A Ricardo-led consortium with internationally renowned expertise in forestry, carbon markets and social safeguards is delivering the UK Technical Assistance Programme for LEAF which is helping governments mobilise finance for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation: a major global driver of climate change.
Ricardo, a global strategic environmental and engineering consulting company, is leading a consortium of internationally renowned organisations to deliver a two-year, five million GBP programme which will support national and sub-national governments in Africa, Asia and Latin America to access finance to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and additional forest-related activities that protect the climate (REDD+).
The UK Technical Assistance Programme for Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance (LEAF), funded by the UK Government’s Department for Energy Strategy and Net Zero (DESNZ), will be delivered by specialists from Ricardo and its partners, Winrock International and Climate Law & Policy, both of which bring nearly two decades of experience in jurisdictional REDD+.
Global deforestation is continuing apace. The United Nations Environment Programme has identified that between 2015-2020, 10 million hectares of forest – an area about the same size as Iceland – were converted to other land uses every year. The UK Technical Assistance Programme for LEAF is supporting governments of forested countries or states to secure finance for slowing, halting and reversing forest loss. This will provide a key step in the UK Government’s commitment to support other countries’ decarbonisation activities to limit global warming to within 1.5 degrees.
Finance will be provided by the voluntary, global LEAF Coalition, which brings together the private sector and governments to provide finance for tropical and subtropical forest conservation through carbon markets. It is supported by the governments of the United Kingdom, Norway and the United States, as well as over 25 major companies including Amazon, Airbnb, Walmart and GSK. The LEAF Coalition was announced at COP26 in Glasgow, UK in 2021, and to date, it has mobilised over 1 billion USD in finance to support governments of forested jurisdictions in making substantial reductions in their emissions from deforestation.
Through the LEAF Coalition, national and sub-national governments will receive payments for validated and verified carbon credits. The credits will be issued by the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions and must adhere to the REDD+ Environmental Excellence Standard (TREES), a high integrity approach that guarantees robust results in terms of carbon, social and biodiversity safeguards.
The UK Technical Assistance Programme for LEAF will work with selected governments to determine their specific challenges and the types of support they require. The programme will then deliver timely and bespoke packages of technical assistance which will support governments to meet the requirements of the standard, including quantification, monitoring, and reporting of emissions and removals and implementing social and environmental safeguards; navigate LEAF’s emissions reductions payment agreement process; build long-term technical expertise and skills, ensuring lasting impact.
Mark Johnson, Technical Director at Ricardo and Programme Director for the UK Technical Assistance Programme for LEAF said: “Halting global deforestation is critical to mitigating the climate crisis, protecting biodiversity, and achieving sustainable development goals. However, it will not be achieved without economic incentives to protect forests. There are strong economic and livelihood incentives to clear forest land for other uses, so it is important that governments and indigenous peoples and local communities can receive financial benefit from reducing deforestation and protecting some of the world’s most valuable carbon sinks.”
Katie Goslee, Winrock International’s Director of Nature-Based Solutions and Technical Lead for the programme added, “It is imperative that countries are supported in taking the next step towards results-based payments for addressing deforestation. The Architecture for REDD+ Transactions provides a rigorous standard that ensure actions lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and the LEAF Coalition provides a vehicle for enabling payments to jurisdictions. The UK Technical Assistance Programme for LEAF will provide needed support in enabling countries to meet the requirements of both ART and LEAF to ensure climate benefit and receive needed financing.”
Daniela Rey Christen, Climate Law & Policy’s CEO and Technical Lead for the UK Technical Assistance Programme for LEAF said, “This programme will unlock the investment at scale that is needed to end tropical forest loss, improve governance, advance indigenous peoples and local communities rights, and increase biodiversity – all necessary to thrive beyond the climate crisis.”
Ricardo’s work with the UK Technical Assistance Programme for LEAF is the latest example of the company working individually or leading large consortia to inform government decision-making processes for the allocation of scarce resources around the world. Ricardo has a long and enviable track record and considerable experience in supporting environmental policy and investment decisions. We are a global provider of technical assistance on emissions accounting, carbon markets, climate finance and climate strategies. Supporting the implementation of low carbon, climate resilient development actions, Ricardo supported policymakers from 16 countries in developing ambitious climate commitments as part of the Paris Agreement that reflected each country’s development goals, and is now supporting countries to implement their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
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