Five pilot countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America are set to receive $18 million in funding from a United Nations programme aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from forests while boosting local livelihoods.
The UN Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) was launched last September by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as a way of combating climate change through creating incentives to reverse the trend of deforestation.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that the cutting down of forests is now contributing close to 20 per cent of the overall greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere.
The programme’s Policy Board, at its recent inaugural meeting in Panama, approved $18 million in funding – roughly a third of the sum currently available – for the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania and Viet Nam.
“This is a very significant first step for the UN-REDD Programme,” said Angela Cropper, Deputy Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), who chaired the meeting.
“I am heartened to see such a dedicated group of countries, indigenous peoples, civil society, donors and the United Nations come together to reach consensus on this important programme. I am confident that the programme will have a substantial input to the continuing REDD debate.”
Along with the countries currently engaged in the programme implementation, the Policy Board includes members of indigenous peoples groups and civil society, as well as donors and many other interested parties such as the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility secretariat.
In addition to the five countries that are set to receive the new funds, Bolivia, Panama, Paraguay and Zambia have also already expressed interest in receiving assistance through UN-REDD – a collaboration between UNEP, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).