REDD+ emerging as priority for the SADC region
In a recently conducted survey among government officials and decision-makers from the SADC Member States on climate change issues, more than 90% of respondents identified REDD+ as an important, quite important or very important issue in the international climate change negotiations. There are concerns, however, whether the SADC countries and also in general the African countries have the capacity and capabilities to implement the Cancun Decision on REDD+.
The survey was conducted among participants of a workshop organised by the SADC Secretariat with support from GIZ that aimed to prepare officials for the next round of negotiations under the UNFCCC and support the development of a common position on climate change and REDD+ from the SADC countries.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is moving to support its member countries to tap into benefits from the reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) framework. Since 1990, Southern Africa has witnessed high rates of deforestation contributing approximately a third of the forested area lost in Africa over the past twenty years. By its own calculations, the 15-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) is responsible for roughly half of biomass carbon losses due to deforestation on the African continent.
The major drivers of deforestation have been identified as the expansion of agriculture, shifting cultivation and unregulated logging. All these are connected to high population growth, persistent poverty, increased energy demand and weak regulation and management of forests.
SADC Ministers responsible for Environment and natural Resources have recently approved a regional plan to help member countries to improve the capacity of SADC member states to manage and benefit from their national REDD programmes and also pool resources together to collaborate on REDD+ issues in which a regional approach seems appropriate and thus which would benefit also those SADC countries that alone would not be able to setup a REDD+ mechanism. This concept for applying REDD+ using an ecosystem or regional approach (“REDD without borders”) was launched during the UNFCCC COP16 in Cancun in December 2010. .