On the 17th July 2017, the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea (IMELS) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) signed in New York an agreement to support Ecuador, Ghana and Myanmar for the implementation of their national strategies aimed at reducing deforestation and forest degradation.
The initiative is part of the REDD+ approach (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), developed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in order to support developing countries in reducing greenhouse gas emissions due to deforestation and forest degradation processes, encouraging the sustainable management of their forests.
The agreement has given birth to an Italian REDD+ initiative called GIORNI (Global Italian initiative on REDD+ National Implementation) to support developing countries in their effort to reduce GHG emission from the forest sector, to which IMELS is contributing with an amount of € 1.052,257.
Goals and outcomes
The GIORNI initiative operates in Ecuador, Ghana and Myanmar, with a dual objective:
• Support Ecuador, Ghana and Myanmar Governments for submitting REDD+ project proposals to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), with the aim of combating climate change by reducing the greenhouse gases emissions due to the forest sector and enhancing the forest carbon stocks. All this also by combatting the causes of deforestation and forest degradation, and by improving and accelerating national programs in force in the developing countries, to sustainable manage their forests.
• Promote the Italian private sector engagement by facilitating the creation of public-private partnerships in developing countries, and by strengthening the collaboration between Italian companies, national institutions and private operators in the fields of forestry, agriculture and energy. All this by acting on the environmental and social sustainability of agricultural and forestry products supply chains.
Support to Ecuador, Ghana and Myanmar for the submission of REDD+ proposals to the GCF
With regard to the first line of activities, so far the following REDD+ project proposals have been developed:
• National REDD+ Investment Plan (Myanmar). The project aims to promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions related to the forest sector. On the one hand, the proposed activities are aimed at tackling the main causes of deforestation, such as illegal logging and the conversion of forests into agriculture and, on the other, to encourage reforestation.
• Ghana Shea Landscape REDD+ Project (Ghana). The project aims to promote a public-private investment plan aimed at reducing the supply chains impacts on deforestation. The target eco-region of the project is the Savana, where the shea butter has been established as a reference product. Among the planned activities, there is the improvement of the existing public-private platforms, aimed at collaboration between government agencies, private sector and civil society, also with the involvement of Italian companies. Feasibility studies and activities are planned to give visibility to the REDD+ process and to the results achieved with the Italian support.
• Priming Financial and Land-Use Planning Instruments to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation (Ecuador). The project aims at involving the private sector to reduce deforestation in the supply chains of cocoa, coffee, palm oil and livestock. The activities include the creation of public-private "commodity platforms" that favor agreements between Italian companies and local producers to support the effort of Ecuador in reducing deforestation.
All the identified projects aim to improve and strengthen national programs for the sustainable management of forests. They also intend to act on the environmental and social sustainability of the agricultural products supply chains. To date, they represent potential causes of deforestation and forest degradation.
Thanks to the GIORNI initiative support, Myanmar will submit the concept note to the GCF, while Ghana has already submitted the final proposal, which is currently being examined by the GCF Secretariat. In the case of Ecuador, the Italian Ministry for the Environment support allowed the submission to the GCF of the first proposal for a third phase REDD+ project. This is the final phase of the REDD+ approach, where countries require financial incentives for measured and verified emission reductions in the UNFCCC verification process.
On February 2018, the next GCF board meeting will evaluate this proposal. If approved, Ecuador will be the first country in the world to receive financial compensation from the GCF for the results obtained in the forest sector (REDD+).
Public-private partnerships and the Italian private sector involvement
Referring to the second work streams, a Round Table on Climate and Forests and opportunities for public-private partnerships took place in Rome on July 12th, which included the participation of several Italian private companies that showcased their efforts on climate change and forests, and showed their interest in being involved in GIORNI.
This initiative has represented the first opportunity to meet Italian private companies in the agri-food, forest and energy sectors, the Ministry and the UNDP on the GIORNI initiative.
A technical workshop on capacity building and knowledge sharing took place in Rome on October 25-26, which saw the participation of several REDD+ countries (Ghana, Ecuador, Vietnam and Malaysia) as well as Italian private sector, NGOs and academia.
Opportunities for companies
The Italian private sector can promote the development of some key aspects for the deforestation reduction and forest degradation in the target countries:
• promoting and participating in the establishment of public-private partnership;
• participating in the creation or strengthening of the agricultural and forest products traceability and certification processes in order to create new commercial channels of zero-deforestation and high quality products between Italy and the target countries;
• supporting the reforestation of degraded areas also with the aim of increasing the sustainable fuel supply.
Luigi Mauro Martire
- Agreement MATTM-UNDP (17 July 2017, EN)