Looking Ahead

The UN Secretary-General Climate Summit

The United Nations Secretary-General is convening the Climate Action Summit on 23 September 2019 to mobilize political and economic actors at the highest levels. The summit will aim to boost ambition and accelerate actions to implement the Paris Agreement goals and to demonstrate transformative action in the real economy in support of these goals. In preparation for the summit, the UN Secretary-General has identified nine areas of work around which coalitions have been established.

The nine interdependent coalitions identified as having high potential to curb greenhouse gas emissions and increase global action on adaptation and resilience are: Nature-based Solutions (NBS); Climate Finance and Carbon Pricing; Energy Transition; Industry Transition; Infrastructure, Cities and Local Action; Resilience and Adaptation; Mitigation; Social and Political Drivers; and Youth and Public Mobilization. With regard to NBS, this workstream broadly comprises forests and other terrestrial ecosystems; ocean ecosystems and other water resources; agriculture, food production and supply chains; and factoring nature into development. The UN-REDD Programme provides an important platform in the forests and climate space and is supporting the work of the NBS workstream.

A key milestone for the summit will be the preparatory stocktaking meeting taking place from 30 June to 1 July 2019 in Abu Dhabi, where progress will be reviewed to enable the most ambitious and transformative outcomes to be featured at the summit. The proposition for NBS will make the case for the key role that nature can play, in conjunction with the eight other summit workstreams.

It is expected that the propositions will be supported by world leaders at the summit and then followed up beyond the summit, through the climate CoPs and other processes.

UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

In a landmark agreement, the UN General Assembly designated the period 2021–2030 as the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. This reflects the increased importance that ecosystem restoration in general and forest restoration in particular can play in contributing nature-based solutions to climate change. There is growing consensus that nature-based mitigation can achieve more than one third of the mitigation needed in the next decade.

In addition to avoiding forest loss and degradation, investments in forest restoration and enhancement of carbon stocks are not only REDD+ activities but also two of the most cost-efficient options for sequestering carbon and providing multiple non-carbon benefits.

UN-REDD has an important role to play in making the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration a success, having accumulated more than 10 years of experience on key matters related to REDD+ activities (national strategies; legal issues; MRV; FRELS; safeguards; finance) and built a first-class in-house technical team in the process. It has also gained a reputation as an impartial adviser and broker, which has allowed it to successfully bring together a variety of stakeholders. Equally important, UNREDD has demonstrated that it has the capacity to achieve high delivery rates and meet work-programme milestones.

The scale required to reduce carbon emissions by a third will demand new approaches to technical support, innovative models for implementation on the ground and the facilitation of large volumes of both public and private finance. During 2019 and 2020, UNREDD will engage in consultations with partners and stakeholders and define options to support the goals of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

Concluding remarks

After an intense year providing technical assistance to nine REDD+ countries, as well as supporting many more countries through knowledge management across a wide range of defining themes for the REDD+ agenda, critical times lie ahead for the UN-REDD Programme.

On 23 September 2019, the United Nations Secretary-General will convene a Climate Action Summit in New York City with the aim of catalysing concrete and scalable action by countries, sectors and civil society to accelerate climate change mitigation efforts. The UN-REDD Programme is supporting the work of the co-facilitators on the Nature-based Solutions work stream, building on the experience and partnerships of the programme. The Climate Action Summit provides a unique opportunity to reaffirm the role of forests as a key climate solution, and the programme will apply its policy skills, technical expertise and knowledge to this end. The UN-REDD Programme partnership stands ready to support the realization of a successful Climate Action Summit and the follow-up of its outcomes.

In light of the growing importance of climate action and upcoming opportunities, the UN-REDD Programme has also been reflecting on its lessons learned, successes, focus and niche looking towards the post-2020 horizon. In consultation with our partner countries, civil society stakeholders and indigenous peoples’ leaders, the UNREDD Programme will continue to work to define a portfolio that is relevant and catalytic to the nature-based solutions presented at the Climate Action Summit and, more broadly, to progress that partner countries are making under the UNFCCC. As reflected in this report, the programme’s global knowledge capture and dissemination, capacity-building and technical assistance are yielding encouraging results for partner countries and stakeholders. These results provide the basis to inspire the future of the UN-REDD Programme as a catalyst for action and a source of innovation for forests and climate.

This report is made possible through support from Denmark, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the European Union.