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REDD+ Technical Group Re-strategizes on Reduction of Emission

-From Deforestation

A group comprising of state and non-state actors under the banner of the REDD+ Technical Working Group (RTWG), has concluded a retreat in Ganta, Nimba County which restructured the terms of reference (ToR) to enable them effectively perform the leadership role in the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation process in the country, a release said. The three days retreat runs from July 12 to 13, 2018.

REED+ is the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. It is an effort to create a financial value for carbon stored in forests. It offers incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon path to sustainable development.

Deforestation and forest degradation are the second leading cause of global warming responsible for about 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, which makes the loss and depletion of forests a major issue for climate change.

Liberia has developed its REDD+ strategy and is accelerating the implementation of remaining REDD+ readiness activities.

RTWG was established in 2009 with the aim of leading REDD+ policy coordination among different stakeholders across the country to support achievement of the goal of the REDD+ process in Liberia.

According to a release, the group significantly contributed to the drafting of the Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP), preparation and submission of the Liberia’s Readiness Plan Idea Note (R-PIN) and the development of Liberia’s National REDD+ and several other REDD+ policy initiatives.

A facilitator Urias Goll, said the retreat is a follow-up to last December’s meeting in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, which proposed the revising of the organization’s ToR so that it reflects the kind of technical policy coordination support needed in this phase of Liberia’s REDD+ process.

Goll said the forum will review proposals on revisions needed in the group’s ToR as well review proposals on restructured membership of the organization to ensure that all relevant stakeholders are involved.

Although the RTWG was established nine years ago, Goll said the group has not been active prior to the retreat, “and so the retreat seeks to revamp the organization.”

Goll is the former executive director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He said the retreat would also help group’s members share experiences and improve the working modalities of the RTWG.

According to him, it has been nine years since the RTWG was formed, and Liberia has achieved a lot since than in its REDD+ readiness process, especially with the National REDD+ Strategy now developed.

UN framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Focal Person, Benjamin S. Karmorh, said there shouldn’t be any reason why REDD+ process can’t work in Liberia when it is working in other nations.

He stressed the need for sustainably harvesting of Liberia’s natural resources and noted that the country is rich but its people are poor.

Karmorh underscored the need for benefit sharing and said “if we ask the people to keep their forest they need to get some incentives for not harvesting their forest.”

Members of Liberia’s forest communities depend on the forest for livelihood. Forests are used for bush meat hunting and the harvesting of medicinal plants and local construction materials among others by local communities.

On behalf of EPA’s Executive Director, Nathaniel Blama, Karmorh assured the agency’s support to the RTWG.

Liberia REDD+ Coordinator, Saah A. David, Jr. said the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) remains committed to the working of the RTWG and promised that the FDA remains supportive of the group’s work.

David assured that the country’s forest will not only be use for logging activities, but will also be used to benefit the people of forest communities and the country at large.

REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) incentives a break from historic trends of increasing deforestation rates and greenhouse gases emissions. It is a framework through which developing countries are rewarded financially for any emissions reductions achieved associated with a decrease in the conversion of forests to alternate land uses (10). Having identified current and/or projected rates of deforestation and forest degradation, a country taking remedial action to effectively reduce those rates will be financially rewarded relative to the extent of their achieved emissions reductions (11).

REDD provides a unique opportunity to achieve large-scale emissions reductions at comparatively low abatement costs (12). By economically valuing the role forest ecosystems play in carbon capture and storage, it allows intact forests to compete with historically more lucrative, alternate land uses resulting in their destruction (10).

In its infancy, REDD was first and foremost focused on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. However, in 2007 the Bali Action Plan, formulated at the thirteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-13) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), stated that a comprehensive approach to mitigating climate change should include “[policy approaches and positive incentives on issues relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries; and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries” (13). A year later, this was further elaborated on as the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks was upgraded so as to receive the same emphasis as avoided emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (14).

stands for countries’ efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

Deforestation and forest degradation are the second leading cause of global warming, responsible for about 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which makes the loss and depletion of forests a major issue for climate change. In some countries, such as Brazil and Indonesia, deforestation and forest degradation together are by far the main source of national greenhouse gas emissions. Eighty percent of the Earth’s above-ground terrestrial carbon and forty percent of below-ground terrestrial carbon is in forests. In addition to the large contribution of deforestation and forest degradation to global emissions, combating both has been identified as one of the most cost-effective ways to lower emissions.

Currently, there appears to be a consensus that the issue of deforestation and forest degradation must be effectively tackled as it would otherwise limit the options available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gas concentrations and increases in temperature to acceptable levels. Any reduction in the rate of deforestation and forest degradation has the benefit of avoiding a significant source of carbon emissions and reducing other environmental and social problems associated with deforestation.

Unlike afforestation and reforestation activities, which generally cause small annual changes in carbon stocks over long periods of time, stemming deforestation causes large changes in carbon stocks over a short period of time. Most emissions from deforestation take place rapidly, whereas carbon removal from the atmosphere through afforestation and reforestation activities is a slow process.

In addition to mitigating climate change, stopping deforestation and forest degradation and supporting sustainable forest management conserves water resources and prevents flooding, reduces run-off, controls soil erosion, reduces river siltation, protects fisheries and investments in hydropower facilities, preserves biodiversity and preserves cultures and traditions. With all that at stake it is clear what has to happen. With all the services that forests provide both to humanity and the natural world, there is now widespread understanding of a simple yet profound fact—that forests are more important left standing, than cut.  Out of that understanding has come the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility.

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