The UN Development Program (UNDP) will assist African countries in implementing projects on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).
UNDP Kenya Deputy Country Director Fernando Edjang said on Thursday that African states will benefit from financial and technical support to scale up REDD projects and propel low-carbon development.
“Climate change has worsened human suffering in Africa and the international community will support reforestation projects to boost communities’ resilience,” Edjang said.
Loss of forest cover in Africa due to urbanization, population pressure and changing land use practices is to blame for rapid carbon emission. Multilateral agencies have channeled funds to governments and communities to help restore degraded forest ecosystems.
Edjang said that REDD projects have accelerated green growth while creating incomes for women and youth across Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The majority of the REDD projects funded under the UN-REDD program yielded results. Restoring a country’s forest cover has multiple benefits to the community and the national economy,” Edjang explained..
UNDP supports national governments to develop institutional and policy frameworks that would facilitate design and implementation of REDD projects. Edjang said that under-funding, incoherent policies and limited public awareness have undermined implementation of reforestation projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Countries must address governance hiccups that fuel deforestation and sensitize communities on the value of protecting their forest ecosystems,” Edjang said, adding that transparency and policy reforms are key to sustain climate financing in Africa.
The UNDP official said African countries should borrow best practices from Brazil and Indonesia to implement community-owned REDD projects.
Estelle Fasch, REDD Specialist at UNDP, emphasized that investments in reforestation will have positive impacts on the economy and ecosystems.
“African countries should assess key drivers of deforestation and initiate homegrown projects to reverse this phenomenon,” Fasch said, adding that establishment of a sound legal framework will enhance benefits sharing on REDD projects.