Forest Trends releases report on the geography of REDD+ finance

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Forest Trends have released a new report into financing for REDD+ financing for forest conservation projects via their Reddx initiative.

Read the full text of the release and download the report from Forest Trends website.

The nearly $6 billion pledged to forest conservation in ten key countries under the UN program Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) is successfully targeting nations and provinces with high levels of deforestation and associated carbon emissions, according to a new report by Forest Trends, a non-profit group that tracks global forest developments.

These findings, from the most comprehensive analysis to date of the “geography” of REDD+ funding, are a major boost for a program that many conservationists consider critical to global efforts to curb deforestation, which is a significant contributor to climate change.

“Our findings show that donors and REDD+ country governments are successfully targeting forest conservation finance to reach the places most in need of assistance in tackling deforestation. The evidence also suggests that countries and provinces with a higher capacity to put this funding to effective use are receiving more funding than comparable regions with similar deforestation problems but lower governance capacity,” said Brian Schaap, REDDX Senior Program Associate.

The research by Forest Trends’ REDDX (REDD eXpenditures) initiative is the first of its kind, combining detailed information on REDD+ finance flows with forest cover, deforestation, and emissions data from the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Global Forest Watch (GFW) satellite monitoring system.

The analysis, “The Geography of REDD+ Finance: Deforestation, Emissions, and the Targeting of Forest Conservation Finance,” covers REDD+ financing tracked from 2009 to mid-2016 and forest-loss statistics from 2001 to 2014, the last year for which complete forest-loss data is available. It identifies and tracks nearly $6 billion in total finance that has been committed or pledged to support REDD+ programs across 10 countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia-Pacific.

Key findings of the new report show:

• In general, REDD+ finance is being targeted to those countries and provinces demonstrating strong political commitment to tropical forest protection, as indicated by their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) and other policies such as low-carbon development plans.

• REDD+ finance at both the national and subnational level strongly correlates to emissions and forest loss, although the details of that relationship differ across countries.

• Overall, our findings suggest that donors may be prioritizing REDD+ finance toward areas facing acute deforestation pressures, where it is needed most, rather than equally targeting all areas with high forest cover.

• Larger countries with greater forest area, deforestation, and emissions from deforestation received more total REDD+ funding—but less funding per ton of emissions—than smaller countries with less forest cover, loss, and emissions. However, differences in governance and implementation capacity may also play a role. For example, Mexico, Brazil, and Peru received more funding than predicted by their forest loss and emissions, while Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Ghana received less. • Individual provinces that have demonstrated high levels of commitment and capacity are more often participating in jurisdictional REDD+ (J-REDD) programs, such as the Governors’ Climate and Forest Task Force (GCF), the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Carbon Fund, and the BioCarbon Fund’s Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes (ISFL), and therefore tend to receive significantly more funding per hectare of forest cover, forest cover loss, and ton of emissions than provinces not in these J-REDD pipelines.

• However, provinces and regions facing civil conflict or with weak governance and political institutions often receive comparatively less funding, even in the presence of high deforestation rates. The report makes the following policy recommendations: • Additional economic incentives are needed to continue the progress of REDD+. • More money is needed to counter uneven distribution at the subnational level.

• There are significant fixed costs of initiating REDD+ programs which require policy recognition and planning. • Interested jurisdictions need to get involved to receive significant finance. • Continuing donor coordination will be important to direct public REDD+ finance where it is most needed. For more information, read the full report and visit reddx.forest-trends.org.