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The global effort to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change by reducing emissions due to deforestation and forest degradation through the auspices of the UNFCC, which was identified as REDD+, became UN REDD+ when the United Nations engagement in the initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) in developing countries.

The program which operates within the purview of the Forest Department plans to support the Government to develop a national REDD+ strategy. The REDD+ vision for Sri Lanka is ‘Beyond forests, sustaining life and livelihood in a greener Sri Lanka.’ It is a vision to improve land management, enhance environmental services, conserve biodiversity, maintain economic growth, and minimize the risk of natural disasters through a stepwise, decentralized and nested approach.

REDD+ Sri Lanka website was launched on May 22 this year on International Day for Biological Diversity by Agriculture Minister Duminda Dissanayake at a function which was graced by President Maithripala Sirisena. A number of workshops, seminars and events over the subject was held since then and the 7th Program of Executive Board (PEB) Meeting of Sri Lanka UN-REDD was held in the last week of August. The meeting revealed that Sri Lanka is “presently at the ‘readiness’ phase,” while over fifty countries around the world are participating in the global program.

The Program was launched in 2008 and builds on the convening role and technical expertise of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

The UN-REDD Program supports nationally-led REDD+ processes and promotes the informed and meaningful involvement of all stakeholders in national and international REDD+ implementation. These stakeholders include Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and other forest-dependent communities, as well as Civil Society Organisations and the private sector.

REDD+ recognizes five activities that developing countries can do to earn compensation from developed countries, including reducing emissions from deforestation, reducing emissions from forest degradation, sustainable management of forests, conservation of forest carbon stocks, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.