Research institution contribute to development of knowledge on REDD+

The research project produced important research that was used to increase knowledge on how REDD+ can be implemented in an effective and cost-efficient manner with equitable impacts.


Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

The purpose of the project was to provide REDD+ policymakers and practitioner communities with the information, analysis and tools they need to ensure effective and cost‐ efficient reduction of carbon emissions with equitable impacts and co‐ benefits – including poverty reduction, enhancement of non‐ carbon ecosystem services, and protection of local livelihoods, rights and tenure.

Why did Norway decide to support this project?

There are distinctive characteristics of REDD+ policy arenas that make transformational change from unsustainable exploitation of forest resources to responsible stewardship challenging. Growing human population and increased per capita consumption of natural resources is driving deforestation and forest degradation and ultimately leads to the unacceptable build‐ up of GHG in the atmosphere. Transformational change is achieved in part through good science, dissemination of information, change of discursive practices and evidence‐ based policy change – all of which this project is designed to produce.

The current project is a continuation of the previously supported one, but introduces some new components.

The project proposal had an overall high quality, and CIFOR is considered an established and recognized research organization, whose research is likely to contribute positively to the development of knowledge on REDD+.

The project had 5 modules, with specific outcomes. Summarized they were:

  • REDD+ policymakers and practitioners at all levels know what works in REDD+ policy formulation and implementation in order to achieve 3E (cost- effectiveness, cost-efficiency and equity) outcomes.
  • There is broad awareness of the challenges and opportunities provided by REDD+ for improved sustainable forest management as part of a no‐ regrets approach to REDD+.
  • Adoption of low carbon emission policies and best practices at landscape and national scales that contribute to poverty reduction and sustainable land management.
  • Improved data availability and technical capacity in REDD+ host countries for measurement, reporting and verification of emissions reductions.

Please find CIFOR’s final results report to Norad on these outcomes in the PDF file <here/in the box to the right>.


CIFORs narrative reporting on achievement of outcomes holds a high quality, and clearly states the achievements in the different countries where CIFOR has worked, the indicators used, whether or not the outcome has been achieved, and if they expect the outcome will be sustainable in the long term.

The CIFOR Global Comparative Study was also assessed by Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in November 2015, and this assessment was also provided to Norad. The assessment finds that the “combination of research, policy engagement and practical support on the ground has been an effective approach to secure impact”.

CIFOR continued their research on 23 sub-jurisdictional REDD+ initiative sites (initiated prior to this project period), covering half of the area globally under REDD+ at the time of reporting. This is a significant piece of research which is very relevant to learn from the implementation of REDD+. Findings from this research has contributed to a stronger emphasis on tenure in UN-REDD.

Another important achievement by CIFOR was the contribution to the inclusion of a stepwise approach to Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) by UNFCCC in the Warsaw REDD+ Framework. Further, their research contributed to IPCC’s Wetlands supplement, which introduced new emission factors on tropical peatlands and costal ecosystems.

CIFORs research and knowledge sharing has reached thousands of people. According to the ODI assessment, CIFOR reached its target audience, and the research was useful for their work. CIFOR returns research results to study villages at the end of the field research. Norad finds this to be very positive.

We would like to encourage CIFOR to reflect more upon risk factors that affected the project in future reporting. Although CIFOR addressed a very relevant risk in the report, it would be interesting with a more depth in- analysis to learn more from risk identification and mitigation.

Although the project has achieved some significant results, the report also states that the progress has varied amongst the different modules, and that external factors such as lack of political will, has hampered the achievement of outcomes. This was an identified risk from the start of the project, and is outside the control of the project.

Norad considers that CIFOR has conducted the project in accordance with the agreement with Norad. We take note that some outcomes were not fully achieved, but Norad considers that to be due to external effects.

Lessons learnt

  • CIFOR states that to ensure that research is taken into policy, it is important to ensure ownership of the research evidence by the in-country partners. To facilitate the engagement, time, trust and sufficient financial resources are pre-conditions.
  • The stepwise approach to reference emission levels (REL) was a good solution to challenges linked to establishing RELs which CIFOR will incorporate in other work.
  • To deal with the limitations of remote sensing methodology, local ground-based data should be strengthened.


The result descriptions are based on the information provided by the organisations. Their presentations and conclusions do not necessarily reflect the views of Norad. Norad has not verified all results reported.

Published 23.10.2013
Last updated 20.06.2018