Climate Focus leads the policy component of USAID LEAF, a program that focuses on developing strategies to sustainably reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the forestry and land use sector in the Asia and Pacific region.
Forests cover more than 26% of the Asia-Pacific region, and play a key role in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing carbon. The region contains some of the world’s fastest-growing economies and its extensive forests and rich biodiversity are essential to future development and sustainability. However, despite their benefits, forests continue to be destroyed at the rate of one million hectares per year, contributing significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions and resulting climate change. Deforestation contributes more emissions than the entire global transportation sector – more emissions come from cutting down trees than from all the planes, trains and automobiles in the world.
Deforestation contributes more emissions than the entire global transportation sector – more emissions come from cutting down trees than from all the planes, trains and automobiles in the world.
The United States Agency for International Development Lowering Emissions in Asia’s Forests (USAID LEAF) Program is a five-year regional project (2011-2016) focused on achieving meaningful and sustainable reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the forest-land use sector across six target countries: Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.
To achieve this objective, the USAID LEAF team is tasked to:
- Replicate and scale-up innovation through regional platforms and partnerships;
- Assist in the development of policy and market incentives for GHG reductions;
- Build and institutionalize technical capacity for forest and carbon monitoring; and
- Demonstrate innovation in sustainable land management. The program works at regional, national, and sub-national levels and engages governments, forestry and climate change mitigation specialists and universities to achieve its goals and improve forest and land management.
The USAID LEAF team also engages with technical experts and government officials in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Nepal and the Philippines to share lessons learned and best practices.