Forests are among the world’s most important ecosystems, absorbing approximately 15 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and providing a variety of economic, social, and environmental services. In addition, forests serve as carbon sinks and are often biodiversity hotspots – for example, new plant and animal species are continuously discovered in South America’s Amazon rainforest.

In recent years, forests are under increasing pressure from activities such as agricultural expansion, infrastructure development, and logging. Together, deforestation and forest degradation account for more than 20 percent of global GHG emissions. This number is likely to increase as developing countries expand their economies and find alternative uses for forests and the lands they occupy.

To combat deforestation and forest degradation, the UN REDD+ program incentivizes practices associated with sustainable forest management. CIF’s Forest Investment Program (FIP) was created to provide direct support to REDD+ implementation in partner countries. In fact, FIP is the largest source of financing for Phase 2 (implementation) REDD+ activities, with $785 million in investments as of 2015. CIF’s programmatic approach to FIP investments results in site-specific plans that are able to combine poverty reduction, climate change mitigation, and resilience with sustainable forest management methods.

One aspect of FIP financing that is unique to this program alone is the $50 million Dedicated Grant Mechanism (DGM) for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.  The purpose of the DGM is to give its associated groups the opportunity to directly manage forest conservation practices in their respective communities. The DGM creates and enabling environment through poverty reduction alongside quality of life improvements for forest-dependent indigenous peoples and forest communities. 

To strengthen the objectives of FIP, events have taken place for the purpose of exchanging knowledge and lessons learned. These include the FIP pilot countries meeting in June 2015, as well as the preparation of a FIP monitoring and reporting toolkit. In addition, lessons learned from FIP practices will be disseminated to non-FIP countries in an effort to catalyze change, leading to widespread acceptance of sustainable forest management at a global level.