United Nations Environment Programme

Supporting people and biodiversity

Far more than one billion people rely on forests to sustain their livelihoods. Forests provide their food and energy and are central to their cultures. And because of the clean air and fresh water that forests produce – as part of their ecosystem services – all our lives, whether in the countryside or city, are intrinsically linked to the existence of forests.

In our forest-related work via the UN-REDD Programme, UN Environment helps people

  • to assess the social benefits and risks of proposed interventions in a landscape;
  • to mainstream socio-economic benefits into integrated land-use planning; and
  • by ensuring that social and governance considerations are built into the design of private sector funding mechanisms that finance sustainable productive landscapes.

Forests provide a range of crucial ecosystem services, without which life on Earth would be impossible. They also host the biodiversity that underpins these services. The services provided by forests include climate change mitigation, water regulation, cultural benefits, and production of food, fuel and fibre.

Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, also known as REDD+, is a global climate change mitigation mechanism that also delivers other environmental and social impacts. REDD+ actions protect or enhance forest ecosystem services by preventing loss or degradation of forests and its biodiversity, or by restoring forests. In addition to securing ecosystem services that benefit people, there are other potential social benefits of REDD+, such as improved livelihoods, clarification of land tenure, ensured inclusion of women and indigenous people in decision-making processes.

What does UN Environment do to ensure that REDD+ delivers multiple benefits to societies as well as the environment?

UN Environment helps countries assess the potential benefits and risks of proposed REDD+ actions through:

UN Environment helps countries mainstream multiple benefits into integrated land-use planning, for example:

UN Environment facilitates country approaches to meeting international safeguard requirements, for example:

Providing policy and technical advice on key elements of country approaches to REDD+ safeguards, such as safeguard information systems and summaries of information.

UN-REDD websites: