Annual report

EU REDD Facility: Highlights from 2017

Developing solutions to tackle drivers of deforestation

Addressing land-use governance challenges is key to reducing deforestation and illegal logging, and ultimately, to tackling climate change. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan offer unprecedented opportunities to address long-standing issues in the forest and land-use sectors. The EU REDD Facility therefore focuses its work in countries engaged in both FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) and REDD+ processes.

Acting on its strategy for 2013–2017, the Facility has worked in three strategic areas where REDD+ and FLEGT processes intersect. The Facility provides support:

  • To build institutions, decision-making processes and incentive structures to foster good land-use governance, based on lessons learned from FLEGT experiences
  • To clarify land-use rights and strengthen land-use planning in order to reduce forest conversion and degradation at the interface of REDD+ and FLEGT processes
  • To link trends in demand for timber and agricultural commodities with jurisdiction-wide approaches to foster deforestation-free production in producing countries

Generating knowledge and interacting on issues of common interest to REDD+ and FLEGT stakeholders has helped the Facility build trust and sustain dialogue with in-country partners. By field-testing innovative solutions, the Facility has supported national processes in partner countries. Learning from national processes and results allows the Facility to provide sound and credible policy advice in relation to EU and multilateral processes targeting deforestation and illegal logging.

Having implemented its 2013-2017 strategy, the Facility has been reflecting on its achievements, challenges and lessons learned. We found that combining climate, aid and trade-related interventions has great potential to address the drivers of deforestation. We concluded that forest and land-use governance are central to achieving REDD+ objectives, and that working alongside governments to facilitate difficult change processes in the way forests and land are governed is therefore key. The Facility also showed that by being strategic in its choices, it is possible to influence national and international discussions with limited amounts of money.

Countries are starting to act on their commitments — Nationally Determined Contributions — under the Paris Agreement on climate change. Companies are increasingly committed to zero deforestation in their supply chains. The EU is exploring ways to strengthen implementation of its action plan on illegal logging and is considering ways to increase efforts to address deforestation. Looking ahead, we see great opportunities for the Facility’s work to contribute to such progress in climate change mitigation and sustainable forest management.

This report summarises insights the Facility’s work has revealed and demonstrates some of the Facility’s key achievements in 2017.

Key insights

1. Responses to deforestation must be flexible, comprehensive and make use of market forces, including trade and finance

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to deforestation. Sufficient flexibility is needed to adapt trade, climate and investment policies to different contexts, while serving EU and producer country goals of reducing deforestation and using forests to limit climate change. Addressing forest conversion requests action on many fronts, including clear and enforced legal frameworks, land-use planning, monitoring/transparency systems, and incentives for sustainable practices and investments. No single approach has the answer, but when different instruments come together, they offer potential for change.

2. Key actors in producer and consumer countries are seeing how global supply chain transparency can help them to deliver on zero-deforestation commitments

An increasing number of companies recognise that meeting commitments to deforestation-free commodity production is inherently linked to collective action and collaboration with local governments. They are seeing the need for monitoring and verification at the municipal or departmental level, understanding the limits of farm level certification to achieve net positive impact in deforestation hotspots, and realising the challenge of scaling this up in all relevant forest-risk supply chains within the timeframe needed.

While public funding needs to be redirected to ensure that the enabling environment for sustainable agriculture is in place, agro-commodity companies need to lead the investments into structural changes in their supply-chains. Innovative partnerships between the forest and agricultural sectors can play a key role in ensuring that both sectors reach their commitments.

Lessons from FLEGT VPA experiences can assist efforts to define the enabling environment stakeholders need to put in place to make zero-deforestation production and related trade a reality.

3. Understanding the volume and nature of investments impacting land-use contributes to the coherent implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement on climate change

Countries need to critically assess their land-use spending and investments, as well as existing financial mechanisms and incentives. This will help them to increase the efficiency of spending, improve coherence and mainstream their climate objectives. It will help them to identify needs and build stronger cases for international support, as well as to leverage domestic public funds and private sector financing.

It will become increasingly essential for countries to be able to demonstrate the added-value and leverage effect that international public finance, such as the Green Climate Fund, can play in their investment strategies, and to design or improve efficient financing mechanisms which can unlock sustainable private investments.

A paradigm shift in smallholder financing and support will be needed if the private sector and governments are to achieve their zero-deforestation commitments. Incentive mechanisms, such as payments for environmental services in Côte d’Ivoire, are needed to help smallholders meet additional costs incurred in the transition towards more sustainable practices.

4. Cross-sectoral political dialogues among all land-use stakeholders need to be sustained beyond REDD+ strategy elaboration

REDD+ investment strategies and the review of relevant sectoral investment and policy frameworks require cross-sectoral dialogue and political support. Transitioning from the readiness to the investment phase of REDD+ can require changes in a country’s institutional arrangements and responsibilities for REDD+ coordination. These changes should be anticipated and discussed in a participatory and transparent way in order to ensure continuity of national and international investments made during the readiness phase.

Key Facility achievements in 2017

The Facility’s key achievements in each of its three strategic areas include the following:

1. Building institutions and incentives for improving land-use governance

  • In the Republic of the Congo, Facility work on independent monitoring of REDD+ safeguards and broader land-use governance brought stakeholders together to discuss and coordinate various ongoing (EU-funded) actions on both types of independent monitoring
  • In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, REDD+ implementation frameworks and funding arrangements, including the Central African Forest Initiative, have now integrated links with FLEGT, the role of independent monitoring and compliance monitoring of logging companies
  • Land-use finance mapping tools and approaches developed by the Facility are supporting REDD+ countries and their partners’ efforts to align public and private investments to land-use related objectives in these countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement on climate change

2. Improving land-tenure and land-use planning

  • In Indonesia, the Facility supported a study on implementing the national timber legality assurance system in customary forests, which produced recommendations to improve access of customary forest owners to the system
  • In Cameroon, the Facility launched a new phase of work, focusing on the consolidation of its tools to support inclusive land-use planning at municipal level (the Common Mapping Platform and the Land-use Planner) and supporting the implementation of the 2011 law on land-use planning
  • Facility presentations of the Land-use Planner to key stakeholders led to the tool being used in the Emissions Reduction Program in the Southern Plateau region of Cameroon and in the context of the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 initiative in the Republic of the Congo
  • Building on the results of the Facility´s legal analysis of land allocation and conversion in various VPA countries, and its thematic work on zero-deforestation commodities, the concept of zero illegal deforestation was clarified and the way FLEGT can address illegal conversion better understood

3. Decoupling commodity markets from deforestation

  • In Côte d’Ivoire, the negotiation of a zero-deforestation cooperation agreement between the Ministry of Agriculture and a major cocoa buyer was successfully concluded, bringing in private funds to support a territorial strategy towards zero-deforestation agriculture and forest regeneration, and piloting the use of payments for environmental services
  • In Côte d’Ivoire, results of financing models for zero-deforestation cocoa production are feeding into the discussion on scaling up of private companies’ commitments, in particular in the context of the Cocoa & Forests initiative
  • The global Trase initiative has a five-year strategy with a strong focus on servicing the needs of producer and consumer country actors working on sustainable supply chains, law enforcement, policy effectiveness and impact monitoring; understanding of how advances in global supply chain transparency can support different policy processes has progressed significantly, including among key actors in Indonesia’s palm oil sector
  • The Facility’s technical and financial support to ETFRN News 58 on zero-deforestation commitments, and a new publication on lessons from FLEGT VPA for zero-deforestation commodity approaches, informed the EU policy debate on deforestation, and enhanced stakeholders’ understanding and capacities to contribute to policy developments on deforestation and responsible commodity supply chains

Looking ahead

Countries are starting to act on their commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change, companies are increasingly committed to eliminating deforestation from supply chains and the EU is exploring options to strengthen implementation of its action plan on illegal logging and considering ways to step up efforts to address deforestation.

Over the next five years, the EU REDD Facility will support these positive trends by focusing on improved legality of land allocation, enabling sustainable land-use management and investment, and increased transparency in forest-risk commodity supply chains, the three pillars of our 2018-2022 strategy.