‘Groundbreaking’ workshop explores potential of forestry investments

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is currently looking into ways to channel investments into forestry projects as a way to help poorer nations with their climate commitments.

60 participants from developing and developed countries took part in a “ground-breaking” workshop in Bali last month. Together, they brainstormed how the GCF could capitalise on progress in developing countries to address climate change by protecting their forests.

Since the Paris Climate Agreement where both developed and developing countries agreed to reduce their emissions, there has been some uncertainty as to how less affluent countries will be able to achieve their low greenhouse gas emission benchmarks.

Many participants shared the view that workshop discussions not only helped open new GCF funding possibilities, but also helped to progress the realisation of REDD+.

REDD+ is a UN-moderated process which provides developing countries with financial payments for “achieving emissions reductions from deforestation and forest degradation and to conserve and enhance carbon sinks”.

Yolando Velasco, a climate finance and capacity building manager with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said: “The workshop was groundbreaking as it has provided clarity on issues in REDD+ finance that have not been explored before.”

Mr Velasco pointed to the key role REDD+ is now playing globally in the new landscape of climate cooperation under the Paris Agreement, both in terms of financing and more general advice.

The workshop explored how GCF can provide results-based REDD+ support to countries. Workshop leaders will summarise the results of the discussions to feed into the GCF’s current consideration of how it will use this approach to provide REDD+ support for countries who are all at different stages of preparation.

“I am now convinced that REDD+ is primed to assist the GCF in achieving a paradigm shift,” said Caroline Leclerc, director general for food security and environment at Global Affairs Canada, who is also a GCF Board member and a GCF REDD+ champion.

She explained that she entered the discussions with concern about the complexities of REDD+ that may have made progress difficult, but that she was impressed with the constructive attitude of participants.

Despite the generally positive response to the workshop, some worried that there was a lack of funding in the REDD+ scheme. Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu, who works in the Prime Minister’s office of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and who is also a GCF board member and GCF REDD+ champion, said: “A lack of funding certainty is a killer when it comes to REDD+.”

“If we don’t have certainty, how can we embark on a long-term endeavour such as REDD+, when there are other development areas demanding attention such as health, infrastructure and security?”

James Barrett, spokesman for GWD Canada, said global investment into the future of forests is essential to building a sustainable future for everyone. “Protecting forests isn’t only crucial for the eco-system and biodiversity of individual countries, but for the future of the world as a whole.”

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