Following the concurrence of the Senate of the Philippines to the ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change on March 14, the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in cooperation with the German Government’s Environment Ministry, is pushing for the nationwide implementation of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) strategy to help reduce impacts of climate change by protecting and sustainably managing the country’s forests.

The DENR-FMB and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the German government’s international development cooperation agency, have been working together for the sustainable management of forests through the joint project “Preparation of a National REDD+ Mechanism for Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Conservation of Biodiversity in the Philippines” (National REDD+ System Philippines). The project helped create a national framework for REDD+, considering ecological, social and governance safeguards.

The REDD+ strategy contributes to the conservation of forests to meet 40% of the 70% carbon emission reductions that the Philippines committed to during/ shortly after the Paris UN climate conference in 2015. Forest conservation also ensures the sustainable provisions of other ecosystem services such as food and water.

Trees sequester carbon from the atmosphere, which greatly contributes to reducing the global temperature. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) identified the global forestry sector in 2007 as the second leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities, after the energy sector, and as responsible for approximately 17% of emissions, largely due to deforestation.

Through their joint work, GIZ and FMB generated a reduction and removal of approximately 467,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission in the three project sites in Albay, Eastern Samar and Davao Oriental through co-management and tenure arrangements with local communities and indigenous people groups for long-term forest conservation which are integrated in forest land use plan (FLUP) covering 366,407 hectares of forest areas.

24.3 million PHP were awarded through 18 contracts with local partners such as local government units, academe and the Philippine Eagle Foundation to support forest conservation activities. FMB and GIZ are organizing the REDD+ project closing event on April 7 in Pasig City to stimulate support for sustaining the project’s achievements and for the issuance of appropriate laws and policies for the country’s full REDD+ implementation.

The National REDD+ System Philippines Project is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). The project started in November 2012 and runs until April 2017. ###