Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Launch of U.S. Strategy for REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation)

Special Assistant to President Obama, Joe Aldy, began the conference today by speaking about the U.S. commitment to “fast start” financing in the Copenhagen Accord. Over the fiscal year 2010-2012 we will be dedicating a billion dollars to REDD+ activities that help developing countries mitigate climate change impacts by reducing deforestation and preserving forests for their carbon sink capabilities. Other landscapes with significant mitigation potential such as peatlands and wetlands are also being addressed. This is a significant increase as compared to last year when the total budget for all adaptation measures including combating deforestation was as much as the governments current investment in deforestation. Even though this is an increase, compared to previous years, it certainly does not meet the true financial needs to prevent the loss of the crucial services that forests provide.

The benefits that REDD+ activities provide not only work to reduce emissions but also to encourage sustainable development, improvement of quality of life, and economic growth. The US strategy for REDD+ bases itself on three main objectives. The first of these objectives is architecture, which supports policies and programs that advance the coordination and precision of REDD+ efforts. The second objective is readiness, implementing programs that act on scale that can significantly reduce emissions and meet ambitious mitigation commitments. Investments pertaining to the third objective, demonstration, identify and implement the best practices for achieving a decrease in deforestation emissions.

Joe Aldy addressed the need for the U.S. to partner with governments and organizations in smarter, more efficient ways as well as shift from higher to lower carbon economic strategies. We must also scale up forest carbon monitoring and ensure that this process remains as transparent as possible.

Patrick Smith from USAID, outlined REDD+ projects that are being pursued in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Guyana, Mexico, Indonesia, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Cambodia, Uganda, Zambia, and Gabon. USAID’s regional development mission in Asian countries has had considerable success in the past few years bolstering sustainable forest management and readying it for REDD+ actions.

There is much that still needs to be done, such as strengthening efforts in working with protecting the forest and native lands of indigenous people in the U.S. as well as in developing countries, and gaining more funding to begin making substantial strides for combating deforestation and mitigating impacts of climate change. It is hopeful however, that our country is beginning to address the importance of these issues by helping other countries take action.

Another Joint Post by Garth and Nelson

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