Forests and climate

Germany's commitment

Combining forest conservation with sustainable use

Fire clearances in the African rain forest

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has long been committed to international forest protection and conservation endeavours and is among the largest donors in this field. It focuses in particular on strategies for combining forest conservation with sustainable use. Logging and over-exploitation of natural resources are usually driven by economic factors. In the long term, it will be impossible to preserve forests unless other forms of forest use and alternative sources of income for the rural population are identified.

BMZ is currently providing around two billion euros for more than 200 forest initiatives, including programmes in the three green lungs of our planet (Amazon Basin, Congo Basin and Indonesia). Support currently focuses on sustainable forest use that promotes climate change mitigation (REDD+) and biodiversity conservation. It will be extended in future to other strategic areas including forest landscape restoration and deforestation-free supply chains.

Compensation for forest conservation

REDD: Quite simply explained Play video Play video REDD: Quite simply explained Play video #vid_descr_18084581

21.03.2011 - Animated film by BMZ about REDD (Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation) – an innovative model to protect forest and climate.


Animated film by BMZ about REDD (Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation) – an innovative model to protect forest and climate.

The international community has for some years pursued the REDD+ approach, which links forest and biodiversity conservation with climate change mitigation. REDD stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. The principle behind REDD+ is that governments and local communities are rewarded for preventing deforestation and for verifiable emissions reductions

Afforestation and better forest management are also rewarded, because they improve the forest’s carbon storage function.

However, no money is paid out until concrete services have been performed in the form of measurably reduced deforestation. This requires a monitoring or accounting system. Germany is helping many countries to introduce such a system, for example through the multilateral Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). BMZ is among the FCPF’s three largest donors. Out of the total pledges of 1.05 billion US Dollar, over 200 million euros are provided by BMZ and 10 million euros by the German Environment Ministry (BMUB). The FCPF is helping almost 50 countries lay the foundations for REDD+. Through its carbon fund it can make payments for verified emissions reductions as a result of prevented deforestation. It can also pave the way for possible REDD+ financing through the Green Climate Fund (CGF). In addition, the Facility operates as a learning platform and sets benchmarks for global quality standards.

In order to better achieve the goals regarding forest protection, Germany is cooperating closely with European Governments and international partners. A particularly important role plays the cooperation with the Governments of Norway and the UK (GNU). In December 2015, the three Governments have announced to provide 5 billion US Dollar for the period 2015 to 2020, or 1 billion US Dollar annually until 2020.

Support for early movers

The German government is among the most important donors to REDD+ and has already invested well over five hundred million euros in relevant projects and programmes. For example, it is currently supporting bilateral projects in Brazil, Indonesia and Cameroon. Viet Nam is another country in which German development cooperation is active. Vietnamese farmers receive 250 US dollars for each hectare of forest that they replant or use sustainably; the money is paid into a 'green' savings account. More than 100,000 families are participating in the programme and several hundred thousand hectares have now been reforested.

For pioneer countries, BMZ has refined and upgraded the REDD+ approach. Through the REDD Early Movers (REM) scheme it supports countries that demonstrate particular commitment to sustainable forest conservation; it has so far provided almost 60 million euros from the BMZ budget for this purpose. The programme assists REDD+ pioneers that have already taken financial and political steps to link forest conservation and climate change mitigation.  The REM scheme is a central program for the implementation of the GNU Initiative. For Colombia, for example, GNU has pledged about 120 million euros for results-based payments for REDD+. 28 million euros (German contribution 6.5 million euros) have been disbursed already. By the end of 2019, the REM scheme will support 5 to 6 country programmes. A total of around 8 million tonnes of CO2 (as of April 2017) could be reimbursed thanks to the German commitment towards REM. This corresponds to yearly emissions of over 4 million cars in Germany.

Restoring forests

Alongside the conservation of existing forests, the rehabilitation of deforested or degraded forests and wooded landscapes (Forest Landscape Restoration – FLR) plays a significant part in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.

The African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) was launched at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference by BMZ, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the World Resources Institute (WRI). The initiative aims to restore 100 million hectares of forest in Africa by 2030. So far 22 African countries have announced their intention to join the scheme: between them Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania,Togo and Uganda plan to restore more than 75,3 million hectares of forested land.

The initiative is supported by international donors such as the World Bank, private-sector companies and non-governmental organisations. The AFR100 partners have undertaken to provide more than 1 billion US dollars in development funds and 545 million US dollars in private financing.

AFR100 is an element in important international agreements on the restoration of forest landscapes. In 2011 the international community pledged in the Bonn Challenge to restore 150 million hectares of degraded forest by 2020. In the New York Declaration on Forests of 2014 this figure was increased: the current aim is to restore 350 million hectares of forest – an area almost the size of India – by 2030. It was also agreed in New York that global deforestation should be halved by 2020 and completely halted by 2030. The German government explicitly supports both agreements.

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