First payment to Ecuador for reduced deforestation

Source: press release, 7 December 2018

Ecuador’s rainforest is one of the most biodiverse in the world
Ecuador’s rainforest is one of the most biodiverse in the world (photo: Ministerio del Ambiente del Ecuador)

Ecuador has fulfilled the requirements for a first payment of around USD 13 million for verified reductions in deforestation from Germany and Norway. The payment rewards a reduction of around 2.66 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation in 2015 and 2016.

“I am impressed by Ecuador’s determination to protect its pristine forests. This effort will benefit the people of Ecuador and all of us. Preserving forests is one of the most important ways to fight global warming and to protect the world’s irreplaceable biodiversity,” says Norway’s Minister og Climate and Environment, Ola Elvestuen.

The announcement of this first disbursal was made in Quito, Ecuador, by Ms. Marianne Hagen, the Norwegian vice minister of Foreign Affairs.

“I want to highlight that a major part of these resources will be addressed to the actors at a local level and to the benefit of projects from indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian organisations,” Vice Minister Hagen said during her meeting with Equador’s Environment Minister Marcelo Mata.

Germany and Norway signed the cooperation agreement with Ecuador in June 2018. The agreement has a total value of up to USD 50 million USD conditional on progress in reducing deforestation.

To halt and stop tropical deforestation is essential to fight climate change. It is not possible to reach neither the Paris Agreement goals or the Sustainable Development Goals without a massive effort to protect the Amazon and other tropical forests.

Ecuador is an early Mover in reducing emissions from deforestation because of its political commitment to protect its forest ecosystems, e.g. through the Socio Bosque Program. This is an innovative program to incentivise forest conservation and create alternative income sources to rural communities.

Ecuador has also advanced significantly in the establishment of the REDD+ architecture agreed upon under the UNFCCC. In 2016, Ecuador launched its REDD Action Plan. The country has a national system to monitor, report and verify deforestation and emissions from deforestation (MRV), and is in the development of a national Safeguards Information System for REDD+. Since 2009 deforestation in Ecuador has continuously declined.

At least 70% of the Programme’s resources will be invested at local level to support sustainable development of communities, their production system and local organisations. The investments includes both support to activities that reduce deforestation on the agrarian frontier as well as to activities that reward the protection of standing forests. Key stakeholders to the programme are indigenous, Afro-Ecuadorian and other forest-dependent communities as well as smallholders and farmers.