South-South Learning Workshop on ‘Forest Reference Level (FRL) Assessment Process in Asia and the Pacific’

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Background

Submitting a national Forest Reference Level (FRL) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an involved process that requires understanding national circumstances that drive emissions (and removals) and the adoption of reliable and transparent procedures. The components of developing a national FRL scale including defining “forest”, activities, pools, and gases to be included needs a comprehensive consultation and understanding in line with guidelines of UNFCCC. In addition, the data and methodology to be adopted, emission factors to be used, assessing fluxes from deforestation and afforestation, especially from forest enhancement and degradation, is a rigorous scientific endeavour that requires knowledge of international guidelines (IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). The FRL submission also should report current limitations and future improvements to enable an understanding of FRL future development.

At the Forest Monitoring Systems and Forest Reference Levels for REDD+ Regional Workshop in Hanoi, Viet Nam, in October 2014 (organised by FAO through the UN-REDD Programme), countries pledged future support to FRLs based on their levels of progress and experience. Accordingly, in May 2015, an expert consultation event on FRL development in Asia and the Pacific was held in Siem Reap, Cambodia, for countries that were, at that point, intending to submit their FRLs to the UNFCCC in 2016. Representatives from these countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal and Viet Nam) were joined by representatives from Malaysia, which had already submitted an FRL and was undergoing the technical assessment process. Technical and financial support for the workshop was provided by FAO through UN-REDD targeted support to the government of Cambodia. 

The workshop allowed countries to test their readiness for submission and participation in the UNFCCC technical assessment process. Subsequently, Indonesia and Viet Nam submitted their FREL (Forest Reference Emission Level)/FRL in January 2016 and are currently undergoing the technical assessment process.  Cambodia and Nepal re-evaluated their objectives with regard to FRL development, and decided to postpone submission until January 2017, in order to allow for sufficient preparation. The workshop received positive feedback from participants, and it was proposed to repeat the exercise in the following year.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation (MoFSC), Government of Nepal, in collaboration with FAO/UNREDD and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is organizing a ‘South-South Learning Workshop on Forest Reference Level (FRL) Assessment Process in Asia and the Pacific’ from 10–11 April 2017 in Pokhara, Nepal. The countries (Cambodia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka) together with ICIMOD’s Regional REDD+ initiative partners (from Bhutan, India, Myanmar and Pakistan) will be joined by representatives from Indonesia and Viet Nam, to exchange their experience in preparing their FREL/FRL and participating in the technical assessment process. Expert advisors from the FAO will also be on hand to advise the gathering.

Objective 

The objectives of the workshop include

  • To provide information on international guidance on designing and constructing REDD+ FRLs (focusing on guidance from the UNFCCC);
  • To exchange information on country approaches to FRL development and design;
  • To discuss and explore possible approaches to resolve technical FRL issues encountered by countries;
  • To discuss emerging lessons from the FRL assessment process under the UNFCCC; and
  • To provide an informal setting for countries to discuss and consult with experts and other colleagues in countries on their approach to FRLs in preparation for the UNFCCC assessment process.