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Institutionalisation of forest data

Establishing legal frameworks for sustainable forest monitoring in REDD+ countries










​FAO. 2021. Institutionalisation of forest data: Establishing legal frameworks for sustainable forest monitoring in REDD+ countries. Rome. 




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    Strengthening National Forest Monitoring Systems for REDD+ 2018
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    The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been providing support to member countries on national forest monitoring for decades. Best practices and lessons learned from this support are summarized in FAO´s Voluntary guidelines on national forest monitoring (VGNFM). The guidelines provide principles, elements and best practices for the establishment and implementation of a multipurpose National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS). The aim of this paper is to strengthen the elements and guidelines provided in the VGNFM in the context of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). It also includes a deeper analysis of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change decisions and the most recent methodological recommendations provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, focusing on the three pillars of an NFMS for REDD+: a Satellite Land Monitoring System, a National Forest Inventory, and REDD+ reporting, including the combination of remote-sensing and ground-based forest inventory to estimate anthropogenic forest related Greenhouse Gas emissions by sources and removals by sinks.
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    The aim of this publication is to inform countries about the latest developments in the Measurement, Reporting and Verification for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, and the role of sustainable management of forests, conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks, known as REDD+. It provides an update on forest reference (emission) levels (FREL/FRLs) and REDD+ results submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The report illustrates the choices that countries made when they constructed their FREL/FRLs and areas for improvement identified during technical assessments. The report also provides an update of the evolving context of REDD+, including a summary of the Green Climate Fund’s recently approved pilot programme for results-based payments for REDD+. As of early 2018, the following REDD+ measurement, reporting and verification milestones had been achieved: Thirty-four countries had submitted 38 FREL/FRLs to the UNFCCC for technical assessment. The UNFCCC had published 22 FREL/FRL technical assessment reports, and a further 16 technical assessments were ongoing. Four countries had reported REDD+ results to the UNFCCC through five REDD+ results submissions (in the REDD+ technical annex of their biennial update reports), totalling more than 6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent in emission reductions, mostly in Brazil. All five technical analyses of REDD+ results had been completed. Eighty-eight percent of the countries that had submitted FREL/FRLs had completed or were establishing national forest inventories.
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    This report provides an update on forest reference (emission) levels (FREL/FRLs) and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus (REDD+) results submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and relevant developments under the Green Climate Fund concerning REDD+ results-based payments. It illustrates the choices countries have made when constructing their FREL/FRLs and areas for improvement identified during technical assessments. As of early July 2019, the following REDD+ measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) milestones had been achieved: 39 countries had submitted 45 FREL/FRLs to the UNFCCC for technical assessment; 8 countries had reported REDD+ results to the UNFCCC through ten submissions (in the REDD+ technical annex of their biennial update reports), totalling more than 8 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2eq) in emission reductions. Two funding proposals (Brazil and Ecuador) for REDD+ results-based payments had been approved by the Green Climate Fund. The aim of this paper is to inform countries about recent developments in the MRV of REDD+ activities under the UNFCCC. Certain developments are detailed out in the report, such as progress in uncertainty reporting and methods used to assess deforestation. Such information can help countries to learn from each other’s experiences and thus facilitate South–South knowledge exchange on REDD+.

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