REDD+ Readiness in Ecuador
Worldwide the climate is changing more dramatically every day. While Ecuador contributes only 0.001% of global emissions responsible for climate change, it is a country highly vulnerable to the impacts of this unpredictable phenomenon because of its geographical, social and economic situation: we have already witnessed increased wildfires and long periods of drought, which directly threaten the lives of thousands of people and ecosystems alike. It is for this reason that the Government of Ecuador has declared climate change adaptation and mitigation as State Policy, whilst also setting clearly defined goals to promote adaptation to––and mitigation of––climate change, as well as the reduction of deforestation.
Due to its geographical, geological and climatic conditions, Ecuador has a natural richness in terms of biodiversity, and is ranked among the 17 megadiverse countries of the world. However in spite of the natural wealth of our country, Ecuador still experiences high rates of deforestation. Various activities led by the Ministry of Environment have defined that between 2000 and 2008, Ecuador lost more than 70.000 hectares of forest per year. This deforestation results in the loss of biodiversity, water reserves, environmental services, and in particular, the ability of forests to store and sequester carbon. The destruction of forests is a major contributor to climate change: 17% of greenhouse gas emissions are generated by land use change!
Ecuador, through the Ministry of Environment, has been leading the process for preparation offuture implementation of the mechanism “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” (REDD+). This mechanism represents an alternative to help mitigate climate change by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from deforestation and degradation of the country’s forests. For this end, Ecuador has already initiated the construction of a National REDD+ Programme, through which it seeks to implement a high quality nationwide REDD+ mechanism ensuring multiple additional benefits and avoiding risks for all parties involved, but in particular for communities, indigenous peoples and nationalities, Afro-Ecuadorian and Montubio peoples and communities living and depending on the forests, as well as other vulnerable and priority groups.
It is in this context of continuous construction of national and international policies for theimplementation of REDD+ that Ecuador presents to the world the publication REDD+ Readiness in Ecuador, through which you are invited to learn more of the country's efforts during its preparation for future REDD+ implementation and on-going activities, as part of its National REDD+ Programme. This publication covers important information gaps, and represents the official view that the Government of the Citizen Revolution holds on the subject.
Forests are more than just standing trees: each of these living spaces also represent great cultural, spiritual, and economic value, and it is for this reason that I reiterate my thanks to the people and institutions who contributed, both within and outside the Ministry of Environment, to realise this effort, which contributes directly to the goals of the National Plan for Good Living