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Getting landscapes on a fast track to sustainability

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GLF Charter members pose onstage during the closing remarks of GLF Bonn 2018. Photo by Pilar Valbuena/GLF

The Global Landscapes Forum in Bonn, Germany, assembled 1,000 participants on-site on 1-2 December, and thousands more online, to go beyond pledges and commitments and spur collective action on securing a more sustainable future for life on this planet.

One of the main messages emerging from the event was that the time to change is now.

“The world needs decisive action,” said director general of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) Robert Nasi, in his closing remarks. “Research is important, but we now know enough to understand that there is a problem and that we need to solve it – enough to know what we have to do.”

Jochen Flasbarth, who is state secretary of the German Ministry for the Environment, shared Nasi’s sense of urgency: “Without a sustainable land use sector, let’s forget about meeting any of the global climate, biodiversity and sustainable development targets.”

Participants reiterated that business-as-usual will not get landscapes on the track of sustainability, or do it broadly and quickly enough to meet critical biodiversity, climate and development goals. What, then, will get us where we need to go? To answer this question, delegates from governments, academia, NGOs, the private sector and civil society devoted the better part of the two-day forum to presenting specific principles and practical strategies.

“To affect systemic change, we need action from the bottom-up, but also from the top down, so we can get rid of the many that perverse policies that are not in line with the Sustainable Development Goals,” pointed out Louise Luttikholt, director of IFOAM, which is one of 21 GLF Charter members that signed a commitment to the GLF mission at the event. Good governance, targeted policies, and adequate institutional and legal frameworks are essential, noted participants, but the public sector cannot power the sustainable landscape revolution alone.

For assistant secretary-general of UN Environment Satya S. Tripathi, there is no way around the fact that private finance and the private sector are going to play a key role in creating sustainable landscapes. “This is why we need to step out of our comfort zone and find ways to collaborate with private actors, even with those who are misbehaving, so we can get them on the right track,” he said.

The role of private finance was highlighted in an all-women finance plenary as well. We must accept that public investment has a role, said Jane Feehan from the European Investment Bank, but that the bulk of ‘green’ funding must come from private institutions and businesses.

Watch: Satya S. Tripathi at the Closing Plenary 2018

SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MODELS

Tapping into the potential of sustainable business models and changing consumer behavior are some of the key approaches championed by researchers, governments and international organizations alike. Several initiatives are now emerging to push responsible production and consumption forward, greening both supply chains and mindsets. 

“For example, what makes a jurisdiction an attractive destination for companies that want to source sustainable commodities?” queried Gita Syahrani, head of the Sustainable Districts Association secretariat in Indonesia. “We are working to define these enabling conditions so our districts can green their supply chains for commodities such as rubber and palm oil,” she said. As part of this effort, they are collaborating with the Dutch sustainable trade initiative IDH in the creation of the Verified Sourcing Mechanism (VSM).

IDH’s groundbreaking mechanism, which will launch for consultation in July 2019, aims to verify the sustainability of an entire production area – such as a state or a district — so auditing each producer or commodity individually is no longer necessary. “Verified sourcing areas can drive progress because they provide a business model for sustainability that everybody can join,” said Willem Klaassens, IDH senior commodity trade specialist.

The same principle should underpin the restoration of forest landscapes, according to delegates from organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), CIFOR and the International Tropical Timber Association (ITTO). “Integrating forest landscape restoration with sustainable wood value chains can lead to greater overall benefits, including increased ecosystem services, forest products and employment opportunities,” said assistant director-general of FAO’s Forestry Department Hiroto Mitsugi.

Watch: Robert Nasi at the Closing Plenary GLF Bonn 2018

MAKING NATURAL CAPITAL COUNT

Nasi from CIFOR noted that the cost of inaction is much higher than the cost of investing – financially, and through other action – in landscape sustainability. “The world is losing an estimated USD 6.3 trillion to land degradation every year; yet, meeting the goal of restoring 300 million hectares of land by 2030 could have a return of USD 7 to 20 for each dollar invested.”

In a recent study, the World Bank tracked the wealth of countries taking into account built, human and natural capital. What they found is that natural capital accounts for an average of 9 percent of wealth globally, but up to 47 percent in low-income countries.

“This means that more efficient management of land resources is key to the sustainable development of countries,” said Karin Kemper, senior director for the Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice at the World Bank. To understand how countries become wealthier in a sustainable way, we need to go beyond their gross domestic product and take into account their natural capital.”

Better integrating landscape interventions into national economic development plans can make strides in changing consumers’ behavior; increasing the transparency of supply chains; and equipping producers to develop projects that are investment-ready and financially attractive.

Then there is the cross-cutting issue of rights, and “particularly, those of local communities and indigenous people, whose territories host 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity,” said co-convenor of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group for Sustainable Development Joan Carling.

In the face of a growing global population and climate change, implementing these and other strategies cannot wait, believes Stefan Schmitz, deputy director-general and commissioner for the One World – No Hunger initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).”We need to empower people to achieve sustainable food systems, bearing in mind they live in spaces, not in sectors. We need to shift from thinking in sectors to thinking in landscapes.”

FROM INDIVIDUAL TO SYSTEMIC CHANGE

The GLF convened large organizations, but also shone light on individuals, young and old, who have braved disbelief and put their lives on the line to reclaim healthy landscapes around the world. Right Livelihood Award laureates Yacouba Sawadogo and Tony Rinaudo are two of them.

Sawadogo, known as ‘the man who stopped the desert,’ has devoted his life to restoring land fertility in his native Burkina Faso, inspiring many other farmers in this and other countries to do the same. “I gave up everything, all my time and belongings, to dedicate myself to the land. At 72, I only own a donkey and a cart. My one wealth is the forest I planted,” he said in the opening plenary.

Rinaudo, who is natural resources management specialist at World Vision, has been championing a restoration technique known as farmer-managed natural regeneration (FMNR). After working for decades with countries such as Niger, he came to a realization: “The first step to re-greening landscapes is re-greening mindscapes.”

The path may be long, but the thousands of organizations and individuals who participated in the GLF are already on their way.

By Gloria Pallares, originally published at GLF’s Landscape News.

For more on GLF Bonn 2018, read Landscape News’ highlights from Day 1 and Day 2.

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  • New study finds little private finance in REDD+ efforts, suggests blended finance as way forward

New study finds little private finance in REDD+ efforts, suggests blended finance as way forward

Products dry in the sun in Jambi, Indonesia, as part of a REDD+ safeguards and benefit sharing project. Photo by I. Cooke Vieira/CIFOR
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People and produce are transported in the port of Huicungo, Peru. Photo by M. del Aguila Guerrero/CIFOR

The average annual financing for REDD+ of US$323 million might sound like a lot on its own, but compared to the US$41 billion spent on agricultural subsidies and biofuel, it is just a drop in the bucket.

This is one of many findings elucidated in a forthcoming study on funding for reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+).

The study was led by the international consulting group COWI, along with the Öko-Institut and scientists from the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry’s (FTA) lead center, the Center for the International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

The team studied REDD+ funding from 2008 to 2015 to see where it went and how it was spent. A preview was given at Does money go to trees?: Assessing finance flows to maximize the impact of REDD+, an official side event at the recent Bonn Climate Change Conference.

FOLLOW THE MONEY

CIFOR team leader Christopher Martius, who is the leader of FTA’s research theme on climate change adaptation and mitigation, presented some of the study’s findings, starting with the fact that there are two types of funding related to REDD+: indirect funding, which is dedicated to deforestation efforts at large; and direct funding, which goes solely to REDD+ efforts.

The study found that donors commit and disperse much more indirect than direct funding, as the former covers a wider set of issues and tools. Indirect funding also came from a diverse mix of sources – grants, official flows, loans and equity investments – while 99% of direct funding came from official development assistant (ODA) grants. Viewed as aid rather than profit-producing investment, these grants do not make REDD+ attractive from the business world’s point of view.

REDD+ projects go through three stages: readiness, implementation and payment for results. Funding is still needed for the first two stages to get to the third.

“Support for readiness is going down,” said Martius. “People want to go to payments. But we are not there yet.”

Many developing countries with high emissions reduction potential but low capacity not only rely on funding for readiness and implementation, but also need support that is tailored to their needs, and that balances effectiveness and equity.

What’s more, funding is not everything. It also requires functional systems in place to ensure proper governance, accountability and transparency.

The study found it difficult to determine how much private finance REDD+ efforts receive. Despite growing private sector responsibility and recent commitments to reduce deforestation and improve transparency, the scale and flow types are still opaque.

Martius, however, said that fixating on fund flows and their size alone can distract from looking instead for larger ‘triggers for transformational change’. He instead stressed the importance of mainstreaming climate objectives across financial sectors.

“We need to integrate participation, development and climate objectives for conflict-free, lasting results,” he said.

Read more: Unlocking private finance for climate and sustainable development

Products dry in the sun in Jambi, Indonesia, as part of a REDD+ safeguards and benefit sharing project. Photo by I. Cooke Vieira/CIFOR

IN THE BLEND

Rather than relying on funds from single revenue streams, countries can – and should, the scientists said – look to diversify their capital sources, in what is known as blended finance.

Peter Minang, a principal scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the leader of FTA’s research theme on landscape dynamics, spoke about how this has manifested in Cameroon. In a performance-based payment experiment where donors are funding community forest enterprises, data is showing positive results for emissions reductions and other benefits such as job creation and capacity building.

However, legal compliance costs such as environmental impact assessments added up, costing thousands of dollars – a large toll for small enterprises to pay.

Minang said that it can often take five years for investors to see returns, and this affects how – and what – they decide to finance. “It is possible to get to Phase 3 [results-based payments], but REDD+ finance flows are insufficient, so it has to be blended.”

Teferu Mengistu, National Forest Sector Development Program Coordinator in the Ethiopian Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, agreed, saying that Ethiopia receives most of its funding from bilateral pledges and commitments.

“Ethiopia is going through phase two [implementation] in the REDD+ process, but there is still a gap between demand and supply for REDD+ finance,” he said.

Read more: Collecting gender-disaggregated data, and what to do with it 

A CONTINENT BEHIND

Asger Strange Olesen, the Global Topic Lead on Land Use and the Bioeconomy at COWI, concluded the session by returning to the research’s analysis of how much funding different global regions received from 2008 to 2015. Africa, he found, received less funding overall – and specifically in key areas, such as drivers and risks; Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) capacity; and forest governance – than the Americas, Asia or Oceania. Governance and safeguards were among the only areas reasonably well-financed.

“Decision-makers see REDD+ as one tool out of many,” Olesen said. “Deforestation is probably one of the hardest problems to tackle in a consumer-based democracy.”

On the ground in Africa, the Network of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities for Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystems of Central Africa (REPALEAC) champions a traditional approach to forest management, representing 230 organizations in eight countries.

“Elders have the knowledge, but now they are translating it to the younger generation,” said the organization’s spokesperson, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim.

This has attracted US$750,000 from the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility capacity-building program, but three of the REPALEAC’s countries – Chad, Burundi and Rwanda – are not FCPC members and therefore remain uncovered. This could become a large problem, so REPALEAC is working to have these countries included in the program.

“We need equity for global impact and protection of the indigenous peoples and local communities of our subregions,” she said.

Ibrahim’s point – and one that underpinned the event as a whole – was that REDD+ not only needs more funding, but also proper processes and procedures to ensure money arrives where it’s supposed to, and supports sufficient participation and equity among local stakeholders.

“There is much to work on, before we will see more green results with REDD+ money,” summarized Martius after the event concluded.

By Christi Hang, originally published at CIFOR’s Forests News

For more information on this topic, please contact Christopher Martius at [email protected].


The forthcoming research mentioned in this article is part of CIFOR’s Global Comparative Study on REDD+

This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

This research was supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the European Union (EU), the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), and COWI.

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  • FTA scientists feature in innovative series of talks on landscapes

FTA scientists feature in innovative series of talks on landscapes

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Landscapes Talks, which piqued the interest of audiences at the recent Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) in Bonn, Germany, aim to be a “space for leading academics and scientists to provide short talks on current landscape activities”, according to the GLF concept note.

CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) scientists appeared multiple times during the series of engaging talks, making for some powerful statements and diverse insights into the program’s research.

Read more: What is FTA?

The first day of the event saw Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) principal scientist Terry Sunderland present on Integrated landscapes approaches: From theory to practice. In his talk, Sunderland highlighted key elements of the landscape approach, how it builds on previous initiatives and how to move from theory to practice.

Later in the day, CIFOR Senior Scientist Daniel Murdiyarso presented Why care about peatlands? discussing the development of the Global Wetlands Map, its use, and the need for verification. Using an Indonesian case study, he demonstrated how to locate degraded peatland, and proposed criteria for successful restoration by rewetting degraded peatland.

On the second day of the GLF, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Director General Tony Simons gave a presentation titled Planet for sale, in which he discussed restoration opportunities around the world and how agroforestry can help to restore productivity and function.

Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD) scientist Bruno Locatelli also gave a thought-provoking talk called Adopting a new perspective on landscapes and water, using rubber boots and a rain jacket as props to clearly communicate new research results on forest, water and energy interactions that provide the foundations for cooling terrestrial surfaces and for distributing water resources.

Aside from the Landscapes Talks, FTA organized a Discussion Forum along with the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) titled ‘Rainfall Recycling’ as a Landscape Function: Connecting SDGs 6, 13 and 15, as well as participating in Enhancing tenure security and gender equality in the context of forest landscape restoration and Agroforestry’s role in landscape restoration: Connecting SDGs 15, 13, 1 and 3.

FTA was present at the GLF’s Restoration Pavilion and Inclusive Landscapes Finance Pavilion, at which Tropenbos International, FTA and other partners organized a well-attended panel titled Inclusive Finance and Business Models – Actions for Upscaling, contributing to the wide range of insights and knowledge shared throughout the two-day GLF.

Read more: FTA at Global Landscapes Forum Bonn


This work forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

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  • Forest restoration needs to become climate-smart

Forest restoration needs to become climate-smart

A native tree nursery promotes restoration in Colombia. Photo by C. Alcazar Caisedo/Bioversity International
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A gaharu tree nursery in the Hutan Harapan forest, Indonesia. Photo by R. Jalonen/Bioversity International

As the world leaders gather in Bonn for the UN climate summit, a new study shows that forest restoration needs a mindset change to reach its potential in mitigating climate change.

All forest and landscape restoration projects require access to land and seed. International agreements and guidelines now broadly recognize the need to consider both the biophysical and political dimensions of land during restoration planning, from erosion control to tenure issues.

By contrast, the quality, availability of, and access to tree seed has received little attention in high-level policy and planning. And yet, restoring just a million hectares of degraded forest land – a fraction of recent unprecedented global restoration commitments – can easily require a billion seedlings.

What these seedlings are, where they come from, how they are selected, produced and delivered and by whom, are neither trivial nor merely technical issues for forest and landscape restoration to be effective and provide expected benefits, including for climate.

A new study that surveyed restoration projects from more than 50 countries shows that most projects struggle in selecting and accessing suitable tree seed for meeting their objectives. For example, half of the projects did not have any seed selection criteria to ensure that seed is viable and adequately diverse – and yet, four of five projects often could not find what they were looking for in seed markets.

Lack of genetic diversity or unsuitable origin of seed has profound impacts on restoration success, reducing seedling growth and survival, productivity, resistance to pests and diseases, and capacity to adapt to environmental change. Survey respondents described the practical implications for their projects: 47% of them had often experienced higher costs, 41% delays and 35% ended up restoring the same site again because of problems with planting material. Carbon credits quickly pick up cost.

Read more: FTA at COP23 

A native tree nursery promotes restoration in Colombia. Photo by C. Alcazar Caisedo/Bioversity International

Alarmingly, the projects that specifically aim at mitigating climate change are often the ones giving least attention to what they plant, and, therefore, at highest risk of failure.

Additional bad news for mitigation targets is that restoration practitioners often strongly prefer ‘local’ seed, typically sourced from within a few kilometers from the restoration site. They commonly assume that such seed sources are best adapted to the site conditions – a view that has little support from research, especially in light of changing climate.

Moreover, in target landscapes for restoration, remaining forests are often degraded and likely producing inbred seed with poor growth and survival. It would be prudent to expand the area within which seed is sourced, emphasizing the genetic viability of seed sources rather than arbitrary cut-off distances from the restoration site.

What can countries do to reduce the rates of failure and help make forest and landscape restoration climate-smart?

“Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes: trees typically take several years, in some cases up to decades, to start to produce seed”, says Riina Jalonen, the study’s lead author and Associate Scientist at Bioversity International. “Therefore, seed supply for tomorrow’s restoration needs really has to be planned today”.

“Countries should initiate national assessments of seed supply and demand for meeting restoration targets as a priority. If seed needs are assessed only at project level, the gaps in supply continue to go unnoticed and can’t be dealt with effectively,” Jalonen says.

Currently, growing restoration pledges worldwide are not accompanied by growing commitments to developing and protecting seed sources. That spells increasing trouble for restoration practitioners in the years ahead. Can we change the tide?

Read more: Gender Research Fellowship’s second round kicks off in Kenya

Originally published on the website of Bioversity International


This research is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry and is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

  • Home
  • Forest restoration needs to become climate-smart

Forest restoration needs to become climate-smart

A native tree nursery promotes restoration in Colombia. Photo by C. Alcazar Caisedo/Bioversity International
Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

A gaharu tree nursery in the Hutan Harapan forest, Indonesia. Photo by R. Jalonen/Bioversity International

As the world leaders gather in Bonn for the UN climate summit, a new study shows that forest restoration needs a mindset change to reach its potential in mitigating climate change.

All forest and landscape restoration projects require access to land and seed. International agreements and guidelines now broadly recognize the need to consider both the biophysical and political dimensions of land during restoration planning, from erosion control to tenure issues.

By contrast, the quality, availability of, and access to tree seed has received little attention in high-level policy and planning. And yet, restoring just a million hectares of degraded forest land – a fraction of recent unprecedented global restoration commitments – can easily require a billion seedlings.

What these seedlings are, where they come from, how they are selected, produced and delivered and by whom, are neither trivial nor merely technical issues for forest and landscape restoration to be effective and provide expected benefits, including for climate.

A new study that surveyed restoration projects from more than 50 countries shows that most projects struggle in selecting and accessing suitable tree seed for meeting their objectives. For example, half of the projects did not have any seed selection criteria to ensure that seed is viable and adequately diverse – and yet, four of five projects often could not find what they were looking for in seed markets.

Lack of genetic diversity or unsuitable origin of seed has profound impacts on restoration success, reducing seedling growth and survival, productivity, resistance to pests and diseases, and capacity to adapt to environmental change. Survey respondents described the practical implications for their projects: 47% of them had often experienced higher costs, 41% delays and 35% ended up restoring the same site again because of problems with planting material. Carbon credits quickly pick up cost.

Read more: FTA at COP23 

A native tree nursery promotes restoration in Colombia. Photo by C. Alcazar Caisedo/Bioversity International

Alarmingly, the projects that specifically aim at mitigating climate change are often the ones giving least attention to what they plant, and, therefore, at highest risk of failure.

Additional bad news for mitigation targets is that restoration practitioners often strongly prefer ‘local’ seed, typically sourced from within a few kilometers from the restoration site. They commonly assume that such seed sources are best adapted to the site conditions – a view that has little support from research, especially in light of changing climate.

Moreover, in target landscapes for restoration, remaining forests are often degraded and likely producing inbred seed with poor growth and survival. It would be prudent to expand the area within which seed is sourced, emphasizing the genetic viability of seed sources rather than arbitrary cut-off distances from the restoration site.

What can countries do to reduce the rates of failure and help make forest and landscape restoration climate-smart?

“Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes: trees typically take several years, in some cases up to decades, to start to produce seed”, says Riina Jalonen, the study’s lead author and Associate Scientist at Bioversity International. “Therefore, seed supply for tomorrow’s restoration needs really has to be planned today”.

“Countries should initiate national assessments of seed supply and demand for meeting restoration targets as a priority. If seed needs are assessed only at project level, the gaps in supply continue to go unnoticed and can’t be dealt with effectively,” Jalonen says.

Currently, growing restoration pledges worldwide are not accompanied by growing commitments to developing and protecting seed sources. That spells increasing trouble for restoration practitioners in the years ahead. Can we change the tide?

Read more: Gender Research Fellowship’s second round kicks off in Kenya

Originally published on the website of Bioversity International


This research is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry and is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

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  • What's causing the holdup in REDD+ results-based finance?

What’s causing the holdup in REDD+ results-based finance?

Log driving is seen in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo by Achmad Ibrahim/CIFOR
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An aerial view of the Amazon rainforest is seen near Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, Brazil. Photo by Neil Palmer/CIAT for CIFOR

The fourth voluntary meeting of focal points for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) was held this past May in Bonn, Germany. These informal meetings are part of a four-year process instated under the Warsaw Framework on REDD+.

The first part of the meeting (and the focus of this article) relates to the current status of the two major financing processes related to REDD+, namely the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF).

The country that will hold the COP23 Presidency, Fiji, opened the meeting. Its delegates emphasized the importance of land use efforts as essential climate change actions, and the fact that more than 100 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) mention REDD+.

Yet representatives pointed out that REDD+ progress is now facing technical, implementation and financial challenges. The Fijian delegation emphasized the need to enhance non-carbon benefits and mentioned that they are looking forward to supporting the growth of REDD+ as the incoming presidency.

RESULTS-BASED PAYMENTS

The nominated GCF Board Member and REDD+ champion Tosi Mpanu Mpanu of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) gave the first presentation of the meeting during which he outlined the work done on operationalizing results-based payments (RBPs) — including a consultation and submissions process.

A technical expert workshop on this subject was held in Bali, Indonesia, this past April and was attended by representatives of civil society, indigenous peoples, countries and other REDD+ experts.

It is expected that the GCF Request for Payments (RFP) will be put before the board at its 17th meeting this July. However, it was mentioned by Mpanu Mpanu that the ultimate outcome on RBPs may occur across two board meetings. It was announced in Bonn that the summary of the Expert Meeting in Bali was currently with the GCF Board co-chairs and should be released soon.

Read more: Can REDD+ help Brazil roll back rising deforestation rates?

Log driving is seen in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo by Achmad Ibrahim/CIFOR

The GCF Secretariat then took the floor and went into more substance related to the RFP to be presented to the board. It stated that countries will need to ensure that all requirements under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are met; that access to RBPs will be made via accredited entities; that proposals will need to be endorsed by the country-level National Designated Authority; and that once assessed through an internal due diligence process, a decision will be made by the GCF Board.

The GCF Secretariat announced during the meeting that the task now is to identify where there are areas of convergence and divergence. As a next step, the board will need to decide on a ‘scorecard’, as well as what it will look like and what will be included in it.

It would be fair to estimate that the GCF decisions will be made by late 2017, or early 2018. The RFP will probably be issued in early 2018, with concept notes and ‘scoring’ done by mid-to-late 2018.

Full proposals should be made to the GCF sometime during late 2018 or early 2019, with a board decision taken during mid- to late-2019, and agreements and contracts negotiated with countries finalized in late 2019 or in 2020. GCF results-based payments are unlikely to be received by countries in this first round until closer to 2020.

FOREST CARBON PARTNERSHIP FACILITY (FCPF)

The World Bank then presented their Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and its own results-based payments model. The bank representative made the point that countries have been spending much time on readiness, but are now beginning to put more emphasis on implementation at scale and on the ground.

The bank is also hoping to commence the signing of agreements with countries during 2017, and pointed out that there is difficulty in engagement of the private sector. The World Bank pointed out that there are emerging partnerships in its work with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the GCF.

When the floor was opened up to participants, the first intervention was made by a representative from the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) Caucus asking that the GCF ensure inclusion of tenure, Non Carbon Benefits (NCBs) and safeguards in the RBP Policy, as well as clarification on the process from here.

A CIFOR REDD+ Safeguards and Benefit Sharing Project site is pictured in Jambi, Indonesia. Photo by Icaro Cooke Vieira/CIFOR

Thailand then asked the GCF to explain how long the process to make results-based payments would take, and what the strategy is to ensure there is adequate funding for all countries. The GCF Board member replied by informing that not all countries are ready to receive results-based payments and this upcoming RFP would be the first, but not the last.

He assured countries that the funds would be available in subsequent calls for proposals and urged countries not to rush through the technical assessments and to take their time and come to the GCF for results-based payments when they have all the requirements in place and are ready.

Indigenous Peoples asked the World Bank how it is aligning its FCPF with the UNFCCC REDD+ process, including the Cancun Safeguards. The World Bank responded by saying that the FCPF and the UNFCCC operate in a parallel space, and in some ways, the World Bank is ahead of discussions in the UNFCCC. The representatives accepted that there might however, be some areas that they need to look at more closely, without providing any specifics.

Read more: FTA project update: Understanding REDD+ across the globe

Brazil then asked the World Bank the nature and objective of the collaboration with ICAO. The World Bank answered that ICAO approached them to provide an update on their discussions. The FCPF is further discussing the matter at the upcoming meetings and made the effort to clarify that this exchange has been ‘only’ information sharing up until now.

No representative from ICAO was present at the meeting. A representative of Papua New Guinea (PNG) in a later presentation expressed some concern that the ICAO methodologies may differ to those of the UNFCCC and expressed a preference to the UNFCCC methodologies, urging those to watch the ICAO negotiations carefully.

The PNG representative also expressed disappointment that ICAO was not present and urged their engagement in future meetings. The Nature Conservancy in their presentation expressed a view that ICAO may have a very significant demand for REDD+ offsets.

Brazil also asked the World Bank as to when payments would be made from the Carbon Fund. The World Bank informed the room that only signatures are expected this year, and there will need to be a process of verification and that payments would take another one to two years.

FUNDING STREAMS

Indonesia then asked the World Bank how the FCFP would contribute to countries’ NDCs. The World Bank informed the Indonesian delegate that it had left the door open to discuss NDCs further with countries and that there are currently 19 countries who have signed a letter of intent, several of whom have raised this issue.

Thailand asked the World Bank whether there are sufficient funds in the FCPF to support all 54 countries that are currently in the readiness program. The World Bank confirmed that the readiness fund will close in 2020, and that there is not enough funding to go towards all the readiness of all countries, which is a matter that needs to be addressed.

DRC expressed concern at the slow rate of readiness finance and expressed the need to bring together the fragmented funding streams. The World Bank responded to this point by raising the complexities of bringing the funding streams together, but expressed interest in hearing from countries as to how their lives could be made easier.

REDD+ has been negotiated at the UNFCCC since around 2005, with the Warsaw Framework finally completed in 2015. Since that time, many countries have undertaken a major effort to implement new policies, meet donor requirements and jump the hurdles being put in front of them.

There may be a light emerging at the end of this long tunnel, but a number of issues are yet to be finalized in these finance-related processes. Clarity is, however, emerging that results-based finance and payments from the FCPF and the GCF are not likely to be seen until at least 2019 or 2020.

By Stephen Leonard, originally published at CIFOR’s Forests News

For more information on this topic, please contact Stephen Leonard at [email protected].


This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.


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