National REDD+ system for the Philippines
Title: Preparation of a national REDD+ mechanism for greenhouse gas reduction and conservation of biodiversity in the Philippines
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)
Lead executing agency: Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Forest Management Bureau
Overall term: 2012 to 2017
The Philippines has seen a dramatic reduction in its forest cover in recent years. Some 100,000 hectares of forest were lost annually between 1969 and 2003 due to slash-and-burn practices, illegal felling, mining, farming and other forms of land use. These practices release large amounts of greenhouse gases. The protective functions of forests for soil, water and the climate, and the country's unique biodiversity are also jeopardised. At the same time, indigenous peoples and local communities are losing their livelihoods. Deforestation continues unabated in the country, despite national reforestation efforts and a felling moratorium in natural forests. The hotspots are the islands of Mindanao, Samar, Palawan and the Cordillera region in Luzon.
In order to tackle this negative trend, the Philippine Government has adopted a national strategy to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). As part of the 2010 National Framework Strategy on Climate Change and the 2011-2028 National Climate Change Action Plan, this strategy defines activities that will slow down deforestation and encourage afforestation and sustainable forest management. However, the organisational structures of the government and the capacity of the parties responsible for implementing and coordinating the strategy need to be strengthened.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources and other relevant authorities, local communities and indigenous peoples in the Philippines use a national framework based on internationally recognised environmental and social standards, and implement corresponding measures. These activities help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conserve biodiversity and improve living conditions.
The project and its partners are setting up institutional structures to monitor the avoidance of deforestation. This will enable the Philippines to steer and coordinate REDD+ activities. Together with its partners, the project is developing financing and benefit-sharing mechanisms as incentives for the population to protect forests. It is also drawing up forest land use plans and developing solutions to land rights issues in selected regions. Other activities include integrating ecological, social and governance standards into REDD+ implementation, building up information and knowledge resources and conducting campaigns to raise public awareness of forest protection and climate change issues.
All of these activities aim to reduce CO2 emissions, strengthen forest resilience to the impacts of climate change, conserve biodiversity and create income opportunities for the rural population. The project results are being disseminated by the partners throughout the country via implementation of the national REDD+ mechanism and the building up of resources and capacity. Partner experts from governmental and non-governmental organisations are undergoing training in preparation for their roles and responsibilities under the REDD+ strategy. The lessons learned are feeding into the international debate on forest protection and climate change mitigation through the Philippine delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The consulting firm Deutsche Forstservice GmbH supports the implementation of the project.
Results achieved so far
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has designated a REDD+ focal point for the coordination and management of REDD+ activities. This is now being systematically built up. Representatives of the government, non-governmental organisations and other authorities have elaborated REDD+ management and regulation systems, environmental and social standards (safeguards), governance of land tenure, and options for financing and benefit-sharing. They have also worked on the legal clarification of carbon rights. Recommendations for policy changes have already been put forward.
Concepts for the design of a national forest monitoring system and a national REDD+ registry are available, which would serve as the basis for creating a national measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) system for REDD+. Local government units, communities and indigenous peoples in three project sites (Albay, Eastern Samar, Davao Oriental) have begun carrying out measures to protect and rehabilitate forests, clarify land use rights, conserve biodiversity and improve livelihoods for the local population.
Through numerous publications and events, the project has added to its partners’ knowledge and skills with respect to REDD+, forest and climate protection, and biodiversity conservation. It has also established a mechanism for consultation and feedback in the international climate policy debate on REDD+ under UNFCCC, and for integrating the results into national processes.
Several hundred staff members from the partner authorities in selected project areas have received training and local institutions have been strengthened. They are now in a better position to implement REDD+ measures, specifically those focused on forest use planning, forest inventories, and forest and biodiversity conservation measures developed in cooperation with indigenous groups and local communities.