Executive summary

This annual report presents the results of the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD) through 2019, building on and continuing a progressive series of policy, institutional and knowledge achievements in countries and across the world at the nexus between climate and forests since its launch in 2008.

As UN-REDD partner countries are making ever greater progress in preparing for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+), UN-REDD is increasingly focused on responding to country demand for technical assistance to implement REDD+ and access results-based payments for REDD+ and, ultimately, to realize commitments under the Paris Agreement. As of December 2019, UN-REDD had enabled its 65 partner countries across Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean to access knowledge and make significant progress towards adopting and implementing REDD+ actions.

In 2019, a key focus of the Programme remained assisting partner countries in their efforts to complete the four pillars of the Warsaw Framework for REDD+, a requirement for results-based payments. Adopted in 2013, the Framework outlines four areas of REDD+ readiness: national REDD+ strategies or action plans (NS/ APs), national forest monitoring systems (NFMS), forest reference emissions levels/forest reference levels (FREL/FRLs), and safeguards information systems (SIS).

Bangladesh, Honduras and Mongolia all finalized national REDD+ strategies or action plans in 2019, bringing to 28 the number of countries that have adopted, with UN-REDD support, strategic policy frameworks to institutionalize forest solutions to climate change. To date, UN-REDD has provided support to 45 countries in developing NFMS. In 2019, UN-REDD supported Viet Nam and Zambia to undertake testing and training with Open foris , facilitating satellite and ground data processing. Benefitting from UN-REDD knowledge materials, Argentina, Bangladesh, Nigeria and the Solomon Islands submitted their FRELs/FRLs to the UNFCCC secretariat in early 2019 while Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Kenya and Mexico finalized their FRELs/ FRLs for submission in early 2020. Seven countries made progress in the design and operation of their SIS at a national level in 2019. Argentina, Chile and Paraguay put their SIS online, thus facilitating access to information on how safeguards are being addressed and respected in those countries. In addition, Côte d’Ivoire and Zambia developed test versions of their SIS platforms and will make them available online in 2020. Colombia finalized the design of its SIS, and Myanmar moved forward in the design of its system.

Throughout the year, 14 partner countries received customized UN-REDD support through national programmes and technical assistance for REDD+ implementation. In addition to supporting seven national programmes, UN-REDD continued to deliver its multiannual 2018–2020 technical assistance to REDD+ implementation projects in nine countries and six knowledge management areas.

UN-REDD knowledge management support complements its country-level work and is critical to the achievement of the four pillars of the Warsaw Framework and the goal of REDD+ implementation. Below are some highlights of the Programme’s knowledge management work from 2019.

Most notably, UN-REDD generated, mobilized and offered knowledge to craft innovative funding arrangements in support of implementing REDD+ actions in five countries. Building on over a decade’s worth of knowledge, while supporting countries to put in place the required institutional, policy and financial arrangements for REDD+, in 2019 the Programme provided intensive support to Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Paraguay to access REDD+ results-based payments from the GCF. These first countries to receive such performance-based finance from the GCF, accessed a combined total of $230 million.

Further, UN-REDD financing and private sector work focused on building the business case for more sustainable ways to produce soft commodities, decoupling them from deforestation, as well as identifying the kinds of policies and measures that Governments can develop and embed in national REDD+ strategies. In 2019, UN-REDD contributed to a number of business cases at country level, including from Costa Rica to Viet Nam.

Argentina, Côte d’Ivoire and Viet Nam benefited from UN-REDD knowledge on landscape approaches and planning, applying spatial planning to REDD+ implementation within their national contexts. As countries look ahead to the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, those types of analyses can also help in the identification of areas with potential for forest restoration that can help secure a range of benefits. UN-REDD continued to be active in raising the profile of issues such as securing land tenure, mainstreaming indigenous rights and promoting social inclusion in REDD+ policy and actions in 2019. Highlights from 2019 include: collaboration with the UNFCCC secretariat to launch an inception process for the new Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform; the generation of global knowledge and provision of support to expert dialogues on forest governance, tenure and the rights of indigenous peoples as key to unlocking the full climate mitigation potential of REDD+; and the deployment of critical UN-REDD knowledge on forest tenure and the rights of indigenous peoples, and associated elements, in several countries.

UN-REDD also provided assistance to 14 countries to break down gender barriers and inequalities and integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment activities into nationally led REDD+ action. In many cases, this work involved moving from policy to practice, producing positive and tangible outcomes and impacts at the national and subnational levels.

UN-REDD furthered synergies and supported the inclusion and enhancement of forest and land-use action as part of nature-based solutions in NDCs and the broader 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a theme that has achieved notable traction following the Climate Action Summit.

The policy and institutional support that UN-REDD provided through its national programmes, technical advice and knowledge dissemination served countries to advance their sustainable development agendas, not only with respect to SDG 13 (climate action) and SDG 15 (life on land), but also across the spectrum of the SDGs.

This report is made possible through support from Denmark, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the European Union.