FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Forests as Climate Solutions in the Asia-Pacific Region through Nationally Determined Contributions

22/12/2019 

The role of forests in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of Asia-Pacific countries is key, especially in areas of afforestation, forest fire management, reduced deforestation, biodiversity management and improved forest management. Currently, 22 out of 25 countries in the region include forestry in their adaptation commitments.

The implications of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) commitments in the forest sector, were addressed at the side-event “Forestry in NDCs in the context of Asia-Pacific Countries: 2020 Vision”, organised on the occasion of UNFCCC COP25 in Madrid, Spain.

Held on 6 December at the Indonesian Pavilion, the event reviewed the results of an expert discussion held at the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Secretariat in Songdo, Korea on 17th June 2019 as part of the 4th Asia-Pacific Forestry Week (APFW). A summary brief document titled “Forestry in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of Asia-Pacific Countries: 2020 Vision” was prepared on the basis of the June 2019 discussions, with the side event revisiting its key topics and catalyzing an interactive participation from the audience.

In her opening remarks, Tiina Vahanen, Chief of Forest Policy and Resources Division at FAO, talked about the key role of monitoring for the achievement of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in Asia-Pacific needed to drive greater ambition. “We need to continue assisting country efforts to measure and monitor their forest sectors’ contribution to climate change goals, assess the success of measures to implement NDCs, and ensure consistency,” she said.

The panel discussions – which included Belinda Margono, Director of Forest Resources, Inventory and Monitoring, from Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Daniel Murdiyarso, Principal Scientist at the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Janie Rioux, Senior Agriculture and Food Security Specialist, GCF - focused on the outcomes of climate negotiations and their potential implications for the forestry sector in the region.

Way Forward

So far, only eight countries in the region have calculated the scale of external investment required to meet NDC commitments, resulting in a combined total of US$1.6 billion. This is likely to be a significant underestimate and the revision of NDCs is a unique opportunity to develop more sound estimates of the implications for investment needs.

If fully implemented, NDC commitments of Asia-Pacific countries would result in a 160% increase in land-based carbon sinks by 2030, 88% of which will come from improved forest management, says Astrid Agostini, Coordinator of REDD+/National Forest Monitoring at FAO.

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a hub for innovation in climate finance mechanisms in the region’s  forest sector. Currently, there are more than 50 full-size GCF projects in the Asia-Pacific region, of which about a quarter include forestry. Countries will need to effectively use the opportunities created by GCF projects as the basis for long-term plans to leverage private sector investment and to reorient public investment in the forest sector towards climate-relevant goals.  Several countries are now moving forward with plans to participate in the GCF’s REDD+ Results-Based Payments pilot programme, which will depend for success on such national commitments and a paradigm shift in financing approaches for the forest and land use sectors.

Asia-Pacific Forestry Week

 

Asia-Pacific Forestry Week (APFW2019) was held in Songdo Convensia Convention Center, Incheon, Republic of Korea on 17-21 June 2019. APFW is held every 4 years in parallel with the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission, one of six Regional Forestry Commissions established by FAO to provide a policy and technical forum for countries to discuss and address forest issues on a regional basis.  The overall theme of APFW2019 was "Forests for peace and well-being" reflecting the need to proactively integrate forestry into the wider context of environment, society, and sustainable development, under which economic, social, human and cultural dimensions are considered in a holistic manner.  The Korea Forest Service (KFS) co-hosted APFW 2019 alongside FAO.   Over 15,000 forestry government officials, professionals, students, researchers, civil society and private sector stakeholders from over 30 countries assembled for the event. 

 

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