More on REDD+
REDD+ stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.
REDD+ is a mechanism to mitigate climate change that aims to make forests more valuable standing than cut down, by creating a financial value for the carbon stored in trees. When integrated into existing forest planning, and carried out with the robust engagement of forest-dependent communities, REDD+ holds the potential of being an effective climate change mitigation solution-- a nature-based solution that goes beyond carbon to address the needs of the poor.
Frequently Asked Questions about REDD+
What is the difference between REDD and REDD+?
The exact details of REDD+ policy are currently being negotiated under the UNFCCC. The uses of different acronyms reflect differences in scope of type of activities proposed.
REDD refers to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation
REDD+ includes Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries; and the role of Conservation, Sustainable Management of Forests and Enhancement of Forest Carbon Stocks.
What are the “three phases” of REDD+?
The 2009 Meridian Report suggested a three-phased approach for the implementation of REDD+. The phased approach foresees a preparatory or ‘readiness’ phase with a focus on capacity building and stakeholder engagement as part of a process based on learning. During this first phase, a country will build a national strategy that tackles drivers of deforestation that are specific to the situation of the country. During the second phase, national policy frameworks for the implementation of REDD+ will be built and linked to other sectors such as agriculture, energy and development. The third phase is for the full implementation of REDD+ activities with payments that are based on performance. The linking of REDD+ to compliance markets at this stage depends on the question of whether the UNFCCC process can reach a legally-binding post-2012 climate agreement with binding emissions reductions of Annex 1 countries.
The phased approach accounts for the diverse circumstances of different REDD+ countries and makes it possible for REDD+ to make use of both fund-based and market-based financial recourses.
For a full description of the phased approach, see IUCN's brochure on the scope of REDD+
Who will finance REDD+?
As long as REDD+ is not part of a binding post-2012 climate deal, it will be financed mainly through funds and the voluntary carbon market. For the readiness phase, funds are already being made available to countries through bilateral and multilateral arrangements such as the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) of the World Bank and the UN-REDD Programme.
It is expected that for the second phase of 'policies and measures', multilaterals will still be one of the main sources of funding, for example through the Forest Investment Program (FIP) of the World Bank and through bilateral arrangements. The REDD+ Partnership has brought together 75 donor nations and developing countries with forests, providing a parallel process until the UNFCCC process culminates in a binding agreement.
An increasing role for markets, envisaged for the third phase, depends on whether the UNFCCC will reach a legally-binding agreement for the post-2012 period with binding emission reduction targets for industrialized nations. The idea is that eventually, in the third phase, performance-based REDD+ payments could be linked to compliance markets. In order to receive REDD+ payments, countries would have to demonstrate that they are reducing emissions from deforestation or enhancing or conserving the role of forests carbon stocks.
Who will implement REDD+?
REDD+ policies will encourage forest users such as indigenous peoples, forest communities and forest land owners as well as organizations, government agencies, project developers and investors, to strengthen activities that conserve forests, sustainably manage forests and enhance forest carbon stocks, and to stop or reduce activities that lead to deforestation and the degradation of forests. Government agencies will have to develop policy frameworks that provide incentives for REDD+ action and investment.
How will individuals and communities share in the benefits of REDD+?
REDD+ should create incentives or compensation for individuals, forest communities, and organizations to reduce activities that contribute to deforestation or forest degradation and to expand activities that contribute to conservation, the sustainable management of forests and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks. This requires that payments or benefits should be in excess of the costs of REDD+ action or lost 'opportunity costs' of land use changes that are prevented. The prevention of illegal activities should not be rewarded.
Apart from direct compensation, REDD+ could also make funds available for more general benefit distribution among communities that can help build wider legitimacy and support for REDD+. Such benefit sharing mechanisms should be equitable and fair and should in particular target the strengthening of sustainable livelihoods of vulnerable groups such as indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities. Because REDD+ project preparation, consultation, implementation and monitoring will be costly, it is important that expectations among stakeholder groups as to the possible level of REDD+ payments are realistic. Expectations of local communities can otherwise be too optimistic.
For more information on the issue of benefit sharing see IUCN's brochure on REDD+ and Benefit Sharing
What are social and environmental safeguards?
REDD+ has the potential to deliver benefits for indigenous peoples and forest communities as well as critical ecosystem functions such as biodiversity. There are however also risks that REDD+ implementation could do harm to communities and the ecological functions of forests. Safeguards are devised to prevent negative social and environmental impacts. Safeguards also seek to ensure the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples, forest communities, women and other relevant stakeholders, and guarantee their timely access to appropriate and accurate information. Equitable benefit sharing, the development of land and tenure rights and good governance are other important issues that can be stimulated through safeguards. The Climate, Community and Biodiversity Project Design Standards (CCB Standards) are an example of safeguards developed by civil society that are applied to evaluate land-based carbon mitigation projects in the early stages of development
Where is REDD+ being implemented?
REDD+ is still being negotiated by the UNFCCC. REDD+ activities have been implemented for years, but earlier such projects and activities were not being accounted against CO₂ offsetting. What is new is that such activities are to be accounted for as emission reductions. REDD+ can be implemented in developing countries with forests. In the context of the UNFCCC, industrialized countries are called “Annex I countries” while developing countries are called “non-Annex I countries”. Most developing countries with forests are currently engaged in readiness or other preparatory procedures, and many pilot projects are being implemented across the tropical region. Most countries are supported in these readiness activities through multilateral and bilateral funding while individual pilot projects are sometimes linked to the voluntary carbon market. Several projects are at a fairly advanced stage of implementation with defined baseline scenarios, preliminary quantifications of emission reductions and access to buyers of carbon credits. In many cases REDD+ pilots inform national readiness processes in the countries where the projects take place.