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What USAID LEAF Does

What USAID LEAF Does

USAID LEAF applies a regional approach to climate change mitigation efforts by training people in our six focus countries to address climate change through awareness, learning and knowledge, and new and innovative tools which we develop and help launch.   We work across four main areas:

Strengthening regional platforms and partnerships: Our team works with regional platforms to share and replicate approaches to climate change within the Asia-Pacific region.  These include:

  • ASEAN Regional Knowledge Network for Forest and Climate Change (ARKN-FCC): This convening body of senior forestry experts from ASEAN member governments has been a valuable forum for examining regional drivers of deforestation and forest degradation and exploring regional policy issues. 
  • Asia LEDS Partnership and AFOLU Working Group: This partnership advances Low Emissions Development Strategy (LEDS) development and implementation in the region, and supports the Agriculture, Forestry and other Land Use (AFOLU) Working Group within the partnership.
  • Mangroves for the Future (MFF): The MFF regional initiative provides opportunities to link climate change mitigation, adaptation, livelihoods, and sustainable economic development in coastal areas.  USAID LEAF is collaborating with MFF and other partners to promote the private sector in mangrove conservation while ensuring distribution of benefits at the community level.

Policy Development Support: USAID LEAF’s policy advisors work with governments and partners to assist in development of policies that address climate change and support low emission development.  Our work on national REDD+ funds and financing is a collaborative effort to develop transparent mechanisms to receive, manage, and distribute revenue and resources related to improved forest management.  We address drivers of deforestation through studies and workshops held at provincial and national levels, which lead to strategies and agreements for further action.   USAID LEAF also continues to provide targeted policy support to governments, for example in Papua New Guinea, where we contributed to the government’s new climate change policy and a review of forest and REDD+ related policy and legislation.

Technical Training and Capacity Building: The USAID LEAF Climate Change Curriculum is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea: a curriculum completely dedicated to climate change that universities can adopt and adapt for climate change courses.  USAID LEAF is currently working with 14 universities in our six countries, plus three universities in the United States, to develop and refine four modules: basic climate change, carbon measurement and monitoring, low emission land use planning, and social and environmental soundness. 

USAID LEAF is one of the first projects to actively integrate gender into REDD+ and climate change initiatives in the region.  Our Gender Leadership Initiative trains government staff on how to build gender issues into climate change programs and budgets.  Gender champions lead by example, working within their departments and ministries to advocate for gender integration into government policies and climate change and REDD+ activities.

Our team of climate change experts is also active in developing tools and standards that are being used by governments, local partners and other implementers to help slow climate change.  The tools are being used across our range of technical trainings, and include a manual for measuring forest biomass, which helps both local communities and government to better inventory and monitor their forest areas.

Developing low emissions development strategies (LEDS): The four landscapes on which USAID LEAF focuses make up the heart of the program, and are where training and policy development come together with practical plans.  In Madang Province, Papua New Guinea, USAID LEAF is working with local communities and the government on a province-wide land use strategy which will help keep intact the value and rich biodiversity of its forests.  In Lam Dong Province, Vietnam, our team is working with the government and partners to launch Vietnam’s first Provincial REDD+ Action Plan (PRAP).  In Houaphan Province, Laos, the project is partnering with local communities and government to initiate livelihood activities that are sustainable and beneficial to both people and forests.  Finally, in the Mae Sa-Kog Ma Man and Biosphere Reserve in Northern Thailand, USAID LEAF has come together with multiple partners to produce a new management plan to help local communities live in harmony with the forest through training, knowledge exchange and active engagement.

Through working with a full spectrum of partners on multiple fronts, USAID LEAF aims to leave a legacy of climate change knowledge and action that will continue to benefit countries and communities throughout the Asia and Pacific region for years to come.