Key messages delivered to the 24th Session of the African Forestry Wildlife Commission (AFWC24) on REDD+ Results Based Finance, Social Inclusion and Benefits Sharing Mechanisms in African countries

Tuesday, 31 October 2023, Arusha Tanzania

  1. Representing 10 African countries, namely; Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, attended a prior event to the 24th Session of the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission, organised by the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (UN REDD) and African Forest Forum (AFF). This event took place on the 27 and 28 October, 2023 in Arusha, Tanzania and was on REDD+ Results Based Finance, Social Inclusion and Benefit Sharing Mechanisms.
  2. Coming together with primary objectives of building our capacity as technical practitioners on comprehensive understanding of REDD+ finance types and sources in order to  support our African countries to have better knowledge of the international results-based financing architecture including tapping climate finance on  carbon markets based on different Standards; share experiences, lessons learnt, opportunities and  challenges on efforts to leverage climate finance from various sources; and facilitating peer-to-peer exchange among countries on approaches to ensure stakeholders’ engagement, social inclusion and benefit sharing mechanisms employed by African countries in the implementation of REDD+. It is in this context that we:
  3. Appreciated the role played by UN REDD and AFF in providing the optimal platform to learn from international experiences and best practices of accessing REDD+ finance, including market and non-market-based approaches and highlight the important challenges that African countries are facing in accessing REDD+ finance, including REDD+ Result-Based Finance (RBF) and the need for ensuring social inclusion and robust benefit sharing mechanisms for a successful implementation of REDD+ in Africa;
  4. Recognized that forests in Africa  cover about 624 million hectares (20.9%) of the continent’s land mass and represent 15.6% of the world’s forest cover, thus playing a significant role towards the attainment of the Agenda 2063, the Africa We Want. Specifically, our forest resources are crucial in maintaining environmental quality and stability, realisation of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals SDG 1,2,13, 14 and 15, and supporting ecosystem services such as pollination, soil conservation, water retention and climate moderation.
  5. Acknowledged that African countries are experiencing multiple challenges related to the management of their forests, including but not limited to: land use policies; competition for land from agriculture, mining, infrastructure, settlement and other land uses; unsustainable forest management practices; low priority in national plans and budgeting;
  6. Noted that as per the 2019/2020 financial flows the land use sector received 2.5% of the total estimates of US$ 653 billion as compared to other sectors;
  7. Noted that between 2008-2022, most of the funds supporting REDD+ were channelled to Latin America ( 52%, US$ 1.5 billion) as compared to Africa (29%, US$ 863 million); Asia (11%, US$ 616 million) and 8% to Global and regional.
  8. Noted that the projected financial flows to nature-based solutions is expected to triple by 2030 to about US$ 420 billion and quadruple to US$ 600 billion by 2050 if Parties are committed to address biodiversity loss and climate change; and

We learned that:

  1. Some African countries have made significant progress in accessing Results-based payments including Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Uganda etc.
  2. Among success factors that contributed to those substantial achievements are: country’s political will to invest public fund in supporting REDD+ process; effective institutions and legislative regime steering REDD+, enabling environment for private investment in REDD+and existing technical capacities to deliver REDD+ elements;
  3. The success of REDD+ implementation in Africa has a significant potential to contribute to nature-based solution in climate change mitigation with adaptation co-benefits in line with Paris Agreement Art. 5.2, 6.2, 6.4 and 6.8;
  4. There are various initiatives of climate finance such as Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Financing (LEAF), Forest and Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), bio carbon fund, Green Climate Fund and private sectors financial investments among others that African countries need to tap in order to strengthen implementation of REDD+;
  5. Voluntary Carbon Markets (VCM) with adoption of new jurisdictional standards will create opportunities to implement REDD+ mitigation actions at scale, extending beyond individual projects to support comprehensive reporting aligned with NDCs;
  6. Jurisdictional and nested REDD+ programmes need to be designed in a such way that they can address the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation at scale;
  7. Africa has as rich cultural diversity translated into social structures and local knowledge that needs to be explored and utilised to inform REDD+ policies and to ensure bottom-up approach in decision making;
  8. African countries have been employing different benefit sharing mechanisms in the implementation of REDD+ across different landscapes that require to be anchored in law to accelerate implementation of REDD+;
  9. African countries are experiencing various challenges on addressing social inclusion such as: elite capture; low technical capacity; inadequate level of awareness, cultural and religious beliefs; insecurity; taking advantage of marginalised and disadvantaged groups; discrepancies between national legal frameworks and social safeguard instruments and prolonged times to engage various stakeholders; and
  10. African countries are encountering varied challenges in benefit sharing mechanisms such as: elite capture; brokerage; lack of clarity on land use and tenure rights; political interferences; low technical capacity on benefit allocations; prolonged time frames for negotiations.

We realised that:

  1. There are more opportunities (SCALE, LEAF, GCF-RBPs, CAFI) to be explored by African countries to deepen their accessibility and engagement to/with forest carbon markets, effectively harnessing carbon finance as part of their climate strategy. .
  2. The comprehensive knowledge on REDD+, with a holistic understanding of its international finance (up-front) and markets mechanisms (results-based), plays a critical role in facilitating well-informed decision-making processes enabling the African region to diversify its funding sources to catalyse climate mitigation in the forestry sector.
  3. African countries that submitted updated NDCs made ambitious commitments to meet their mitigation and/or adaptation targets, and that REDD+ Actions have the potential to deliver a significant portion of these targets.
  4. There is a critical need for increased financing for REDD+ alongside the development and expansion of forest carbon markets to ensure Africa’s long-term sustainability of climate mitigation efforts in the forest sector.
  5. Africa should actively pursue private finance, especially from the Voluntary Carbon Markets opportunities, to complement government actions and existing government policies, laws, and regulations.
  6. Different approaches for stakeholders engagement are crucial to ensure social inclusion and minimise/eradicate social exclusivity in order to fast track implementation of REDD+.

Participants of the pre-event on REDD+ Results Based Finance, Social Inclusion and Benefits Sharing Mechanisms organized by the African Forest Forum (AFF) and the UN-REDD Programme on 27 and 28 October 2023 in Arusha Tanzania

We, therefore call for action from:

A. The African forestry Directors and stakeholders to:

  1. Fulfil within their forestry mandate to ensure that finances are allocated to advance REDD+ process in their country.
  2. Strengthen local, indigenous and traditional governance systems in advancing the approaches of stakeholder’s engagement to ensure social inclusion, benefit sharing and overall effective implementation of REDD+;
  3. Leverage public and private investments towards nature-based solutions.
  4. Strengthen institutional capacity of African countries at all levels to support implementation of REDD+ in different landscapes.
  5. Facilitate the implementation of social inclusivity and benefit sharing across sectors, scales and across supply chains, and translated into an integrated regulatory framework to ensure that indigenous people and local communities, including vulnerable groups have informed access to the various benefits and advantages of REDD+.

B. The 24th session of the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission to echo the needs of the African REDD+ stakeholders to the international communities and follow up specifically to:

  1. Mobilise financing and ensure distribution towards African countries which are lagging behind in the REDD+ implementation, to bring them on par with other REDD+ leading countries and address the deforestation challenges at global level;
  2. Advocate for upfront financing to raise African countries’ ambitions in their updated NDCs through on the ground investments and deliver the much sought after high integrity carbon credits.
  3. Support mobilisation of the necessary capital to facilitate African countries in transitioning from readiness phase to implementation and results-based payment phase through leveraging forest carbon finance in the region.
  4. Support Africa’s regional capacity-building initiatives tailored to each country’s needs and level of progress, to enable them to overcome the obstacles that prevent the region from accessing the REDD+ finance, including both upfront and results-based finance.

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