Germany’s contribution

Helping to mitigate climate change

Destructed forest in Cameroon

Conserving biodiversity is of great significance in preserving climate health. Forests, oceans, wetlands and permafrost soils store large amounts of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane. If forests are cleared or wetlands drained, or if global warming causes permafrost soils to thaw, these gases are released into the atmosphere.

Germany promotes international initiatives, as well as a range of bilateral development projects, which tie climate change mitigation closely to conserving biodiversity in these precious habitats. Examples of these projects are tropical forest protection in the Amazon region, in the Congo basin and in Indonesia, as well as projects for regenerating peat bogs.

Protecting forests

The REDD mechanism (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) has been discussed and developed in the context of the United Nations climate negotiations since 2005. It creates financial incentives for the avoidance of deforestation and thus the reduction of climate-damaging carbon dioxide emissions. This mechanism now also includes measures to protect and rehabilitate forests, and measures for reforestation and sustainable forest management (REDD+). Countries that can prove that they have reduced their carbon dioxide output by means of such activities and have also met certain social and ecological standards are eligible to receive performance-based payments.

In December 2010, in the margins of the UN Climate Conference in Cancun, the BMZ signed a financing agreement with the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). With 17 donors and 47 REDD partner countries, the FCPF is the largest multilateral REDD initiative and is actively shaping the emerging international REDD standards. Germany initiated the FCPF at the 2007 G8 summit in Heiligendamm. Total German commitments of 160.4 million euros, around 25 per cent of the total budget, make Germany the second-largest donor just behind Norway.

Adapting to climate change

The internationally developed concept of ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change links together the goals of climate protection, conservation of biodiversity and sustainable resource management. In this way it is hoped that the resilience of ecosystems will be increased and the vulnerability of the population to the effects of climate change will gradually be reduced. At the same time, these measures can also have a positive impact on the economic, social and cultural development of a region.

Many development programmes in the field of habitat conservation serve not only to protect biodiversity but also to promote adaptation to climate change. For example, since 2009 the BMZ has been supporting a biodiversity project in Mongolia in the regions most affected by climate change. The goal of these activities is to preserve the livelihoods of the rural population in the long term by conserving local biodiversity. In Viet Nam, protection against floods is being provided by conserving and regenerating mangrove forests instead of resorting to the construction of expensive flood barriers. This has the simultaneous benefit of protecting the spawning and breeding grounds for many species of fish and other marine creatures.

Climate assessment

In order to safeguard the long-term effectiveness of development cooperation activities, the projects Germany promotes are subjected to both general environmental impact assessments and climate assessments. Among other things, the climate assessment explores how a project needs to be organised if its results are not to be threatened or undermined by climate change in the coming decades.

BMZ glossary

Close window


Share page