Landscape approaches and planning

Integrated landscape approaches can play a key role in the reduction of deforestation by balancing trade-offs between agricultural productivity and the protection of forest ecosystems. UN-REDD contributes to advancing the state of knowledge on transformational change in landscapes and technical knowledge on spatial planning.

In 2019, UN-REDD led high-level discourse on transformational change in the forest and agriculture sector through events at the Global Landscapes Forum in Kyoto, Japan, the Global Landscapes Forum in Bonn, Germany, and during the Climate Action Summit 2019 through the high-level event on momentum for nature-based solutions to climate change. These events emphasized how inclusive landscape approaches can facilitate the transformational change that is needed at the intersection of agriculture and forestry. During the high-level United Nations leadership dialogue on Turning the tide on deforestation, at the twenty-fifth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Director-General of FAO highlighted solutions to deforestation. At the twenty-fifth session, the Programme organized discussions on the roles of different types of forests in natural landscapes, including mangroves, to tackle the climate emergency.

Transformational change in the forest and land-use sector implies that countries redefine planned development pathways to minimize forest loss and acknowledge the rights of forest-dependent people. During 2019, collaborative research analysed the triggers, drivers and barriers to transformational change of REDD+ in the context of a broader landscape, as well as ways of measuring such change. Three case studies are in development, to be finalized in 2020, that examine how UN-REDD partner countries that are engaging with the GCF conceptualize transformational change in the forest and land-use sector, and what they identify as triggers, drivers and barriers to change.

Increasingly, countries are using cross-sectoral land-use planning to reinforce linkages between agriculture and forests; for example, in Colombia, through South-South dialogue on diversified agroforestry systems, and in Chile, with restoration activities in the framework of the national programme, which boosted Government actions towards the restoration of additional areas. Without losing the focus on efforts to reduce deforestation and forest degradation as key actions in the fight to reduce emissions, these actions are strong steps in support of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

As spatial planning is a core tenet of many landscape approaches, UNREDD is also facilitating the uptake of knowledge and experience on its use for REDD+, building on earlier UN-REDD work. In Viet Nam, lessons from integrated land-use planning for provincial REDD+ action plans have informed the development of a project on deforestation free jurisdictions in Lam Dong and Dak Nong, and the development of a national REDD+ monitoring and evaluation framework. In Argentina, support has been provided to the National Directorate of Environmental Planning to map areas of environmental significance nationwide; discussions are ongoing on how to build on UN-REDD work on non-carbon benefits to achieve results-based payments for REDD+. In Côte d’Ivoire, plans are being made to bring REDD+ spatial planning lessons into the cocoa sector. A series of blogs on these topics were developed. Within the framework of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, these types of analyses can help countries to identify areas with potential for forest restoration to secure a range of additional benefits.

As well as work with policymakers, in order to demonstrate the value of spatial approaches UN-REDD has continued to support the technicians who are asked to undertake these analyses. New GIS tutorials were released in 2019 on: 1) mapping multiple benefits; 2) assessing the importance of forests for landslide mitigation and for reducing wind erosion; 3) and processing fire data to identify potential pressures on forests. These have been downloaded more than 40 times and have been catalytic for other initiatives, including the Development Corridors Partnership project in East Africa, and the Oil for Development project in Myanmar. A GIS newsletter was created to share experiences and news on spatial analyses in the context of REDD+; more than 80 GIS practitioners worldwide have already subscribed. A web story was published to highlight UNREDD support provided to more than 20 developing countries in the past 10 years to plan for and implement REDD+ to achieve additional benefits, from soil erosion control, to biodiversity conservation and support for livelihoods. An infographic showing indicative steps used to develop spatial analysis for REDD+ decision-making was developed.

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