Reducing deforestation by engaging governors

Most reduction of deforestation happens on sub-national level. Political will among Governors’ in forest-rich regions is crucial to ensure sustainable development.


Governors' Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF)

Reducing tropical deforestation, one of the primary drivers of climate change, depends upon subnational action in states and provinces around the world.

Governors’ Climate and Forest Task Force’s (GCF) project creates the conditions for building robust and sustainable jurisdictional approaches with the goals of substantially reducing tropical deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions, significantly advancing forest-based sustainable development, and directly improving the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities, smallholders, and indigenous peoples around the world. 

Why: Subnational Leadership is Critical for Forest and Climate Action

When it comes to climate policy, we are in a bottom-up world, a fact that the Paris agreement confirms. This means, among other things, that most of the hard work on climate change mitigation and adaption will happen at subnational levels.

The international community will never be able to protect forests, reduce emissions, and enhance livelihoods across the tropics if it does not recognize this fact and find ways to deliver real and lasting support to these bottom-up approaches. 

At the same time, subnational activities will never be able to connect with larger international commitments and initiatives if they do not demonstrate an ability to build and sustain durable frameworks for low emissions development.

The GCF believes that state and provincial governments, along with their partners from the private sector and civil society, must be an integral part of any successful effort to harness and scale these bottom-up approaches. 


Norad intends to offer NOK 40 million in total for the period 2016-2020.

What: Creating the Conditions and Momentum for Jurisdictional Approaches

The GCF is a network of 29 subnational governments—Governors and their staff in eight mainly tropical forest countries around the world (Brazil, Indonesia, Peru, Mexico, Nigeria, Catalonia, Ivory Coast and the United States).

The project has three aims:

  1. to promote subnational political engagement and leadership
  2. to support and measure jurisdictional approaches to protect and restore forests, reduce emissions, and enhance livelihoods
  3. to foster strategic partnerships and networks with civil society, private sector, and community leaders.

Together, these objectives mutually reinforce the GCF’s theory of change.

This theory of change is based on the premise that the key challenges facing efforts to protect forests and reduce emissions at scale are political and legal fragmentation across multiple scales of governance, limited incentives for political leaders and civil servants to focus on low emissions development, and lack of institutional capacity.

Toward this end, the GCF supports leading states and provinces in their efforts to build jurisdictional approaches. The GCF facilitates state and provincial interactions with national and international policy processes.

The GCF connects governmental leaders with other like-minded jurisdictions and with key private sector and civil society partners.

In sum, the GCF helps states and provinces demonstrate to the world how jurisdictional approaches that address pressing forest and climate issues can work in practice.  

Climate Leadership by States and Provinces Around the World

The GCF has strengthened and promoted subnational leadership; the GCF is measuring and reporting on jurisdictional approaches to protecting and restoring forests, reducing emissions, and enhancing livelihoods; the GCF has enhanced its strategic partnerships and networks with civil society, private sector, and indigenous and traditional community partners.


Stakeholders including regional and international social-environmental nongovernmental and civil society organizations, key private sector actors in GCF states and provinces, and indigenous and traditional community representatives in GCF regions.

About the project descriptions

The project descriptions give insight in the NICFI portfolio for civil society organisations supported by Norad. 

The descriptions presented are written by the project partners. Only minor edits have been undertaken by Norad. Their presentations and conclusions do not necessarily reflect the views of Norad.

Published 12.07.2016
Last updated 13.07.2016