o one doubts the importance of foreststhat over a billion people depend on fortheir livelihoods. While contributing topoverty alleviation and biodiversityconservation, these forests can also provide up to 30per cent of the climate change mitigation potential. Itis in this context that Reducing Emissions fromDeforestation and Forest Degradation in developingcountries (REDD+) stands as a vital part of the climatechange solution. Over the past year, REDD+ has gained significantmomentum and interest from a growing number ofstakeholders. From Indigenous Peoples organisationsand local communities, to the private sector, academia,donors and policy makers, all these groups recognisethe opportunity presented by REDD+ as a potentiallypowerful policy tool on how forests are managed. Whilesome of these groups do not embrace REDD+ withoutreservations, their engagement is helping to raise theright questions and issues that are critical in defining acredible and relevant REDD+ mechanism. Copenhagen did not produce a much-anticipatedlegally binding agreement, but many countries wereencouraged by the progress made in REDD+negotiations. To build on this momentum, the OsloClimate and Forest Conference in May established theInterim REDD+ Partnership, which brings togethermore than 60 REDD+ countries to ensure rapidimplementation of efforts aimed at preserving theworld's tropical forests, in line with the decisions of theUnited Nations Framework Convention on ClimateChange (UNFCCC). This global commitment toREDD+ is also backed by significant funding.According to the intergovernmental synthesis report onREDD+ financing and activities (prepared for the OsloConference), interim financing commitments andexpenditures for REDD+ from developed countriesbetween 2010 and 2012 now totals approximatelyUS$4.2 billion.1The current global demand and support for REDD+ isunprecedented and the UN-REDD Programme, incollaboration with other multilateral REDD+ initiatives,remains committed to playing an important role insupporting REDD+ readiness efforts around the world. HOW REDD+ WORKSThe United Nations Intergovernmental Panel onClimate Change has estimated that deforestation andforest degradation contribute globally approximately17 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions.2Millionsof hectares of the world's forests are lost each year dueto conversion to other land uses driven by economicpressures. As long as forests are worth more whenconverted than left standing, this pattern will continue.Protecting forests is both a difficult but vitallyimportant goal, with tremendous potential to abateclimate change. If managed in a sustainable way,experts agree that forests could contribute significantlyto the climate change solution.REDD+ is a mechanism that creates incentives fordeveloping forested countries to protect and bettermanage their forest resources, thus contributing to theglobal fight against climate change. REDD+ strives tocreate a financial value for the carbon stored instanding trees. When fully operational, payments forverified emission reductions and removals provide anincentive for REDD+ countries to pursue climatecompatible development. In this way, REDD+ can helplimit global temperature rise while contributing topoverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation. REDD+: A VITAL PART OFTHE CLIMATECHANGE SOLUTION122FORESTRYNDR YEMI KATERERE, HEAD, UN-REDD PROGRAMME SECRETARIATRight: a tree frog(hypsiboas geograficus)at night in the Bolivianforest area which is richin bio-diversity?