Looking Ahead


2020 is a pivotal year for nature and for people. The intersecting threats presented by the climate crisis and COVID-19 present a daunting challenge, as well as an unprecedented opportunity to chart a new societal course in which humankind truly cares for nature. Forest solutions are central to both climate and biodiversity, with a key role in accelerating action and ambition to address the climate crisis and improve rural livelihoods in the coming decade.

COVID-19 is impacting the scale and scope of key milestones throughout the “Super Year for Nature 2020”. The twenty-sixth session of the Conference of the Parties to UNFCCC has been postponed until 2021. As such, our structures and systems must be sufficiently flexible and agile to adapt to a rapidly changing global landscape. In this regard, efforts will be focused on tracking the impact of COVID-19 on key milestones and adjusting the objectives that have been set for 2020 accordingly. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has witnessed robust leadership and cooperation at unprecedented speed and scales. As we forge ahead, the global collective response to COVID-19 provides a powerful example of the kind of commitment and investment that is required for climate and forest solutions in the years ahead.

UN-REDD can leverage its unique advocacy role by pushing the forest agenda to the fore of global consciousness and by tabling evidence and experience that scaling up and accelerating action is possible thanks to a critical mass of partners who have the economic and political leverage to push through the key milestones to achieve the transformations that are needed.


As we turn to the new decade – a decade that is critical for consolidating the 2030 Agenda and addressing the climate crisis – the urgency of action to tackle deforestation remains high on the agenda of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who has called for scaling up action across the United Nations on turning the tide on deforestation. In response, UN-REDD, as the United Nations flagship programme on forests and climate, is committed to significantly elevating global ambition with the aim of helping countries and stakeholders to implement articles 5 and 6 of the Paris Agreement, including enhancing NDCs and their implementation, and mobilizing international finance for forest solutions to the climate crisis. Accordingly, UN-REDD intends to catalyse country delivery of forest solutions, which have the potential to provide around 20 per cent of the required global climate response, as well as to help countries to tap into novel climate finance and mobilize commensurate REDD+ result-based payments. In the next decade, UN-REDD will focus its efforts on supporting Governments, the private sector and other stakeholders to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance removals from forest and landuse sectors through three interrelated approaches: innovation, connection and action

The Programme will advance global innovation around REDD+ implementation and financing for forests by operating as a “spark hub”, fostering innovative partnerships to resolve global demand and supply challenges for REDD+. Learning and momentum for action will be accelerated by deploying the convening power of the United Nations system to create connections and bring together political leaders, the private sector and civil society around forest mitigation solutions. The Programme will also provide technical assistance and policy advice through a mix of tools and technologies, long-term commitments and targeted interventions, to catalyse forest action at the national and subnational scales. An agile Programme, adhering to the principles of flexibility, scale and speed of operations, will need to respond to highly complex challenges and changing opportunities. A renewed UN-REDD will benefit from a focused research and development phase prior to commencing implementation in 2021. Consequently, the Programme is investing in 2020 as an inception year for the new phase. Opportunities and demand at the country and global levels will be mapped and a multi-donor resource diversification and mobilization strategy will be integral to the 2020 inception year.


With the Secretary-General’s historic Climate Action Summit, 2019 marked a turning point whereby nature-based solutions are now recognized as legitimate and essential climate change mitigation measures, necessary to keeping global temperature rise below the Paris Agreement target of 2 degrees Celsius. It is now acknowledged that forests alone can provide a massive mitigation potential of over 5 GtCO2 eq per year by reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and large-scale carbon removal through sustainable forest management, conservation and restoration (REDD+). Further, REDD+ is now recognized as an effective climate mitigation strategy for NDCs to the Paris Agreement, which is especially important to increasing the ambition of developing countries’ climate commitments. Currently, mitigation measures contained in NDCs are inadequate to bridge the emissions gap to reach the Paris Agreement target by 2030. For a 2 degree Celsius limit to warming, the total emissions gap from current conditional NDCs is 13 GtCO2 eq by 2030; for a 1.5 degrees Celsius limit, the gap is 29 GtCO2 eq. Strongly increased forest action is therefore a critical measure to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, at scale, to close the emissions gap prior to 2030.

The year 2019 also marked the first year that country-led forest emissions reductions have been effectively recognized for financial rewards, within the framework of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, including REDD+ payments from the GCF. The Fund inaugurated its pilot REDD+ payments scheme with the approval of the first REDD+ results-based payments for Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Paraguay.

Novel carbon market mechanisms, suitable for forest solutions, in line with the provisions of article 6 of the Paris Agreement, were operationalized in 2019, including the adoption of the California Tropical Forest Standard and the development of the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART), with The REDD+ Environmental Excellency Standard (TREES). In view of these developments and opportunities for forest solutions, UN-REDD is adjusting its strategy to better serve countries, financiers and in-country stakeholders to participate effectively in these novel market mechanisms that will unfold during the early years of the new decade. As forest solutions gain political traction, coupled with a wider range of emerging financial mechanisms that recognize and incentivize them, UN-REDD becomes more valuable to, and valued by, countries trying to take action and navigate the evolving institutional, technical and financial landscape. By leveraging the knowledge and technical capacity that FAO, UNDP and UNEP have gained over a decade of “Delivering as one”, UNREDD can effectively help partner countries to reduce deforestation at scale and access financial rewards for the associated emissions reductions. As REDD+ transitions from its proof-of-concept stage, in which UN-REDD was an instrumental partner, to full-scale implementation and results-based financing, UNREDD is already formulating its strategy for the period 2021–2030, which will be presented to its governing bodies for adoption in 2020.

Bold action must be taken urgently to safeguard our forests and avert a climate disaster. We will only succeed by working together: reconnecting people and nature to implement the Paris Agreement effectively and secure a sustainable future for all. UN-REDD will continue operating in the vanguard of forest solutions, building on and sharing widely best practices, fostering innovation and replicating efforts at scale. Its strength lies in the complementary skills and experience of its three collaborating agencies working and delivering as “One United Nations”, deploying its team of technical experts and policy advisors on the ground across the world, offering the convening capacity of the United Nations that has underpinned the success of UNREDD since its inception.

Forest-based GHG emission reductions and enhanced removals, of increasing quality (accuracy, certainty and permanence), achieved at a level of 1 GtCO2 e per year Countries and jurisdictions implement REDD+ investment plans/programmes to deliver NDCs and to access international carbon financing
  • Financing arrangements for REDD+actions;
  • Forest tenure and indigenousrights;
  • Align and leverage REDD+finance for COVID-19 recovery;
  • Implementation arrangements for nested REDD+systems;
  • Integrate REDD+ into deforestation-driving sectors and their financingpartners;
  • Promote integrated land-use policy and planning.
Forest landscape restoration and low-carbon forest management accelerated
  • Scale up investments inforest landscape restoration;
  • Forest landscape restoration as local employment and incomesources;
  • National standards for sustainable and legal forest management.
Monitoring systems for high-quality and accurate emission data
  • Ensure accuracy, permanence,environmental integrity and overall quality of results;
  • Carbon accounting frameworks and policymaking;
  • Normative guidance and technical assistance.
Deforestation-free commodity supply chains developed
  • Reform and align fiscal incentives;
  • Integrated REDD+ in business analytics;
  • Redirect public and private capital;
  • Public-private partnerships;
  • Include deforestation-free standards in commodity platforms
Safeguards addressed and reported throughout REDD+ actions
  • Strengthen policies, procedures and institutional capacities;
  • Monitor and report on step-wise improvements;
  • Mainstream gender across REDD+ actions;
  • Integrate indigenous peoples’ rights.
USD 5 bn mobilised for REDD+ from resultsbased payment schemes, carbon markets and other transactions under Art. 6 of the Paris Agreemen RBP accessed for measured, reported and verified REDD+results
  • Assist in meeting eligibility requirements for, and access to RBPs from different sources;
  • Input to the design of new RBPs programmes;
  • Inclusive approaches to the equitable use of RBPs proceeds;
  • Virtuous circles of high-quality mitigation results and payments.
Market transactions for forest carbon facilitated
  • Support to meeting eligibility requirements for the ART-TREES, and for entry into emerging markets;
  • Carbon market readiness assessments;
  • Advise stakeholders on carbon rights and ER titles;
  • Provide evidence-based inputs to standardsetting initiatives.
Private-sector forest carbon investments mobilised
  • Advise private sector actors committed to invest in forest-based solutions;
  • Facilitate partnerships between countries and the private sector for investments/ offsets in forest solutions;
  • Convene dialogues between project developers, investors, and governments.
More than 15 countries enhance significantly the forest component of their NDCs in the 2020-2025 cycle, including quantitative targets NDCs mitigation actions in the forest and land-use sectors assessed, accelerated and enhanced through time
  • Enhance NDC forest-related scope and targets, linking to REDD+ policy and GHG data;
  • Scope financing and investment opportunities for the implementation of NDC´s forest components;
  • Synergies between REDD+ finance and the implementation of NDC forest components;
  • Stakeholder inclusion in NDC review and enhancement.
A global, transformative nature-based solutions movement accelerates climate action Knowledge on how to scale up REDD+ implementation to accelerate climate action
  • Produce knowledge and communication products;
  • Maintain an online repository and collaborative platform;
  • Convene south-south, global and regional webinars and events;
  • Service communities of technical practices.
    Collective political and societal support to nature-based solutions
  • Articulate forest solutions with COVID-19 recovery;
  • Connect, convene and assist global champions and leaders;
  • Include the knowledge of indigenous women, men, and youth in NBS;
  • Facilitate dialogues between companies and governments;
  • Support NBS networks;
  • Conduct public advocacy campaigns.
    Digital cooperation and frontier technologies for nature-based solutions
  • Promote frontier technologies and big data within the NBS movement;
  • Digital cooperation platforms;
  • Partnerships between NBS networks and technology leaders;
  • Technical solutions and tools for forest data;
  • Assist overcome barriers to digital cooperation and virtual engagement among marginalized groups.
UN-REDD will focus its efforts in the next decade through three inter-related approaches: INNOVATION
Advance global thinking around climate financing for forests by operating as a “spark hub”, fostering innovative policies, partnerships, and approaches to REDD+ mechanisms
Bring together policymakers, private sector and civil society around forest mitigation, resilience and adaptation solutions.
Provide technical assistance and policy advice through a mix of tools, technologies, long-term commit- ments and targeted interventions.
Greater speed in delivery will be based on mainstreaming a step- wise approach to delivery, a greater standarization of products that can be deployed more rapidly and a more fungible budget allocation model, whereby funds can be deployed based on emerging opportunities.

The Programme will build on the current decision-making structure, with possible adjustments to gain speed and flexibility in operations.

Work plans will place greater emphasis on attaining target outcomes (GtCO2 e results, REDD + payments, for example) rather than specific activities.
The Programme will regularly scan horizons for new opportunities for intervention in additional geographies and maintain the flexibility to shift staff and resources to those new areas without compromising results and impacts from existing commitments.

The new operational modality will focus on attaining the indicators of success with added flexibility, making work plans, country support and stakeholder engagement much more result-oriented.

UN-REDD will continue to engage in situations that require a com-mitted presence for an extended period, but will also retain enough flexbility to be a catalyst for shortterm opportunities.

The Programme will gain increased political traction at country level through the UN Resident Coordinator system.
UN-REDD will focus on forest-based solutions that are commensurate to the climate emergency. This means that technical assistance, innovation, policy advice and knowledge management will be planned and delivered in ways that are catalytic and yield impacts of scale.

UN-REDD would have a “core budget” to maintain the Programme´s institutional capacity and technical expertise, and a separate “operational budget” to finance activities and operations.

UN-REDD will establish inter- agency teams to deliver support services and respond to emerging opportunities. Different products or opportunities will require different team compositions.

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