SPC/GIZ Regional REDD+ Project.
Forest Conservation in the Pacific Island Countries.

The Regional Project REDD+ Forest Conservation in Pacific Island Countries II supports Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to develop and implement their REDD+ strategies and to reduce, measure and report forestry sector GHG emissions in accordance with international standards by 2020.

Background to the Project

The regional organization SPC, the German development cooperation GIZ and in cooperation with other agencies has been supporting Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu with the development of their REDD+ readiness. This began through the SPC/GIZ Climate Protection through Forest Conservation: REDD+ in Pacific Island Countries Project that was implemented from 2010 – 2015.

Acknowledging the achievements of the Project and in recognition of the different challenges that still lie ahead for the countries attaining full implementation and results based payments for REDD+ activities, the Regional Forestry Technical Meeting recommended that SPC sustain the cooperation with GIZ on REDD+. The current REDD+ - Forest Conservation in Pacific Island Countries II Project is a continuation of support to the four countries with their REDD+ activities.

The REDD+ Forest Conservation in Pacific Island Countries II Project Phase is from 2016 – 2018.

Project Objective

The main objective of the Project is to enable Melanesian Island Countries to fulfil all requirements to participate in REDD+.

Project Activities

To achieve this, the Project operates on three distinct but interlinked levels at regional level, national level and local level.

Regional Level

Since 2010, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu received support from SPC/GIZ Climate Protection through Forest Conservation: REDD+ in Pacific Island Countries Project. In the period 2010 – 2015, SPC/GIZ support to the countries included the endorsement of a regional framework on REDD+, the publishing of REDD+ related studies, facilitation of exchange visits and trainings for national forestry staff and partner organisations and the set-up of demonstration activities and pilot projects in the four countries.

This current phase runs from 2015 – 2018 and is the current SPC Regional Project REDD+ Forest Conservation in Pacific Island Countries II. The Project continues to enhance activities that “Tailor REDD+ Opportunities to Pacific Island Countries” through supporting structures for forest and biomass inventories with a special focus on providing a methodology for the detection and quantification of forest degradation.

The Project also develops and supports the exchange and management of knowledge and data within and beyond the region; this includes South-South Cooperation activities, study tours and training workshops for staff from the National REDD+ Programs, staff from the Departments of Forestry of the four countries and representatives from partner organisations. While the core activities focus on the four Melanesian countries, all 14 SPC member states that are parties to the UNFCCC are covered by the regional activities.

National level

The Project supports the four Melanesian countries as they administer their Readiness activities and in the development of National REDD+ strategies including among others, Safeguards, Measuring, Reporting and Verification Systems and Forest Reference Emission Levels.

This is provided through technical advice for the development of standardised REDD+ process guidelines, support to national REDD+ focal point/ steering committees in the organisation of national REDD+ strategies, the development of strategies for sustainable forest management and the restoration of degraded forest ecosystems.

Support is also provided to the countries with their communications and knowledge management activities to enable sharing lessons from the REDD+ activities and to better engage stakeholders in REDD+ activities.

Local level

At the local level, the Project supports the development and implementation of demonstration activities and pilot projects that help to inform, verify and adapt REDD+ strategies developed at country level. Strategies tackling drivers of deforestation and forest degradation as well as approaches for the sustainable management of forests or the restoration of degraded forest sites are some of the local level demonstration activities supported by the Project in the four countries.

FUNDING AGENCY

The Project is funded through the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) which has been financing climate projects in developing and newly industrialized countries. This innovative financial mechanism uses revenues from the auctioning of emission allowances for climate financing.

PARTNER ORGANISATIONS

The Pacific Community (SPC) is a regional intergovernmental organization whose membership includes 22 Pacific Island Countries and Territories and Australia, France, New Zealand, the USA as well as Timor Leste. It aims to develop the technical, professional, scientific, research, planning and management capability of Pacific Island people and directly provide information and advice, to enable them to make informed decisions about their future development and well-being. SPC is implementing regional projects on behalf and for the benefit of its members.

As a federal enterprise, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH assists the German Government in achieving its objectives in the field of international development cooperation for sustainable development. GIZ operates in more than 130 countries worldwide. Capacity development for partner-countries is a major component of our work. The projects implemented by GIZ draw on a wealth of regional and technical expertise: GIZ has been engaged in the forestry sector in the Pacific Region for over 30 years.

Project Contact

Dr Christian Fedlmeier Project Director SPC/GIZ Regional Project REDD+ Forest Conservation in Pacific Island Countries II SPC Narere, Beaumont Rd, Narere Suva Tel: +679 3379 332 Email: christian.fedlmeier@giz.de

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Fiji

The national framework for REDD+ has been developed within the context of climate change adaptation and long-term national goals for sustainable development in the forestry sector.  Approximately 56% (1.01 million ha) of Fiji's land area is forested and nearly 90% of all forestland is located on customary lands under the ownership of the iTaukei, the main indigenous ethnic group. The forestry sector contributes to approximately 3% to the GDP. Reforestation and afforestation activities are actively promoted through plantation developments and agroforestry, planted forests cover as much as 17% (177,000 ha) of the total land area.

In 2009, Fiji started developing its national REDD+ programme with the support of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and GIZ Project “Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region“. One of the first achievements of the national REDD+ process was the development of a national REDD+ Policy in 2010, and in November 2013 Fiji submitted a Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) to the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). In December that same  year Fiji received a readiness grant of US$ 3.8 million to implement the R-PP and develop a REDD+ strategy.

REDD+ readiness in Fiji will follow a hybrid approach, which means that REDD+ will start from the subnational level through pilot projects that will later be nested into a national programme. A national REDD+ pilot project is underway in Emalu, Navosa Province on Vitilevu and a community reforestation project is being implemented by Conservation International in Ra province.

Some of the Project support includes technical advice and support to the Ministry of Forests for the Nakavu Pilot Project – a sustainable forest management project that has been operating for 20 years, providing technical advice for the MRV development as well as administrative and technical support to the National REDD+ Steering Committee.  The Project has been supporting Live & Learn, an environmental education NGO who are implementing a community forest management project with some of the local landowning units in Drawa, Macuata Province, Vanualevu. The Drawa Project is a pilot by Live & Learn NGO to facilitate the development of local forest carbon projects for the voluntary markets.

Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea (PNG) a country with rich natural resources (between 50% and 70% of the country’s 46.4 million hectares are forested) is a country emblematic of the challenges facing rainforest nations in the developing world. A heavy reliance on extractive mining and forestry projects contributes the majority of the nation’s GDP, but also threatens the livelihoods of 87% of the population who depend on natural resources for their subsistence needs.

Rates of forest degradation and deforestation are estimated at 1.4%, with recent projections indicating that by 2021, 83% of commercially accessible forest in PNG will have been cleared or degraded. Approximately 95% of the country’s carbon emissions are generated from land-use change and forestry – with commercial logging (48.2%) and subsistence agriculture (45.6%) being the dominant drivers of deforestation, with clearing for agricultural plantations and mining only accounting for 1.6% of forest clearance.

Rapid population growth, increasing demand for timber and challenges in the enforcement of forest governance in PNG’s vast and rugged forest areas are seen as indirect drivers of deforestation for the country.

Papua New Guinea together with Costa Rica as members of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations (CfRN) proposed the initial mechanisms leading to REDD+ during COP 11, held in 2005. PNG’s REDD+ activities currently focus on institutional and technical capacity building at the national level and launched her National REDD+ Strategy on October 2017. Project support to PNG’s REDD+ activities include technical advice with local-level demonstration projects in Milne Bay Province among other on-going REDD+ technical advice and support to the PNG Forest Authority (PNGFA).

Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands stretches over an archipelago of more than 1,000 islands and atolls, covering a total land area of 2.8 million ha. Nearly 80% of the total land area is forested (2.2 million ha) of which half is classified as primary forest. The majority of the land (87%) and nearly all of the country’s forestland (90%) is under customary ownership. Deforestation rates are relatively low at 0.2 % per year. However, forest degradation is among the most severe in the region due to heavy over - exploitation of timber resources. The main driver of deforestation and forest degradation is unsustainable commercial logging. Another increasingly important cause of deforestation is expansion of industrial plantations, mainly for oil palm. Mining and infrastructure developments are also causing deforestation.

In 2010 the Solomon Islands joined the UN-REDD Programme as a partner country and in November the same year the government received a US$ 550,000 grant from the UN-REDD Programme Fund to develop a National REDD+ programme.

The Solomon Islands Government has endorsed the National REDD+ Roadmap and the country is adopting a national approach to REDD+ with national level carbon accounting. The Guidelines for Developing Stakeholder Engagement for REDD+ and Guidelines on the Development of REDD+ Safeguards have been developed and will become part of the national REDD+ strategy once they have received approval by the Cabinet or formal endorsement by the Solomon Islands Government.

At the subnational level the Choiseul province has been selected as a pilot province for REDD+ activities. Here logging has been much less excessive and landowners are organised under a single landownership association, the Lauru Land Conference of Tribal Communities (LLCTC), which under a strong leadership has successfully managed to limit logging activities and instead promote conservation. Live and Learn Environmental Education (LLEE)/NRDF NGO’s with support from the Project are working with local land owning units in Choiseul to develop local forest carbon markets. The Project support to the National REDD+ Programme includes the provision of technical advice with the data collection and analysis of NFI/MRV as well as Communications and Knowledge Management support.

Vanuatu

Vanuatu is an archipelago of over 80 islands, with an estimated population in 2012 of 247,300. In 2015, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), national forest cover was 440,000 hectares, equal to 36% of the country’s 1.22 million hectare total land area. Between 1980-1998, Vanuatu experienced widespread and largely unchecked logging for a lucrative international timber market.  This caused extensive degradation of the country’s indigenous forests and at least 40% of the commercial forest area is considered degraded.  In 1998, a ban on the export of whole round logs was enacted and the government expelled international loggers, dominated by Malaysian firms, from their operations in the country. As a result, there are currently no active industrial logging concessions in Vanuatu and timber extraction continues primarily in the form of small-scale harvesting carried out with the use of mobile sawmills. Although these present a lesser threat compared to their industrial predecessors, harvesting is still reported to exceed the rate of replanting, suggesting there is a need for improved management in the forestry sector.

The predominant drivers of land use change in Vanuatu vary between the country’s many islands. Some areas have undergone large-scale forest clearing for agriculture, namely for coconut plantations and pastures, while in the more remote areas, subsistence activities represent the major threat to forestland; one that is likely to be exacerbated with the growing population. Vanuatu has been an active participant within the negotiations on REDD+ within the UNFCCC and has initiated its national REDD+ programme. Through the CfRN, Vanuatu supported the inclusion of forest degradation in the international REDD+ policy framework, as well as the ability for countries with historically low deforestation rates to participate in REDD+ through the development of reference levels with adjustment factors.

The REDD+ readiness process in Vanuatu began in 2007 with the establishment of the Vanuatu Carbon Credits Project. Since then, with support from SPC/GIZ Vanuatu has become a participant country of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). Vanuatu has accessed up to US$ 3.6 million from the Readiness Fund of the FCPF and has adopted a programmatic approach involving the implementation of subnational policies and activities.

The Project provides amongst other support, technical advice to the National REDD+ Programme with NFI/MRV data collection and analysis, communications and knowledge management capacity strengthening activities to National REDD+ staff and supports Live and Learn NGO who are implementing activities at local level on Santo Island.