Just over 5% of Pakistan’s total land area is covered by forests and planted trees, and every year, the country loses about 27,000 ha of forests. The country faces accelerated deforestation and forest degradation driven primarily by rising population and associated wood demands, and weak governance of land and forest tenure.
Pakistan initiated REDD+ activities in 2010 to mitigate climate change through reduced carbon emissions from the forestry sector. Pakistan received REDD+ Readiness financial support from the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) of the World Bank for readiness preparations amounting to USD 7.814 million.
Brief History of REDD+
REDD+ was officially included in the UNFCCC agenda at the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) in Montreal in 2005. The “plus” was in the Bali Action Plan (COP13) in 2007, emphasizing the conservation and sustainable management of forests, and the enhancement of carbon stocks. Modalities, guidance, and methods for parties were addressed at COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009 with the definition of the five REDD+ activities and forest reference emission levels/forest reference levels (FRELs/RELs) in Cancun (COP16) and adopted the “Framework for REDD+” in Warsaw (COP19) in 2013. The Warsaw Framework is particularly important as it established how REDD+ would be implemented by setting:
- The work program on results-based finance
- Coordination of support for implementation
- Modalities for country level forest monitoring
- Guidelines and procedures for the technical assessment of FRELs/RELs; and
- Modalities for Monitoring, Reporting and Verification
The 2015 Paris Agreement gave strong recognition to REDD+ through Article 5, by stating that parties should act to conserve and enhance forest carbon sinks by implementing and supporting policy approaches and incentives for REDD+. Decision 1/CP.21 (2015), paragraph 55 of the Paris Agreement emphasizes the importance of financial resources for REDD+ activities. Financial sources and coordination can include public and private, bilateral, and multilateral sources. Globally, deforestation contributes between 17% and 20% to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (IPCC, 2007).
The Paris Agreement aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise this century to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the Agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change. To reach these ambitious goals, appropriate financial flows, a new technology framework, and an enhanced capacity-building framework will be put in place, thus supporting action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries, in line with their own national objectives. The Agreement also provides for enhanced transparency of action and support through a more robust transparency framework.
REDD+ Progress in Pakistan
In Pakistan, REDD+ is an important component supporting the National Climate Change Policy, National Development Vision 2025, and the National Forest Policy. These components and specifically the preparation of the National REDD+ Strategy (NRS). To date, Pakistan has gone through the REDD+ readiness process and completed activities under the four thematic components of:
- Readiness Consultation and Organization,
- Preparation of National REDD+ Strategy,
- Preparation of Forest Reference Emission Level
- Formulation of the National Forest Monitoring System and Safeguard Information System.
The next steps include operationalization of the NRS, resources, or finance mobilization along with building necessary institutional and stakeholder capacity. This proposal outlines a REDD+ capacity-building program based on the UN-REDD academy and other forms.
What is Next?
Considerable technical capacity exists at the national and sub-national level in the various thematic areas but additional capacity is required to operate the NRS and mainstreaming of REDD+ across the different sectors. Some key relevant areas where capacity may be further developed include:
- Identifying, screening and developing climate change projects, including developing the climate change rationale for projects supported by climate change logic models to address deforestation and forest degradation and developing reference levels.
- Understanding REDD+ linkages between sectoral development objectives and Pakistan climate change policies, targets and action plans.
- Accessing and engaging with international public climate finance funders, including the GCF but also co-financiers for GCF projects such as bilateral and multilateral funders.
- Preparation of GCF funding proposals including the GCF’s results areas and investment criteria.
- Improved tracking of climate finance, including considering integrating a climate change marker into the Official Development Assistance Management Information System being developed by MPI.
- Enhancing inter-sector and inter-agency dialogues and coordination on climate resilience, mitigation and climate-related disaster risk reduction.
- Enhanced planning of the technical assistance and capacity building required to deliver paradigm shift in priority sectors.
First, there is a need for capacity building and the preferred themes are as follows in line with the UN-REDD academy format. In this context a training conducted by IUCN (from 21st to 25th February 2022) covering the following aspects:
|Drivers of Deforestation and Degradation (DFDD)||In the context of REDD+, ‘drivers’ are actions and processes that result in deforestation and forest degradation. Understanding the key drivers is important for several reasons and particularly critical for the development of national REDD+ strategies and/or action plans and the formulation of policies and measures.|
|REDD+ National Strategies and Action Plans (NS/AP||UNFCCC provisions on REDD+ National Strategies and Action Plans (NS/AP); analyzing and addressing the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation; the purpose and content of, and process of designing an NS/AP; the institutional framework and national capacities that need to be in place for REDD+ readiness and implementation processes to unfold in an effective and equitable manner.|
|Forest Reference Emission Levels (FREL)||The development of national Reference Emission Levels, including how to establish and communicate the reference emission levels and/or forest reference levels under the UNFCCC.|
|Policies and Measures (PAMs)||PAMs can be understood as actions taken and/or mandated by the government. In the context of climate change, PAMs can guide actions to mitigate climate change by reducing the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere and enhancing removals of atmospheric carbon. In the context of REDD+, PAMs aims to guide the implementation of REDD+ activities (emissions reductions and/or removals), as decided by a country, potentially in combination with other objectives (such as integrated rural development and sectoral transformation).|
|REDD+ Finance||In order to receive results-based payments/finance, a country needs to tackle the direct and underlying drivers of deforestation and identify what are the best incentive structures and response measures at the national (or sub-national) level. The broader perspective of REDD+ finance includes understanding and addressing the economic and financial drivers that currently contribute to deforestation, as well as assessing the effect of (changing) deforestation rates on gross domestic product.|
|Approaches for Allocation of Incentives||The pros and cons of different approaches regarding distribution or investment of carbon finance; the positive development outcomes triggered by performance-based management in the forest and related sectors; the role of national incentive frameworks to address drivers of detestation (including taxation, subsidies, and trade); the role of forest-related reforms and investments to shape a more sustainable and equitable development pathway; the use of prospective models, to support policy decisions towards the green economy; the potential of generating green jobs through forest-related interventions; and the types of forest/land-related investments that can trigger positive spill-over effects on the economy and help reduce inequalities.|
|Good Governance||Principles of credible and inclusive national governance for REDD+ implementation; the legal and policy provisions that need to be in place for REDD+ results-based actions; the role of anti-corruption, rule of law, transparency and accountability, and other good governance measures in the success of reforms and investments in forest-related sectors; the importance of and differences between ownership of land (tenure) and access and use rights to forests and forest goods and services; the main elements of land tenure and the importance of secure land tenure in the context of REDD+.|
The training is to provide relevant staff and stakeholders on technical areas and broad skills in the mainstreaming and implementation of REDD+. The focus is on upskilling the capacity in relation to the identified capacity development areas, across a number of the broad priority areas in NRS but in the context of the country´s national climate change strategy, obligations under the UNFCCC specifically the Paris Agreement.
The 7 Modules listed in the table above will be covered but with a more forward-looking focus to prepare participants for effective engagement and formulation of bankable programs and projects.