Bangladesh government officially launched the UN-REDD Bangladesh National Programme

Aug 3, 2016

The National Project Director of UN-REDD Bangladesh National Programme giving his speech during inception workshop. Photo: UN-REDD/UNDP Bangladesh

On 3rd August 2016, the Government of Bangladesh (GoB), in rally with its development partners- UNDP Bangladesh and FAO Bangladesh, officially launched the Bangladesh National Programme of the United Nations Collaborative Programme on REDD+ in developing countries, known as the UN-REDD Programme by holding an inception workshop at a hotel in Dhaka. Earlier, in June 2016, the UN-REDD Bangladesh Programme was approved by the Government and on the backdrop of it, GoB’s nodal ministry, i.e. the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), formally established the UN-REDD Bangladesh Programme’s Executive Board (PEB) in 21 July, 2016.

Organized by Bangladesh Forest Department (BFD), MoEF’s focal agency to host this collaborative programme, the inception workshop was graced by Dr. Kamal Uddin Ahmad, Secretary, MoEF as the chief guest. Ms. Pauline Tamesis, Country Director, UNDP Bangladesh, and Mr. David Doolan, Acting FAO Representative in Bangladesh joined as guests of honour. Chaired by Mr. Md. Yunus Ali, Chief Conservator of Forests, the event included representation of different ministries, departments, govt. agencies, research institutions, universities, NGOs, civil society organizations, ethnic groups and international organizations.

The Chair, in his welcoming address, remarked, “The UN-REDD Programme will go beyond carbon sequestration, and is therefore a very welcome and critical addition to our efforts in watershed management, biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction through livelihood improvements of rural people. A country like Bangladesh should focus on the co-benefits of REDD+ also, where millions of people depend on forests for their livelihoods.”

Mr. Md. Rakibul Hasan Mukul, National Project Director of the UN-REDD Bangladesh National Programme, outlined the project’s mission, vision and goal on expediting GoB’s journey towards its National REDD+ Strategy.

“Bangladesh has identified climate change as one of its key development challenges, and embraced actions aimed at increasing climate resilience of people, its resource base, infrastructures, through strategic national investment and innovative climate financing,” he noted.

Ms. Pauline Tamesis, Country Director to the UNDP Bangladesh highlighted the country’s policy and institutional reforms to stop deforestation and forest degradation as one of the key challenges for REDD+ implementation in Bangladesh. Her speech shed light on UNDP’s continued assistance to GoB and the importance of REDD+ to achieve SDGs like Climate Action (goal 13), Responsible Consumption and Production (goal 12), Gender Equality (goal 5), Life on Land (goal 15), and Decent Work and Economic Growth (goal 8), etc. She also highlighted the project’s capacity building assistance that is aimed to capacitate the country particularly BFD to secure results-based payments under the UNFCCC’s Warsaw Framework for REDD+.

Mr. David Doolan, Acting FAO Representative also pointed out the FAO’s role in the capacity building efforts of the programme. He emphasized the establishment of a National Forest Monitoring System and its importance for the REDD+ mechanism, as well as sustainable management of forests. He also noted that FAO has been providing support to many countries, including Bangladesh, on several forestry topics, including forest inventory, forest monitoring, forest management and conservation. Under the National Programme, FAO will implement two of the outcomes. Several important activities will be carried out to achieve each outcome such as assessing the historical trends of forest and land use changes, support to institutional arrangements for measurement, reporting and verification (MRV), the development of methods for forest monitoring, strengthening capacities for the preparation of Greenhouse Gas inventories for the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry sector, and establishing an information system.

During the open discussion session, the distinguished guests emphasized the strengthening of forest governance and scope for the engagement of forest dependent people, particularly ethnic communities, in the REDD+ mechanism. The event concluded with the conclusion that the REDD+ mechanism will open up the opportunity to manage the forest resources of the country sustainably, and hence contribute to the effort of the country to meet the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The UN-REDD Programme has been supporting nationally led REDD+ initiatives in 64 developing countries. Among developing countries, Bangladesh has recently been playing a significant promising role by taking concrete measures to combat global climate change in line with its signed promises under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). The country joined the UN-REDD global family as a partner country in 2010.

Bangladesh National Programme has started supporting the government to achieve three (3) out of four (4) UNFCCC requirements to obtain REDD+ result based payments. Those are –a) Establishing a National Forest Monitoring Systems (NFMS) for Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) to register reduction of GHG emission or enhancement of carbon stock over time. b) Establishing Forest reference emission levels (REL) and forest reference levels (RL) - to serve as benchmarks for assessing each country’s performance in implementing REDD+ activities. And finally c) Developing a national REDD+ strategy or action plan.