UNFF Shares Update on Forest Financing Facilitation Network
UN Photo/Eva Fendiaspara
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A note prepared by the UNFF Secretariat states that support for countries to build capacity in proposal development and formulation “has been well received by countries and demand for such support continues to grow”.

The Global Forest Financing Facilitation Network has received requests for assistance from 29 countries.

The note provides an update on the Network’s online clearinghouse mechanism, which UNFF aims to operationalize before the end of 2020.

15 February 2019: In preparation for the 14th session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF 14), the UNFF Secretariat released a background note on the Global Forest Financing Facilitation Network. The note outlines intersessional work related to the Network’s online clearinghouse mechanism, and suggests proposals and recommendations for discussion at UNFF 14.

In 2015, UNFF 11 decided to strengthen the facilitative process and rename it the ‘Global Forest Financing Facilitation Network.’ The Network is one of six components of the international arrangement on forests. Each UNFF session includes an agenda item on means of implementation (MOI) for sustainable forest management (SFM), including financing. UNFF 14 is expected to address progress on the operation and activities of the Network and availability of resources under the agenda items on MOI.

The note titled, ‘Means of Implementation: Progress on the Activities and the Operation of the Global Forest Financing Facilitation Network and Availability of Resources’ (E/CN.18/2019/4), aims to facilitate discussions at UNFF 14 on the Network and its activities. The note provides an update on efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Global Forest Financing Facilitation Network, including the development of a generic guide and modular training package to assist countries in developing national forest financing strategies. The Forum Secretariat solicited information on best practices and lessons learned on resource mobilization for forests from the permanent missions to the UN in New York, US, but did not receive any input.

The note summarizes country support provided by the Network, and requests support from countries. The Network has continued to provide support for Fiji, Guinea, Iran and Madagascar, and initiated support for Botswana, the Central African Republic (CAR), Côte d’Ivoire, Dominica, Jamaica, Malawi, North Macedonia, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, South Africa and Thailand. Since UNFF 13, the Network has received requests from Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Malawi, North Macedonia, Peru and Serbia to build capacity in project design to access forest finance and develop national forest financing strategies, bringing the total number of country requests for assistance to 29. In addition, the Network has trained over 200 national experts in aspects of resource mobilization and project development. The note provides additional details on support provided to each of the countries.

On financing, the Network has received increased contributions from donor countries to support the preparation of national forest financing strategies and other priority work. The Forum Secretariat has secured over USD 600,000 from the regular technical cooperation programme to help countries mobilize SFM financing. In addition, the Secretariat received voluntary contributions from the Government of China (USD 350,000), the Government of Finland (EUR 30,000) and the Government of Switzerland (CHF 400,000).

The note states that support for countries to build capacity in proposal development and formulation “has been well received by countries and demand for such support continues to grow.” The note highlights lessons learned, such as the importance of involving other actors at the earliest possible stage. For instance, the note finds that project proposal development is most effective when the targeted multilateral financing institutions participate in the project development process at the earliest possible stage. Similarly, the note recommends involving national designated authorities and focal points of multilateral financial institutions from the earliest stage to secure government support, receive clear guidance on co-financing and ensure better alignment with national priorities. Challenges identified include a lack of synchronization with the budget cycles of accredited institutions and governments and mismatches between country concept notes and the organizational priorities of accredited entities.

On the clearinghouse, the Forum Secretariat organized an expert group meeting on the topic in January 2019. The meeting discussed proposals for initiating and operationalizing the clearinghouse, experiences and lessons learned from similar clearinghouses and databases used by other organizations and next steps. Experts suggested further work between UNFF 14 and UNFF 15 to develop a solid proposal for phase one of the clearinghouse, with a focus on an assessment of technology needs and budgetary requirements. The Forum aims to operationalize the clearinghouse by the end of 2020.

The note also provides an update on key global developments related to MOI since UNFF 13, including on the sixth replenishment (2014-2018) and seventh replenishment (2018-2022) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and its funding cycles on SFM for that period. The strategy aimed to increase funding for SFM and enhance an integrated approach to biodiversity, climate change and land degradation. Since UNFF 13, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) has approved four new projects on forests and land use, bringing the total number of approved projects in this results area to 14. All of these projects are considered REDD+ projects. The World Bank’s Forest Investment Programme has approved four projects and completed two evaluation and learning initiatives.

UNFF is expected to discuss the offer of the Government of China to establish and operationalize a Forum Secretariat office for the Network in Beijing, China. [Means of Implementation: Progress on the Activities and the Operation of the Global Forest Financing Facilitation Network and Availability of Resources]


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