German Institute for Development Evaluation

Synthesis study on the forest and climate protection programme REDD+ (concluded)


REDD+ (Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries) is a framework developed by the international community under the umbrella of the United Nations. REDD+ aims to mitigate climate change through reducing net emissions of greenhouse gases through reduced deforestation and degradation, and enhanced forest management in low- and middle income countries. The logic of REDD+ is to reward governments for achieving verifiable net emission reductions. Reforestation and sustainable forest management form an important part in contributing to an increase in forest biomass and a reduction of net emissions of greenhouse gases.

The German federal government has a long-standing commitment towards international forest protection and conservation and is one of the world’s largest donors in this field. Currently, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is providing over 1.4 billion euros for more than 240 forest initiatives through financial and technical assistance that reaches more than 30 countries and 10 regions. Of this, 750 million euros have been dedicated to both multilateral and bilateral REDD+ initiatives between 2008 and 2014. Bilaterally, Germany has supported REDD+ initiatives in more than 30 countries with 600 million euros, which also includes the REDD Early Movers Program (REM). Multilaterally, Germany has provided 160 million euros to the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), specifically its multi-donor trust funds: the Readiness Fund and the Carbon Fund.

REDD+ interventions are an important instrument of climate protection, but impacts of REDD+ are controversial. Against the background of strategic relevance, the question of the significance and effectiveness of this instrument, which is also supported by German Development Cooperation, arises.

The increasing number of scientifically based evaluations and studies on REDD+ has not yet provided an overall assessment of Germany's contribution. DEval analyzes the existing findings on significance and effectiveness of German REDD+ activities in a synthesis study.

Main Objectives of the synthesis study

- To synthesize evidence for the performance of Germany’s REDD+ activities;

- To promote learning, feedback, and knowledge sharing through results and lessons learned among the German federal ministries BMZ, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), and Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), implementing organizations, and other partners;

- To inform the future formulation and implementation of German bilateral and multilateral REDD+ financing and activities.


Based on a reconstructed theory of change (ToC), the synthesis study takes a mixed methods approach by combining a desk review with in-depth interviews of key stakeholders. The desk review contains two parts. First, it reviews REDD+ evaluations, country submissions, and project documentation relevant for Germany’s REDD+ activities by implementing organizations (GIZ, KfW), BMZ and BMU, bilateral and multilateral organizations (UNFCCC). Second, it reviews grey and scientific literature on REDD+ that includes German-supported REDD+ project activities and areas. The two parts of the desk review are contextualized with in-depth interviews of key stakeholders from Germany’s REDD+ projects and academic experts. The final product will be a synthesis study.


The synthesis study began in April 2019 and ends in the first half of 2020.