Jamaica’s journey to REDD+ readiness has been made easier through the receipt of funds under the Green Climate Fund’s (GCF) REDD+ Readiness Support and Preparatory Grant valued at USD 613,000 over the next 28 months.
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Programme (REDD+) is a mechanism introduced by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests, offering positive incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low carbon paths to sustainable development.
As the lead Agency for its implementation in Jamaica, the Forestry Department through initiatives detailed in the National Forest Management and Conservation Plan (NFMCP) 2016–2026, will be spearheading this national collaborative initiative,
aiming to have the island being REDD+ ready in the next three to four years. Mr. Brahim Diop, focal person for the Programme within the Agency, says the funding will serve to assist with capacity building as well as establish the planning mechanism to guide the country to becoming REDD+ ready. This, he says, will better enable the Government to access Results Based Payments associated with international Climate Financing Schemes.
The activities supported under this Green Climate Fund’s (GCF) REDD+ Readiness Support and Preparatory Grant fall under four (4) components. The first will engage various stakeholders in a consultative process to ensure efficacy, accountability and transparency of the national readiness management process and institutional arrangements. As such, the Agency will be hosting a series of public consultations across the island.
The second step in the process will be the preparation of Jamaica’s National REDD+ Strategy. This is expected to precipitate and or catalyse actions at all levels to ensure the conservation and protection of the country’s forests. One of the variables that will be assessed under this component is land use and land use change drivers. We will be identifying and characterizing the key drivers of deforestation and forest degradation and redesigning conservation and sustainable forest management activities to reduce emissions. The National REDD+ Strategy will also focus on identifying how current land use and forest law, policy & governance structures impact on the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation as well as proposing alternatives for mitigating the identified drivers and reducing the adverse impacts.
The grant will also go towards the development of a National Forest Monitoring System which will allow Jamaica to assess a broad range of forest information. While the Forestry Department has the technical capacity to gather and interpret data, financial constraints prevents the Agency from acquiring current spatial data to generate information on an annual basis.
The objectives of components three and four are aimed at ensuring that the REDD+ strategy is gender responsive by assessing the differential roles, responsibilities, knowledge and skills of men and women in forest degradation, deforestation, sustainable forest management and climate vulnerability as well as developing at least two project concepts for submission to GCF based on a selected strategy priority option defined in the National REDD+ Strategy.
Meanwhile, the REDD+ mechanism is a timely response to the issue of climate change by encouraging the proper management of forests. While forests have been identified as one of the cheapest and most effective tools to fight against climate change, the forestry sector has been identified as one of the largest emitters of carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change globally. This is largely attributed to deforestation and forest degradation.
The benefits of implementing REDD+ activities to the country’s growth and development extends beyond building a climate resilient nation. The benefits for the forestry sector will significantly contribute to its sustainability. This may include cross-sectoral policies/plans/measures impacting national REDD+
efforts, payments per tonne of carbon emissions reduced or removed; international recognition for mitigation results; biodiversity conservation; poverty alleviation; and contribution as one of the catalysts for developing a green economy integrating forestry, agriculture, energy and finance