Scope of REDD+ and phased approach
Scope of REDD+ and phased approach
REDD+ is a policy mechanism under negotiation at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that proposes incentives to support the role of forests in climate abatement strategies.
The full scope of REDD+ includes, in line with paragraph 1 (b) iii of the Bali Action Plan and the 2010 Cancun Agreements: 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 in developing countries. REDD+ can offer cost-effective mitigation options in a relatively short timeframe. With the right approach, REDD+ action could generate additional benefits for vulnerable groups and contribute positively to the conservation of biodiversity and other ecosystem functions. Vulnerable groups include indigenous peoples, forest communities and women.
Fast emission reductions are crucial in order to prevent irreversible and far-reaching impacts of climate change, such as the collapse of coral reefs and the melting of the ice caps. REDD+ enjoys broad support and official discussions on the development of a global REDD+ mechanism made significant progress after the 2007 Bali Action Plan and towards the COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009. REDD+ is a key component of the agreements that were reached at COP16 in Cancun in December 2010. There is concern however over questions with regards to the effectiveness of a REDD+ mechanism to contribute to real emissions reductions and the extent to which REDD+ might be able to fulfil social and environmental safeguards.
Basic facts and figures
The Stern Review (2006) estimates that forests store more than 4,500 giga tons of carbon, which is more than the total amount of carbon in remaining oil stocks and the more than 3,000 giga tons of carbon currently held in the atmosphere.
According to the World Bank (2008) roughly 1.6 billion people worldwide depend on forests for their livelihoods. Many of them are among the poorest people on earth.
The emissions from deforestation put Brazil and Indonesia on the third and fourth place of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, after the USA and China (Seymour, 2008; Peace, 2007).
Pro-poor REDD+ options and safeguards
IUCN supports a pro-poor approach for REDD+ that focuses on good forest governance, the development of sustainable livelihoods for forest dependents and the meaningful participation of indigenous peoples and forest communities.
The development of systems for equitable and transparent benefit sharing mechanisms is an important element of the pro-poor approach. In order to build such arrangements for the distribution of benefits, the rights and tenure arrangements over trees and carbon have to be clarified. Together with stakeholder engagement, governance reform, capacity building and the thorough analyzing of the drivers of deforestation these are important building blocks for a country’s national REDD+ strategy. IUCN stresses the need for an attention to gender dynamics of forest management and the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples and forest communities.
Safeguards are necessary to strengthen the potential contributions that forests make to climate change mitigation while preventing negative impacts on crucial social and environmental functions of forests. Safeguards should ensure that REDD+ doesn’t harm but strengthens sustainable livelihoods while contributing to the protection and development of forest ecosystem functions such as biodiversity.
Safeguards should ensure broad stakeholder participation in the design and implementation of REDD+ actions. Stakeholder engagement should explicitly include women, indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities. Successful REDD+ implementation recognizes and supports their traditional knowledge and management systems, land tenure and resource arrangements, and rights. Specific environmental safeguards should avoid the possible eligibility of the conversion of natural forests to mono-culture plantations under any REDD+ strategies. Adequate safeguards should be ‘ensured’ rather than ‘promoted.’
The phased approach of REDD+
There is general agreement on the need for countries to have time and resources to prepare and build capacity for REDD+ implementation.
The phased approach model provides for this and enables countries with different circumstances to pilot and mainstream REDD+ actions. The model meets the immediate and longer term needs of forest countries while taking a learning-based approach to addressing the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. The phased approach creates flexibility for countries to develop portfolios that combine fund-based and market-based sources for funding. It will allow individual governments to make progress at a pace that is suited to their national circumstances. The following phases are proposed:
The readiness phase: REDD+ implementation requires initial capacity building and the identification of governance gaps. The development of national REDD+ strategies should be based on a thorough analysis of the drivers of deforestation and the meaningful consultation and participation of broad stakeholder platforms. The development of REDD+ national plans that respond to country specific situations will be learning based and will partly build on experiences generated through pilot projects.
The intermediate phase: National policy frameworks will be established or strengthened and governance reforms applied in order to make the implementation of REDD+ policies possible. REDD+ finance can at this stage be invested in institutional capacity and forest governance activities as well as activities in the forest sector such as land tenure reforms and forest management. There is a need for policies that explore inter-sectoral approaches. Activities outside the forest sector can help reduce pressure on forests for example through certified sustainable agriculture, sustainable wood energy supply chains and agro-forestry.
The final phase: The third phase is for performance-based payments through funds and markets for emissions reductions and carbon stock enhancements. Systems for Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) will be put in place for emission reductions and carbon stock enhancements. The performance of social and environmental indicators can be assessed as part of MRV or in a separate instrument.