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  • What roles do sub-national governments play in Nationally Determined Contributions? Between rhetoric and practice in REDD+ countries

What roles do sub-national governments play in Nationally Determined Contributions? Between rhetoric and practice in REDD+ countries

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

  • Research and practice place much emphasis on the transformative role that sub-national governments (SNGs) may play in climate change action.
  • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are not blueprints for implementation, but they offer some insight into potential priorities. Currently, the role of SNGs in most is limited: of 60 “REDD+ countries”, only 14 explicitly mention a role for SNGs in mitigation, and only 4 of these give SNGs a decision-making role.
  • This failure to assign more precise roles to SNGs may prove to be short-sighted as climate change is a global problem, but solutions such as REDD+ need to be implemented locally and jurisdictionally, and thus require local input.
  • The factors that will affect the realization of the roles assigned to SNGs in NDCs include: political will toward decentralization; the funds required by Parties to achieve their targets; the capacities of SNGs; and the need to align sub-national with national development priorities.
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  • Welcome to the Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit 2018

Welcome to the Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit 2018

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The 2018 Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit (APRS) took place in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, from April 23 to 25. APRS provides the opportunity for countries across Asia-Pacific to showcase their work on forest conservation and demonstrate their progress on implementation of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) were the 2018 APRS science and engagement partners, backstopping the summit from the science side. The host country partner for APRS 2018 was the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, and the coordinating partner was the Australian Government’s Department of the Environment and Energy.

Read more: FTA at the Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit 

Originally published by CIFOR. 

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  • Small flame but no fire: Wood fuel in the (Intended) Nationally Determined Contributions of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa

Small flame but no fire: Wood fuel in the (Intended) Nationally Determined Contributions of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Woodfuel is extremely important for energy security in Africa. About eighty percent of both rural and urban populations in the 49 countries that comprise South-Saharan (SSA) Africa rely on wood-based biomass to satisfy their energy needs, especially for cooking. Under the Paris Agreement for Climate Change, countries have submitted their ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ (INDCs) to the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC), to define their national ambitions. After Paris, these have now become legally binding NDCs. Therefore, the role that woodfuel plays in the NDCs of SSA countries needs to be assessed.

We reviewed and assessed INDC/NDCs of a selection of SSA countries to identify how they focus on wood fuel. This paper provides a first analysis of the role that wood fuels play in the NDCs. Only five of the 22 countries analyzed do not mention wood fuels at all. While all of those that do mention roadmaps, only just over half of them offer budgetary considerations, and about half of them identify institutional responsibilities for the woodfuel sector. In many NDCs, woodfuel is seen as a backwater technology, and not the renewable energy source it could be come if sustainably harvested and managed. We find that, overall, next iterations of the NDCs in SSA countries need to become more specific regarding the role of woodfuels in national climate and development policies.

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  • How Agroforestry Propels Achievement of Nationally Determined Contributions

How Agroforestry Propels Achievement of Nationally Determined Contributions

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) have emerged as the main tool for defining, communicating and potentially reporting party contributions to the Paris Agreement on climate change. Agroforestry has been identified as a key part of most developing country NDCs, hence it is a potentially important contributor to global climate objectives. This policy brief seeks to explore the degree to which agroforestry is represented in current NDC ambitions, how its application is envisaged and how its contribution could be enhanced.

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  • Attention to detail is necessary for zero deforestation intentions to succeed, say scientists

Attention to detail is necessary for zero deforestation intentions to succeed, say scientists

An alder tea mixed agroforestry site is seen in Asia. Photo by ICRAF
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Slash-and-burn land clearing of old rubber agroforest and similar practices can continue under ‘deforestation-free’ claims. Photo by Meine van Noordwijk/ICRAF

With the realization that climate change is real, consumers are demanding products that come from responsible manufacturing processes. But do market branding terms such as zero deforestation, deforestation free, carbon neutral, climate smart have any meaning? 

A new book by the European Tropical Forest Network investigates if deforestation-free claims are genuine or simply designed to influence purchase decisions.

Consumers worldwide are becoming aware of how manufacturing processes contribute to deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions, and in the long term lead to climate change. With this knowledge, they are demanding products that come from responsible value chains, right from the point of the production and extraction of raw materials to delivery at retail points.

Manufacturers have responded to this call by consumers by using labels such as zero deforestation, deforestation free, carbon neutral, climate smart and a host of other terminologies.

Methods used by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to account for emissions focus on the supply side, based on country land area and production systems and nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

However, a new study suggests that by using demand-side accounting, looking at human population and per capita emissions based on lifestyle, individually determined contributions to climate mitigation can complement nationally determined contributions.

“Labelling products as ‘deforestation-free’ as an attempt to satisfy consumers’ demand only takes into consideration one side of the production chain without consideration for the connection with other drivers of deforestation,” said FTA researcher Dr. Meine van Noordwijk, a scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre and lead author of an introductory paper.

An alder tea mixed agroforestry site is seen in Asia. Photo by ICRAF

Making the connection between deforestation and the economy

The study explored this connection from seven perspectives:

  • When, how and why zero deforestation claims arise in global trade
  • How forest definitions relate to zero deforestation claims
  • The degree of variation in ‘footprints’ of equivalent products
  • Tracking products that go through multiple market transactions as opposed to easy-to-follow vertically integrated value chains
  • Interaction of all participants in totality in a value chain without isolation of those that are responsible producers
  • Personal consumer decisions in relation to lifestyle choices, dietary changes and waste reduction that may have a bigger effect than simply choosing products with smaller carbon footprints
  • How improved productivity and value chains can contribute to green economies

Read the full paper: Zero deforestation: A commitment to change

Conclusion

The study concludes that forms of certification that influence consumer choice need public scrutiny as use of the term ‘forest’ in the context of defining the responsible production is often unclear. Second, is that the accepted cut-off date for historical forest conversion is an essential detail for any forest-protecting claims. Third, as deforestation is a stepwise and permanent process, the chain of custody process should apply to geographical areas, not just products. Fourth, blanket certification covering products from a large landscape or jurisdiction will carry more weight rather than a product-by-product certification, especially if they demonstrate sustainable forest management. Fifth, individual efforts can go a long way in global forest protection particularly where they complement national commitments and goals. Finally, the extraction of primary agricultural products with low value addition and little on-site processing will continue to pose a risk to remaining forests.

“Green growth strategies that integrate land use plans, good agricultural practices and improved value chains, can promote a landscape approach through public-private partnerships that achieve equitable economic growth while conserving forests and maintaining healthy ecosystems,” added Dr. Sonya Dewi, the World Agroforestry Centre’s country coordinator for Indonesia and co-author of the study.

It may be too early to state what part of current zero deforestation claims are substantiated by changes on the ground in production areas, and what is perceived to be shifting blame with no net beneficial effect.

“Ultimately, positive impacts may arise from a complementarity relationship between individually and nationally determined contributions. Zero deforestation intentions are laudable, but attention to detail is needed to make it real,” concluded van Noordwijk.

Van Noordwijk, M., Dewi, S., Minang, P.A., Simons, A.J., 2017c. Deforestation-free claims: scams or substance?.

Pasiecznik, N., Savenije, H., (Eds.) 2017. Zero Deforestation: A Commitment To Change. ETFRN News 58, 11-16.

Read also: A world with trees but without the word ‘forest’ – a thought experiment

By Susan Onyango, originally published at ICRAF’s Agroforestry World


This work has been supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. The World Agroforestry Centre is one of the 15 members of the CGIAR, a global partnership for a food-secure future. We thank all donors who support research in development through their contributions to the CGIAR Fund.


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