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Hon. John-Peter Amewu, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Ghana;

Hon. Ibrahim Usman Jibril, Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Environment, Nigeria;

Hon. Mary Kitutu, Minister of State, Environment, Uganda;

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, colleagues and friends,

Dr. Alice Ekwu, Hon. Commissioner of Ministry of Forestry and Climate Change, Cross River State

I am delighted to join you all on the launch of the National REDD+ Strategies for Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda. On behalf of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and our partnership with the United Nations Joint Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) and the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), I would like to commend African leaders on the great strides they have made in addressing climate change, an instrumental step in delivering on UNFCCC contributions and the Sustainable Development Goals. It is gratifying to see the leadership role Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda have played in the development of their National REDD+ Strategies and the actions they are putting in place to transition from REDD+ readiness to implementation.

Deforestation and forest degradation present some of the most compelling climate change challenges in the world today. The challenges in Africa are even more daunting. Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda have lost significant forest due to high rates of deforestation. The impacts include significant threats to the livelihoods of communities, ecosystem services as well as impacts on agriculture and water resources in these predominantly agrarian economies.

Our collective responsibility and resolve in addressing these challenges through efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) is an imperative for contributing to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. REDD+ has a great potential in contributing to the Paris Agreement, which recognizes the importance of adequate and predictable finance, including results-based payments, for the implementation of REDD+.

Through our work within UN-REDD, the Central Africa Forest Initiative (CAFI), FCPF, the Community Based REDD+ programme with UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme, and most recently, the Governors’ Climate and Forests Taskforce, UNDP supports countries to develop national REDD+ strategies and investment plans which provide the overall vision, measures and actions to address deforestation and forest degradation. We have successfully supported National REDD+ strategies development in Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia amongst others.

While the focus of these strategies may differ, they all provide a coherent framework to bring transformational and systemic change in the way forests are managed and protected. In Ghana, UNDP is supporting the development a National REDD+ Investment Plan and a GCF proposal with the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea.   One innovation here is that this is the first ever REDD+ GCF proposal in a savanna woodland where shea is considered from a climate change perspective. This has the potential to secure the long-term livelihoods of over 900,000 women involved in the shea value chain in Ghana. In Nigeria, UNDP is supporting the implementation of the Cross River State REDD+ Strategy, through the development of investment programmes that address deforestation along commodity value chains and empower communities through appropriate incentive mechanisms, to continue protecting and managing their forests sustainably.

Finally, UNDP will explore a collaborative partnership with Uganda in the two priority landscapes of the Mount Elgon and the Albertine Rift Valley, particularly on forest governance as well as institutional strengthening.

We are confident that the work on REDD+ in these countries can serve as a model for nurturing strategic partnerships that can successfully support REDD+ efforts and advance REDD+ strategy implementation.

Although the social, environmental and economic context for REDD varies significantly across countries, there are commonalities that call for our reflection and action as we work towards implementing National REDD+ Strategies.

Let me focus on five key points to position REDD+ in our development and climate change discourse:

1.  First, the need for the creation of enabling policy, regulatory and legal conditions including institutional reforms to address drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. We need to align public policies to support REDD+ compliant investments and to ensure policy coherence and harmonization where necessary;

2.  Second, provision of incentives, including fiscal incentives, to positively influence behavioural change to address systemic challenges that underlie the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation;

3.  Third, support to systematic capacity building programmes to ensure that the REDD+ systems that are designed are mainstreamed into national policy, planning, programming and budgetary processes;

4.  Fourth, the promotion of South-South co-operation and triangular partnerships to share experiences and lessons in REDD+ implementation; and

5.  Fifth, the need for strong partnerships and collaboration in implementing Nationally Determined Contributions, of which REDD+ is a key aspect.

The full potential of REDD+ can be realized through a truly multi-stakeholder approach – with governments, governors of states and provinces, the private sector, indigenous peoples, civil society, and multilateral organizations working together.

To move forward, we need to scale up action – continue to innovate, build and enhance partnerships to protect and restore our world’s forests. At UNDP, we are fully committed to supporting countries to do just that, working together in collaboration with countries- governments, private sector, civil society as well as other partners across the world.

Thank you.

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