Through its international Climate and Forest Initiative, the Norwegian government aims at supporting efforts to slow, halt and eventually reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+).
Destruction of forests threatens millions of persons, many of whom are among the planet's most vulnerable people, those who depend on forests for their subsistence. It is also a key factor behind the current biodiversity crisis. Furthermore, deforestation and forest degradation cause huge emissions of greenhouse gases, accounting for approximately 10 % of annual man-made carbon emissions.
Since its inception in April 2008, the Norwegian Governments International Climate and Forest Initiative has established a series of partnerships with key forest countries and contributed to significant advances in the development of a REDD+ mechanism under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
As part of its International Climate and Forest Initiative, Norway also provides support to NGOs, research institutes and civil society organizations to pilot projects and provide analyses supporting the REDD+ negotiations and learning.
GLOBE International's Forest Legislation Initiative (GFLI), supported by the Norwegian government through Norad since 2011, is an important component in supporting national readiness for REDD+ and promoting early action.
Enhancing national legal preparedness for REDD+ through engaging parliaments can help create the enabling conditions for a global deal on REDD+ in 2013. It can also provide much needed reform of forest governance on a broader level - including land tenure reform and increased public participation in decision-making.
The Oslo REDD Exchange, a major conference gathering 400 REDD experts and stakeholders and hosted by the Norwegian government in October 2013, concluded that mobilizing political will and national political ownership is one of the most challenging tasks ahead in making REDD work. GLOBE's highly relevant work, which was presented at the Oslo REDD Exchange Results Bar, effectively addresses this challenge through its unique global network of legislators and longstanding experience of supporting parliaments.
Most international donor initiatives in support of REDD+ today engage with Ministries of Environment and Finance, as well as civil society, but more seldom with parliaments. GLOBE is one of the few organizations which bridge this gap by building the capacity of legislators to advance REDD+ legislation as well as increase transparency and accountability of REDD+ financial flows through parliamentary scrutiny and oversight. The GFLI complements the support the Norwegian Government provides to the executive branch of government in forest countries.
The 1st edition of the GLOBE Forest Legislation Study is not only a much anticipated report, but also a highly relevant and timely practical guide and road map of legislative reform options for legislators and other stakeholders currently facing the task of enhancing legal preparedness for REDD.
The Norwegian Government is content to see this result of the first phase of support to the GFLI, and has recently agreed to extend support to GLOBE to the end of 2015, allowing the Initiative to expand to two additional countries - Colombia and Peru. We look forward to collaborating with GLOBE in the coming two years, supporting governments and particularly parliaments to implement key recommendations of this study in favor of early action and national readiness for REDD+. Ultimately, parliaments are key partners in mobilizing the political will and providing the legal frameworks that are needed for REDD+ to succeed.