on forest- and land-based emissions in the long term and help set them up to receive results-based REDD+ payments.
The Reporting for Results-based REDD+ project principally supports technical specialists who are responsible for measuring their countries’ greenhouse gas emissions and carbon stocks in agriculture, forest and other land uses.
Many of these specialists work for government agencies: national governments are the bodies responsible for reporting this information to the United Nations Framework Conventions on Climate Change (UNFCCC). However, we recognise that to measure and report well on the climate impacts of land and forest use, it takes individuals and institutions from across the public and private sectors, as well as the cooperation of communities in forest countries.
For that reason, the project warmly invites the participation of civil society organisations, businesses, investors, local and subnational governments and line ministries, researchers and academics in its workshops and outreach activities. The governments responsible for REDD+ reporting welcome the broader involvement of these groups.
Likewise, the evidence on land- and forest-based emissions and carbon stocks that is produced and updated in the 21 project countries will be relevant to development organisations, local and subnational government planners, businesses, media and researchers. All these groups will benefit from understanding more about trends in forest and land use cover in their respective countries. They will also learn, from this project, about some of the drivers of these forest and land use trends.
The information, analysis, and opportunities for discussion provided by the Reporting for Results-based REDD+ project will provide a springboard for these stakeholders to understand how they can contribute to global climate goals, unlock REDD+ finance for their countries, share learning with other forest countries and work together for the benefit of local communities and their countries, as well as for global society.
Forest conservation and restoration is one of the most cost-effective measures available for mitigating climate change. It will be an important route for countries to meet their national commitments (Nationally Determined Contributions) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
As well as tackling the source of climate change, wise agricultural stewardship and restoration of forest and farming lands has the benefit of helping people adapt to climate change impacts, too. For example, a well-forested watershed can temper the effects of heavy rainfall and curb flooding and erosion, enhancing access to freshwater and improving livelihoods.