African cities ought to cut climate emissions to zero

03Oct 2020
The Guardian
African cities ought to cut climate emissions to zero

In 2018 eight cities  from Accra to Dar es Salaam   pledged to deliver their share of emissions cuts needed to meet global targets to limit climate change .Africa is sometimes better known for its vulnerability to climate change than its action on the problem - but a set-

-of African cities intend to change that.

The United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (or UN-REDD Programme) is a collaborative programme of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), created in 2008.

The overall development goal of the programme is  to reduce forest emissions and enhance carbon stocks in forests while contributing to national sustainable development. The UN-REDD programme supports nationally led REDD+ processes and promotes the informed and meaningful involvement of all stakeholders, including indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities, in national and international REDD+ implementation.  

The Programme has expanded steadily since its establishment and now has over 60 official partner countries spanning Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America-Caribbean. In addition to the UN-REDD Programme, other initiatives assisting countries that are engaged in REDD+ include the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative, the Global Environment Facility, Australia’s International Forest Carbon Initiative, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, and the Green Climate Fund.

Uganda has become the first African country to submit results for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

REDD+ is a mechanism developed by the parties to the UNFCCC to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. The results submission to the UNFCCC has paved the way for potential results-based payments to the country, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Results-based payments comprise the final REDD+ phase. It provides financial incentives to developing countries that prove they stopped deforestation during a certain period of time. This is done through rigorous UN-backed technical evaluations.

Uganda claimed it reduced emissions by 8,070,694 tonnes of carbon dioxide for 2015-2017 in a document prepared by its Ministry of Water and Environment, the REDD+ Secretariat and National Forestry Authority.

One concern was that Uganda’s forested area could have disappeared within the coming century, if deforestation was not reigned in. The country’s forest cover had depleted to 8 per cent from 24 per cent in the 1990s, largely attributed to human encroachment, including for charcoal, timber and agriculture.The document submitted by the government will help Uganda receive funds through the Green Climate Fund’s forest conservation scheme.

In 2017, Uganda presented its first forest reference emission level of historical average emissions from deforestation between 2000 and 2015 as required under measurement, reporting and verification for REDD+ activities.

The REDD+ strategy, launched in 2017, included developing plans and options for forest management to reduce carbon emissions and maintain valuable ecosystem services such as biodiversity, water supply, soil protection and wealth creation for sustainable livelihoods.

Uganda then decided to assess the country’s performance in reducing emissions for 2015-17 and to further improve estimates of forest change and associated emission factors.

The submission of the results are a significant development on REDD+ for Africa, said the FAO.

This will encourage other African countries to reduce carbon emissions by decreasing deforestation and forest degradation. Achieving REDD+ results in the continent is challenging, as there are other development priorities — with agriculture, mining, energy and forestry — driving deforestation, according to the FAO. Africa had the greatest annual rate of net forest loss, at 3.9 million ha, across the world in this decade.  

Supporting African countries through all three REDD+ phases   readiness, implementation and result-based actions   by providing tools and analysis of how to design, implement and measure the results of REDD+ action is key to reversing these trends. This will, in turn, position Africa as the forest champion of the next decade

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