Chile launches project to restore and conserve 25,000 hectares of native forest
Chile's forests cover 19 percent of the country's territory and represent a valuable biological treasure that has sustained native peoples for generations. As ecosystem threats become more pressing, Chile is now taking significant steps to protect and preserve this treasure.
Through the CONAF-led National Strategy on Climate Change and Vegetative Resources (ENCCRV), and in collaboration with numerous partners, Chile is addressing the climate crisis through measures focused on the proper management of vegetative resources. In this framework, Chile also aims to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) and subsequently, drought, desertification and land degradation.
In November, 2019, the Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) approved a new US$63 million REDD+ Results-Based Payment Funding Proposal, designed by the Government of Chile and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO, as GCF’s Accredited Entity). This proposal aims to restore and conserve a significant portion of native forest land in six regions of the country. The project, called +Bosques, juntos contra el cambio climático (+Forests, together against climate change) or +Bosques (+Forests) in short, is being developed as part of the ENCCRV implementation efforts. It is expected to reduce the country's greenhouse gas emissions by 1.1 million tons and to promote afforestation in more than 7,000 hectares, as well as the sustainable management and conservation of over 17,000 hectares of forest.
The benefit-sharing criteria for the allocation of the project's resources emphasizes the role of gender, indigenous peoples and vulnerable populations, to ensure positive social, economic and environmental impacts. The project includes participation from over 57,000 people, including members of indigenous communities, in addressing afforestation, restoration and sustainable management.
In March, 2021, after an intensive period of preparations, the project activities were launched at a workshop attended by the Minister of Agriculture of Chile and FAO, CONAF and GCF representatives. The ceremony was held at the Lahuen Ñadi Natural Monument in the Los Lagos region, with forestry specialists from civil society organizations, academia, service officials and institutions of the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture, as well as representatives of local communities and NGOs in attendance.
This inception workshop presented +Bosque to all key stakeholders, shared recent information updates and raised awareness on project objectives, expected results and impacts, and other important aspects including planned activities, benefit-sharing system, identified risks and social and gender management plans. Clear communication, engagement and active participation of key stakeholders and a strong sense of ownership at the local, regional and national levels are central elements for the achievement of project results.
Rejuvenating Chile’s forests
The +Bosques project builds upon and aligns with experiences gathered from a number of past REDD+ activities, including those under the UN-REDD Programme. With the support of the Programme, Chile has reached several important milestones , namely the National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS), the National REDD+ Strategy/Action Plan (ENCCRV in Chile), the Safeguard Information System (SIS) and the submission of its Forest Reference Emission Level / Forest Reference Level (FREL/FRL). All of the above are key pre-requisites for any country wishing to apply for REDD+ Results-Based Payments. The strengthened knowledge and technical capacities in the country, the achievement of emission reductions and the fulfillment of the above-mentioned pre-requisites allowed the country to have all elements in place to successfully secure GCF funding to help implement future activities under +Bosques.
The project is now working to establish REDD+ groups in each of the six regions. Each regional group will be composed of representatives from government, civil society, local communities, the private sector and FAO. These groups will jointly provide guidance on the distribution of funds among the involved communities, in accordance with the Benefit Sharing Mechanism, whose proposals seek to improve environmental, social and economic aspects of the project beneficiaries.
In the coming years, the project will maximise the co-benefits of mitigation, adaptation and sustainable development for rural communities within the six regions by investing in the innovative approach for climate action proposed in the ENCCRV. It will also address the social and cultural vulnerability of indigenous peoples, enhance the role of women and promote actions that reduce the vulnerability of rural communities, improving their quality of life by increasing their capacity to generate income and employment related to the sustainable use of native forests.
+Bosque has clear environmental and socioeconomic benefits for Chile, but the results of the project, in terms of emission reductions and capture, will also have regional and global implications. Continuous incentives from public and private donors to support forested countries in similar efforts are essential to addressing the quadruple crisis the world is experiencing with climate, biodiversity, health and the economy.