REDD+ Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation
WFC REDD+ Highlights

The World Forestry Congress (WFC) is one of the largest and most influential international fora for the exchange of knowledge, experiences and perspectives on the world’s forests and forestry sector. The Congress has been held every six years since 1926, with FAO's joint collaboration starting in 1954. This year's XV World Forestry Congress, jointly organized by the Korean Forest Service and FAO, took place in Seoul, Republic of Korea (2-6 May 2022), with the theme “Building a Green, Healthy and Resilient Future”. Two key outcomes of this week-long series of events are the Seoul Forest Declaration and the Key Action Points document. 

FAO personnel, working on topics related to REDD+, organized and co-led a variety of WFC events at scale, including the "Ministerial Forum on Forest Finance" and Sub-theme 1, "Turning the tide: reversing deforestation and forest degradation". 

Forests are recognized as a critical element of biodiversity and climate solutions, reflected in significant political commitments. Most recently, in the Glasgow leaders’ declaration on forests and land use, in November 2021, 141 countries committed to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. Achieving these commitments requires coordinated global action, scaling up investments and aligning incentives to jointly meet other development objectives, including sustainable food production and ecosystem protection. These investments to date only account for a fraction of public climate finance and a small proportion of agricultural subsidies in sustainable land use. In addition to specialized Environment and Forestry Ministries, Finance and Planning Ministries also have an important role to play to align incentives and prioritize public investment to maintain and restore world’s forests. The session aimed to contribute to promote progress towards commitments under the Glasgow leaders’ declaration on forests and land use, in November 2021, including actions needed towards coordinated global action, scaling up investments and aligning incentives for sustainable food production and ecosystem protection.  

Objectives and key messages

Objectives and key messages

This Special Session had the following objectives:

  • Promote progress towards commitments under the Glasgow leaders’ declaration on forests and land use, including actions needed towards coordinated global action, scaling up investments and aligning incentives for sustainable food production and ecosystem protection.
  • Enhance momentum towards increased relevance of forests and nature-based solutions as part of the social and economic agendas.
  • Support dialogue on how public policy, public finance and international cooperation play a critical role to correct the underlying market failures, correct incentives and mobilize both public and private investment.
  • Share experiences on how leading countries are mobilizing investment to forests and maximizing its social return, particularly through mainstreaming forests and nature-based solutions in national financial and development policy measures.

Key Messages:

  1. A huge funding gap exists between what is needed to implement global commitments on forests and what is available – public and private investment must both scale up. 

  2. Innovative and sustainable financing options exist but there is a shortage of bankable projects. Some countries are making progress, but more effort is needed to increase access to global climate- and environment-based funds for those countries most in need. 

  3. There is a need to change the way public money is spent to support forests as public goods, adjusting rules across sectors and markets to ensure they take nature into account. Policies must change to divert financial flows away from actions that harm forests and to incentivize investment in conservation, restoration and sustainable use. 

  4. There is also a need to advance on multiple fronts, from the broader use of financial instruments, to building robust portfolios of investible projects and developing appropriate financing vehicles.  

  5. Blended concessional finance, such as through official development assistance and climate finance, should be used to make projects bankable and thereby leverage private-sector investment.  

  6. “Blue carbon” investment in mangroves should be encouraged for its capacity to deliver high-quality carbon credits. Accessible carbon markets can also reward real carbon gains in forest restoration projects but should be part of a wider mix of income to achieve financial sustainability. 

  7. Transitioning to higher value economies and jobs anchored in the sustainable use and conservation of forests will require a solid enabling environment to attract conventional investment to the right areas as well as taking advantage of emerging carbon finance mechanisms. 

          These key messages were explored in detail here




More event details and recordings are available here and a FAO Forestry Newsroom summary is available here

Co-led by FAO's REDD+ and FLEGT Teams, and in partnership with the Asian Forest Cooperation Organization, Sub-theme 1 discussed progress, opportunities and priorities for addressing deforestation and forest degradation. The implementation of recent global commitments and the operationalization of major initiatives, including that of the UN Secretary-General on turning the tide on deforestation, the UN framework on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, and international commitments and efforts on transforming food systems towards enhanced production while halting deforestation, formed part of the discourse.

Using the most recent trends of deforestation and forest degradation, the objectives were to highlight key initiatives and commitments (national and international) to address and reverse this trend, to increase the role of forestry in global narratives including climate change, legal agricultural commodity and timber trade, and the aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic and recovery efforts. 

Sub-theme 1 Key Messages

Sub-theme 1 Key Messages

  • New coalitions and strengthened national and international commitments, such as the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, present opportunities to turn the tide on deforestation while combating planetary emergencies related to climate change, biodiversity loss, inequality and global health.  

  • Such pledges must be turned into real financial flows, international cooperation combined with national funds, and government pledges backed by private-sector contributions. Governments need to maintain a strong role in creating enabling environments and catalysing private investment. 

  • Halting deforestation requires transforming agrifood systems, which, in turn, needs policy coherence across environmental and economic policies and greater stakeholder cooperation.  

  • A number of countries, companies and institutions are taking steps to minimize the contributions of agricultural commodity production to deforestation. Effective efforts require, among other things, institutional coordination, community governance approaches, transitional finance, and knowhow on climate-smart practices. 

  • To be successful, cost-effective and sustainable, efforts to reverse deforestation and forest degradation must benefit, and involve the participation of, smallholders, Indigenous Peoples and other local people living in forest areas, as well as full recognition of their rights. 

  • Partnerships are also key, especially on supply-side measures. Trust must be built between stakeholders along supply chains and between private and public actors, with potentially game-changing outcomes. 

  • Multistakeholder participation is essential for ensuring the legal and sustainable production and trade of forest and agricultural commodities through effective governance and robust verification and certification systems.  

  • Risk-based approaches offer a cost-effective means by which smallholders can participate in verification and certification systems and should be further developed and tested.  

  • Countries can develop and implement legality verification systems appropriate to their context by learning from existing lessons in the design, development, and implementation of voluntary or mandatory certification and legality verification systems. Such lessons learned in the forest sector could be transferred to other land-use sectors.  

  • Carbon markets have huge potential for increasing finance for reducing deforestation and forest degradation. Many tropical countries have been working on REDD+ for a decade, and it’s time to move from negotiation to an era of achievements at scale. Crucially, REDD+ should improve the quality of life of forest-dependent communities, including Indigenous Peoples – their involvement in, and agreement on, REDD+ projects must be obtained.  

  • Progress towards decoupling agricultural production and trade from deforestation has been made in many countries in both the public and private sectors, including on transparency, accountability and stakeholder engagement, but much still remains to be done. 

Please see here the Plenary Session where the above messages were presented. 

Session 1 - Global deforestation: challenges and opportunities for concrete action to halt and reverse forest loss by 2030

Session 1 - Global deforestation: challenges and opportunities for concrete action to halt and reverse forest loss by 2030

Responding to the United Nations Secretary-General’s call for concrete and verifiable forest action and based on the global deforestation trends, current drivers of deforestation and forest degradation and the demonstrated progress towards implementation of existing frameworks and commitments such as the Paris Agreement, the SDGs, the UN Strategic Framework on Forests, the New York Declaration on Forests, and the recent Glasgow Leaders Declaration on Forests, the event, co-organized by FAO, the UN-REDD Programme and the Korean Forest Service, explored the main opportunities and challenges related to:

  • Forest-based and land use mitigation actions in Nationally Determined Contributions.
  • Public and corporate investments in forests as the most mature nature-based solution.
  • Transforming food systems and achieving long-term sustainable change at a landscape level.
  • Legality frameworks and governance.

Key take home messages:

More event details and session recordings are available here.  

Session 2 - Enabling and scaling up finance to halt deforestation

Session 2 - Enabling and scaling up finance to halt deforestation

Understanding the pivotal role of financial innovation and the important need for countries and the private sector to carefully examine their financial strategies in a way that fosters forest positive production at scale, FAO, the UN-REDD Programme, the Green Climate Fund, and Japan's Forestry Agency convened this event to share the challenges and opportunities on mainstreaming forest positive commodity finance from both public and private sector initiatives with the aim to transform global agrifood systems and reduce the impact on deforestation while supporting sustainable commodity production. The main focuses of the event were:  

  • Mainstream commodity finance that boost forest positive agriculture, as well as sustainable and legal commodity supply chains 
  • The role of investment in driving legal and sustainable supply chains, halting deforestation, and removing conversion from agriculture commodities 

  • Opportunities and challenges of carbon offsets  

  • REDD+ results-based payments  

  • Carbon markets

Key messages

  1. To turn the tide on deforestation, partnerships between private and public sources of funding,  are essential, with the government in need to maintain a strong role in creating the enabling environment, and catalyze private investment; 
  2. Unprecedented financial commitments are being made, however the mobilization of international financing has so far been below expectations. Beyond public resources and expenditures, in PROAMAZONIA for example, Ecuador has made an effort to combine international financing from the GEF and the GCF, however, they are insufficient to ensure financial sustainability;
  3. It is necessary to ensure timely financing, fair agreements and simple mechanisms that would not relay the arrival of the financing, that are compatible with the urgency and the global call for the decade of action;
  4. We need to turn those pledges into real action. We need to make those funds flow, and combine international cooperation with national funds, government pledges with private sector contributions. We need to change the way public finance is used as well - shifting from grey to green, putting a zoom and lens on forest positive investments.
  5. Companies are ready to invest in high quality and integrity emission reductions. Beyond contributing to climate change mitigation, the interest is on the added value on the socio-environmental benefits that the actions bring, down to the level of the agriculture supply chain and actors – and the return, that has for the company itself; 
  6. There is an economic case for companies to invest in REDD+ and nature-based solutions. Investments in nature-based solutions (rather than energy or other sectors) and in high environmental integrity are now often linked to a clear business case. Corporates are beginning to understand that a conserved and better managed forest and ecosystem is the future of their business chain. For example, prestigious quality coffee grain needs dense and healthy soil, which in turn needs trees and forest. The more prestigious and quality the coffee grain the more profitable the business could be.
  7. Private sector is interested in contributing to systemic changes. Jurisdictional/placed base actions need to be connected and harmonious in a national framework. Without such combination and understanding impact at scale will not be achieved.
  8. REDD+ serves to achieve climate mitigation goals while contributing to changing the paradigm, including by bringing a wide range of stakeholders to the table on innovation and financial incentives (e.g. carbon markets and forestry-based green bonds in Kenya). 

More event details and session recordings are available here.  

Session 3 - Responding to changing agrifood commodity markets’ requirements to turn the tide on deforestation

Session 3 - Responding to changing agrifood commodity markets’ requirements to turn the tide on deforestation

To halt and reverse deforestation caused by agricultural commodities demand, market-based measures are being implemented by governments and companies, focused on what are considered the most “forest-risk” commodities, notably beef, soy, palm oil, cocoa, timber and coffee. Considering the limitations of voluntary processes, several compulsory frameworks to encourage private operators to develop legal and sustainable supply chains are currently under development. 

Co-organized with the Tropical Forest Alliance, this event focused on market-based efforts to reduce deforestation and forest degradation caused by demand for agricultural and forest commodities, as well as on innovation in actions to address deforestation in relevant supply chains while avoiding negative impacts on small-holders. The objectives thus were to:

  • Provide an overview of current market demands for agro-commodities, and related actions from governments, private sector and civil society to reduce forest footprint of commodity supply chains.  
  • Promote discussion on innovative tools and initiatives for addressing deforestation in supply chains and how they can be tailored to ensure small-holders’ inclusion (notably small-scale farmers and SMEs). 

Key Messages: 

  1. Partnerships are key to any progress to reduce deforestation. Collective work and aligned actions of buyers, industries, producers, governments and civil society are critical for success, notably at supply-side level. Building trust between stakeholders along the supply chains and between private and public actors is a game-changer achievement. 
  2. It is critical to bring producers' voices, especially those of small farmers, into policy making processes, at all levels.
  3. Market-based measures to address deforestation are relevant and can be a powerful lever considering that an increasing share of food is internationally traded. Efficient and sustainable agricultural supply chains are key to respond the global demand for food without affecting small-holders’ livelihood and forests.
  4. Progress towards decoupling agricultural production and trade from deforestation has been made in both the public and private sectors, including on transparency and accountability, but much still remains to be done.
  5. Demand-side regulatory measures are welcome and needed. While transparency and traceability are essential aspects of progress, related requirements should not be excessive; this could risk diverting investments to traceability systems at the expense of investments into better production/support to producers, especially small farmers. Voluntary measures are also important but insufficient.
  6. Each commodity value chain is different – we need a set of tools that can be used by different actors based on the needs for different production systems, social conditions and biomes.

 More event details and session recordings are available here

Session 4 - Strengthening governance and verification systems to halt and reverse deforestation and forest degradation

Session 4 - Strengthening governance and verification systems to halt and reverse deforestation and forest degradation

This event focused on country-level efforts to strengthen forest and land governance, and verification systems to halt deforestation and forest degradation. The role of legal and sustainable production of timber in addressing deforestation and how lessons learned from the forest sector can be applied to agricultural commodities will be highlighted. The objectives of the event were to:

  • Generate understanding of growing international demand for legal and sustainable wood on the international market.
  • Generate understanding of country-led efforts to improve governance and halt illegal and unsustainable logging (including over 10 years of implementing the FLEGT Action Plan and certification) and how these efforts contribute to halting deforestation and mitigating climate change.
  • Increase awareness of tools that countries have developed to achieve goals of halting deforestation and forest degradation, such as strengthening and simplification of legal and policy frameworks and implementation of verification and complementary traceability and monitoring systems; integrated land use planning; participatory engagement and partnership building.
  • Generate discussion on the role of different stakeholders and multi-stakeholder dialogue in strengthening forest and land governance and developing verification systems. Highlight efforts and progress on the ground to improve legality and sustainability of commodity production.

    Key Messages:

    1. In line with the steadily growing number of “due diligence” regulations and private and public procurement policies, coinciding with a growing demand for legally and sustainably produced wood, legal and institutional frameworks related to forest governance have seen notable improvement in many countries, including with international engagement through voluntary partnership agreements (VPAs). 

    2. Genuine engagement of private sector and civil society in multi-stakeholders’ platforms in charge of developing, implementing and monitoring verification and certification systems, is critical to ensure that systems are inclusive (that is, adapted to the country’s legal framework, stakeholder’s capacity and to the logistical context, allowing participation of smallholders, communities and MSMEs), cost-effective, resilient, and adaptive. 

    3. Wood verification and certification systems developed in response to due diligence requirements and procurement policies contribute to improved forest management and to halting deforestation and forest degradation. Verification systems, whether voluntary or mandatory, must be credible and robust to demonstrate that a commodity has been legally and sustainably produced. 

    4. Lessons learned from the design, development, and implementation of selected systems (TLAS VPA, voluntary or mandatory systems, and similar tools) is critical to ensure that countries develop and implement verification systems that are appropriate to their context. Lessons learned from verification and certification systems developed in the forest sector can bring significant lessons learned for other land-use sectors. 

    More event details and session recordings are available here.

    Session 5 - Assessing drivers of deforestation - implications for policy making

    Session 5 - Assessing drivers of deforestation - implications for policy making

    Halting deforestation, boosting sustainable and legal value chains of forest and agriculture commodities, including by optimizing the nexus between agriculture and forests and removing trade-offs among them, require robust and comprehensive information on the dynamics that condition the use of forests and land.  

    Constant progress is made in this field of work, with different studies being realized on underlying and direct drivers of land use change and forest loss, at global, regional and national level. Access to data generated by remote sensing with increasing resolution and frequency, as well as tools using economic and social statistics and information have contributed to significant knowledge generation on land use dynamics and forest cover. The event, co-organized by FAO and the Korean Forest Service, and in partnership with the Basque Climate Research Centre aimed to:

    • Discuss how recent developments can facilitate informed and science-based decision-making when addressing the challenge of producing more and better food without further encroachment on forests ecosystems. 
    • Discussing the latest research on methodologies for assessing drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, imported deforestation (using various data sets, incl. trade data, socio-economic data, forest cover change, remote sensing, etc.).

    • The role of data in combating deforestation and forest degradation.

    Key Messages:

    1. The advances in acquiring consistent time series of land cover geo spatial data have been helpful to identify deforestation hotspots and direct drivers of deforestation. Underlying drivers are more complex to monitor and understand. They require interdisciplinary approaches combining geospatial land cover and land use data with other economic, social and other data. 

    2. Data can have strong impacts on policymaking. Understanding the drivers of deforestation is the first step to define solutions and set priorities on where and how to act for conserving forests. Information on deforestation can and must feed into policy making and implementation; it can be used to advocate for policies and inform decision-makers, serve to inform dialogue amongst stakeholders and the articulation of sectorial policies, and inform more effective law enforcement and efficient fund allocation. 

    3. Data are not neutral. Therefore, transparency on the methods to produce information on deforestation and access to data are critical. The institutional dimension of ensuring open access to data must not be underestimated. Stakeholders’ rights and capacities to access and use data should keep progressing. 

    4. Scientific information on the dynamics of deforestation and forest degradation demonstrates that forests are fragile ecosystems. Understanding possible trends and threats is key in defining the ambition for their future, notably in the context of national strategies and commitments on climate change. 

    5. Socio-economic information may be more difficult to gather but is paramount for understanding deforestation. Conflict situations, for instance – experienced in many countries with the potential to reduce GHG emissions from deforestation- can dramatically change the trends observed in peace times – and vice versa. 

    More event details and session recordings are available here.

    Side events provided an opportunity for sharing expertise, best practices and innovations as well as for increasing opportunities for dialogue and exchange amongst the Congress’ participants on the theme and subthemes of the Congress. REDD+ contributed to the WFC with 4 side events (of which 2 under the auspices of co-organizers). 

    Transformational change in land use and climate change

    Addressing the series of critical challenges facing humanity will require collective global action. In recent years, countries have stepped up their collaborative efforts to mitigate climate change and address widening inequalities in income, livelihoods, human health and access to food. To achieve the global development and climate objectives enshrined in the Paris Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals, and other international agreements, sweeping transformational changes must take place. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) have jointly explored how such transformational change has been defined, what it means, what drives it and how implementation can be improved. This event will convene a diverse group of actors to provide examples of transformation in the land use sector, grounded in the climate change discourse, and will provide insights and experiences to help forest sector actors design and implement transformations in efficient and effective ways.

    More event details are available here and here. Please click here for the event recording. 

    Land footprint embodied in international trade: a new tool to assess distant drivers of deforestation

    Land footprint embodied in international trade: a new tool to assess distant drivers of deforestation

    According to the State of Agricultural Commodity markets 2020 (FAO, 2021), global trade in agricultural commodities has more than doubled in real value between 1995 and 2018. While this offers opportunities for economic development and progress in food security, increased food production has also induced growing environmental impacts, notably through land use changes. Several studies have tried to assess the effects of this trade on deforestation, using methodologies to qualify the distant connections influencing land use change. As a contribution to this knowledge generation, FAO and the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3) are developing new Multi-regional input-output tables (MRIO) based on production and bilateral trade statistics for agrifood and forest commodities. The tables cover the 182 countries that report agricultural and forestry production and trade data to FAOSTAT and use physical units. A first version of the MRIOs was established for the period 1997-2013 and an updated version for food commodities, covering 2014-2018 is under preparation. The side event will present such preliminary results and discuss opportunities to use this tool for improved assessment of deforestation related to agricultural and forest commodity trade.

    More event details are available here and here. Please click here for the event recording. 

    Video Gallery

    Subtheme 1 Session 1

    Subtheme 1 Session 2

    Subtheme 1 Session 3

    Subtheme 1 Session 4

    Subtheme 1 Session 5

    Ministerial Forum on Financing Forests