Norway may boost REDD+ funding to support green growth

Norway is helping countries move towards a green economy. Photo courtesy of Flickr

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (28 June 2012)_Norway will invest more money to help developing countries conserve their forests through reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation schemes (REDD+) if other countries also step up with additional support, the Norwegian Minister for Environment said at a recent CIFOR event.

“Protecting forests…supports all the three pillars of sustainability – environmental, social and economic,”  said Minister Bård Vegar Solhjell, adding his nation was eager to continue to support REDD+ “not only because we like trees and care about the climate, but because REDD+ is a development choice, which is most of all crucial to people.”

Over 40 countries around the world are developing national strategies and REDD+ pilot projects. The scheme, which places a monetary value on the carbon stored in trees, is being hailed as one of the cheapest and most effective ways to combat climate change, and one of the best ways to manage dwindling forest resources.

For these reasons, Solhjell said, “it is indisputable that REDD+ should become a game-changing part of the global green transition.”

The Minister’s announcement was made during Forests: the 8th Roundtable at Rio+20, a CIFOR-hosted event, which brought together over 550 scientists, policy makers and members of civil society to discuss the role of forests in providing the world with food, energy, income and clean water.

Solhjell pledged to increase the contributions for REDD+ beyond $500 million annually as part of a multilateral mechanism for payment for verified emission reductions, “provided that other countries also increase their contributions.”

So far, Norway has contributed over $900 million to support the development of REDD+ and emissions reductions interventions in several countries, including Indonesia, Guyana and Brazil.

During the Minister’s speech, he praised these countries for talking “bold steps” to develop plans for green growth and for leading REDD+, but he reassured countries following a similar path they did not need to “discover these new pathways in isolation.”

“This concept [REDD+] is about richer countries sharing the burden,” he said, adding they want to help forested developing nations that want to manage their lands more sustainably, in the process reducing green house gas emissions.

In May 2010, Norway signed a $1 billion bilateral agreement with Indonesia to help President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono meet his pledge to reduce his country’s green house gas emissions by 26 percent from business-as-usual levels by 2020, and by 41 percent with international support.

Norway is the only country that makes performance-based payments in its bilateral agreements.

“Norway is proud to have established strategic, results-based partnerships,” said Solhjell.

“We firmly believe that this partnership model is a viable and effective way forward on sustainable development.”