Development of integrated monitoring systems for REDD+ in the SADC region

Project description

Title: Development of integrated monitoring systems for REDD+ in the SADC region
Commissioning Party: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)
Countries: Southern African Development Community (SADC): Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Lead executing agency: SADC Secretariat
Overall term: 2011 to 2015

REDD+ MRV project in the SADC region. Forest inventory. © GIZ


Approximately 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions result from deforestation and forest degradation. To counteract this, the concept of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) is currently being developed as part of the UN climate negotiations. This concept is designed to provide developing countries and emerging economies with financial incentives to preserve forests.

The SADC region contains about 375 million hectares of forest. Between 2005 and 2012, the forest cover declined by up to 0.46 per cent each year as a result of agricultural expansion and energy production. Due to the potential offered by REDD, a REDD+ support programme was developed and subsequently approved by Germany's Environment Ministry in 2011.

However, all countries must fulfil a number of requirements before they can participate in a future REDD+ mechanism. This includes the development of monitoring systems to measure, report and verify (commonly shortened to MRV) changes in forest cover. Currently, most of the SADC countries have only limited resources for maintaining such a system.


A REDD+ MRV system that complies with the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been installed and tested in forest ecosystems typical of the region. SADC has enhanced capacities for REDD+ MRV. Based on the test results standards have been developed for a regional REDD+ MRV system.


Using agreed upon criteria, four pilot sites have been identified in the following forest ecosystems: Baikea in Botswana, Mopane in Mozambique and Namibia, and Miombo on a site spanning the border between Malawi and Zambia.

REDD+ MRV systems are being installed in the test regions. Remote sensing data is being analysed to identify changes in forest cover over the last few years, and forest inventories are being compiled to document forest biomass and estimate the amount of carbon stored in the forest areas.

GIZ is promoting the development of REDD+ MRV competences in the SADC region and encouraging regional cooperation and dialogue between the SADC member states. In this way, it is contributing to the implementation of the regional SADC REDD Programme 2011-2015.

A consortium of advisors on geo-information services from GAF AG and the Deutsche Forstservice has been commissioned with developing and implementing the MRV system in pilot sites of the SADC countries.

Particular emphasis is placed by the project on the use of open source applications, for instance in the field of geographic information systems. This will allow the monitoring systems to be used transparently and cost-effectively in the future.


MRV systems have been installed and tested at the four pilot sites. A cost overview for the systems has been created, enabling SADC countries to estimate the cost-benefit ratio of each MRV system. This ratio appeared to be acceptable for the system that was tested.

In many areas, the activities were carried out with national and regional experts. Staff have been trained in remote sensing and the use of forest inventories, enabling them to document changes in forest cover and estimate carbon stocks. Mapping forest degradation using satellite imagery is proving particularly successful, as it is difficult to identify signs of forest degradation from satellite images alone. An independent auditor confirmed that the MRV design complied with the guidelines of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

In light of these positive results, the MRV design is being used as a template for SADC standards for REDD+ MRV systems.

REDD+ MRV project in the SADC region. SADC at the COP 17 climate conference in Durban (2011). © GIZ

Workshops with all SADC states, specific working groups and a web-based REDD+ forum are encouraging actors to share their experience and are promoting the development of regional standards. The established cooperation structure provides the basis for developing a common SADC position in international climate negotiations.

Additional information

Additional information