Global Symposium discusses the integration of REDD+ into Green Economy

Linking REDD+ with green economy efforts is delivering benefits beyond climate change mitigation. See, for example, the blog ‘Can REDD make Africa greener?‘ The role of forests and land use is becoming increasingly important in the discussions regarding the transition to a Green Economy. Over the past 3 years, the UN-REDD Programme has developed a body of work on ensuring that REDD+ and a Green Economy transformation are mutually reinforcing, based on pilot activities in a number of partner countries. The World Agroforestry Centre and UN-REDD+ are cooperating in a project to and raise public awareness of the green economy, sustainable land use and REDD sustainable forest management.
As part of this work, the Government of Indonesia, the UN-REDD Programme and the World Agroforestry Centre, in partnership with the United Nations Office for REDD+ Coordination in Indonesia (UNORCID), the Global Green Growth Institute and the Overseas Development Institute, convened a global symposium (19-21 June) which reflected on lessons learned during these pilot activities, with the aim of giving key decision makers a better business case for protecting and restoring forests, and a more informed basis for linking REDD+ planning and investments with green economy efforts.
The Symposium opened on 19 June 2013 with welcoming remarks from Mr. Satya Tripathi, Director of UNORCID, followed by opening remarks by H.E. Dr. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, Head of the President’s Delivery Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight (UKP4) and Chair of National REDD+ Task Force in Indonesia; H.E. Prof. Dr. Emil Salim, Chairman of the President’s Advisory Council, Government of Indonesia; and H.E. Stig Ingemar Traavik, Norwegian Ambassador to Indonesia.
“I am confident that with the wealth and strength of each of your experiences and commitment, we can, together, further strengthen REDD+’ role in catalysing greeen growth efforts, and begin to offer a clearer pathway to a more prosperous, equitable, and green world,” said Mr. Tripathi in his welcoming remarks.
Highlighting the need for green growth, resulting from by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 41 percent from business-as-usual levels with international support by the year 2020, whilst achieving annual GDP growth of 7%, Dr. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto stressed that Indonesia, from the beginning, has framed REDD+ within a context of broader sustainable development conversations and prospective interventions.  “REDD+ has and continues to be a mechanism to catalyse and complement conversations that simultaneously support Indonesia’s four development agendas: pro-growth, pro-poor, pro-jobs, and pro-environment,” added Dr. Kuntoro.
In providing an international perspective on the Green Economy concept, Fulai Sheng, UNEP Green Economy Team, stated that “sustainable development is the over-arching destination…Green economy is the vehicle to reach that sustainable development destination”. He also emphasised that in the implementation process taken up by governments “REDD should be considered as a development scheme, not merely a payment scheme”.
The symposium also discussed on further momentum required from the private sector to ensure REDD+ is successfully linked with green growth efforts. Iain Henderson, UNEP Finance Initiative, discussed how private sector engagement can be scaled up in the implementation and financing of REDD+. He stated that private sector engagement is “an opportunity to channel investments so that it delivers REDD+ and green growth outcomes”.
“REDD+ and a green economy are one and the same thing. For our project, we sell the forest ecosytem services to investors as part of a green economy transition,” said Nigel Turvey, CEO of KeepTheHabitat, a private company aiming to restore 800,000 hectares of rainforests in Sulawesi, benefiting over one million people, displaying the private sectors intention in taking up the challenge.
Dr. Ir. Rr. Endah Murniningtyas, Deputy Minister of Planning/Head for Natural Resources and Environment at the National Development Planning Agency, provided reflections on Indonesia’s lessons learned through its REDD+ experience to-date. “Indonesia has mainstreamed sustainable development into the national development plan,” said Dr. Endah, referring to Indonesia’s experience in mainstreaming global development initiatives such as the MDGs. Given the decentralised governance system of Indonesia, posing a challenge to the implementation of the National Sustainable Development Action Plan, Dr. Endah explained that the national government is working with provincial governments to synchronise national action plans with local action plans in order to reduce emissions while maintaining development levels.
On the second day of the global symposium, which will be held on 20 June, three working groups will be established to discuss supporting measures required at the national level to ensure the successful integration of REDD+ into a green economy, the requirements from a research and development perspective, specifically identifying key knowledge gaps for making a stronger business case for REDD+ in a Green Economy, and the deliberations on the factors effecting the successful coordination of efforts to align REDD+ with Green Economy linkages.
Key recommendations on the relevant issues discussed by the working groups will be submitted to the plenary meeting tomorrow. The final report from the Symposium and all of the presentations will be available at'

Paul Stapleton

Paul Stapleton is the Head of Communications at the World Agroforestry Centre.

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