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After Paris, Quick and Strategic Knowledge is Needed to Translate Forest-based Climate Change Mitigation Plans into Action on the Ground

Werner Kornexl

This blog post was submitted by Werner L.Kornexl, Sr. Natural Resources Management Specialist and Program Manager for PROFOR

At the close of the Paris climate meetings, 186 countries had published plans for reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Not surprisingly, forests figure prominently in the final Paris agreement and in many countries’ roadmaps. For instance, Mexico has set a goal of zero deforestation by 2030, and the Democratic Republic of Congo aims to plant 3 million hectares of forest by 2025. This highlights that forest relevant targets will become critical for the success of this agreement.

If these plans are to be translated into action on the ground, quick and effective delivery of knowledge, innovation, and best practice on how to slow deforestation, better manage forests, and restore degraded lands is needed to inform concrete action. Knowledge and tools can help governments to understand and get the fundamentals of the forest sector – governance, land tenure and access, financing, and management practices – right. Stakeholders must also understand and navigate the interlinkages between competing demands for food, energy, land, and natural resources within a complex political economy.

Over more than a decade, PROFOR has developed those innovative knowledge, tools and instruments that can help governments and partners address these complex and thorny issues. PROFOR equips governments and development practitioners with just-in-time analytical tools and information to understand multifaceted forest sector dynamics, inform better forest policies and practices, and manage trade-offs across sectors.

For example, PROFOR has been providing guidance on how to understand political economy issues in the forest sector, how to approach participatory governance assessments, how to crowd in trees in agricultural practices, and how to access finance to promote sustainable forest management. PROFOR currently supports client countries in exploring priorities and emerging opportunities by providing in depth analysis in areas such as the potential for reforestation in Colombia and Mozambique, provision of public data on deforestation in Indonesia, clarifying forest and land tenure policy in Central American Countries, and assisting with planning across mining and other sectors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Increasingly, PROFOR is also contributing to understanding how forests contribute to climate adaptation and providing tools to help respond to the anticipated impacts of climate change. For example, an Integrated Decision and Policy Support Tool for policy makers developed by PROFOR helped empower policy makers and the agriculture sector in Brazil to undertake the adaptation necessary to cope with projected climate change. The tool helped decision makers balance complex tradeoffs for land use and development goals.

PROFOR’s recent work on How Forests Contribute to Climate Adaptation highlights the benefits that investing in forests can deliver in terms of ecosystem resilience, and the potential cost of not taking action today to reverse deforestation and ensure forest resources are well managed. It also makes clear the importance of policies and practices that promote good governance and assure the rights of the forest-dependent poor.

In Honduras PROFOR found that an investment of $4.2 million for a water management plan that would restore and manage forests outside Tegucigalpa would bring a return between $28 million and $76 million to the national water utility. In Laos, PROFOR found that smallholder farmers with access to forests for livestock grazing and other means of livelihood could, in times of trouble, sell their livestock and get by for 3.6 years at the same level of their current income. In contrast, households in villages without such access to forests and a greater reliance on cash income would only be able to get by for 12 -14 months after selling their livestock.

Making Benefit Sharing Arrangements Work for Forest-Dependent Communities toolkit informs the design of benefit sharing arrangements (for REDD and other applications) by offering practical guidance on how to identify and work with beneficiaries when rights are unclear, clarifying how mechanisms that transfer benefits are structured, and helping identify which mechanism type may be most suited for a country’s context via an Options Assessment Framework (OAF) tool. Mexico recently used the OAF to develop a benefit-sharing roadmap.

Looking forward, PROFOR will continue to develop and disseminate innovative knowledge and solutions for the forest sector, but increasingly collaborating with other sectors to improve integrated forest outcomes. Initial work will look at the wood-energy nexus, fostering sustainable agriculture supply chains, the role of forests in poverty reduction and economic development and what regulatory support forest based SMEs would need to excel. In partnership with our host organization, the World Bank, governments and partner organizations we will be working quickly to get new knowledge into practice to help countries translate their INDCs into implementation on the ground.



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Last Updated : 12-19-2016