Draft AIP-NRS Brings a New Focus on Addressing Non-Forest Sector

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Forest, which provides priceless benefits to country development and support rural livelihood, is under pressure from deforestation and forest degradation. The Greenhouse Gases Inventory for the 1st Biannual Updated Report shows that 75% of country emissions are coming from forest sector, and those mainly coming from deforestation. As shown in National Determined Contribution to Climate Change Paris Agreement (NDC), Cambodia has committed to reduce deforestation and forest degradation through the support of REDD+ Programme and to increase forest cover up to 60% of the total national land area by 2030. To achieve those results, the Government endorsed the REDD+ National Strategy in 2017. This strategy provides clear strategic objectives to improve effective forest management through reducing deforestation and forest degradation. However, the detail approach to implement this important strategy will be defined in the Action and Investment Plan (AIP-NRS). 

The AIP-NRS provides an operational implementation plan for the REDD+ Strategy. Its objective is to link the various existing policies, helping to enhance coherence and coordination to achieve the REDD+ objectives set by Cambodia. The AIP-NRS is built on existing forest strategies and plans such as National Protected Area Strategic Management Plan and its Action Plans, the Production Forest Strategy, and the Strategic Planning Framework for Fisheries. Despite that, the plan is framed to meet sustainable economic development of the Rectangular Strategy Phase IV and the National Strategic Development Plan, ensuring synergies across existing strategies and plans.

The AIP-NRS, at the draft version, is now available for stakeholders’ inputs. On 25th June 2019, in Phnom Penh, key strategic advisors and technical officers from forest institutions, private sector, NGOs, and community and indigenous people met to discuss and provide inputs on the draft AIP-NRS.

Key highlight of the draft AIP-NRS:

  • The REDD+ Action and Investment Plan provides an investment framework for partners wishing to support Cambodia to reduce deforestation and achieve its NDCs targets
  • While the National REDD+ Strategy focuses particularly on forestry-related direct drivers and various indirect drivers, it is important to focus on non-forestry related drivers such as agriculture and infrastructure development. Improved coordination between sectors and financial resource allocation could be a starting point to address the issue
  • The implementation of AIP-NRS has to be guided by socially inclusive, gender responsive approaches, and respect rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. Also, all REDD+ interventions should not create risks on biodiversity and ecology.
  • The cost of implementing the AIP-NRS is about 185 Million USD over 10 years, in which can be mobilized fund in two phases. Phase I (initially 2017-2021), there are potential upfront non-result-based finance from bilateral and multilateral development partners and market-based finance. Phase 2 (initially 2022-2026) is from the Government domestic finance and Results-Based Payments. Based on assessment on potential Finanancial support on forest and non-forest sector, there would be about 15% shortfall funding.
  • The new institutional arrangements is suggested for the implementation of the AIP. Core REDD+ management works on forest monitoring, REDD+ outcome monitoring and evaluation, and Safeguard shall be institutionalized.
  • According to estimates of the Action & Investment Plan, the difference between a ‘without REDD+’ scenario and a ‘with’ REDD+ scenario is 359.35 Mt CO2e, that can be reduced in the period 2019-2030
  • The Nested System for REDD+ implementation will coordinate and align REDD+ investments from various sources (including the private sector) at different spatial scales.

Inputs from the Consultation Workshop:

  • There was an overall agreement that the current draft of AIP still predominantly focused on forestry sectors as its aligned with the 3 Strategic documents most relevant to the forest sector in Cambodia. However, based on the results of the cost and benefits analysis show that emission reduction potential lies predominantly in implementing REDD+ in the agriculture sector to reduce land and forest footprint. To achieve REDD+ potential emission reduction and REDD+ RBPs, the AIP-NRS should enabling a stronger focus on mainstreaming/streamlining REDD+ objective into the non-forestry sectors particularly agriculture.
  • Strengthen the financing strategy, including alignment with massive existing and pipeline REDD+ relevant finance, particularly agriculture to explore the opportunities to better contribute to REDD+ or at least limit negative impact, offsetting from EIA framework and PES from agriculture and tourism, etc.