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REDD+ Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation

From Katowice to Santiago

At SBSTA 50, COP Presidencies and FAO promote science as a key component in global efforts to protect and restore forests


Climate change experts and the global international community met in Bonn on 17 – 27 June for the 50th session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 50). The yearly session aims at supporting Parties in their actions to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

During SBSTA 50, Poland and Chile, the Conference of the Parties (COP) Presidencies of the 24th and the 25th session, hosted a side event dedicated to showcasing the importance of science, mobilization of expertise and cooperation for the purpose of strengthening implementation of forest-related climate actions.

The side event titled “Forests for the climate: How science is helping forests” took place on 24 June, gathering country representatives, as well as stakeholders from various international organisations, including Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). The event was moderated by Ms Monika Figaj (PhD), Chief Specialist, Team for International Cooperation in Forestry, Department of Forestry, Polish Ministry of Environment and Mr José Antonio Prado Donoso, Negotiations Advisor, COP 25 Presidency. While reflecting on the event, Ms Figaj and Mr Prado Donoso stated:

“Recognizing the critical importance of forests on the path towards the Paris Agreement goals, Poland and Chile are teaming up to create a platform for dialogue on the UNFCCC to discuss science, forests and climate”.

While addressing the audience, Malgorzata Buszko-Briggs, REDD+ Team Leader at the FAO Forestry Department, highlighted the importance of forest data in scaling up climate action and reporting on achievements of significant emission reductions by 2030.

“Evidence is key in achieving recognition of the true value of forests in the 2030 Agenda”, said Buszko-Briggs. “By investing in monitoring at national and subnational levels, governments can gain a clearer picture of the social, economic and environmental impact of forests and trees across the SDGs and therefore accelerate on the path toward the achievement of climate objectives. Science-based approaches to build this evidence are crucial.”

Through various initiatives, FAO has supported more than 50 countries in their development of robust National Forest Monitoring Systems (NFMS) and assessments, with the objective of gathering reliable forest resource information for supporting national forest policies, planning and sustainable development. Moreover, NFMS tools and techniques have become crucial for planning, implementing and reporting on ecosystem restoration activities.

Land degradation is negatively impacting more than 3.2 billion people and costing over 10 percent of the annual global gross product in loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. During a nine-year span, between 2000 and 2009, land degradation was responsible for the annual global emissions of 3.6 - 4.4 Gt of CO2 (IPBES, 2018). At the same time, these numbers attest to a huge mitigation potential policies and actions related to land restoration, reduced and avoided degradation of forests, wetlands, grasslands and croplands represent for the global fight against climate change. It is estimated that land restoration activities could provide more than one-third of the most cost-effective greenhouse gas mitigation activities needed by year 2030 in order to keep global warming. To scale up the restoration of degraded ecosystems as a proven measure to fight climate change, and enhance food security, water supply and biodiversity, in March 2019, the United Nations General Assembly declared the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021 – 2030. FAO and UN Environment have been invited to lead the process as key supporters of the implementation of this ambitious commitment.


Next steps

Scaling up climate action, and achieving significant emission reductions by 2030, is more crucial than ever. Reducing emissions as well as removing massive amounts of carbon from the atmosphere through halting forests loss and forest degradation, as well as through sustainable forest management, conservation and restoration, are undeniably critical. Forest-based solutions have a mitigation potential of 5.3 GtCO2e by 2030. In addition, integrated approaches, innovative partnerships and initiatives dedicated to forest monitoring, such as community forest monitoring, continue to play a key role in the process.


“For a 2 °C warming limit, the total emissions gap from current conditional Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) is 13 GtCO2e by 2030; for a 1.5 degrees limit, the gap is 29 GtCO2e. Forests as part of Nature based solutions can provide a substation contribution to fill in those gaps”, added Buszko-Briggs.


For more information, please contact:


Malgorzata Buszko-Briggs

Senior Forestry Officer

REDD+ Team Leader





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