Mr Daniel Whyner, Deputy Office Chief, Regional Environment Office-USAID
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning! It’s a great pleasure for me to be here this morning and to welcome you on behalf of Mr. Hiroyuki Konuma, Assistant Director General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, and our UN-REDD partners – UNDP and UNEP – to this 4th UN-REDD Regional Lessons Learned Workshop on “National Forest Monitoring Systems for REDD+.”
It's great to see such a comprehensive collection of individuals from so many countries, and representing such a wide range of expertise, gathered here for this workshop.
Just a bit of background: UN-REDD was established in September 2008, as an innovative “One UN” partnership to provide coordinated technical and financial support for the development and implementation of REDD+, utilizing the complementary resources of the three participating UN agencies: FAO, UNDP and UNEP. The Programme is now supporting 49 partner countries, including 15 here in the Asia-Pacific region.
You would ask why are we convening this workshop at this time?
Obviously, the REDD+ concept has greatly increased the recognition given by society to forests, and the importance given to forests for the potential role they can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
But REDD+ is not simply concerned with measuring the carbon stored in forests. It’s also about finding ways to better manage our forests in line with the interests of all stakeholders whose livelihoods depend on them and who benefit from them.
A National Forest Monitoring System, for countries which aim to participate in a future international REDD+ mechanism, must facilitate and support both of these objectives.
The workshop agenda is based around the publication that was distributed in your welcome packs: “National Forest Monitoring Systems: Monitoring and Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) in the context of REDD+.” This publication was produced by FAO’s UN-REDD team at the request of the UN-REDD Policy Board and released earlier this year. Among the important messages of the publication, and one that I hope you’ll all take away from this workshop, is the dual functions of National Forest Monitoring Systems for REDD+. The title of the publication is very long and – I will be the first to admit – rather confusing at first, but for a good reason: it’s to highlight that “Monitoring” and “MRV”, in the context of REDD+, are two different elements of a National Forest Monitoring System. This workshop will provide an opportunity to delve into the meanings and intricacies of these terms, and to discuss how the three pillars of an MRV system for REDD+: namely National Forest Inventory, Satellite Land Monitoring System, and Greenhouse Gas Inventory, all fit together.
This is only the latest of a series of regional “lessons learned” workshops organized by UN-REDD in Asia and the Pacific. FAO has led in organizing of this particular workshop, owing to our key role within the UN-REDD Programme in supporting country efforts to improve and strengthen forest monitoring.
We know that many countries are working to improve their National Forest Monitoring Systems, according to their own national circumstances. But countries also share many common issues, problems and conditions, so the opportunity to bring experts and stakeholders together from across the region in a workshop like this is very useful – particularly to learn from each other’s different approaches, perspectives and experiences.
In reviewing the program, I can see that you have a very interesting 3-day agenda ahead. During the workshop, you’ll hear what FAO, UN-REDD, SilvaCarbon, LEAF and others are doing to support development of National Forest Monitoring Systems in the context of REDD+ Readiness, and in return we will all learn from you how we can more effectively address your needs and priorities.
Before I close my opening remarks, I would like to offer my sincere thanks to our UN agency partners in the UN-REDD programme, UNDP and UNEP, for their substantive contributions to the workshop agenda, and for their positive collaborative work. We’re also very grateful to the USAID-funded “LEAF” project and GIZ/SPC for enabling us to bring participants to this workshop from some important countries that are not UN-REDD partners: China, India, Fiji, Korea, Thailand, and Vanuatu. Having these participants here will surely help enrich the discussions and enhance the learning opportunities during the workshop.
Finally, I’d like to highlight that the organization of this workshop has also been very much a collaborative effort between FAO/UN-REDD and the USDA Forest Service-financed “SilvaCarbon” program. I hope that this will be the first of many such collaborations.
I’m confident that you will have a very productive workshop, and I look forward to hearing more about the results from my colleagues after the event is completed.
I wish you all the best in your discussions over the next few days and I hope you have a very pleasant stay here in Bangkok.