Argentina, Cambodia, Ecuador, Nepal and Sri Lanka join the UN-REDD Programme, Denmark becomes a new donor and Panama gets approval of its UN-REDD national programme.
Nairobi, 02 November 2009 - The UN-REDD Programme's third Policy Board welcomed five new countries. Argentina, Cambodia, Ecuador, Nepal and Sri Lanka are the first to officially request to participate in the UN-REDD Programme, in addition to the initial nine member countries. Nearly 20 countries have expressed interest and more are expected to join.
All five countries indicated their interest in benefiting from the experience and knowledge generated by the UN-REDD Programme, particularly on the issues of measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) systems, and consultation with civil society and indigenous peoples.
"For us, joining the UN-REDD Programme is mostly about tapping into the Programme's experience and expertise," stressed Mr Leandro Carlos Fernandez, Argentina's REDD National Focal Point . "We have forests on our borders with Bolivia, a UN-REDD country, and we would like to be part of the process to increase cooperation between countries, and create a regional initiative on REDD."
"We are here to address issues of deforestation and degradation together, as we are trying to improve the development of local communities," said Dr Omaliss Keo, Cambodia's focal point on REDD. "We look forward to working with the UN-REDD team to develop a REDD roadmap for Cambodia to guide all our REDD work in the future."
The UN-REDD Programme's third Policy Board approved funding for Panama's national programme. The Policy Board approved the allocation of US$5.3 million to help the country get ready for REDD.
Panama went through an extensive and challenging process of consultation with civil society and indigenous peoples in order to prepare its national programme, building on the previous administration's initial work. "I would like to congratulate the government of Panama," said Mr Diego Escobar Guzman, representative of indigenous peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean. "You were able to successfully fill the gaps [in civil society consultations] in three months. This is a world record!"
With the approval of Panama's national UN-REDD programme, the total approved funds for the UN-REDD Programme in its first year of operations amounts to US$37.4 million, or 72.3% of its US$51.7 million portfolio. Of the six countries that have had their programmes approved by the Policy Board, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania and Viet Nam have started implementing readiness activities.
Denmark became the second donor to the UN-REDD Programme after Norway, with an announcement of US$2.0 million.
The Policy Board meeting also welcomed four new representatives of civil society organizations. The elected civil society members of the Policy Board are: Mr. Pacifique Mukumba Isumbisho, Executive Director for the Support Center for Indigenous Pygmys and Vulnerable Minorities, representing civil society organizations from Africa; Ms. Effrey Dademo, Programme Manager of the Papua New Guinea Eco-Forestry Forum, representing civil society organizations from Asia and the Pacific; Ms. Paula Moreira, Lawyer for the Brazilian-based Amazon Environmental Research Institute, representing civil society organizations from Latin America and the Caribbean; and Ms. Rosalind Reeve, Forest Campaign Manager for Global Witness, representing industrialized countries' civil society. Amongst the representatives, Ms. Rosalind Reeve was selected by consensus within the group to hold the first rotating seat for the first meeting.
The UN-REDD Programme, a collaborative partnership between FAO, UNDP and UNEP, supports countries to develop capacity to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and to implement a future REDD mechanism in a post-2012 climate regime.
For more information on the third Policy Board meeting, please visit:http://tinyurl.com/3rdPolicyBoard