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Emissions from the land use sector represent up to a quarter (depending on the source) of total anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, mostly due to emissions from deforestation and agricultural activities such as livestock, soil and nutrient management. At the same time, this sector is also an important carbon sink, which absorbs GHG emissions.

The land use sector is unique in being both a source of GHG emissions and a sink, and will likely play a significant part in country efforts to reduce their GHG emissions. The sector is not only important for climate change mitigation and adaptation, however, but also provides natural resources essential for sustainable development, supports local livelihoods and houses the biodiversity that is essential to maintain ecosystem services and natural resources. The governance of the land-use sector under the UNFCCC is therefore a cross-cutting issue that will impact human rights and biodiversity as well as climate change and needs to be considered with such multiple objectives and values in mind. 

While the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recognises the role that agriculture and forests can play in climate change mitigation, it does not currently have a coherent set of requirements and incentives for reducing emissions from the land use sector. The sector is dealt with in a siloed, isolated manner that favours mitigation action and does not incentivise countries to implement more integrated land-use strategies or require countries to ensure the social and ecological integrity of land-use climate actions.

We engage on land-use issues both at the international and national levels. This includes emphasising the importance of multi-objective approaches to policy design and implementation, ensuring that climate action does not come at the cost of sustainable development, biodiversity and rights.

Analysis and development

Our analytical and development work in the area of land use and forestry includes:

  • The development of thematic analytical briefings on land use, designed to advance solutions and inform discussions on the road to a post-2015 agreement;
  • Analytical support in the development of advocacy briefing papers relating to land use for our civil society partners, including the REDD+ Safeguards Working Group
  • Development of policy guidance tools to assist in the design of integrated national approaches to land use management.

For more details see our Knowledge Products page

In-country work

Our in country work on land use and forest includes:

  • Directly informing and assisting governments in the development and implementation of policies, strategies and action plans to implement UNFCCC land use and forestry related decisions, and to ensure a multi-objective, integrated approach to policy development and implementation in the land use sector;
  • Support the identification, evaluation and strengthening of governance dimensions related to land use and forest (gap analysis of legal, institutional and compliance frameworks and providing recommendations for addressing gaps/weaknesses).

For more details see our Projects.

Capacity building and training

Our capacity building and training work includes:

  • Preparation of tailored materials related to UNFCCC land use and forestry to build and strengthen capacities of all relevant stakeholders;
  • Tailored training and capacity building on these matters for all relevant stakeholders, including face-to-face and distant learning tools.

For more details see our Projects.