UN-REDD Programme

UN-REDD Programme


Three UN agencies – United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) – have collaborated in the establishment of the UN-REDD Programme, a multi-donor trust fund that allows donors to pool resources and provide funding with the aim of significantly reducing global emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. Since the programme was launched in 2008, the UN-REDD Programme has been supporting 65 partner countries across Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean and has been the largest international provider of REDD+ readiness assistance in terms of funding, expertise and geographical scope.

Basic Description

Name of the Fund UN-REDD Programme
Official Fund Website http://www.un-redd.org/
Date Created
Date fund proposed: June 2008.
Date fund made operational: September 2008.
Proposed Life of Fund UN-REDD Programme’s initial phase was 2011-2015.
The life span of the current work programme is 2016-2020 and no information is available regarding the overall length of duration or potential date of closure of the fund.
Objectives The UN-REDD Programme’s aims are to generate the necessary flow of resources to significantly reduce global emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries and enhance carbon stocks in forests while contributing to national sustainable development.

To realise its goal, the Programme has set three outcomes for the 2016-2020 work programme:

  1. “Contributions of REDD+ to the mitigation of climate change as well as to the provision of additional benefits have been designed
  2. Country contributions to the mitigation of climate change through REDD+ are measured, reported and verified and necessary institutional arrangements are in place
  3. REDD+ contributions to the mitigation of climate change are implemented and safeguarded with policies and measures that constitute results-based actions, including the development of appropriate and effective institutional arrangements”.
Financial inputs and fund size As of November 2020, the total source of funds amounts to approximately USD 325 million.

The contributors are: Norway, the European Union, Denmark, Spain, Japan, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

The contributions from donor countries are included as official development assistance (ODA).

Activities Supported The UN-REDD Programme is comprised of two components:

  • National / Country Programmes: Assisting developing countries with the preparation and implementation of national REDD strategies and mechanisms
  • Global Programme: Supporting the development of normative solutions and standardised approaches based on sound science for a REDD instrument linked with the UNFCCC.

The National/Country Programmes have six work areas:

  1. Measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) and Monitoring
  2. National REDD+ Governance
  3. Engagement of Indigenous Peoples, Local Communities and Other Relevant Stakeholders
  4. Ensuring Multiple Benefits of Forests and REDD+
  5. Transparent, Equitable and Accountable Management of REDD+ Payments
  6. REDD+ as a Catalyst for Transformation to a Green Economy.

The Global Programmes are based on the same work areas as the National/Country Programmes and they also focus on knowledge management, coordination and communication.

Administrating Organization

Secretariat or Administrative Unit The UN-REDD Programme has its own Secretariat based in Geneva, Switzerland. The Head of the Secretariat is appointed by the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme.

The Secretariat’s responsibilities include:

  • Developing and implementing results-based planning
  • Monitoring and reporting tools across the breadth of the Programme
  • Supporting adaptive management tools
  • Reporting achievements to both internal and external audiences
  • Drawing lessons from implementation.
Trustee The UNDP Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) Office provides the funding administration to the UN-REDD Programme.

Fund Finance and Access Modalities

Conditions and Eligibility Requirements During the sixth Policy Board meeting (2011), the following criteria were set for prioritising funding allocations for new National Programmes:

  • Being a partner country of the UN-REDD Programme
  • Achieving regional balance
  • Enhanced coordination with other initiatives
  • Ability of UN agencies to assist the country
  • Ability to demonstrate progress/results in the short term based on REDD+ early action
  • REDD+ potential
  • Commitment to applying the principles of the UN-REDD Programme.

Access to the UN-REDD Programme is not restricted to ODA eligible countries.

Accessing the Fund
Access Modalities – While programmes under the UN-REDD Programme are implemented by FAO, UNDP and/or UNEP, the UN-REDD Programme is not an exclusive UN mechanism. National governments, regional development banks and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can receive funding through one of the participating UN organisations by acting as executing agencies.
Financial Instruments – Grants.
Accreditation process – For the UN-REDD Programme, not the participating implementing entities, but a country’s UN-REDD National Programme needs to be accredited. In the first stage of the National Programme accreditation, the government in association with focal points from the three participating UN organisations and the country offices, prepare the draft Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) and the National Programme Document (NPD), describing the UN-REDD Programme contribution to the implementation of the R-PP and to the national REDD+ readiness process. The NPD serves as a grant agreement between the three participating UN organisations and the government. Based on these documents, the Policy Board decides whether the country should receive funding and approves the allocation of funding.

During the second stage, the UN-REDD Programme Secretariat supports the actors of the first stage in the finalisation of the R-PP and the NPD. Both documents need to incorporate comments formulated by the Policy Board as well as additional insights from consultations with relevant stakeholders. If the R-PP and the NPD have been prepared in accordance with UN-REDD Programme guiding documents, the NPD is ready for signature. The National Programme is signed by: the National Government authorised representative(s), UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP Country Director/Resident Representative, FAO Country representative and UNEP’s authorised representative. The signed NP is then submitted to the Administrative Agent who will then release funds to the participating UN organisations.

Overview of implementing entities – The implementing entities are the participating UN organisations, namely the FAO, UNDP and UNEP.
Nature of recipient country involvement – National actions are identified and led by the host government and supported by the UN Country team.

Governments have a prominent role during the whole National Programme cycle:

  1. they manage the preparation of the National Programme,
  2. they sign the final National Programme document before it is transmitted to the Secretariat for consideration,
  3. they appoint a national focal point for the coordination and implementation of the activities under the Programme.

The actual list of focal points is available at: https://www.unredd.net/documents/secretariat-193/15312-un-redd-programme-focal-points-as-of-4-april-2016.html?path=secretariat-193

In addition, and in line with the principle of strong country ownership and shared and common decision-making, country programme oversight is undertaken by a National Steering Committee.

The UN-REDD Programme aims to enable countries to exercise operational and fiduciary responsibility for the programme and ensures that national systems and national institutions are being used wherever possible.

Allocation criteria – Unknown.
Safeguards, Gender and Indigenous Peoples
Safeguards – The UN-REDD Programme’s Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria (SEPCs) outline seven overarching principles and 24 specific criteria for safeguarding against unintended negative impacts of REDD+ implementation. The principles encompass democratic governance; stakeholder rights; sustainable livelihoods; compatibility with low-carbon development strategies and national commitments; protection of natural forest from degradation and conversion; maintenance/enhancement of forest functions; and the avoidance of adverse impacts of non-forest ecosystem services. They encompass a number of UN policies and declarations.

The UN-REDD Programme has produced programme guidelines to help national recipient countries adhere to some of the SEPC criteria. There is also emphasis on the transparent, equitable and accountable management of REDD+ funds. UN-REDD and the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), as well as the Forest Investment Programme (FIP) are working together to maximise the harmonisation of their safeguard guidelines and procedures so that REDD+ implementation is as efficient as possible in countries where multiple programmes are active. The UN-REDD Programme has also drafted a Social Principles Risk Identification and Mitigation Tool to aid countries.

Gender – Gender equality is identified as “particularly significant in order to ensure that the outcomes and outputs of the Programme will achieve the desired results”. In fact, the UN-REDD Programme presents gender equality and women’s empowerment as catalysts for reaching sustainable development, including in REDD+.

The Programme has its own action plan to ensure REDD+ action is inclusive, faire and gender-responsive both in policy and in practice. All documents related to UN-REDD Programme’s actions for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment are available at: https://www.unredd.net/documents/global-programme-191/gender-and-womens-empowerment-in-redd-1044.html

Indigenous Peoples – Incorporated in the UN-REDD Programme’s Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria (SEPCs), Criterion 4 aims to “ensure the full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders in design, planning and implementation of REDD+ activities, with particular attention to Indigenous Peoples, local communities and other vulnerable and marginalized groups”. Recipient countries are also expected to adhere to UN human rights obligations, including the provisions of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) which includes provisions relating to the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).

In addition, the Programme has a partnership with the GEF Small Grants Programme to deliver grants directly to Indigenous Peoples. Named the “Community-based REDD+”, this fund supports community-level projects that complement UN-REDD National Programmes, national REDD+ readiness processes and/or strategies. For more details see: https://www.unredd.net/community-based-redd.html

Fund Governance

Decision Making Structure The UN-REDD Programme’s 2016-2020 governance arrangements include the Policy/Executive Board, the Assembly, the National Steering Committees and the Multi-Party Trust Fund (MPTF) Office.

Policy Board
The UN-REDD Programme Policy Board provides overall leadership and sets the strategic direction of the UN-REDD Programme as well as deciding on financial allocations. It meets annually and has an equal representation of developed and developing countries. The composition includes the following representatives:

  • Three members from donors contributing to the UN-REDD Programme
  • Three members from UN-REDD Programme countries (one per region: Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean)
  • One member from the participating UN Agencies (FAO, UNDP and UNEP)
  • One permanent observer representing Indigenous Peoples
  • One permanent observer representing Civil Society Organisations
  • The MPTF Office, as ex-officio.

The Assembly is a broad multi-stakeholder forum with the role to foster consultation, dialogue and knowledge exchange among UN-REDD Programme stakeholders. The composition of the Assembly is as following:

  • Representatives of each of the donors to the UN-REDD Programme Fund
  • Representatives of each of the UN-REDD Programme partner countries
  • Representatives of the national Indigenous Peoples and civil society organisations that are members of a UN-REDD National Steering Committee
  • Representatives of regional or international Indigenous Peoples and civil society organisations
  • Representatives of the other UN-REDD Programme-related international programmes and funds, such as the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), the Forest Investment Program (FIP), the BioCarbon Fund, REDD Early Movers , Green Climate Fund (GCF) and Global Environment Facility (GEF)
  • Representatives of the private sector
  • Representatives of each of the three participating UN agencies (FAO, UNDP, UNEP).

National Steering Committees
National REDD Steering Committees facilitate strong country ownership and shared/common decision-making for National REDD+ Programmes. They provide day-to-day management of the Joint Programme, coordinate national REDD activities, ensure government-wide responses, and integrate REDD into national development planning processes. The Committees include representatives of civil society and Indigenous Peoples.

Multi-Party Trust Fund Office
The UNDP MPTF Office is the Administrative Agent of the Fund. The MPTF Office manages the distribution of resources and oversees the work of UNDP Country offices that may be involved in the provision of Administrative Agent function at the country level.

Accountability Mechanisms Evaluation
Each participating UN organisation assumes full programmatic and financial accountability for the funds disbursed to it by the Administrative Agent and establishes a separate ledger account for the receipt and administration of the funds disbursed to it by the Administrative Agent.

The UN-REDD Programme relies on monitoring and evaluation tools of its implementing agencies. These tools are to require limited maintenance, and be flexible and easy to access. They are characterised by databases and performance contracts and by informal feedback from countries and the Policy Board. Periodic reviews and rapid assessments of performance of activities are also to be completed internally.

The UN-REDD Programme Annual Report is published annually and provides narrative and financial information on progress made (e.g. expected results and achievements) in the implementation of each programme funded by the UN-REDD Programme, as well as the difficulties faced and contingency measures taken.

Furthermore, independent external evaluations are occasionally conducted on completed and on-going activities to determine whether they are achieving stated objectives and contributing to decision making. The evaluation undertaken by three independent consultants in 2014 is available here.

Grievance Mechanisms
A Guidance Note for REDD+ Countries on how to establish and strengthen Grievance Redress Mechanism was jointly developed by the UN-REDD Programme and the FCPF in 2015. However, there is no information on what grievance mechanisms is currently available to individuals or communities negatively affected by the activities of the UN REDD Programme.

Participation of Observers and Stakeholders The UN-REDD Programme Governance (2016-2020) presents governance arrangements that allow for “the full and effective participation of all key UN-REDD Programme stakeholders (e.g. partner countries, donors, Indigenous Peoples, civil society organisations, participating UN agencies)”. The Programme emphasises that stakeholder engagement is “not merely a matter of integrating the views of the different actors affected by REDD+ but also to craft partnerships, consensus and inclusive policies and processes that will make REDD+ transformational, achievable and long-lasting”.

Stakeholders participate in decision-making through their representation in the Policy Board, the Assembly and the National Steering Committees.

The Policy Board of the UN-REDD Programme includes one full member seat for Indigenous Peoples and one full member seat for civil society. In addition, one regional Indigenous Peoples’ representative for each of the three UN-REDD Programme regions is chosen to cooperate with the full member Indigenous Peoples’ representative.

The UN-REDD Programme has collaborated with the FCPF to develop guidelines on stakeholder engagement. The harmonised Guidelines on Stakeholder Engagement in REDD+ Readiness with a Focus on the Participation of Indigenous Peoples and Other Forest-Dependent Communities provides operational guidance, which was developed in consultation with Indigenous Peoples and civil society.

Transparency and Information Disclosure The UN-REDD Programme publishes annual and semi-annual programme progress reports and provides online public access to real-time funding administration.

Detailed information on individual projects can be found at: https://www.unredd.net/regions-and-countries/regions-and-countries-overview.html

The public disclosure policies of the three collaborating UN agencies of the UN-REDD Programme are available here:

Other Issues Raised