Ecuador has been a leader in all three phases of REDD+. Ecuador is the second country in the world, after Brazil, to complete the readiness process, fulfilling all the requirements to receive RBPs for REDD+, as set out in the UNFCCC Warsaw Framework. In its 2016 BUR, Ecuador reported emission reductions of more than 28 MtCO2 over the period 2008-2014.

The country’s safeguards information system continues to be in operation and gradual improvements are being incorporated. After submitting the first and second summary of safeguards information in 2017 and 2019 respectively to the UNFCCC, Ecuador is working on its third safeguards report which will be submitted in 2022.


Forest solutions realized. During 2021, following the support provided by the Climate Promise Initiative, financial REDD+ options for the country were mapped. For that purpose, a national analysis was undertaken to assess the feasibility to meet The REDD+ Environmental Excellency Standard (TREES). UN-REDD technical assistance examined gaps, mapped the technical support needed and provided technical advice. Also, technical support regarding the forest and carbon monitoring dimensions for ART-TREES and the safeguards elements was provided by UN-REDD.

During the second half of 2021, UN-REDD support culminated in the development and submission of a concept note to achieve certification under TREES. This concept note was registered under the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART) Program which was created with the support of the Norwegian Government’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI). This allowed for the registration of Ecuador’s programme on the ART Registry (Programme ART 109).

Forest solutions rewarded. With support received from UN-REDD, Ecuador submitted a proposal to the Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest finance (LEAF) Coalition in July, 2021. Ecuador’s proposal successfully completed an initial technical screening process led by a panel of technical experts. As a result, Ecuador signed a Letter of Intent at COP26 which opens the door for the country to be among the first wave of jurisdictions entering purchase agreement discussions with LEAF Coalition corporate participants in 2022.

Forest solutions enhanced. Support has also been provided on the deployment of the new national trading brand, Ecuador: Premium & Sustainable, in which deforestation-free value chains are a pillar. This process was launched in late 2019, with support from the PROAmazonia programme and with a UNDP-Lavazza partnership on deforestation-free coffee. This process continued in 2021 with the signing of an inter-ministerial agreement between Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment and Water, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and its Agency for the Regulation and Control of Phytosanitary and Animal Health (Agrocalidad). This agreement will pave the way for implementing a Deforestation-Free Certification for Agricultural and Livestock Production. This groundbreaking agreement links the visions of these government agencies and integrates their environmental policies and regulations with the aim of strengthening the productive chain for the commercialization of high-quality sustainable products with full participation from producers and private companies.

The agreement sets the national definition of deforestation-free production and mandates the development of technical regulations for its certification, as well as incorporates this model into the agricultural and livestock sector. The certification will allow deforestation-free products to enter specialty markets that demand quality, environmental and social integrity and avoid the deforestation of primary forests and the expansion of the agricultural frontier, all of which promote the well-being of producers and communities.


Ecuador’s potential for an ART-TREES submission was assessed during 2021. Two key technical challenges have been identified:

Beyond these technical challenges, there is a need to strengthen the National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS). UN-REDD is currently engaged in discussions with the government to identify the avenues to strengthen the NFMS.

Beyond the critical issues faced by the NFMS, some legal, political and financial challenges have been identified. Article 74 of the Constitution of the Republic, which establishes that environmental services will not be subject to ownership or transactions, may affect the country’s ability to meet the TREES requirement to demonstrate proof of ownership, as well as negotiations with LEAF buyers seeking to acquire title to emission reductions. But this will be addressed in 2022 as an ERPA is being crafted and negotiated.


The TREES Concept Note and the LEAF proposal have integrated gender elements into proceeds, NDC alignment and safeguards discussions. Regarding support provided on the deployment of the Ecuador: Premium & Sustainable brand strategy and work on deforestation-free value chains, one of the pillars is the empowerment of women. Therefore, training was carried out with field operators from the Farmer Field Schools (ECAs) on three commodities (coffee, cocoa, and livestock) to ensure the mainstreaming of the gender approach. The ECAs have a specific session for gender and climate change issues. They also saw a high-level of participation from women: 38 percent in the livestock ECA, 24 percent in the coffee and cocoa ECA and 24 percent attended the training related to palm. Also, in September, 2021, virtual training sessions were given by a group of coffee experts from the Italian company, Lavazza, to 50 producers and technicians from six Amazonian provinces ensuring gender balance (25 men and 25 women) to strengthen capacities on sensory analysis, logistics and market trends.

Concerning the work of commercial agreements, the aim has been to ensure the participation of women as direct producers and as active participants in the commercialization of international markets. The first 3.8 tons of fine aroma organic cocoa, belonging to the Association of Small Organic Agricultural Exporters of the South of the Ecuadorian Amazon (APEOSAE), was sold to the Belgian company, SILVA CACAO, with a benefit to 11 female and 27 male cocoa farmers entering a new market niche with a high growth potential.

In 2021, UN-REDD actively supported the engagement of local organizations and communities of the Ecuadorian Amazon in the implementation of the National REDD+ Action Plan.

UN-REDD organized numerous knowledge transfer activities for local agricultural producers and cooperatives, including indigenous peoples’ cooperatives, strengthening productivity and establishing commercial alliances to enter international specialty markets for more sustainable products. These local producer associations include the Federation of Small Organic Agricultural Exporters of the Southern Ecuadorian Amazon (APEOSAE), Association of Coffee Growers of the Mayo River Basin (ACRIM), Aromas del Sur Cocoa and Derivatives Production Association (ASOPROMAS) and the Agro-Artisan Association of Ecological Producers (APECAP).


All initiatives supporting Ecuador are coordinated under the umbrella of the National REDD+ Action Plan which was launched in 2016, following years of analyses and consultation with support from the UN-REDD Programme.

In 2016, the GCF approved a $41 million grant to finance its implementation, the first time that the GCF approved a REDD+ phase 2 project grant for REDD+, which totals $84 million including co-finance. In terms of REDD+ performance finance (phase 3), Ecuador signed an agreement with the KFW REM in 2019, with the German and Norwegian Governments providing $11 million Euros and $50 million USD respectively in RBPs for the reduction of emissions from deforestation from 2015-2019. An additional agreement now covering the years 2020-2021 has been reached with Norway. In 2019, Ecuador also received approval for $18.5 million from the international community (GCF) in the form of RBPs for REDD+.

Furthermore, to generate demand for the Premium and Sustainable brand at the regional, national and international level, Ecuador’s PROAmazonia is working in partnership with the European Forest Institute (EFI) and international private companies such as Lavazza, Olam, UNOCACE, ECOLAC and Latitud 0.

UN-REDD actively monitored the political transition as new authorities came to power in Ecuador in 2021. This involved numerous virtual meetings by regional and global advisors from the three UNREDD agencies, as well as regular interactions by country office staff.


The implementation of the National REDD+ Action Plan contributed, and will continue to contribute, to numerous Sustainable Development Goals beyond the obvious contribution to SDG 13.

SDG 1. By supporting Socio-Bosque, as well as numerous activities in indigenous territories, UN-REDD makes an important contribution to the reduction of poverty. Socio-Bosque and Water Funds are important government programmes targeting indigenous peoples, particularly
in the context of the COVID-19 recovery phase. Both these programmes offer the potential for a rapid and cost-effective way to provide basic needs like food and shelter, a means to recover and rebuild after the crisis, and protection from future shocks.

SDG 12. Ecuador’s inter-ministerial agreement on Deforestation-Free Certification for Agricultural and Livestock Production represents a significant milestone by a pioneer REDD+ country to promote more sustainable consumption and production patterns.

SDG 15. By supporting the conservation of the biodiverse Ecuadorian Amazon forest, UN-REDD made a large contribution to the protection, restoration and promotion of the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems and to the sustainable management of forests.