Launching REDD+ against a ticking clock

Photo: Bruno Locatelli/CIFOR
Photo: Bruno Locatelli/CIFOR
This article was written by a social reporter. It has not been edited by the Forum organisers or partners, and represents the opinion of the individual author only.

At the UNFCCC COP 21 climate talks held in Paris in December 2015, it was announced that Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom discussed the great potential of the REDD+ program in achieving the two degree Celsius (2°C) limit on climate change and made an agreement to give US$5 billion over the next six years.

The REDD+ initiative (short for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) was formally put on the global climate agenda back in 2005 at the COP15 talks. The UNFCCC established the project, aiming to utilize forests as a stock that contains carbon, and selling their storage capacity as carbon credits.

Jakob Hörl, a current Masters student in Forestry Science, discussed progress on REDD+ with the 2015 group of Global Landscapes Forum Social Reporters in preparation for the event. “Since the initiation 10 years ago, REDD+ has passed through the three stages and is now at its final crucial element before the implementation: the financing,” said Hörl.

When the three countries declared their financial commitment on Monday, this signified a crucial step towards seeing the real effects of REDD+ in mitigating climate change.

Furthermore, the Green Climate Fund, a mechanism of the UNFCCC, is now ready to ready to provide even greater financial support towards REDD+ activities.

However, REDD+ is an expensive process, so more money is still needed. Hörl questions whether countries will provide enough money and resources to really meet the 2°C target in time.

‘The initiation process and pilot stages have already take ten years to complete, and it takes about ten to fifteen to see the real benefits from REDD+ activities. In order to meet the 2°C target, implementation needs to be done soon.”

Progress made during the UNFCCC COP 21 climate talks is evidence of a clear consensus on the international scale, which is promising for the future of landscapes and forests.

However, the ability to implement these frameworks remains limited by the lack of funding; the last hurdle before REDD+ is ready to make some real changes before the ticking clock runs out. The time for tangible progress is now.