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Since 2011 Côte d'Ivoire has been involved in the conceptualisation and preparation of REDD+ as a mechanism to mitigate the high rates of deforestation and forest degradation suffered in its recent history. After three years of support from the UN-REDD programme, today the country has consolidated its REDD+ efforts and is moving faster towards the implementation phase.

2016 was a key year for the consolidation of the REDD+ Readiness process in Côte d’Ivoire, in line with the Warsaw Framework. At the beginning of the year, the Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) unit was structured and several studies were carried out to analyse the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. The results of these studies showed that the country’s forested area decreased from 5.1 million hectares in 2000 to 3.4 million hectares in 2015, and confirmed that expansion of agriculture (Côte d'Ivoire is the main producer of Cacao Of the world), mining activities, wood harvesting for cooking purposes, commercial timber exploitation, uncontrolled forest fires and the impact of the political unrest of the 2000s have been the main drivers of deforestation and degradation in the country.

With the causes of deforestation and forest degradation identified, the Ministry of Environment initiated a participatory process for the development of a national REDD+ strategy, with the vision to "stabilise and permanently reverse the trend of the disappearance of forests from 2017 and simultaneously restore the forest cover progressively, reaching 20% of forest cover by 2030, managing them in a sustainable way, poverty reduction, human and social development goals of local communities within a framework of social, cultural and gender equity ".

With a broad participatory process involving various sectors of society that included more than 70 representatives of the government, civil society, private sector and technical and financial partners, a series of meetings and workshops were carried on over 4 months to formulate policies and measures clustered in 8 strategic axes of REDD+: five operational axes to implement actions and measures to address the causes of deforestation, and three strategic axes to facilitate the implementation of the policies and measures of the strategy at national and local levels.


Graphic: SEPREDD, Côte d’Ivoire

Other studies that contributed to the REDD+ strategy development included: the Landscape of REDD+-aligned Finance in Côte d’Ivoire [1]; Private Sector Investment Opportunities; and, the Valuation of Forest Ecosystem Services and the Spatial Planning in Support on Non-carbon Benefits.

The results of these studies also formed the basis for the presentation of the first version of the REDD+ strategy during COP22 in Morocco. This version is currently in the process of validation through a series of national participative consultations, where the different stakeholders in particular local communities, civil society and decentralised structures are able to identify in the different regions the local structures that could help in the implementation of the strategy, and to identify potential social and environmental risks.

In addition to the progress made on the national strategy, the Ministry of Environment has also recently finalised its National Forest Reference Emission Level (FREL). It was submitted to the UNFCCC on the 2nd of January 2017. This FREL consists of a baseline of deforestation from 2000 to 2015. This benchmark level will be complemented by the results of the first national forest biomass inventory (currently on-going), in order to have a more accurate and transparent estimate of the country's historical emissions. The FREL will be the basis for the MRV of the reduction of forest carbon emissions associated with the implementation of REDD+ activities.

Côte d'Ivoire has also recently benefitted from a south-south knowledge exchange with Costa Rica on REDD+ implementation and operationalization, which resulted in an MoU on continued collaboration between the two countries, signed by both ministries of environment during the last COP 22.[2]

In order to build on these accomplishments in 2017, Côte d'Ivoire will advance on REDD+ Implementation. The government is already progressing in mobilising international support from Technical and Financial Partners, including the 2016 approval of a USD 24 million FIP project by the Climate Investment Funds. This project covers the Taï park region (the biggest and more important main national park), and an area in the centre of the country. In addition, the French Development Agency (AFD) approved a REDD+ pilot project in the east of the country with a value of 3.5 million Euros. Finally, UNDP is supporting the government to present a proposal to the Green Climate Fund for $ 50 million. This project will be implemented in the centre of the country and seeks to implement the different strategic axes of REDD+. Other projects include the jurisdictional areas of Balier and Cavalli with the support of Governors' Climate and Forests Fund.

In addition, plans are in place for 2017 to operationalise REDD+ safeguards, including the capacity building of relevant institutions, data collection and preparation of key data-sharing agreements with relevant government agencies.

In the context of this proliferation of projects, partners and actors, the government considered it important to develop a REDD+ National Investment framework for the implementation of policies and measures identified by the national REDD+ strategy. The framework will be closely linked with the country’s national development plan, NDC and public and private finance streams. The REDD+ National Implementation Framework will include support on governance, multi-partner stakeholder engagement, private sector engagement (the cacao and palm oil sectors have already signed agreements with the government), safeguards (including in the investment plan), certification and procurement standards, and continued resource-mobilisation.


Image: SEPREDD, Côte d’Ivoire