REDD+ is now formally incorporated under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a mechanism that provides funding and financial incentives to developing countries to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, promote forest conservation and sustainable management, and enhance forest carbon stocks (REDD+). However, many countries face challenges in meeting the safeguards requirements to be eligible to receive results-based payments under the Convention. To share experiences and lessons learned to date on meeting international safeguards requirements for REDD+ and to discuss common challenges, issues and potential solutions among REDD+ countries in the Asia region, SNV co-organised the Asia Regional South-South Learning Event in collaboration with the Vietnam Forestry Administration (VNFOREST), Vietnam REDD+ Office, Climate, Law and Policy (CLP) and the United Nations REDD+ Programme on 26-27th October in Hanoi, Vietnam.
The event was attended by participants from 11 countries (Bhutan, Cambodia, Ghana, Indonesia, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Peru and Vietnam). These countries are seeking to develop National REDD+ programmes as key elements of their Nationally Determined Contributions to both mitigating and adapting to climate change. However, in order to participate in the mechanism and receive results-based payments, developing countries must meet the following REDD+ safeguards requirements of the UNFCCC:
1. Countries must implement REDD+ activities in a manner that is consistent with the UNFCCC safeguards principles (Cancun principles);
2. Countries must have a Safeguards Information System (SIS) in place, and;
3. Countries must periodically provide Summaries of Information on how the safeguards have been addressed and respected
As countries have progressed with the development of their national REDD+ programmes and are moving closer towards implementation there is an increasing focus on meeting the safeguards requirements. However, with limited further guidance from the UNFCCC, this is a challenge for many countries. In addition, countries often also need to meet the safeguards requirements of other international donors or financing institutions, such as the World Bank/Forest Carbon Partnership Facility or the Green Climate Fund.
In response to the challenge of meeting multiple safeguards requirements countries have been adopting different approaches depending on their REDD+ approach, their primary sources of funding, and their capacities. The Learning Event in Hanoi provided a unique opportunity to share the wealth of knowledge and experience that is generated through these different approaches to meeting international safeguards requirements for REDD+ in each country.
The event, which was organised under the International Climate Initiative (ICI) funded ‘Operationalising National Safeguards for Results-based Payments from Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+)’ project, opened with presentations from leading experts from UN-REDD, World Bank/Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and the Green Climate Fund. These key actors recently announced US$ 500m of results-based payments and this was one of the first public presentations of associated safeguards requirements since the announcement. The rest of the event was structured around the three UNFCCC requirements, including framework presentations on requirements, emerging guidance/lessons and progress globally and key country experiences. To maximise interactions between countries and participants, the presentations were followed by facilitated group work around each theme, under guidance from international experts.
The event was hugely appreciated by participating countries, in particular those countries that are at a relatively early stage in the development of their country approaches to safeguards such as Laos, Myanmar and Mongolia as they were able to learn from countries that had already made certain advances such as in designing their SIS. Meanwhile, other countries were able to exchange ideas and notes on particular technical aspects or processes.
SNV is planning to organise a similar event in Accra, Ghana in collaboration with UN Environment, the Forestry Commission for the African region and Climate, Law and Policy (CLP) in the coming months.
All materials from the South-South Learning Event can be found here.