National REDD+ strategy

National Context of REDD+

The government of Ethiopia supports the global climate policy as well as the REDD+ mechanism as climate change mitigation mechanism. Ethiopia has been in the process of developing its REDD+ program since 2008. The Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) was prepared in 2011 in a participatory way and its implementation started in January 2013. During the R-PP development, Ethiopia  prepared an economy-wide climate policy, known as the Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) Strategy. The CRGE Strategy was initiated in recognition of the vulnerability of  the country to climate change impacts  and the compelling need for greening Ethiopia's economy. As Ethiopia’s economy is largely dependent on weather sensitive agriculture and hence vulnerable to climate change impacts, it is in the interest of the country to participate in the global efforts to curb climate change. The government of Ethiopia has taken the bold step of shifting the development paradigm from a carbon intensive approach to a carbon neutral and climate resilient pathway.


The National REDD+ Strategy (NRS) contributes effectively and to a large  part to the CRGE strategy and  Ethiopia's NDC greening targets in 2030, while maximizing national co-benefits thereby adding to the global climate change mitigation efforts through improving forest resource and land management.


The mission of the NRS is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon removals in the forest sector by implementing policies, laws and regulations, and increasing investments to enhance conservation of forest resources and forest restoration and by improving the functioning and capacity of national and sub-national institutions in order to realize the  green growth vision of Ethiopia, and enhancing the associated benefits of biodiversity conservation, improved hydrological functions of landscapes and better livelihoods .

Goal and Objectives of the National REDD+ Strategy

The primary goal of the NRS is to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, while promoting sustainable management of the forest resources and enhancing forest carbon stocks through afforestation and reforestation.

REDD+ program in Ethiopia broadly targets to address drivers of deforestation and forest degradation and bring significant part of the country’s degraded areas under forest cover through forest restoration, afforestation and reforestation activities. The strategy focuses on reducing deforestation, forest degradation and enhancing forest carbon stock by promoting conservation and restoration of forest ecosystems; strengthening governance and development of local capacities and putting in place enabling environment for sustainable forest management.

The national REDD+ strategy provides strategic guidance for the implementation of an effective and efficient national REDD+ program by (1) strengthening institutions at all levels, (2) improving the legal and regulatory frameworks, (3) promoting stakeholders engagement and coordination, and (4) by implementing strategic investments for improved forest management and livelihoods  . Specifically, the National REDD+ Strategy intends to provide guidance on:

  • Addressing policy, legal and institutional issues related to land use and forest governance to enable forest conservation (addressing drivers of forest loss) and forest restoration
  • Establishment of strong institutional mechanisms for an effective cross-sectoral coordination for the NRS implementation;
  • Developing a robust and transparent approach and methodologies, consistent with international standards & procedures, for setting the baseline emissions and removals, and designing an effective MRV system for determining verified emissions reductions and removals targeted to receive payments for performance;
  • Mobilizing resources (including non-results-based funding) and intensifying investments in forestry for increased emission reductions and carbon removals;
  • Establishing and operationalizing a transparent REDD+ financial management mechanism and a fair benefit sharing scheme;
  • Identifying needs and taking appropriate measures for building national and sub-national capacity to support REDD+ activities of planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting at all levels;
  • Promotion of knowledge generation and strengthening public awareness, communication and information sharing on REDD+ issues  to increase understanding and ownership of the program by various actors at different levels;
  • Establishing mechanisms for active participation and engagement of a wide range of stakeholders including communities and the private sector in NRS  implementation; and
  • Implementing safeguards program for ensuring that Ethiopia's REDD+ implementation observes globally acceptable social and environmental safeguard standards particularly the development of a benefit sharing mechanism (BSM), consultation and participation plan (C & P) and Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM).

Alignment of the NRS with objectives of national policies and strategies

The successful implementation of REDD+ will guarantee that the forest sector achieves 50% of the national emissions reduction target set in the CRGE strategy and Ethiopia's NDC  by 2030 and leads  the realization of carbon neutrality across the economy. Table 1 below summarizes the relationships between the NRS and major national policies and plans.

Table 1. Alignment of the REDD+ objectives with Ethiopia's GTP and CRGE


Broader National Objectives REDD+ Objectives Linkage between REDD+ and National objectives

CRGE/NDC Objectives

Building a green economy with zero net emissions by 2030 through the implementation of sectoral emissions abatement strategies that also improve resilience to climate change.

To contribute to CRGE goals of achieving net zero emissions by 2030 through implementation of forestry strategies. The forestry sector, with REDD+ as its major mitigation lever, will contribute 50% of the total emission reduction.

GTP Objectives

Boosting agricultural productivity, strengthening the industrial base, and fostering export growth with the objective of lifting Ethiopia's economy to middle income status by 2025.

To contribute to the GTP-2 goals of increasing the forest cover of Ethiopia from 15.5% to 20%, improving local community livelihoods and enhance the contribution of forests to the national economy, Sustainable financing through REDD+ will support investment in forest management, forest conservation, and forest restoration. The forest sector contributes11.2% to the national GDP.

Principles of the NRS

The Strategy envisages that implementation of REDD+ is based on a set of principles that ensures climate benefit along with co-benefits (biodiversity and livelihoods) while respecting the rights of local communities including forest dependent communities and national interests. The following principles underpin the planning and implementation of the national REDD+ program.

  • Relevance: REDD+ should be able to contribute to greening the country's economy through leadership on addressing land use based emissions.
  • Equity: REDD+ contributes to sustainable and equitable development by strengthening the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities.
  • Effectiveness: REDD+ demonstrably contributes to the greenhouse gas emission reduction by working towards a global objective of climate change mitigation and associated co-benefits.
  • Transparency: REDD+ activities are transparently undertaken to ensure a clear and easy to understand implementation process for all stakeholders.
  • Accountability: REDD+ implementation is fully accountable to the people and Government of Ethiopia and the international community in terms of relevance, process, funding, and results obtained.
  • Commitment: REDD+ implementation demonstrates Ethiopia's commitment to global climate change mitigation efforts.
  • Efficiency: REDD+ programs in Ethiopia constitute long-term activities that result in optimal financial, ecological, and social benefits.

Pillars of the strategy

Components of the REDD+ Strategy

Phased Approach to NRS Implementation

With a timeframe of 15 years, the NRS implemented in phases,  is designed to realizing objectives of the forestry sector's potential contribution to climate change mitigation (50% of the total national emissions reduction in 2030) in a realistic planning and implementing of REDD+ PAMs. Thus, although the NRS eventually is implemented at national scale, Ethiopia will initially prioritize REDD+ PAMs for addressing deforestation in hotspot areas and restoration along natural forest areas. Accordingly, the strategic period for implementation of the planned activities is divided into short-term, medium-term and long-term phases.

  1. Phase I: Short-term implementation goals (2016-2020):

In the short term (Phase I) , the NRS focuses on preparing the national REDD+ action plan, improving enabling conditions (forest legislation, land allocation, MRV, financing, forest extension, inter-sectoral coordination and institutional capacity) for REDD+ implementation, operationalizing the national forest monitoring system, mobilizing non-results based (upfront) investments, and designing and implementing prioritized REDD+ policies, actions and measures in order to achieve a  25% reduction in national deforestation rate, while consolidating experiences for forest restoration.

  1. Phase II: Medium-term implementation goals (2021-2025):

In the medium term, NRS will focus on increased investments and scaling up REDD+ PAMs at national scale and starts operationalizing results based payment (RBP) at sub-national levels. The main target in this period is to bring net deforestation to zero (i.e., rates of deforestation and afforestation will be equal).

  1. Phase III: Long-term implementation goals (2026-2030):

This phase rolls out REDD+ PAMs at full national scale and operationalize national RBPs. In this period, Ethiopia's forests and land areas will become a net carbon sink  and address 50% of national emission reduction target by 2030.


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