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 2020
Forests in the Pacific Island Countries of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are of great importance to the population. They are a source of timber, food, medicines and income and provide protection against erosion, flooding and extreme weather events. Furthermore, they regulate both the local and global climate. However, the way the forests are being used at present poses a risk to these vital resources. This is also adding to the rise in global greenhouse gas emissions, albeit by a very small amount. By changing the ways in which the forest is managed, the countries can preserve their forests whilst reducing emissions– and also set 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.
REDD stands for ‘Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation’. The REDD mechanism puts a price on the carbon stored in forests, thus creating an incentive for developing countries to reduce their forest-related emissions. REDD+ also includes the preservation and sustainable management of forests, and the expansion of their carbon stocks.
Since 2010, the partner countries have been developing REDD+ readiness strategies and implementing these. These are preparations for the requirements of the REDD+ mechanism. The countries are receiving support from the regional organisation of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).
The Melanesian island countries meet the requirements to implement the REDD+ mechanism.
The project is supporting the development of regional structures to record the island states’ forest stocks and biomass. To do so it is developing a method to record forest degradation, in other words damage to the forest. Forest degradation is generally caused by human interventions such as logging, which can even be identified from the air, and it manifests itself in a reduction of ecological functions and biodiversity. It also develops and funds platforms for exchanging knowledge with other Pacific Island Countries.
The national governments receive support for their readiness activities. These include the introduction and reporting of social and ecological standards and the development of REDD+ strategies with previously identified measures. Here the countries define reference levels that act as comparative values to measure the effectiveness of the actions. In addition, they develop mechanisms to distribute the profits from REDD+ activities fairly. The relevant governments are also supposed to include the expected reduction in emissions in their national climate targets.
At local level, the project is supporting the development and implementation of demonstration activities. The information gained can be used to review and, if necessary, adapt the planned REDD+ strategies, such as dealing with drivers of deforestation or sustainable forest management.
Through the project it has been possible to achieve the following results due to capacity building adapted to the needs of the partners, sharing information within and outside the project region and supporting national communications strategies for REDD+.
Papua New Guinea has developed a national REDD+ strategy as well as a system for monitoring the forest and submitted a reference level for emissions to the Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The Solomon Islands have also submitted a reference level and in addition satisfied the institutional prerequisites to implement REDD+.
Vanuatu has also achieved important results: the country has analysed the drivers of deforestation and degradation, identified alternative sources of income and REDD+ activities and designed plans to distribute profits fairly and resolve possible conflicts.
Fiji has produced a reference level, monitoring system and a distribution system for benefits and also analysed drivers of deforestation and a mechanism to resolve possible conflicts. In addition, it is the only Pacific Island country to be included in the World Bank’s Carbon Fund to receive results-based payments for avoided emissions. GIZ has also been supporting the development of a method for sustainable forest management in Fiji for 30 years. This flagship project serves as a training area for the Pacific region, and the results will be incorporated in national legislation.
REDD+ activities have been successfully tested and implemented in three local forest carbon projects. In Fiji and Vanuatu, these projects serve as a model for the practical and financial feasibility of the REDD+ approach for the voluntary market The countries have sold certified carbon permits on the market.
Latest update: October 2020