The Benishangul-Gumuz region of Ethiopia, the country’s REDD+ pilot area, is supported by the UN-REDD Programme and the National REDD+ Coordination agency. The support is aimed at developing the REDD+ readiness in Ethiopia that is aligned with national architectures and meets the requirements of the UNFCCC in order to benefit from REDD+ results-based payments.

Less than two months after the inception workshop in the region, 60 participants representing all key regional stakeholders (e.g. public administration from 15 different sector offices/ministries, civil society, private sector, academia), including 10 women, received training on REDD+. This took place during a five-day workshop held 20-24 October 2015 and was designed to facilitate the full participation of stakeholders in the REDD+ strategy design process.

As part of this process, the region’s REDD+ team has started large consultations and a desk review to scope the design of a regionally tailored strategy for REDD+. For this participative process to deliver robust policies and measures, conducting capacity building training has been recognized as a necessary step. In this regard, the regional REDD+ team has also prepared a methodology to guide regional stakeholders and leaders through identifying, designing and prioritizing these policies and measures. Following the workshop, four thematic working groups gathering 50 stakeholders were set up, and consultation meetings were held from 26-30 October 2015.

Mr. Dessalegn Fufa, the REDD+ project manager in Benishangul-Gumuz, explained, “REDD+ implementation requires engagement of multiple sectors and institutions, with different backgrounds and interests. The stakeholder training was vital to introduce participants to emerging opportunities in the forest sector from climate finance, the need for inter-sectoral cooperation, and help in understanding what role they can play. The trainees were overwhelmed by the impacts of climate change and the potential of forests to mitigate, and have highly appreciated the efforts of UNDP, the UN-REDD Programme and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in piloting REDD+ in the region.”

Mr. Ababu Anage, Project Coordinator in UNDP’s country office for Ethiopia, also stressed that the regional REDD+ piloting initiative of the UN-REDD Programme plays an important role in the implementation of the forestry component of the Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy of Ethiopia.  

Participating stakeholders of the workshops and consultations have also expressed their commitment to play a role in REDD+ implementation. They also highlighted the need to organize similar trainings at lower administrative levels, and at the local community level.  Material for the REDD+ training workshop was adapted from the UN-REDD Programme’s REDD+ Academy to local contexts by Ethiopian experts to meet the unique needs of the regional audience.