The world’s tropical forests are home to millions of human beings and more than half of the world’s known plant and animal species. They are also an enormous carbon sink.
Through its international Climate and Forest Initiative, the Norwegian government aims at supporting efforts to slow, halt and eventually reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+).
Destruction of forests threatens millions, many of whom are the planet’s most vulnerable people, those who depend on forests for their subsistence. It is also a key factor behind the current biodiversity crisis.
Deforestation and forest degradation cause huge emissions of greenhouse gases, accounting for approximately 17 percent of annual man-made carbon emissions.
In spite of these facts, deforestation continues at an alarming rate. According to estimates made by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 13 million hectares of forests were lost every year in the years 2000-2010.
The drivers of deforestation are many and vary among countries and regions, but there is one common denominator: it is currently more profitable, at least in the short term, to convert a forest to other uses than to leave it as a natural ecosystem. At the same time, we are becoming increasingly aware of the enormous value of natural ecosystems for our economy and welfare. Still, deforestation continues.
Since its inception in April 2008, the Climate and Forest Initiative has established a series of partnerships with key forest countries and contributed to significant advances in the development of a REDD+ mechanism under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
A REDD+ mechanism under the UNFCCC could change the economic logic in favor of the global climate and forests. Such a regime must provide results-based, predictable and adequate funding streams for reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.The Norwegian Climate and Forest Initiative has the following key objectives:
To contribute to the inclusion of “REDD+” – reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from forests in developing countries
To contribute to early actions for measurable emission reductions from deforestation and forest degradation
To promote the conservation of primary forests, due to their particular importance as carbon stores and for their biological diversity
As an overarching goal, all these efforts should promote sustainable development and the reduction of poverty.
REDD+ is not simply an issue of improved forest management, it is a fundamental development choice. The climate change mitigation potential of REDD+ will never be realized unless it offers a more attractive and viable development option than the destructive uses of the forests.To achieve its objectives, Norway is pursuing four main tracks:
Playing an active role in the international negotiations under the UNFCCC, seeking both to identify innovative solutions and to help create consensus around those solutions.
Entering into large-scale partnerships with key forest countries to demonstrate that real action on a national level is possible and to encourage large scale emission reductions even before a REDD+ mechanism is agreed upon under the UNFCCC.
Contributing to the design and establishment of an integrated architecture of multilateral REDD initiatives to help ensure broad and early progress on REDD+.
Financing NGOs, research institutes and civil society organizations to provide analyses, pilot projects and demonstrations supporting the REDD+ negotiations and learning through field experiences.