Advances in monitoring and reporting forest emissions and removals in the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Advances in monitoring and reporting forest emissions and removals in the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)1 2
Marieke Sandker and Till Neeff, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Italy
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Summary of UNFCCC FREL/FRLs
- 3 Summary of REDD+ results reported to the UNFCCC
- 4 Outlook: what's next on MRV for forests?
- 5 References
1.1 REDD+ under the UNFCCC and sustainable forest management
The landmark Paris Agreement on climate change, adopted by the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015, recognizes forests as important sources and sinks of greenhouse gases. It includes reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) as one of the strategies for increasing the carbon- sink capacity of forests and reducing their emissions.
The world's tropical forests store vast amounts of carbon. Conserving and sustainably managing these forests, therefore, must be a global priority, not only for achieving sustainable development goal (SDG) 15 ('sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation,
- 1 This chapter is closely based on FAO's recent Forestry Working Paper 9 From Reference Levels to Results Reporting: REDD+ Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Available at: http://www.fa0.0rg/d ocuments/card/en/c/ca6031 en. This publication was made possible through support from the UN-REDD Programme at FAO, with financial contributions from the governments of Denmark. Japan, Luxembourg. Norway. Spain. Switzerland and the European Union.
- 2 The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors) and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
http://dx.d01.0rg/l 0.19103/AS.2020.0074.28 Published by Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing Limited. 2021.
and halt biodiversity loss'), but crucially also for SDG 13 ('take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts').
Many countries are making progress in developing REDD+ National Strategies and/or Action Plans, developing and submitting REDD+ Forest Reference (Emission) Levels (FREL/FRLs) and submitted REDD+ results to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for technical assessment.
1.2 Forest monitoring and reporting for REDD+ through FREL/FRL and REDD+ results submissions
Countries use their national forest monitoring systems (NFMS) to measure REDD+ results, mostly including data from national forest inventories and satellite land-monitoring systems. Countries report on REDD+ results through FREL/FRL submissions and the REDD+ results' annexes (the latter are contained in dedicated annexes to Biennial Update Reports (BUR)). These undergo technical assessments and technical analyses.
Countries voluntarily submit FREL/FRLs to the UNFCCC for technical assessment (ТА). In doing so, they may apply for results-based payments under the financing mechanism of the UNFCCC (Green Climate Fund). The UNFCCC provides guidelines and modalities through its Conference of the Parties (COP) decisions for FREL7FRL construction (Fig. 1). The ТА will evaluate the extent to which the FREL/FRL submission is in line with the guidelines contained in the relevant COP decisions. Once a ТА has been completed, countries can submit REDD+ results in an annex to their BURs for technical analysis (Fig. 3).
Preceding FAO publications (2015a, 2017, 2018a) provide more detailed explanation of UNFCCC guidance and modalities for FREL/FRL and REDD+ results submissions.
Figure 1 Measurement, reporting and verification for REDD+, and the most relevant decisions of the UNFCCC.
1.3 Status of FREL/FRL and REDD+ results submissions
As of March 2019, 39 countries had submitted 45 FREL/FRLs to the UNFCCC, comprising 12 countries in Africa, 13 in Asia and the Pacific and 14 in Latin America and the Caribbean (Fig. 2). Collectively, the countries that submitted their FRELVFRLs to the UNFCCC are home to a forest area of approximately 1.49 billion ha (37% of the global forest area) and contribute to around 70% of global forest area loss. Those countries that submitted REDD+ results to the UNFCCC subsequent to the FREL7FRL submission, collectively account for a forest area of 744 million ha (19% of the global forest area) and total around 35% of global forest area loss. For the 45 FREL7FRL submissions, 37 ТА reports had been published by June 2019.
Eleven submissions of REDD+ results were included in the technical annexes of the BURs of eight countries. Of these, technical analyses were completed on five submissions by early July 2019 as part of the international consultation and analysis (ICA) process (Fig. 3).
Four countries have submitted FREL/FRLs more than once (see Section 2.1). Brazil and Colombia submitted more than one technical annex with REDD+ results. Brazil submitted results in its biennial update report (BUR) 1,2 and 3 for three reporting periods for the Amazon region, and results for the Cerrado region in BUR 3. Colombia submitted results for two reporting periods for the Colombian Amazon.
-  The 39 countries comprised of 25% of the UNFCCC's 154 non-Annex I countries (Annex 1 includes the industrializedcountries that were members of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) in 1992.plus countries with economies in transition (EIT Parties), including the Russian Federation, the Baltic States, andseveral Central and Eastern European countries).
-  Forest area and forest area loss estimates are derived from FRA2015 (FAO, 2015c); the estimates are not based onforest area or deforestation estimates in the FREL/FRL submissions since these are not consistently reported in theFREL7FRL submissions. For subnational FREL/FRL submissions the national areas are considered. Global forest arealoss refers to the sum of net loss of forest area at country level, to which the FREL/FRL and REDD+ results-submittingcountries contributed 73% and 39%, respectively, in 1990-2015, and 69% and 34%, respectively, in 2000-2015.
-  Brazil's latest BUR contains a technical annex with REDD+ results for the Amazon (2016-2017) and a technical annexwith REDD+ results for the Cerrado (2011-2017). which here is considered as one REDD+ results submission.