Protection of forests and the climate (REDD+)

Project description

Title: Protection of forests and the climate/REDD+
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Colombia
Partner organisation: Agencia Presidencial de Cooperación Internacional de Colombia (APC)
Overall term: 2013 to 2019

Colombia. Participants at a workshop on evaluating the social and environmental aspects of REDD+ in the Vaupés Department in the Amazon. © GIZ

Context

More than half of Colombia’s territory – around 59 million hectares – is forested. Between 1990 and 2016 the country lost around seven million hectares (12 per cent) of its forest cover, mainly due to the expansion of agricultural land and grazing areas, illicit drug cultivation, logging, mining and forest fires. After a steady decline in deforestation from 2010 to 2015, the downward trend was reversed in 2016 and 2017. Almost 180,000 hectares of forest – an area roughly the size of 250,000 football pitches – were cleared in 2016, a 44 per cent increase compared with the previous year.

Since 2016, land speculation linked to the peace process has been a key cause of deforestation. Economic development is another factor in marginalised former conflict regions. The Government’s planned infrastructure projects will cause some deforestation here over the coming years, albeit mitigated by measures adopted in 2017 to reduce forest loss.

In response to these challenges, the Colombian Government has produced an Integrated Strategy for Deforestation Control and Forest Management (ENREDD+) with the aim of reducing emissions. ENREDD+ is embedded in Colombia’s national climate strategy, its commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the international process to establish the REDD+ mechanism.

The basic idea behind REDD+ is to provide governments and local communities with financial incentives which motivate them to achieve verifiable reductions in deforestation and the related carbon emissions. Reforestation and sustainable management can make a major contribution to forest conservation and climate change mitigation and are therefore part of the REDD+ strategy.

Objective

Colombia’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development implements the national REDD+ strategy.

Approach

The programme provides support to Colombia’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS) in drafting the national REDD+ strategy (ENREDD+) and implementing it in priority regions where there are higher rates of deforestation. In addition, the programme promotes communication and cooperation among the actors responsible for sustainable forest use and for reducing deforestation.

Based on analyses of the causes of deforestation in the northern Andes and the Amazon region, pilot projects are now under way to identify how the sustainable use of forests affected or threatened by deforestation and degradation can help to reduce emissions. In cooperation with MADS and other stakeholders, the programme is developing a series of guidelines on the social and environmental standards (safeguards) to be applied in projects and the REDD+ process. These safeguards are intended to prevent REDD+ activities from causing negative environmental or social impacts. For example, the national safeguards provide for multi-stakeholder participation in REDD+ activities in order to protect the rights of indigenous, Afro-Colombian and rural populations.

Results

The programme has promoted dialogue between MADS and all REDD+ stakeholders in the Amazon and the Pacific Coast ecoregions. Representatives of the indigenous communities, smallholder farmers, Afro-Colombians and regional institutions have had an opportunity to voice their opinions and ask questions about REDD+. As a result of the policy support provided to various coordinating bodies, a number of ministries and private sector actors have joined the Intersectoral Pact for Legal Timber.

The programme has also supported the establishment of regional round tables on forest conservation and use. This has greatly improved the dialogue between governmental and non-governmental bodies across the national, regional and local levels. Based on studies commissioned under the programme to examine the causes of deforestation in six administrative subdivisions (departments), local stakeholders have integrated policy recommendations and measures to reduce deforestation into their regional development plans.