Climate change & REDD

Climate change & REDD

Forests play an important role in climate systems, and consequently they are crucial in both mitigating against and adapting to climate change. At the local level, forests regulate rainfall and air temperatures, and globally, they affect atmospheric circulations and store significant amounts of carbon.

Deforestation and forest degradation – which is often driven by illegal logging – disrupt these systems. Most notably, forest loss is a major source of carbon emissions, and consequently this has attracted much attention within the context of global negotiations on climate change. Thus, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has been developing a mechanism for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) - the ‘plus’ includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. One of the most recent developments in these negotiations is the adoption of the Warsaw Framework for REDD+ in 2013, which addresses issues such as forest finance and monitoring (UNFCCC, 2014). In the meantime, countries have been implementing a variety of pilot projects and initiatives aimed at improving their policy and governance framework to enable them to reduce emissions from the forest sector.

The New York Declaration on Forests, adopted at the UN Climate Summit in September 2014, has been endorsed by more than 180 governments, companies and business associations, indigenous peoples and civil society organizations, with the aim of improving forest governance and reducing emissions. The Forest Declaration website proposes a framework for assessing progress toward the NYDF goals and summarizes the status of the ten goals a year on from the adoption of the Declaration.