From Commitment to Action

Developing national roadmaps for deforestation-free commodity commitments in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador

The expansion of commodity production, including timber, soy, beef, palm, and cacao, has been a leading driver of deforestation in many of the world’s remaining major forests, causing a loss of valuable carbon sinks and other important services, like clean air and water, and livelihoods for forest-dependent peoples.

From Commitment to Action (FC2A) is a UNDP flagship initiative piloted in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador to support governments and companies to accelerate a reduction in deforestation from agricultural commodities in key forest eco-regions. At the centre of the project was the collaborative development of a roadmap for each country, highlighting current policies and investments, and further actions needed, to fulfill the commitments made by these countries’ governments and companies to reduce deforestation from commodities.

Phase 1 of FC2A has built on UNDP’s role as a trusted development partner through the UNDP regional and Country Offices in these three countries. Using UNDP GCP (Green Commodities Programme)’s expertise in Effective Collaborative Action, FC2A brought together public and private sectors, with civil society, to define these roadmaps.

National and Sub-National Dialogues have been the key events on the way to the three roadmaps, which have:

1.   Taken stock of existing commitments by government and the private sector (domestic and international) to reduce deforestation from commodity production in the country.

2.   Identified policies, strategies or lack of action by public and private sectors, that are enabling continued expansion of commodity “footprints” into primary and secondary rainforest.

3.   Considered the initiatives already planned and budgeted for, to meet the commitments, and highlighted gaps where additional policies, actions and spending are required.

The initiative launched its in-country activities in early 2019. Following the Dialogues, the FC2A initiative produced a roadmap for each country identifying where there are still systemic barriers to the efforts to accelerate a reduction in deforestation of the Amazon. The results, summarised in the From Commitment To Action: Supporting Deforestation Free Commodity Supply Chains From The Amazon report featured in the image below, emphasize just how complex it is in each country to create the right context with all the regulations, plans, incentives, and capacities in place so that production practices are transformed.

The FC2A analysis, the result of a year-long multi-stakeholder research process, suggests a range of actions that would make a difference in tackling the persistent gaps that impede progress. These insights, all centered on a systemic approach, have been identified as key contributors to success, ranging from overarching considerations to action on the ground:

o   Think more systemically – especially in getting every stakeholder around the table to ensure joined-up working. Involve more than just the usual parties, including a broader range of government ministries, to ensure everyone recognises and protects sustainable use of forest areas, and applies frameworks or guidelines developed for zero deforestation.

o   Consider the geography - step up planning and coordination across the different levels of National, Regional and Local government on issues such as land use planning and ensure a more systemic approach to coordination is employed here too. Make sure that systems for land mapping, zoning, and monitoring are completed and adapted for use by local authorities and communities.

o   Enforce sanctions for deforestation and inappropriate land use change, with penalties and effective deterrents. Strengthen the capacity of the national/local police, the courts and institutions to deal with perpetrators and enforce due diligence.

o   Develop alternative agricultural planning models that integrate the sustainable use and management of forest resources with production of commodities such as dairy, beef and cocoa. Private sector engagement to support zero deforestation supply chains through good purchasing practices and pricing mechanisms will recognise and reward this.

o   Recognise natural assets such as forests as potential driver for sustainable economic growth.

In the report, the reader will find more detailed recommendations in each individual country’s documentation.

The FC2A initiative found good progress being made in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. For example, there is strengthened land use planning, legislation is in place governing land use, and national level satellite and on the ground monitoring systems have been set up. Ecuador is leading the way on jurisdictional certification for deforestation free palm oil, Peru has developed a Forest Coverage Monitoring Module as part of a national system for monitoring the impact of agriculture on forests, and Colombia has established a national cut-off date and definition for deforestation.

However, many challenges persist. There is still much work to be done in improving coordination between Ministries and aligning contradictory policies that do not support the protection of forests or other natural resources. National level policies and legislation are poorly implemented at the sub national level due to limited resources and capacities and/or insufficient operational guidance. Markets are not yet rewarding commodities that demonstrate sustainable production practices. And although all countries have increasingly stringent laws in place regarding deforestation, there is often weak implementation and ineffective application of meaningful sanctions.

Read and download the full report here: From Commitment to Action: Supporting Deforestation Free Commodity Supply Chains From the Amazon.

For more information, please contact Christina Archer, Senior Partnerships Advisor at UNDP FACS, at