IUCN's Thematic Work on REDD+
The Importance of a Community of REDD+ Practitioners
The readiness phase is a crucial first step of REDD+ implementation. During the readiness phase, forest countries build their national REDD+ strategies with an emphasis on capacity building, stakeholder participation and an analysis of the drivers of deforestation.
Many REDD+ countries have started to work on their readiness phase, in many cases funded through multilateral arrangements such as the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and the UN-REDD Programme.
In the process the realization grew that existing arrangements often do not create sufficient forums for exchange on challenges and opportunities encountered during the readiness phase. Existing structures however focus mostly on accountability and preset procedures. Many challenges are common to most forest countries, but solutions often will have to be developed according to country-specific characteristics. Exchange can help practitioners from different countries to share their day by day experiences while building national REDD+ strategies, and increase problem solving capacity.
What IUCN Does to Build a Community of REDD+ Practitioners
IUCN and The Forests Dialogue (TFD) are organizing dialogues on REDD+ readiness issues in forest countries. Between October 2009 and November 2010, five dialogues were organized in Brazil, Cambodia, Ecuador, Ghana and Guatemala. Each dialogue brought together forest leaders from government, civil society, indigenous peoples and the private sector. Most participants were from the country where the dialogue was organized, but each dialogue had a number of international participants, in particular from countries that also hosted a readiness dialogue.
Between October 2009 and November 2010, more than 230 people participated in REDD+ readiness field dialogues that were organized with the financial support of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD). The meetings have generated insights and knowledge on readiness processes in the countries where the dialogues took place and contributed to a deeper understanding of the commonalities of the challenges that countries face.
International participants also took home insights and experiences that are relevant for readiness processes in their respective countries. The outcomes and results of the November 2009 dialogue in Ghana were published in the report "REDD readiness requires radical reform. Prospects for making the big changes needed to prepare for REDD-plus in Ghana".
A similar country report was prepared in Spanish on the basis of the outcomes of the dialogue in Guatemala and another on the results of the Ecuador dialogue. The dialogues have informed both the ongoing international negotiations on REDD+ as well as national and local decision making processes. A report with lessons learnt was prepared to inform policy makers and forest leaders ahead of COP16 in Cancun, Mexico. Through additional activities such as IUCN’s project on pro-poor options for REDD+, IUCN continues to foster the growing community of practice that functions as a feedback loop between local, national and international processes.
Click here for information about the readiness dialogues.
An Operational Framework for REDD+ Finance and Implementation
In 2009, IUCN and The Forests Dialogue facilitated a stream of international dialogues on financial options for REDD+ implementation. Four global meetings were organized involving more than 150 forest leaders who discussed options of an operational framework for REDD+ finance and implementation. Participants explored issues that represented fracture lines of disagreement and found common ground on many topics such as the importance of the broad scope of REDD+, the phased approach and the need for social and environmental safeguards. The dialogue developed an operational framework for REDD+ finance that helped to move debates forward.
What is the importance of the operational framework?
The framework provides a detailed overview of options for REDD+ finance and requirements that are suggested for each of the three phases of REDD+ implementation. Long-term finance for REDD+ is a crucial factor in the evolving REDD+ policy making process. While uncertainties prevail over the exact terms of a REDD+ mechanism, the phased approach has helped bridge debates over the need for a fund-based or a market-based approach for REDD+ finance. The phased approach foresees that countries develop portfolios of funding according to their specific needs and that make use of both fund-based as well as market-based sources.
The dialogue participants underlined the importance of a phased approach, the broad scope of REDD+ and the need for social and environmental safeguards. Participants stressed that REDD+ should be firmly based on sustainability principles and should show ecological, atmospheric, social and economic integrity. The dialogue explored what effectiveness, efficiency and equity of REDD+ meant and highlighted these as core principles of REDD+ finance.
Participants to the dialogue developed an operational framework that describes the outcomes of each of the three phases of REDD+ implementation, safeguards and possible financial mechanisms. Lastly, triggers were identified and described that will help establish whether a country can move from one phase into the next. The dialogue stressed the need for inclusive forest management, the active participation of broad stakeholder groups and the recognition of rights.
The outcome of the dialogues informed international negotiations in the months running up to COP15 in Copenhagen and signified progress in thinking on key issues.
The results of the dialogues were presented in recommendations to the Informal Working Group for the Interim Finance of REDD+ in September 2009 and to the UNFCCC negotiations in October 2009. IUCN and TFD in March 2010 launched the publication "Investing in REDD-plus", with the operational framework and other outcomes of this stream of dialogues. The document is being used at the national level for countries that are preparing for REDD+ and to support discussions on the development of financial mechanisms for REDD+.
Benefit Sharing Mechanisms for Forest Dependent Communities: A Key Component of the Pro-Poor REDD+ Framework
Benefit Sharing Mechanisms
Systems for benefit sharing are an important element of REDD+ implementation. The fair distribution of benefits generated through REDD+ activities should provide incentives for REDD+ action and build support and legitimacy for REDD+. Benefit sharing can create incentives by rewarding individuals, communities, organizations and businesses for actions that prevent land use changes that lead to deforestation and forest degradation, and for activities that contribute to conservation and the sustainable management of forests, and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks. Benefit sharing mechanisms, when designed properly, are an essential building block of a pro-poor REDD+ approach and can contribute to equitable REDD+ interventions. The successful design of systems for the distribution of benefits is closely linked to the clarification of tree and carbon tenure rights.
Why are benefit sharing mechanisms important for the pro-poor approach?
Benefit sharing mechanisms can contribute to the strengthening of sustainable livelihoods of vulnerable groups such as indigenous peoples and forest dependent communities that either make contributions to conservation or sustainable management of forests or that abandon activities that contribute to deforestation and forest degradation. Benefit sharing can be a tool to compensate loss of income and should aim at improving livelihoods based on sustainable resource use. Benefits can also be used for more general distribution among communities as a means to build wider support and legitimacy for REDD+.
The contribution of IUCN’s work to the development of benefit sharing mechanisms
IUCN explores the terms of equitable and fair benefit sharing mechanisms through the pro-poor approach for REDD in five forest nations. In particular the clarification of carbon tenure rights is an important issue that needs clarification. As part of the pro-poor project in Guatemala, Cameroon, Liberia, Ghana and Indonesia-Papua Province, IUCN currently supports participatory processes that clarify the terms for equitable and efficient benefit sharing mechanisms.
In order to clarify what such distributions really can imply, IUCN with the support of the Norwegian think-tank ECON has implemented an extensive survey. Benefit-sharing experiences in the forest sector and in extractive industries were reviewed in countries across developing nations. The survey explores key elements for future national benefit sharing mechanisms and lessons learnt.
IUCN’s survey of experiences with benefit sharing in the forest sector and extractive industries came up with useful insights such as the need for benefit sharing mechanisms to link incentives, benefits and actions. Social trust in the mechanism is important for potential beneficiaries who should believe in the objective of the “incentive.” Beneficiaries will have to be clearly identified for an effective implementation of such a mechanism. A very narrow implementation targeted geographically or only at a specific social group, can generate conflicts between stakeholders. Clear rules are needed for the distribution from the central government to local actors (vertical distribution) as well as the distribution between and among communities (horizontal distribution). Experience shows how intermediary stakeholders might take a share of benefits before these benefits reach the poor at lower local levels.
Together with stakeholders in various forest nations such as the countries under the pro-poor REDD+ project, IUCN currently explores what benefit sharing mechanisms could look like in the context of a pro-poor approach. These options are adapted to national circumstances. Work is in progress and ensures that the country-specific characteristics of land, tree and carbon tenure rights issues are taken into account.
Raising Awareness on Forest Degradation: The Second ‘D’ in REDD+
The second ‘D’ in REDD+ stands for forest degradation. The UNFCCC does not have a definition of forest degradation but the FAO is developing guidance on the issue. The Degradation Initiative of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests that is coordinated by the FAO identifies elements of forest degradation in the context of a REDD+ mechanism. These elements include biomass, biodiversity, forest health, forest carbon and sustainable means for assessment. An understanding is required on these elements when assessing forest degradation in the context of REDD+.
Why is forest degradation important?
The restoration of areas with degraded land and degraded forests provide a relatively rapidly available opportunity to enhance forest carbon stocks. The climate change mitigation potential of such enhancement is at least equal to the worldwide potential of reducing deforestation. Forest restoration is an important element of the scope of REDD+ and requires extra attention. IUCN’s Forest Landscape Restoration Program draws interest among climate negotiators to the potentials of forest restoration.
IUCN’s work on the issue of forest degradation
Degraded lands that could be restored at the landscape level have for the past years been a key focal point of IUCN’s forest program and its partners. IUCN and its members work on this important issue under the umbrella of the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration.
The partnership has collected and presented evidence of the scale, nature and location of restoration opportunities around the world and the potential contribution that forest restoration on degraded lands can make to climate change mitigation. Last year the partnership publicized its findings that there is an estimated 1 billion hectares of lost forests and degraded forest lands worldwide with opportunities for restoration.
These areas may offer a large potential for REDD+ investments. If done correctly, the restoration of forest functions and forest productivity could benefit large numbers of rural people and enhance efforts to conserve biodiversity while delivering on climate change objectives.
For more information on Forest Landscape Restoration contact Carole Saint Laurent.
Click here for the brochure Forest Landscape Restoration: See the Bigger Picture
Promoting the Role of Indigenous Peoples and Forest Communities in REDD+
According to the “statement of coverage” of the ILO Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, indigenous peoples include:
(a) tribal peoples in independent countries whose social, cultural and economic conditions distinguish them from other sections of the national community, and whose status is regulated wholly or partially by their own customs or traditions or by special laws or regulations;
(b) peoples in independent countries who are regarded as indigenous on account of their descent from the populations which inhabited the country, or a geographical region to which the country belongs, at the time of conquest or colonisation or the establishment of present state boundaries and who, irrespective of their legal status, retain some or all of their own social, economic, cultural and political institutions.
The notion of indigenous peoples is commonly used and understood in parts of Latin America, North America, the Arctic and Oceania, but its application is less straightforward in Africa and Asia. Indigenous peoples are sometimes referred to as local communities, hunter-gatherers, pastoralists, ethnic groups, minorities, tribal groups, or by their specific name, e.g. the Inuit people. In some countries, particularly in Africa, it may be that an entire population is considered “indigenous”.
Why are indigenous peoples important for REDD+?
In many areas indigenous peoples depend on forests for subsistence and livelihoods, but they are often marginalized from decision making processes. Indigenous communities are among those that contribute the least to climate change but that are the most vulnerable to changes in climate.
REDD+ can include payments for indigenous peoples and other communities that through their continued conservation or management efforts protect forests against deforestation and degradation.
REDD+ could enhance capacities, affirm rights and increase the potential contributions. However, if not approached with care, REDD+ could actually undermine these benefits. Unclear land tenure and policy frameworks often exacerbate indigenous peoples’ vulnerabilities. Together with ineffective law enforcement and unrecognized customary and ancestral rights, this could create situations where REDD+ is an additional threat.
IUCN’s Work with Indigenous Peoples and REDD+
In recognition of the vulnerability of indigenous peoples and also in acknowledgement of the potentially crucial contributions that indigenous peoples can make towards a sustainable design and implementation of REDD+, IUCN actively promotes their inclusion in REDD+-readiness processes. Equally important is the recognition of their rights when geographical locations for REDD+ and REDD+ activities are decided. Equitable engagement of indigenous peoples and forest dependents should ensure their consultation before the thinking on REDD+ is done and not after. IUCN facilitates capacity building activities and provides technical advice in five forest countries and informs international, national and local decision makers on the need for social safeguards.
Results so far
IUCN’s work as part of the pro-poor project facilitates the engagement of indigenous peoples and their interests at both the landscape as well as the national levels. Participatory tools that IUCN uses such as the poverty toolkit and multi‐disciplinary landscape assessments specifically focus on indigenous peoples and their capacity needs.
At the policy level the capacity of indigenous peoples and other local groups to engage with land use policy making is increased through discussions, information sharing, and through their exposure to policy discussion forums. The support and facilitation of the institutionalized engagement of indigenous peoples has priority but is still at an early stage in most countries.
A study on existing participation mechanisms at local levels is implemented and a global briefing on indigenous peoples and REDD+ has been completed. Information was gathered in particular on indigenous peoples in the western and central part of Africa where indigenous peoples are less well organized than for example in parts of Central and South America.
Highlighting and Promoting the Role of Women in All Phases of REDD+
Why are women important for REDD+?
Women the world over are primary users of natural and productive resources. Yet, women are often deprived of decision-making powers and in most cases only own a fraction of the land. The development of REDD+ policies and REDD+ interventions must take into account gender-based interests and ensure that women are part of decision making processes.
What does IUCN do on REDD+ and Gender?
IUCN believes that the recognition of their role in forest resource management should translate into the full engagement of women in REDD+; both in national and local processes. The incorporation of gender considerations into REDD+ frameworks brings about increased efficiency and sustainability as it contributes to women’s involvement and commitment as crucial players in local forest management systems. IUCN actively promotes the recognition of the role that women play in REDD+ as part of the Union’s ongoing engagement with the international negotiation process. REDD+ mechanisms should include gender responsive indicators and targets as part of performance based funding.
Results so far
The work on pro-poor options for REDD+ in five forest countries emphasizes the inclusion of gender dynamics in multi-stakeholder engagement at local and national levels. At the local level gender differentiation is made with a special focus on providing information, analyzing the role of women in forest management and decision making. Information gathered can be used to demonstrate that policy making must take into account gender specific needs and capacities. At the national level the representation of women in stakeholder consultations is promoted. In Papua province it has been shown that if local leaders are equipped with the information to engage with national processes, there is a greater chance that the needs of the entire community will be effectively communicated.
In close coordination with The Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN) and Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), IUCN has carried out a series of international training workshops on gender awareness for negotiators under the UNFCCC. Several publications on gender issues in the context of REDD have also been prioritized in the past 2 years. Currently there is a need to test the direct involvement of women in REDD pilots and more information has to be collected on the roles that women have and could play in the identification, implementation and monitoring of REDD activities.
For more information on gender and REDD contact Lorena Aguilar.
Click here for the training manual on gender and climate change.