In 2019, significant political attention was focused on nature-based solutions for climate and sustainable development, from the Climate Action Summit to the high-level United Nations leadership dialogue on “Turning the tide on defor-estation”, where heads of United Nations entities issued a strong call to turn the tide on deforestation, including Mr. Steiner, UNDP Administrator, who declared that “UN-REDD is a key platform to support countries on forests as an important nature-based solution to raise ambition in the NDCs.”
By organizing a series of successful side events at major conferences throughout 2019, UN-REDD positioned itself as a leading voice on forests within the nature-based solutions movement. It held two interactive events at the Climate Action Summit on “Catalyzing Forest Solutions to the Climate Emergency” and “Inclusive Forest Action for the Climate Crisis: Mainstreaming Gender and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities”; side events at the Global Landscapes Forum editions in Kyoto, Japan; Bonn, Germany; and Accra, Ghana. This dynamic momentum was sustained through December 2019 at the twenty-fifth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change with the official United Nations side event on SDG 15 (life on land) in partnership with UNESCO and the United Nations University. To increase its advocacy clout and to support the growing movement for nature, UN-REDD joined the Nature4Climate (N4C) coalition.
To further illustrate the significant impact of forests on both the planet and people, UN-REDD engaged in human-focused storytelling all year long. It produced 11 multimedia stories across Asia, Africa and Latin America, featuring the voices of women, youth and indigenous peoples. These diverse and powerful stories came from the UN-REDD partner countries of Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Viet Nam and Zambia. Nine of them were compiled and launched on a new dedicated visual storytelling website that blended text with photos, graphics and videos.
In 2019, the UN-REDD social media reach grew significantly to 45,700 followers due to an ambitious engagement strategy and the launch of its Instagram channel to promote visually-rich storytelling to a wider audience. The UNREDD global advocacy video, “Forests are the Fastest and Cheapest Climate Solution” was launched at the Climate Action Summit as part of its #BetterWithForests campaign and was watched over 250,000 times in its first week.
Thanks to regional media training courses organized by UN-REDD, the number of media mentions surpassed previous years. These included training with six major news outlets in Kenya and training held in partnership with CIFOR for 11 journalists from across South-East Asia in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.
UN-REDD organized a number of knowledge events. These included a knowledge exchange between Colombia and Mexico on forest finance products, and a regional exchange between Cambodia, Myanmar and Viet Nam on safeguards. In addition, the use of regional webinars allowed conversations to continue beyond physical events, such as a series of virtual exchanges among national development banks in Latin America. Global webinars were held on topics such as spatial information and REDD+ planning tools and tenure rights with more than 300 people registered for each one.
These knowledge and country-based lessons on REDD+ were shared via the quarterly REDD+ Resource newsletter, which now has 10,000 subscribers, as well as through the new bi-monthly REDD+ Round-Ups, with regional or thematic focuses. A further 62 knowledge products (from info briefs to infographics to technical reports) were developed and made accessible online via the Workspace, the UN-REDD knowledge management backbone that makes over 13,000 documents available.
Lastly, 2019 was a year of innovation when it came to promoting the uptake of knowledge management and communications through non-traditional formats and channels, as a result of which the first-ever digital version of the UN-REDD Annual Report was launched. In order to better engage with young people, UNREDD partnered with the International Forestry Students’ Association to vlog and share their perspectives on forests from the Climate Action Summit and the twenty-fifth session of the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change. Finally, to ensure the wider uptake of UN-REDD compelling content, and in line with the broader United Nations system reform, UN-REDD increasingly liaised with the communications teams at the offices of the United Nations Resident Coordinator within its partner countries.