Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation

Forests are an available, effective and cost-efficient key nature-based solution that can provide up to a third of the mitigation required to keep global warming well below 2°C. Forests have a mitigation potential of over 5 GtCO2e per year by halting forest loss and degradation, and sustainable forest management, conservation and restoration (REDD+).

REDD+ is a climate change mitigation solution developed by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Its framework, the so-called Warsaw Framework was adopted in 2013 at COP 19 in Warsaw and provides the methodological and financing guidance for the implementation of REDD+ activities.

The Paris Climate Agreement recognizes REDD+ and the central role of forests in Article 5.

REDD+ reduces deforestation through the conservation and sustainable management of forests and supporting developing countries in turning their political commitments, as represented in their Nationally Determined Contributions, into action on the ground.

Forests mitigate climate change because of their capacity to remove carbon from the atmosphere and to store it in biomass and soils. When forests are cleared or degraded, they can become a source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by releasing that stored carbon. It is estimated that globally, deforestation and forest degradation account for around 11 percent of CO2 emissions.


To date, 118 countries have included forest and land use in their Nationally Determined Contributions pledges. This represents 162 million hectares of restored, reforested and afforested land, which is in line with the Bonn Challenge and the New York Declaration on Forests.

Since 2008 the UN-REDD Programme (UNEP, FAO and UNDP) has been supporting 65 partner countries in their nationally led efforts to become “REDD+ ready” and qualify for results-based payments.

As of today, UN-REDD countries have submitted forest emissions reductions equal to taking 150 million cars off the road for a year. And UN-REDD has channeled and mobilized more than USD 1 billion since inception.

Within the UN-REDD Programme, UNEP leads on private sector engagement, safeguards, knowledge management and communications.

Key facts 

For more information visit UN-REDD or learn more about UNEP's work on forests.