The Governors' Climate & Forests Task Force

The Governors’ Climate & Forests (GCF) Task Force is a subnational collaboration of 38 states and provinces working to protect tropical forests, reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and promote realistic pathways to forest-maintaining rural development.



square kilometers of forest


tonnes of forest carbon


of the world's tropical forests

OUR MISSION to empower a coalition of subnational jurisdictions and their partners to implement innovative jurisdiction-wide programs for sustainable low emissions development built upon improved forest governance, novel technical and financial mechanisms, enhanced opportunities for local communities and indigenous peoples, and ongoing leadership in national, regional, and international climate policy forums.


  1. Facilitate political engagement and leadership by GCF Task Force Governors and their high-level appointees in subnational, national, and international processes for reducing deforestation and promoting low emissions development

  2. Enable civil servants and their civil society partners to be effective advocates for reducing deforestation and promoting sustainable development within their jurisdictions and beyond by enhancing the capacity of state and provincial governments to address drivers of deforestation 

  3. Assist GCF Task Force states and provinces in securing both public and private funding for jurisdictional strategies and low emissions development programs




In 2008, nine governors from Brazil, Indonesia, and the United States signed MOUs on climate and forests cooperation that launched the GCF Task Force. The GCF Task Force was designed to advance jurisdictional approaches to low-emissions development and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+). Since its first meeting in 2009, the GCF Task Force has more than tripled its membership—from 10 states to 38—and expanded its reach to include jurisdictions from ten countries: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Spain, and the United States. 


The GCF Task Force is a global platform for state and provincial governments to advance subnational policy innovation and leadership, engage and collaborate with public and private sector stakeholders at multiple levels, and establish pathways to effective national and international approaches to reducing deforestation while enhancing livelihoods. 


GCF Task Force Members are leading the way in building robust jurisdictional programs to protect forests, reduce emissions contributing to climate change, and simultaneously enhance rural livelihoods. California, a GCF Task Force Founding Member State, is the only jurisdiction in the world considering provisions to recognize emissions reductions from jurisdictional REDD+ programs as part of its mandatory state-wide cap-and-trade program. Large clusters of Member states and provinces in critical tropical forested countries, including Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, and Peru, enhance the efficacy of the GCF Task Force Network in protecting vital forests. Each of these four countries include their own GCF Task Force Country Coordinator; Coordinators support ongoing efforts across their respective countries by sharing experiences, identifying best practices, developing common positions, and collaborating on jurisdictional strategies. 


  1. Subnational governments provide critical opportunities for policy innovation and leadership. This is especially true in the areas of climate and land-use policy—where states and provinces (and other subnational governments) have long served as important laboratories for new policy initiatives and activities that inform and support robust national approaches. Since its inception, the GCF Task Force has sought to harness and support the political leadership of committed Governors in the fight against climate change and deforestation, while empowering the civil servants and civil society partners who are critical in the day-to-day efforts of building and maintaining successful jurisdictional programs within member states.

  2. Successful efforts to protect forests, reduce emissions, and enhance livelihoods must be based on jurisdiction-wide programs rather than on individual projects and activities. As articulated and advanced by the GCF Task Force since its inception, the jurisdictional approach provides a key platform for cross-sectoral policy alignment and for bringing multiple public and private sector activities together into a comprehensive approach to low emissions rural development.

  3. The GCF Task Force embraces a network approach to governance across multiple scales. To this end, the GCF Task Force Network encourages learning, provides training, and increases collaboration across member states and provinces—plus, the GCF Task Force integrates the broader network of international institutions, governments, civil society actors, private sector entities, and communities that are cooperating on various activities and initiatives related to low emissions development, and the network of civil servants and their civil society partners that provide foundation for successful jurisdictional approaches to REDD+ and low-emissions development within individual member states and provinces. By channeling collaboration and financial support to the complex networks of actors involved in building jurisdictional programs, the GCF Task Force plays a critical role in ongoing efforts to protect forests, reduce emissions, and enhance livelihoods. 

The GCF Task Force was created to respond directly to the fundamental problems of tropical deforestation and climate change—and the corresponding complexities of ecological disruption, biodiversity loss, food, energy, and water insecurity, and rural poverty.

GCF Task Force Member States & Provinces contain over one-third of the world’s tropical forests—including all of the legal Brazilian Amazon, 85 percent of the Peruvian Amazon, and more than 60 percent of Indonesia’s tropical forests.



The GCF Task Force has a 2016-2020 Grant Agreement with the Government of Norway (Grant Agreement; Addendum 1). The agreement supports the work of the GCF Task Force Secretariat at the University of Colorado and includes sub-agreements for GCF regional coordination in Brazil (approximately USD $100,000 per year), Peru (approximately USD $70,000 per year), and Indonesia (approximately USD $70,000 per year).



GCF Task Force Secretariat

Sustainability, Energy & Environment Complex

University of Colorado
4001 Discovery Dr. Suite 340

Boulder, CO 80303


Tel: +1 303 492 3615

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© 2019 by Governors' Climate & Forests Task Force