Conserving natural carbon sinks/REDD+

Under the 'Conserving natural carbon sinks/REDD+' funding area, the International Climate Initiative (IKI) supports partner countries in the practical implementation of the international mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+).

In this respect, the IKI focuses on projects that support the implementation of national REDD+ strategies. Synergies between forest protection and conservation of biological diversity play an important role here along with emissions reductions and adaptation to the impacts of climate change. Knowledge gained through IKI projects serves as an impetus for international policy discussions and negotiations, particularly within the context of the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the REDD+ Partnership. Experience collected through IKI projects also feeds into multilateral REDD+ initiatives such as the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), which is partially financed by Germany.

In addition to its focus on REDD+, the IKI finances activities aimed at emissions reductions and carbon sequestration in other ecosystems not covered by the REDD+ mechanism, for example marshes, boreal forests and savannahs.

From 2008 to 2016, a total of 105 projects with a funding volume of EUR 338 million were approved in the area of REDD+.

REDD+ mechanism - keeping forests intact for climate change mitigation

Forests - particularly tropical forests - store vast quantities of carbon. Deforestation and unsustainable use of forests lead to this stored carbon being released as CO2 into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to global climate change. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the resulting greenhouse gas emissions constitute 17 per cent of total global man-made emissions.

REDD+ is an international climate change mitigation mechanism developed within the UNFCCC. The basic idea is to provide compensatory payments to developing countries that are able to demonstrate reductions in deforestation or in degradation of their forests. The REDD+ mechanism encompasses three phases and numerous developing and newly-industrialised countries are currently in the first phase, the Readiness phase, during which national REDD+ strategies are drawn up. During the second phase these strategies are implemented by development of institutional and technical capacities. In the third phase, the REDD+ countries receive payments for actual demonstrated emissions reductions caused by forest preservation and rehabilitation.

The IKI contributes to designing the REDD+ mechanism, particularly by fostering innovative solutions for implementing REDD+ strategies (Phase 2). In this way, the IKI supports partner countries in expanding their REDD+ activities into a results-based REDD+ system. Emphasis is placed, among other things, on the following themes: national systems of minimum ecological and social standards (safeguards); measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) of changes in carbon content of forests; baselines for determining rates of deforestation and forest degradation; and coordination of REDD+ activities and related policy fields. In addition to activities aimed at preserving existing forests, the IKI also promotes the rehabilitation of forest landscapes and helps its partners to identify and limit the causes of deforestation and forest degradation.

There is a broad array of specific support measures for IKI financed projects, which extends from the implementation of demonstration projects to the development of technical and institutional capacity, policy advisory services and technical expertise, to effective investment in the forest sector and support in the exchange of information and experiences.

Selected Projects:

Tropical forest conservation and sustainable community development in the Sierra del Lacandón National Park (Guatemala)

Ecological and social standards and additional benefits of carbon sequestration

Within international discourse, the protection of biological diversity is seen as one of the most important additional benefits of REDD+. In order to increase these types of co-benefits, corresponding criteria should be integrated into REDD+ strategies. At the same time, ecological and social safeguards must be established in order to prevent negative impacts from REDD+ measures and to protect the rights and participation of local and indigenous communities. The IKI therefore supports projects that develop, implement and monitor such safeguards, as well as promote co-benefits.

Selected projects:

Harnessing the potential of REDD mechanisms to conserve biological diversity

Bonn Challenge: restoring forest landscapes

In many developing countries, deforestation and degradation of forests have led to far-reaching damage to forest ecosystems and the services they provide, like water storage and erosion protection. Activities aimed at restoring forest landscapes carry a range of positive impacts - climate change mitigation, protection of biological diversity and support for human well-being. This approach also entails the testing of existing and new systems of payment for ecosystem services (PES).
The Bonn Challenge was launched in September 2011 at a ministerial event hosted by the Government of Germany and IUCN calling for the restoration of 150 Million hectares of deforested and degraded lands by 2020. Since then country efforts to restore degraded landscapes have multiplied. The benefits of forest restoration were also realized by companies. More than 100 companies, governments, civil society and indigenous organization endorsed the New York Declaration on Forests at the 2014 Climate Summit, which builds on the Bonn Challenge and carries an ambitious restoration commitment forward to 2030.

The International Climate Initiative supports projects testing innovative approaches in forest landscape restoration and developing tools and financing instruments in order to scale-up efforts. Forest landscape restoration is also a cross-cutting issue in adaptation, REDD+ and biological biodiversity projects.

Selected Projects:

Monitoring, reporting and verifying REDD+

Since international climate negotiations were initiated, considerable attention has been given to the question of how to monitor, report and verify the reduction in greenhouse gases (MRV). The term MRV comprises the collection of data on mitigation actions and greenhouse gas emissions, the processing of this information into reports and inventories, and the verification of data in an international process. The development of MRV systems and application of MRV requirements represent considerable challenges for emerging economies and developing countries, who must assume responsibility for collecting the necessary data and producing greenhouse gas inventories, emission projections and economic analyses. The importance of MRV is also increasing in the area of REDD+. However, the absence of adequate political guidelines means that in many countries sub-national initiatives are developing their own reference levels and monitoring systems. These different sub-national approaches must now be incorporated into national REDD+ monitoring systems. During the climate negotiations in Durban 2011 rules were defined for the monitoring of REDD+ safeguards, for example to protect the rights of indigenous peoples or conserve biodiversity.

In this context, the IKI provides targeted support to projects that help the partner countries to plan and implement mitigation actions and ensure these actions will be MRV-compatible under a future international climate agreement. The focus lies on South-South cooperation projects that develop methods for monitoring GHGs and safeguards under REDD+

Selected projects: