GCF supports the Forum of Environmental Secretaries of the Legal Amazon in Brazil

By Fernanda Barbosa and Mariano Cenamo


The 14th session of the Forum of State Environmental Secretaries of the Brazilian Amazon met in São Luís, in the state of Maranhão, on April 6-7, 2017, with support of the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force. The event had representatives from all nine states of the Brazilian Amazon and a special participation from the Ministry of Environment, José Sarney Filho, who marked the commitment at all levels of the Brazilian government to support the Amazon States efforts in reducing deforestation and promoting sustainable development in the region.

Jurisdictional Sustainability: Primer for Practitioners


With the goal of building a common understanding of jurisdictional sustainability—how to define it, why it is important, and how to put it into practice at scale—a group of practitioners came together in January of 2015 and June of 2016 to share perspectives and experiences. On Tuesday, February 14th at 11:00am Central European Time, a publication summarizing the main results of these meetings was released. It is called: “Jurisdictional Sustainability: Primer for Practitioners” and is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Bahasa Indonesia, and French.

California Issues Proposed Plan to Achieve Groundbreaking 2030 Climate Goals


California proposes the most ambitious plan in North America to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030. The plan proposed by the California Air Resources Board builds on existing programs, continues cap-and-trade, and introduces an approach to cut GHG emissions at refineries. The plan also includes specific language about the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (see page 28-29), and the importance of addressing emissions from tropical deforestation. The California Air Resources Board is slated to hold workshops in February and hear an update at the February 16 Board meeting. The Final 2017 Scoping Plan Update will be released in late March and be considered for approval by the Board in late April.

California, at Forefront of Climate Fight, Won’t Back Down to Trump



LOS ANGELES — Foreign governments concerned about climate change may soon be spending more time dealing with Sacramento than Washington. President-elect Donald J. Trump has packed his cabinet with nominees who dispute the science of global warming. He has signaled he will withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. He has belittled the notion of global warming and attacked policies intended to combat it.

Signing ceremony of the ASPY 2030 Agreement at COP 13

By Renata Gomez, Pronatura Sur


On Saturday, December 10, the GCF member states of; Campeche, Quintana Roo and Yucatan, signed the Agreement for the Sustainability of the Yucatan Peninsula 2030 (ASPY 2030) at the Conference of the Parties (COP13) on biodiversity. The objective of this agreement is to promote the climate leadership of these states, which make-up the Yucatan Peninsula, at the national and international level.

Challenges and Opportunities for the GCF in Brazil in 2017: In the midst of a rise in deforestation, we can commemorate advances and improvements in the REDD+ landscape in Brazil.

By Mariano Cenamo & Fernanda Barbosa, IDESAM


The Brazilian Amazon contains the largest area of tropical forest on the planet. Spanning more than 4.1 million km2, it accounts for 60% of the nation’s land and is home to nearly 20 million people. The region, however, generates less than 8% of Brazilian GDP and faces serious social and environmental problems. Its economy basically depends on the extraction of natural resources and minerals and agribusiness, which to date has led to the substitution of nearly 20% of its original forest cover into pasture and other agricultural cultivation.

Modernizing Public Management in Loreto through the Management of Spatial Data: Spatial Data Infrastructure for Integral Regional Development

By Cristina López, Derecho, Ambiente, y Recursos Naturales


The Peruvian regional government of Loreto has been making great strides in in the implementation of Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). In recognition of their efforts, Loreto has received several awards including the "Presidency of the Council of Ministers’ Technological Innovation Award " (2015) and the "Good Practice in Public Management Award." Their award-winning work, initiated in 2012, aims to implement technological tools and institutional frameworks that promote transparency and improve services in public management.

Forest Defenders in Acre Meet with their GCF Counterparts in California

By Colleen Scanlan Lyons, GCF


Governor Viana of Acre, Brazil and a high-level delegation of governmental and indigenous leaders from his state visited California in October 2016. The purpose of this visit was threefold: to foster collaboration with other early-mover GCF leaders (Governor Brown of California), to show support for California’s cap-and-trade program, and to seed new partnerships with forest product investors and the academic community in California. In meetings with civil society, private sector, and governmental leaders, including the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board, the Acre delegation highlighted how their sustainable forest economy provided a model for harmonizing rural development with reduced deforestation. This visit provided many opportunities for increasing the dialogue on how environmental sustainability and social inclusion could best come together in practical ways. A representative of the Kaxinawa tribe of Acre spoke with Governor Brown about the role of indigenous communities in reducing deforestation on tribal lands. Members of California’s environmental justice community interacted with Acre’s state-level bureaucrats on questions of social inclusion, climate justice, and sustainable production. The visit, hosted by the Earth Innovation Institute with support from the GCF Secretariat, the Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy and Forest Trends, was a model for cross-jurisdictional education and exchange across GCF membership from the global north and south.

Laying Foundations for Jurisdictional Sustainability: INOBU, Ministry of Agriculture, Central Kalimantan & Districts and Launch Online Tool and Sign MOU

By Joko Arief, INOBU


Institut Penelitian Inovasi Bumi (INOBU), the GCF Coordinator in Indonesia, the Ministry of Agriculture, Central Kalimantan province and three districts (Gunung Mas, Kotawaringin Barat and Seruyan), recently solidified an ongoing partnership to accelerate the development of sustainable oil palm in Indonesia. The parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding and launched SIPKEBUN, an online system built by INOBU to integrate information on palm oil growers—from industrial scale plantations to independent smallholder farmers. For the first time, the Indonesian government will be able to electronically monitor all oil palm growers: where they are growing it and how they are growing it, a crucial component towards achieving sustainable palm oil in Indonesia.

GCF Members in Action at COP 22

By Rosa Maria Vidal, GCF Fund


This year’s 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has been coined the “The COP of Action,” promising to put the Paris Agreement into action. In response, jurisdictions from the Governors Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF) have been actively involved in demonstrating the critical role of subnational governments in the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Guided by the Rio Branco Declaration (RBD), a commitment to reduce deforestation by 80% by 2020, GCF jurisdictional efforts will be crucial in achieving the Paris Agreement by accelerating the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), reducing deforestation, and closing the carbon gap. Participation in COP 22 from GCF member states and provinces from regions such as Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria, Peru, and the United States helped propel the advances of both the GCF's unique subnational network and the global climate action community (see catalog of events for comprehensive list).

GCF members organize an international “Biodiversity, Ecotourism and Creative Economy” Conference in Jayapura, Papua


GCF delegates from Papua, Indonesia organized an international conference that united the GCF across Indonesia with important international donors, including USAID, the US Embassy, GTZ, the European Union, and the Rainforest Foundation. The purpose of the conference was to celebrate the biodiversity of Papua and to collectively plan sustainable development pathways that protect and enhance this biodiversity by emphasizing ecotourism and creative economic development options, including the sustainable production of coffee, chocolate, and honey. GCF delegates from Amazonas, Brazil and Cross River State, Nigeria participated in the conference and presented models at work in their regions. These models provided valuable lessons for Papua’s consideration and emphasized the importance of political engagement, sound legislation, and integrated jurisdictional planning. The GCF members also met with the Head of the Planning Department for Papua. The conference was opened by Governor Lukas Enembe of Papua, and featured interactive panels, an innovation fair, field trips, and performances by traditional Papuan artists.

Amazonas-FAS-Marriott Certificate


Brazil made history at the recent GCF annual meeting when the State Secretary of Environment for Amazonas (SEMA), on behalf of the State Government of Amazonas, and the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS), delivered its first-ever certificate of carbon emissions reduction to the US-headquartered hospitality company Marriott International. This is the first certificate in Brazil marking a partnership between a state government, a private institution and a non-governmental organization. The certificate verifies the reduction of 400,000 tons of dioxide-carbon (tCO2) by activities between 2006 and 2013 at the Juma Sustainable Development Reserve (RDS), located in the municipality of Novo Aripuanã. This Juma REDD+ project aims to curb deforestation and associated greenhouse gas emissions in a 2,770-square-mile area is facing significant land-use pressure in Brazil’s north western Amazon. To date, 96% of the Juma Reserve, home to over 2000 residents in 39 communities, is intact Amazon rainforest.

GCF Peruvian Members sign the Declaration of Guadalajara, furthering climate action in the Peruvian Amazon


Five GCF Amazonian Provinces in Peru (Huánuco, Loreto, Madre de Dios, San Martin, and Ucayali), organized by GCF Peru Coordinator, Mechanisms for Alternative Development (MDA), came together in Guadalajara, Mexico to sign the Declaration of Guadalajara during the 2016 GCF Annual meeting. This declaration aligns with the Paris Agreement as well as with the GCF’s Rio Branco Declaration, committing Peruvian regions to international cooperation on climate mitigation and adaptation, emissions reductions, natural resource conservation, and sustainable development across the Peruvian Amazon. Following the Annual Meeting, the Interregional Amazon Council (CIAM) and MDA convened the GCF Peruvian Amazonian Governors at the Congress of the Republic to present the Declaration of Guadalajara to important partners and supporters of the GCF, including Per Pharo, Director of the Government of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative and the First Secretary of the Norwegian Embassy. The meeting took place with the presence of Congressman Cesar Villanueva, and the President of the National Assembly of Regional Governors of Peru.

GCF members from Brazil, Mexico, and Peru sign Memorandum of Understanding with the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) to strengthen forest conservation, support low emissions development, and develop integrated projects across Latin America.


GCF states and provinces across Latin America (Brazil, Mexico, and Peru) signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding with the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) at the recent GCF annual meeting in Guadalajara, Mexico. This agreement commits the GCF members and CAF to working together through 2020 to achieve three objectives. First, the GCF and CAF will construct and implement regionally integrated projects that bring GCF jurisdictions together around mutual goals such as sustainable agricultural and supply chain development; agroforestry; low emissions development, including ecotourism and green economy initiatives; Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+); forest restoration; rural development and social and environmental safeguards; forest zoning and environmental registry development; and monitoring, reporting, and verification systems integration. GCF members and CAF will also develop diverse co-financing and co-funding strategies for these projects, and will also work to strengthen subnational, national, and international political alliances for scaling up projects through 2020, thereby increasing the impact on forest conservation, low emissions development, and climate change mitigation and adaptation across Latin America.

2016 Everyday Heroes Award Recipient: Pak Husaini Syamaun (Aceh Province, Indonesia)


Last year we started presenting an annual Everyday Heroes Award to a civil servant from one of the GCF member states and provinces who embodies the values, commitment, and dedication to service that is at the heart of the GCF—someone who works hard every day inside the government and across different political administrations to advance the agenda of protecting forests and climate and enhancing livelihoods. The award recognizes that any real and lasting solution to climate change—any effective approach to low emissions development—will have to involve thousands of hard working civil servants in state and provincial governments all around the world. These civil servants rarely, if ever, get the recognition that they deserve. Yet, they are on the front lines, together with their civil society partners, and much of the solution to climate change goes through them.

GCF Governors join with Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, high-level officials, and stakeholders from around the world at the 2016 annual meeting of The Governors’ Climate & Forests Task Force (GCF)


The Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF) held its annual meeting in Guadalajara Mexico Aug 28-Sept 1, 2016. The meeting was led by Governor Aristóteles Sandoval of Jalisco and co-convened with the second Climate Change Summit of the Americas. More than 600 people attended the meeting including governors, mayors, and other high-level officials from around the world. Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, the new Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, participated in the meeting as a special guest and stressed the importance of subnational action and leadership as a key component of any successful effort to achieve the ambitious targets of the Paris Climate Agreement. Under the leadership of Governor Sandoval, many of the states and provinces at the meeting launched the Jalisco Declaration, providing further evidence of their commitment to subnational climate action under the Rio Branco Declaration, the Under 2 MOU, and related instruments. The Guadalajara meeting also provided the venue for launching important new partnerships, including: (1) a new climate finance MOU between GCF members from Brazil, Peru, and Mexico and the Latin American Development Bank (CAF); (2) a new climate cooperation framework for the Amazon regions in Peru; and (3) a $2 million purchase by the Marriott Corporation of emissions reductions from the Sustainable Amazonas Foundation (FAS). The GCF Fund also moved ahead in its discussions with the GCF members and Norway to finalize its program for distributing the $25 million commitment that Norway made to GCF states and provinces at the GCF annual meeting in 2015. The GCF also added six new members at the meeting: Yucatan, Mexico; North Kalimantan, Indonesia; Caquetá, Colombia; Huánuco, Peru; Piura, Peru; and Maranhão, Brazil, bringing our total membership to 35 states and provinces from nine countries. Additionally, GCF members selected East Kalimantan as the Chair of GCF for 2017 and as the host of the GCF’s next annual meeting.

Peru Adopts National Climate Change Plan

By Brittany Patterson, Environmenal and Energy Publishing


In July, the Peruvian Agricultural and Environmental Ministry solidified La Estrategia Nacional sobre Bosques y Cambio Climático, a plan that has engaged indigenous communities, civil society, and local governments to put Peru on the path to reducing deforestation, thereby reducing greenhouse gases. This multi-pronged approach will also look to incentivize both private companies and small-scale farmers to alter their land use management practices in order to curtail the rapid deforestation resulting in the loss of nearly 300,000 acres of forests annually. Read the full article at ClimateWire.

California Is Considering a Global Approach To Offset Strategies


California’s Cap and Trade Program (AB 32), managed by the Air Resources Board, may soon be able to start allowing companies to meet emission reduction regulations by including rainforest jurisdictions in their offset options. This would allow regulated industries in California to purchase surplus allowances from regions like Acre, Brazil, which are tapping into innovative emission reduction strategies. If approved, this would be the first program of its kind to allow for the reduction in tropical deforestation to sync up with market demands.

Governor of West Kalimantan to Support Green Growth in Indonesia


On May 26th, the Governor of West Kalimantan, Cornelis MH, announced his plans to support sustainable and low carbon growth using an integrated landscape approach. In a newly formed partnership with IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative and PTCUS, Governor Cornelis will be supporting a combined effort on behalf of governments, private companies, and public stakeholders to implement green growth strategies. Read the full article here.

ARB Workshops Promote the Inclusion of Tropical Forest Credits in the California Cap-and-Trade Program


GCF members rallied to support the ongoing effort by California to integrate jurisdictional REDD+ into its greenhouse gas (GHG) compliance system, which is the first such effort in the world. Members from topical forest states and provinces around the world hope to provide critical proof-of-concept for broader efforts to link emissions reductions in tropical forest jurisdictions with existing and emerging GHG compliance markets. GCF members took part in the public ARB workshops in Sacramento and also participated in a meeting highlighting Indigenous and traditional community leaders’ perspectives on AB 32 in April, 2016. Indigenous leaders from Peru, Brazil, and Mexico who work with GCF members also participated in a dialogue with the Yurok Tribe.

Governors From Brazil Create Pathways for Reducing Deforestation and Building Sustainable Supply Chains


In 2015 GCF Brazil achieved a remarkably high level of involvement from the GCF Governors. In May 2015 the Governors gathered to reinstate the Legal Amazon Governor’s Forum. Three Forum meetings were held during the year—bearing important results such as the Cuiaba Letter, Manaus Letter and Belem Letter. These efforts sent a clear message to the Federal Government and international stakeholders that the subnational governments in the Amazon are poised to take the lead in the international REDD+ agenda. Internationally, this message was also carried to the GCF Annual Meeting in Barcelona by 4 Brazilian GCF Governors (Acre, Mato Grosso, Pará and Tocantins) and the Vice-Governor of Maranhão (GCF Observer) as well as at COP-21, where Governors from Acre, Amazonas, Mato Grosso and Tocantins participated in several side events hosted/co-hosted by the GCF and Brazilian GCF States.

GCF Concludes Successful 2015 Annual Meeting


Last week the Governors Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF) held their 2015 annual meeting in Barcelona, Spain. Hosted by GCF member, Catalonia, the meeting was a great success. The Government of Norway’s Special Envoy on Climate Change, Hanne Bjurstrøm announced a substantial contribution to the GCF Fund (200 million Krone or approximately $25 million USD), recognizing the importance of the GCF states and provinces in leading the way on subnational climate action with the Rio Branco Declaration and their broader efforts to advance jurisdictional approaches to REDD+ and low emissions development. The meeting was attended by twelve GCF Governors and featured new and renewed commitments to the Rio Branco Declaration, including the addition of Mato Grosso, Para, and Tocantins as signatories; mobilization of additional support for the Under 2 MOU; and many important exchanges with civil society, the private sector, and indigenous peoples organizations. Governor Teras Narang of Central Kalimantan announced an innovative agreement with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to pursue a province-wide approach to certification under the RSPO standard. Former Governor Bill Richardson also addressed the plenary session of the annual meeting, calling upon GCF Governors to join him in a Governors Club on Restoration and to help advance the Global Restoration Initiative. The GCF also welcomed three new members: Rondonia, Brazil; Belier, Ivory Coast; and Cavally, Ivory Coast, bringing its membership to twenty-nine states and provinces in eight different countries. Jalisco (Mexico) was elected as the incoming chair of the GCF for 2016 and will host the annual meeting in Guadalajara next year.

Elaine Corsini of Mato Grosso, Brazil is Awarded the First Annual Everyday Heroes Award at the 2015 GCF Annual Meeting


Any real and lasting solution to climate change—any effective approach to low emissions development—will have to involve thousands of hard working civil servants in state and provincial governments around the world. These civil servants rarely if ever get the recognition that they deserve. They are on the front lines—together with their civil society partners—in the ongoing effort to fashion durable solutions to the twin challenges of climate change and sustainable land use. The Everyday Heroes Award recognizes these civil servants. It is awarded annually to a civil servant in one of the GCF member states and provinces who embodies the values and the commitment to the core mission of the GCF, working hard every day to advance the agenda of protecting forests and climate while enhancing livelihoods.

Government of Norway Makes Major Pledge of USD $25 Million to the Governors' Climate and Forests Fund


The Government of Norway has made a major pledge of USD $25 million to the Governors' Climate and Forests Fund to support innovative rainforest states in their plans to implement the Rio Branco Declaration to reduce deforestation 80% by 2020 and provide opportunities to local communities. The pledge will leverage the fund's efforts to enlist additional public and private funding sources.

A Recap of the International Forum on Payments for Environmental Services of Tropical Services


On April 7-10, the most recent International Forum on Payments for Environmental Services of Tropical Forests was held in San Jose, Costa Rica. The Forum was jointly organized by International Tropical Timber Organization (FAO), International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), and the National Forestry Financing Fund (FONAFIFO) of Costa Rica; and was hosted by the Ministry of Environment of Costa Rica.

Strengthening Indonesian Capacity for Developing National Forest Carbon Inventory, Mapping and MRV Technical Systems

By Alexander Weber, GCF Task Force


On May 8th through the 13th, staff from the GCF Fund visited East Kalimantan and conducted a performance assessment and financial audit of the project titled, “Strengthening Indonesian Capacity for Developing National Forest Carbon Inventory, Mapping and MRV Technical Systems”. Staff visited and interviewed stakeholders from provincial, district, and national level governmental agencies, local NGOs, and local communities during the trip. The project, led by Michigan State University and East Kalimantan in conjunction with the Nature Conservancy, revolves around the implementation of an enhanced forest carbon stock map as well as a technical on-line Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) Toolbox.

Summary of Colorado State University Study Regarding the State of the REDD+ Program in Chiapas

By Ekaterina Alexandrova, Lesly Tulia Aldana Marquez, Jesse Michael Festa, and Maria del Pilar Jacobo Enciso, Alexander Weber


Following international efforts to combat deforestation and forest degradation, Mexico and the GCF member state of Chiapas are in the process of developing their strategies for Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). The Department of Climate Change and Environmental Economy in the Ministry of the Environment and Natural History in Chiapas has been charged with developing the REDD+ vision and, subsequently, the REDD+ strategy for the state. The goal is to build a jurisdictional level REDD+ program, which will monitor and reduce deforestation across the entire state.

GCF Indonesian Members Dinner Meeting

By Jasmine Puteri, [Kemitraan](http://www.kemitraan.or.id/index.php/main/home), Kemitraan, Country Coordinator for Indonesia


On April 2, Kemitraan, the GCF country coordination organization for Indonesia, hosted a dinner meeting for the GCF Task Force members present at the Indonesia 11 meeting. The meeting was attended by the GCF Secretariat staff and the taskforce members from three of the six GCF Indonesian regions (Papua, Aceh and West Kalimantan). The dinner meeting aimed to introduce the new GCF Secretariat members, to update each province’s progress, to coordinate the GCF national activities in Indonesia, and to discuss the upcoming meetings in Catalonia and Acre. The group also discussed, among other emerging issues, the 2014 priorities for the GCF, as well as strategies for implementing them.

Member Spotlight - Acre, Brazil

By Acre, Brazil


As the 2014 GCF chair, Acre (Brazil) will serve as the host for the 2014 GCF Annual Meeting, August 11-14, in the state’s capital, Rio Branco. The GCF’s Annual Meeting is an opportunity for information exchange and progress on the GCF’s low emissions development and REDD-related objectives. Acre’s Governor, Tião Viana, and his administration invite stakeholders to join the GCF member states and provinces, which represent more than 20% of the world’s tropical forests and are leaders among jurisdictions working to lower emissions from land-use activities. The event will provide space for collaborative discussions on options to further progress and strengthen low emissions development programs and identify new opportunities for connecting these programs to emerging markets and other pay for performance schemes.