Forest and climate protection in the South Pacific
Title: REDD+ – Forest conservation in Pacific Island Countries
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
Country: Pacific Island region: Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu
Lead executing agency: Pacific Community (SPC)
Overall term: 2015 to 2018
The forests in the Pacific Island Countries of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji are of great importance to the population. They are used for the production of timber and firewood and as a source of food, medicine and income. At the same time, they protect against erosion, flooding and the impacts of severe storms, and they regulate the climate at local, regional and global level. However, current conventional use of forests is not sustainable and is endangering the livelihoods of the population. In addition, forest use contributes, albeit marginally, to the increase in global greenhouse gas emissions. By making changes in forestry, the countries can conserve forests while reducing emissions, thus setting a positive example for the international community.
To this end, they have initiated steps to integrate the REDD+ mechanism into their national forest and climate policy objectives.
The REDD mechanism – which stands for ‘reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation’ – serves to evaluate the carbon stored in forests in financial terms. It also offers an incentive for developing countries to reduce their forest-related emissions and invest in low-carbon, sustainable development. REDD+ also includes preservation, sustainable management of forests and the expansion of their carbon stocks. REDD+ offers financial support or materials and equipment as incentives to reduce forest-related emissions.
Since 2010, on behalf of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the regional organisation of the Pacific Community and GIZ have been supporting Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu in developing REDD+ readiness strategies.
The Melanesian island countries meet the requirements for implementing the REDD+ mechanism.
The REDD+ project provides regional support to develop structures for forest and biomass inventories, in particular to develop a method for recording forest degradation. Platforms for knowledge exchange are also being developed and promoted. In addition to the Melanesian countries, these activities include the 14 member countries of the Pacific Community that are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
At national level, the project helps the partner countries implement their REDD+ readiness activities and develop REDD+ strategies. These include the introduction of social and environmental standards and the associated reporting, the development of reference levels for emissions from the forest sector, the measurement and verification of reduced emissions compared to the reference level, and mechanisms for the fair distribution of profits from REDD+ activities.
At local level, the project is supporting the development and implementation of demonstration activities and pilot projects. The information gained can be used to review and, if necessary, adapt the planned REDD+ strategies, such as dealing with drivers of deforestation and forest degradation and adopting sustainable forest management approaches.
The project is building on the results of the preceding project ‘Climate protection through forest conservation in the South Pacific’ and refining its activities further.
The project enables regular discussions of the core topics of the REDD+ strategies. To support this, regional theme-based workshops and study trips to other REDD+ countries are being organised (Nepal 2017). Support is being provided for participation in supraregional events (for example, in the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand and the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change), and separate Pacific-specific priorities are being set in order to promote the exchange of knowledge.
Capacity building for the implementation of REDD+ in the countries is geared to the partners’ needs and is supported by seminars, workshops and work-related training (eight events in 2016 and 2017). The countries receive support in developing their communication strategies on REDD+ (four national and one regional workshop). The regional information platform for REDD+ is being continued and expanded. National REDD+ strategies are being successfully tested and implemented in local pilot projects, and verified emission certificates are being generated (three projects).
Papua New Guinea has developed its national REDD+ strategy and submitted a reference level to the Framework Convention on Climate Change.
In Fiji, GIZ has been supporting the development of a method for sustainable forest management for 30 years. The project serves as a flagship and training area for the Pacific region, and the results will be incorporated into national legislation in Fiji. In Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, the project has enabled development workers to be assigned to support national strategies.