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With almost half of the working population employed in the agriculture industry[1], Côte d’Ivoire’s economy is greatly affected by climate change and the multiple weather variations it brings. In addition, the country’s ever-expanding agriculture is one of the main drivers of deforestation that can further aggravate the effects of climate change. In order to reverse this trend and find and implement win-win solutions to both forestry and agriculture, the Government of Côte d’Ivoire is taking important data-driven steps to address the problems posed by climate change. In these efforts, the country recognises the effectiveness of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) as part of the country’s efforts to achieve their target nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement.

pic cdiCôte d'Ivoire submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2015, which later became their first NDC when the government ratified the Paris Agreement in October 2016. Article 5 of the Paris Climate Agreement recognises REDD+ as a positive incentive mechanism, as well as an important mitigation action in the forestry sector. Cote d’Ivoire is undertaking actions to slow down deforestation and has achieved several accomplishments during the country’s REDD+ preparation phase (2014-2018), through improving data on deforestation, and focusing on building sustainable supply chains through agro-forestry. The work has been supported by various initiatives, including the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), the UN-REDD Programme, the French Development Agency (FDA) and the EU REDD Facility. The country has adopted an integrated and participatory National REDD+ Strategy and validated Safeguards or Safeguards Information System roadmap (SIS). In January 2017, Côte d'Ivoire successfully submitted its Forest Reference Emission Level (FREL) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with its modified version published in November 2017[2]. Development and delivering of all the activities mentioned above were based on robust and transparent data provided by the country’s National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS).

 

Importance of National Forest Monitoring System for Côte d'Ivoire

In order to monitor the results of the implementation of the policies and measures described in its National REDD+ strategy, Côte d'Ivoire has greatly improved its capacity for national forest monitoring. The NFMS includes monitoring and measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) for REDD+ functions that makes it possible to evaluate forest cover change and the changes in the level of greenhouse gas emissions In order to compare them to reference level data for its forests.

FAO, through the UN-REDD Programme, has been providing support to Côte d'Ivoire's National Programme on technical issues related to the establishment of transparent NFMS. In 2017, the country performed a sophisticated biomass forest inventory that provided preliminary data necessary for the development of its FREL. This inventory improved the information needed for monitoring and reporting to the UNFCCC, including for eventual county NDC mitigation targets in the Paris Agreement.

To achieve even better data-driven results, Côte d'Ivoire’s Permanent REDD+ Executive Secretariat at the Ministry of Environment (SEP-REDD+) has set up a Geographic Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing Unit, whose activities are supported under the UN-REDD National Programme. Today, NFMS activities have enabled Côte d'Ivoire to develop methodologies for detection, mapping and estimation of forest cover change, monitoring of deforestation and forest degradation hotspots, monitoring of forests with high carbon stocks biomass and forest inventory, and estimating of greenhouse gas emission and removal factors.

 

New tools for better national forest monitoring

The country is moving forward and constantly updating the quality and the accuracy of its data by using the latest tools and software available for mapping of deforestation and forest degradation. Among these tools is SEPAL (System for Earth Observation Data Access, Processing and Analysis for Land Monitoring). SEPAL is an easy-to-use platform that offers developing countries unparalleled access to granular satellite data and super computing power, paving the way for them to improve the accuracy and transparency of national plans to mitigate the effects of climate change and fine-tune land-use policies and implementation. To strengthen Côte d'Ivoire's capabilities to use the tool, SEP-REDD+ with technical support from FAO, organised a workshop that took place in Abidjan from 11 to 14 September 2018.

 “SEPAL is a very useful tool that saves us a lot of time for large-scale processing, such as the detection of land-use changes, thanks to cloud computing,” noted one of the participants, SEP-REDD+’s MRV Unit responsible, Erik Konan. He added, “In addition, it is more intuitive than some platforms and its use does not necessarily require programming expertise.”

The results obtained following the establishment of the NFMS are crucial for Côte d'Ivoire to continue the implementation of its REDD+ strategy. The country is looking forward to improving its techniques and approaches to REDD+ as well as to enhancing the involvement of local communities in its forest monitoring activities. Such actions will positively support Côte d'Ivoire’s efforts to expand the agriculture sector in the country while aiming to enhance forests contributions to achieve their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) as well as Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Useful links:

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Minoarivelo Randrianarison

Regional Technical Advisor for Africa

REDD+/National Forest Monitoring Cluster

FAO Forestry Department

 


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