UNDP Climate & Forests’ Five Key Takeaways from the UN Climate Action Summit

Author: 
Tim Clairs and Elspeth Halverson

26 September 2019

1. Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) are recognized and legitimate mitigation measures, necessary to keeping global temperature rise below the Paris Agreement target of 2 degrees C. According to the Summit’s NBS Coalition, co-led by China and New Zealand, nature-based solutions have the potential to remove up to 12 GtCO2e per year, while also building climate resilience, supporting vital ecosystem services, and adding approximately US$2.3 trillion in productive growth to the global economy. Forests alone can provide a massive mitigation potential of over 5 GtCO2e per year through reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and large-scale carbon removal through sustainable forest management, conservation and restoration (REDD+).

2. REDD+ is effectively recognized as a climate mitigation strategy for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement. Mitigation measures contained in current NDCs are inadequate to bridge the emission gap to reach the Paris Agreement target by 2030. For a 2-degree limit to warming, the total emissions gap from current conditional NDCs is 13 GtCO2e by 2030; for a 1.5 degrees limit, the gap is 29 GtCO2e. Strongly increased forest action is therefore a critical measure to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, at scale, to close the emissions gap prior to 2030.

3. Forest emissions reductions are recognized as “market ready” with the establishment of the Emergent Forest Finance Accelerator to connect buyers with high-integrity emission reduction credits and jurisdictional-level REDD+ programs with long term guaranteed demand, and the approval of the California Tropical Forest Standard and the development of the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART)/ The REDD+ Environmental Excellency Standard (TREES) – rigorous methodologies to assess, quantify, monitor, report and verify of emission reductions from REDD+ activities at a jurisdictional and national scale.

4. High Forest Low Deforestation (HFLD) countries are recognized for their contribution to the fight against climate change, with the establishment of the Forests4Life Partnership focused on protecting the world’s most important forests for the combined goal of meeting global climate, biodiversity and sustainable development targets, and with the landmark USD $150 million agreement between Norway and Gabon, via CAFI, that for the first time rewards an African country for the value of preserved forests.

5. Sub-national jurisdictions are recognized as key actors in the implementation of REDD+ and low emissions sustainable development pathways. To mark the 5th Anniversary of the New York Declaration on Forests, the Governors from the Amazon Basin states Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Madre de Dios, and Mato Grosso reaffirmed their commitments to the conservation and sustainable use of their region by current and future generations and to the region’s contribution to climate balance, calling on the international community to continue its support for the effort.