Project insight 2015:
Southern African Development Community (SADC)

Development of Integrated Monitoring Systems for REDD+ in the SADC Region

The SADC region contains about 375 million hectares of forest. Between 2005 and 2012, the forest cover declined by up to 0.46 per cent each year as a result of agricultural expansion and energy production. Due to the potential offered by REDD, a REDD+ support programme was developed and subsequently approved by Germany's Environment Ministry in 2011. However, all countries must fulfil a number of requirements before they can participate in a future REDD+ mechanism. This includes the development of monitoring systems to measure, report and verify (commonly shortened to MRV) changes in forest cover. Currently, most of the SADC countries have only limited resources for maintaining such a system.

Using agreed upon criteria, four pilot sites have been identified in the following forest ecosystems: Baikea in Botswana, Mopane in Mozambique and Namibia, and Miombo on a site spanning the border between Malawi and Zambia. REDD+ MRV systems are being installed in the test regions. Remote sensing data is being analysed to identify changes in forest cover over the last few years, and forest inventories are being compiled to document forest biomass and estimate the amount of carbon stored in the forest areas.

A consortium of advisors on forest carbon inventory from DFS Deutsche Forstservice and geo-information services from GAF AG has been commissioned by the German International Cooperation (GIZ) with developing and implementing the MRV system in pilot sites of the SADC countries. DFS implemented in all pilot areas on a total area of 65 million ha carbon forest inventories with the respective Departments of Forestry and trained staff in the use of forest inventories, enabling them to document changes in forest cover and estimate carbon stocks.

The positive results in testing the MRV design through the consortium were confirmed by an independent auditor through testifying that the MRV design complied with the guidelines of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The developed MRV design is being used as a template for SADC standards for REDD+ MRV systems.


Our contribution:

  • Evaluation of existing information sources and needs and institutional capacity for REDD+,
  • Development of a monitoring , reporting and verification ( MRV - Monitoring , Reporting, Verification ) in accordance with the criteria of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), with particular emphasis on the compatibility with the regional approach of MRV as practiced by members of COMIFAC in the Congo Basin,
  • Description and verification of data on carbon stocks gain,
  • Contribution to the participatory selection of countries (3) and pilot sites (4): Definition of the criteria for the future selection of pilot counties with the partners (the SADC Secretariat and member countries of SADC),
  • Processing of necessary data (remote sensing) for quantifying anthropogenic impacts on the carbon balance of SADC forests,
  • Propose inventory design in pilot areas and test terrestrial IPCC biomass inventories for determining emission factors for different forest strata,
  • Calculation of carbon stocks equivalent on the basis of "activity data" and "emission factors" by the flow balance approach ("gain - loss"),
  • Capacity building in MRV SADC countries,
  • Provision of performance requirements for the pre-audit of integrated MRV-monitoring system to be approved by an expert under the Convention United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC).


Further information: Please check this video on forest carbon inventory in Miombo Woodlands in Zambia through DFS Deutsche Forstservice by Deutsche Welle.



Southern African Development Community (SADC): Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


12/2011 to 02/2015


38 months


German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) / Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH


SADC Secretariat