The Government of Bangladesh’s (GoB) became signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992. The convention has the objective to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. The country also signed the Kyoto Protocol in 2001 which carry forwarded the objective of the Convention up to 2020. The Framework convention or Kyoto Protocol sets targets for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. For developing countries like Bangladesh, emission reduction is encouraged given that rising populations, income levels, and energy use will contribute to rapid increases in GHG emissions.
According to the first national GHG inventory, the majority of CO2 emissions are derived from the energy sector (63%), followed by the land-use change and forestry (or LULUCF) sector (32%). The agricultural sector accounts for 94% of total methane (CH4) emissions, largely due to the use of synthetic fertilizers. Bangladesh emitted 0.053 billion tonnes - less than 0.2% of the world total GHG emissions - reflecting its extremely low consumption of energy. Several national reports i.e., Initial National Communication (2002), Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (2009), Bangladesh National Adaptation Programme of Action (2009) identified the forestry sector as a potential sector to support national mitigation efforts.
One of the ways to reduce greenhouse gas emission is to stop or reduce deforestation and degradation of forested areas. Deforestation and forest degradation are jointly the second top most cause for the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions around the world. According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), they contribute globally to approximately 17 per cent of total GHG emissions.
Global warming is caused by emission of GHGs where Carbon dioxide (CO2) emission is identified as the most contributing one. Carbon emissions from deforestation take place rapidly, whereas carbon removal from the atmosphere through other activities takes time. That’s why reducing deforestation and forest degradation is considered as one of the most cost-effective and faster ways to lower emissions. In addition, the forestry sector contributes both by acting as a sink of carbon and reduction of emission if managed properly. Accordingly the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has developed a climate change mitigation approach known as REDD+.
REDD+ stands for “reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks”. REDD+ works as a mechanism to create an incentive for developing countries to protect, better manage and wisely use their forest resources, contributing to the global fight against climate change. Under REDD+, developing countries are rewarded financially for any emissions reductions or enhancement of carbon stock.
The Government of Bangladesh became a partner country of the UN-REDD Programme in 2010. Subsequently, the Government took key steps to prepare for implementing REDD+ readiness activities. The National REDD+ Readiness Road Map formulated in 2012 with support from UNDP and FAO. The Bangladesh REDD+ Readiness Roadmap describes a plan of activities which is design to prepare the country fully for the second phase of a national REDD+ programme. The Roadmap leads towards the point at which the Government of Bangladesh is able to make a decision, on whether or not to implement REDD+ nationwide, and has the necessary resources and systems in place to act on that decision without delay.
The development of the Roadmap is the first step of the Bangladesh REDD+ Readiness process. The subsequent steps are in accordance with a phased approach, as follows:
Phase 1: Implementation of the Roadmap, development of necessary capacities and institutions to implement REDD+ at the national level, and development of strategies and action plans; At this very moment, Bangladesh has started its Phase 1 activities with support from UN-REDD programme and USAID funded NFI project.
Phase 2: Field testing of candidate strategies will be carried out, through demonstration activities. This phase could also include further capacity building, and development of new policies and legislation.
Phase 3: Bangladesh can start to implement REDD+, through a national performance-based system of resource distribution or benefit sharing.
Timeline of REDD+ in Bangladesh
As part of its commitment to REDD+, Bangladesh requested admission to the UN-REDD Programme in May 2010, and were formally accepted into the Programme in August 2010. The Government formed a REDD Technical Committee on July 2010, Chaired by Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forest, the Chief Conservator of Forests as Member Secretary and 13 members from various department, universities, development partners to facilitate formulation of REDD Strategy.
In May following year (2011), the Government formed “REDD and REDD+ Steering Committee” brining cross sectoral and ministerial representation to provide overall guidance and management towards formulation of REDD+ Roadmap. In August, the “REDD Cell” was established at Forest Department to facilitate and coordinate Roadmap development activities.
A number of stakeholder consultation activities were initiated during the Roadmap development process. The objectives of these consultations were to:
Increase awareness and understanding of REDD+ and the Roadmap process in Bangladesh amongst key stakeholders at the national level;
Gain input from key stakeholders within and outside of Government on the key issues facing the forest sector as part of the REDD+ strategy development process;
Develop recommendations for a long-term consultation process as part of the REDD+ Readiness and Implementation phases in Bangladesh.
These consultations were carried out at the national and sub-national level. First, a series of national-level REDD+ consultation workshops initiated to keep national-level government and civil society stakeholders up to date of the REDD+ Readiness Roadmap process. Simultaneously, a series of regional workshops was initiated to solicit information and opinions from stakeholders in relation to the different forest types around the country (Hill Forest – both CHT and elsewhere, Sal Forest, Mangrove and Coastal Plantations). These regional workshops were specifically designed to contribute to the summary of drivers of deforestation and degradation and recommended strategies.
The very first National Consultation on REDD+ Readiness Roadmap took place in October 25, 2011 at Dhaka with the objective to establish three voluntary, multi-stakeholder working groups to contribute to focus on the following aspects of the country’s Roadmap development:
Group - Monitoring, MRV and REL/RL for development of methods
Group - Drivers, Policies and Measures for Strategy development
Group - Safeguards: Consultation process, Social and Environmental Safeguards development
The second national consultation on REDD+ Readiness Roadmap was held in Dhaka on January 17, 2012. More than 80 participants, representing a wide spectrum of government and civil society stakeholders, attended the event. The objective was to provide an update of the progress made by the three working groups.
The Third national stakeholder consultation workshop on the REDD+ Readiness Roadmap for Bangladesh took place on 27th March 2012. The objective of this workshop was to share, discuss and validate the draft national roadmap document among the key stakeholders in Bangladesh. A total of 72 participants attended the workshop, from government bodies and NGO/CSOs.
Figure: Bangladesh REDD+ Roadmap Consultation and Participation Process
The sub-national consultations focused on the practical issues that a REDD+ programme may face and need to address. Accordingly a facilitation guide was designed for sub-national workshops which was based around two group work sessions; a problem tree or root cause analysis of deforestation or degradation in local experience, followed by an analysis of the effectiveness of existing and potential tools for addressing these root causes.
The first sub-national workshop was held in Rangamati, followed by visits to two communities in the CHT namely Longadu sub-district, dominated by Village Common Forest (VCF) arrangement on Unclassed State Forest Land (USF) and the second visit was to Rainkheong Reserved Forest area, which remains under the direct administration of the Forest Department. Four more workshops were held in Cox’s Bazar, Thakurgaon, Madhupur and Sylhet in order to cover all the key forest types and governance contexts in Bangladesh. The outcomes of the sub-national consultations were used to produce the initial analysis of drivers of deforestation and degradation, and the potential candidate strategies to address them.
In May 2012, a draft Roadmap was produced based on national and sub-national level workshops. The Roadmap was submitted to MoEF and National REDD+ Steering Committee approved it in December 2012. In 2013 a Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) has been developed by GoB. The Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) is a framework document which sets out a clear plan, budget and schedule for a country to achieve REDD+ Readiness. As part of the REDD+ Integrity study, a series of four focus group discussions were conducted with a focus on governance issues as root causes of degradation. Finally, prior to the approval of this document, the Indigenous People group independently reviewed the Roadmap and the R-PP and provided comments. The group presented their consolidated suggestions and recommendations for the country’s REDD readiness process during the national multi-stakeholder validation meeting to approve this R-PP document in early November 2013. The UN-REDD Policy board approved the R-PP in December, 2013.
In 2014, the R-PP document was finalized and based on the document, two projects were curved out namely - “Strengthening National Forest Inventory and Satellite Land Monitoring System in support of REDD+” and “UN-REDD Bangladesh National Programme” (in short known as NFI project). The national project document (NPD) of UN-REDD was signed by MOEF and ERD on May 2015. “Strengthening National Forest Inventory and Satellite Land Monitoring System in support of REDD+” project was approved in December, 2015 and subsequently, UN-REDD Bangladesh National Programme was approved in June, 2016.
Bangladesh becomes Partner Country of UN-REDD in August
Formation of REDD Technical Working Committee in July
National REDD+ Steering Committee formed in May
UNDP/UN-REDD Regional Coordinator’s scoping mission in June
UNDP and FAO initiated assistance to the GoB to draft the Roadmap
Establishment of REDD+ cell at Forest Department in August.
First national stakeholder Consultation workshop in October and initiation of sub-regional consultations
Formation of 3 technical working groups (TWGs) in October
Second and third national consultation workshop
Draft Roadmap submitted to MoEF for approval in May
Targeted Support on Safeguards and MRV by UNDP and FAO
Roadmap approved by National REDD+ Steering Committee in December
Request from UN-REDD Policy Board to submit the R-PP in June
Drafting of the R-PP and validation by November
Submission to UN-REDD Policy Board in December
R-PP approved by Policy Board in 2013
Revision of the R-PP and National Project Document (NPD) formulation by June & NFI Project Doc in July
UN-REDD NPD is approved by national counterparts & participating UN organization in November
UN-REDD NPD signed by MOEF and ERD on 27 May
Technical Project Proposal of NFI project on 13 December
Technical Project Proposal of UN-REDD Bangladesh National Programme approved on 30 June 2016
 MoEF, 2002, "Initial National Communication of Bangladesh under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)", Ministry of Environment and Forests, Dhaka
 MoEF, 2008, "Bangladesh climate change strategy and action plan (BCCSAP) 2008", Ministry of Environment and Forests, Dhaka
 IPCC, 2007 Fourth Assessment Report
 primary greenhouse gases in earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone.
 IPCC, 2007 Fourth Assessment Report