Kenya’s forest resources are of immense importance for their contribution to economic development, rural livelihoods, and for the environmental and ecosystem services they provide. Forests support the operations of most key economic sectors such as – agriculture, tourism, horticulture, wildlife and energy. Kenya loses about 12,000 hectares of forest each year through deforestation. About 12% of the land area which was originally covered by closed canopy forests has been reduced to about 1.7% of its original size. This is due to demand for fuelwood and charcoal, population pressure for settlements, infrastructure, demand for wood products and conversion to agriculture.
A coordinated approach, coupled with incentives for forest conservation and management, are being put in place to manage and conserve forests sustainably and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet national targets. This will increase and maintain forest cover to 10% and over - as stipulated in the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) 2018 – 2023, which forms the implementation framework of the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement.
The Project aims at supporting Kenya’s efforts to pursue long-term, transformative development and accelerate sustainable climate resilient economic growth, while slowing the soaring rates of GHG emissions emanating from the forest sector. The REDD+ Readiness Project supports the government in meeting its national targets of increasing forest cover. Kenya intends to formulate a National REDD+ Strategy and accompanying instruments including a Forest Reference Level (FRL), a Safeguards Information System (SIS) and a National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS). A REDD+ Investment Plan to actualize implementation of the National REDD+ Strategy will also be developed.
The project contributes to Result 3 Area – Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth and Result 4 - Environmental Sustainability, Land Management and Human Security of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), Outcome 4 (‘Environmental sustainability, renewable energy and sustainable land management’) of UNDP Kenya Country Programme Document and the Big 4 Agenda.
In collaboration with UNDP, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry has put in place mechanisms that will enable the country to reach its overall REDD+ objectives of: Improving livelihoods and wellbeing, conserving biodiversity, increasing forest cover, and mitigating climate change.
To achieve these objectives the following outputs are envisaged:
- An operational national REDD+ strategy and investment plan;
- An operational safeguards information system for REDD+;
- Functional multi-stakeholder engagement and capacity building for REDD+; and
- Technical support provided for improvement to the National Forest Monitoring System and Forest Reference Level.