Supporting policy instruments
A variety of policies can support the success of REDD+ projects, namely, land-use policies that are strategically aligned, commitments from the private sector, and the promotion of sustainable agriculture and reforestation.
Strategic alignment of land-use policies: REDD+ is included in many countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and climate change policies, but drivers of deforestation and forest degradation are not fully acknowledged. Clear land-use policies and measures that tackle drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, along with transparent monitoring and evaluation frameworks, are needed to ensure that NDCs are effective in achieving their intended outcomes. Improvements can also be made in existing policies relating to land-use planning, tenure, extension services and financing schemes (Pham et al. 2018).
Private sector commitments: Commercial agriculture is a big driver of deforestation. Actors in the private sector can create sustainability commitments aimed at producing and sourcing commodities to reduce risks to forests, but the implementation of zero deforestation pledges must be accelerated and transparent to show real results and progress. Companies can also adopt certification of management and production standards, undergo auditing and verification, and participate in chain of custody assurance. Suppliers can enhance their traceability and monitoring and verification efforts (Pacheco et al. 2018).
Sustainable intensification of agricultural production: Sustainable intensification involves increasing agricultural yields without the conversion of additional non-agricultural land to raise productivity and farm incomes; enhancing climate change adaptation and resilience; and reducing GHG emissions from agriculture. However, higher yields may provide incentives to expand agricultural land into forests, so policies need to incorporate forest-specific measures to ensure land-sparing outcomes. Farmers must have the capacity, labour and inputs to intensify agriculture, while not using these resources to expand agricultural land and not violating forest governance and conservation policies. (Ngoma et al. 2018).
Forest restoration: Initiatives that aim to restore degraded forests and landscapes are growing in popularity, particularly in the Latin American region, where forest restoration projects aim to increase vegetation cover and re-establish ecological processes and biodiversity. For these projects to directly address the causes of degradation, incentive structures need to promote sustainable land stewardship and restoration of degraded lands and include monitoring activities to track forest carbon impacts (Verchot et al. 2018).
Companies committing to a deforestation-free cocoa supply chain working with Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana for the role cocoa plays in their NDCs and REDD+ strategies
Cocoa is an important driver of forest change in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). A recent study of commodity crop-related deforestation found that cocoa production in SSA accounted for 57% of global cocoa expansion between 2000 and 2013. In an effort to reverse the cocoa-deforestation trend, the two main cocoa-producing countries in SSA – Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana – have given cocoa a central role in their NDCs and REDD+ strategies, incentivizing companies committed to a deforestation-free supply chain to work with these two countries. On the ground, an integrated approach to agroforestry that considers the entire cocoa value chain will be central to these REDD+ efforts (Ngoma et al. 2018). This case is an example of the growing rise in private sector commitments aimed at sustainable ingredient sourcing and deforestation-free supply chains.
Ethiopia’s bold forest restoration efforts can help meet REDD+ goals. The country has committed to restoring 22 million ha of degraded forests and agricultural lands by 2030. By conserving natural forests and establishing new ones, forests are expected to play a significant role in the socioeconomic development of the country, to account for 50% of the national emissions reduction potential, and to contribute to building a carbon-neutral economy by 2030. Between 2016 and 2020, Ethiopia aimed to put 2 million ha of natural forests under participatory forest management while identifying and demarcating 4.5 million ha of degraded land for restoration, afforestation and reforestation. In addition, the country’s Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission has identified tree-based restoration options for improving tree cover in different landscapes, such as lakesides and riverbanks, buffer zones of natural forests, rangelands and agricultural landscapes. Yet despite the country’s bold national restoration commitment, the lack of political will and capacity at state and lower levels of government could pose implementation problems. Additionally, the overall outcomes for the participatory forest schemes in different communities has been mixed overall, pointing to the need to take into account factors such as formation of cooperatives, the wealth endowment of the community, ethnic homogeneity, distance to the nearest market, and the district environmental protection office interaction with the cooperatives (Walle and Nayak 2020).
 Pacheco, P., Bakhtary, H., Camargo, M., Donofrio, S., Drigo, I., Mithöfer, D., n.d. Can zero deforestation commitments save tropical forests? 18.
 Ngoma, H., Angelsen, A., Carter, S., Roman-Cuesta, R.M., 2018. Climate-smart agriculture. Transforming REDD.
 Walle, Y., Nayak, D., 2020. How Can Participatory Forest Management Cooperatives be Successful in Forest Resources Conservation? An Evidence From Ethiopia. Journal of Sustainable Forestry 39, 655–673.