REDD+ Safeguards Working Group

REDD+ Agreement; Landmark Decision on Safeguards; Cancun Mandate Completed

Providing analysis on forest issues at the COP 19 UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, 11-22 November as at all UNFCCC negotiation sessions since 2009. Our forest experts, lawyers, and campaigners in Warsaw are available for background and interviews.

Contact: Don Lehr, [email protected] / US mobile: +1 917 304 4058

REDD-plus (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation)

Today’s Developments

Cancun Mandate for REDD+ is completed

After three years of negotiations since COP 16 in Cancun, countries have finally reached an agreement on REDD+. A package of decisions has been agreed on:

· REDD+ finance (in the COP);
· coordination of finance (in the joint SBI/SBSTA); and
· the five elements decided in the SBSTA:
· forest reference emission levels
· measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) of forest-related emissions
· summary of information on safeguards
· drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, and
· national forest monitoring systems.

In short, the Cancun Mandate for REDD+ has been completed.

In particular, the COP finance decision of the REDD+ package includes definitive language on safeguards that states:

· “Agrees that developing countries seeking to obtain and receive results-based payments…should provide the most recent summary of information of how all the safeguards…have been addressed and respected, before they can receive results-based payments.”

It also contains language recognizing the importance of incentivizing “non carbon benefits”, i.e. benefits beyond carbon. This provides political momentum for designing REDD+ programmes that will maximise outcomes for communities and biodiversity as well as carbon.

Papua New Guinea proposal on behalf of Coalition for Rainforest Nations is defeated

A last-minute attempt by Papua New Guinea, for the Coalition for Rainforest Nations, to re-insert text calling for the creation of a “REDD-plus body,” after it had been removed by Heads of Delegations earlier in the day, was strongly opposed late last night by many countries who walked out of the room leaving PNG alone at the microphone during its intervention.

Following the breakthrough on the finance decision this morning, Heads of Delegation met in a closed session to discuss the text on coordination. Civil society and negotiators were outside the room when clapping indicated agreement had finally been reached. Sources confirm that PNG was silent as the decision was taken.

Instead of a “REDD+ body”, for which the Coalition held the negotiations to ransom early this week, national entities and financial entities are encouraged to meet annually “on a voluntary basis” in conjunction with meetings of the subsidiary bodies, starting in 2014. The Coalition’s proposal has a toe in the door with a request to the SBI that before 2017 it reviews the outcomes of these meetings and considers the “existing institutional arrangements” or the need for “potential governance alternatives” In effect, the issue has been kicked four years down the road.

Quote from Dr Rosalind Reeve, senior fellow, Ateneo School of Government, Manila

“This is a landmark decision on safeguards. There is now a clear requirement that countries must submit a report on how they are implementing safeguards before they can receive results-based finance for their REDD+ activities. We’ve been battling since Cancun in 2010 for meaningful guidance on safeguards, and have finally achieved some basis on which to judge whether the REDD+ safeguards are being addressed and respected. But it’s not over yet – next year in Lima negotiators will determine what goes into safeguards reports.”

“While we’ve achieved a milestone in Warsaw, there is still important work to do next year to ensure that the Safeguards Information System is effective and the reports will be comprehensive. This is essential to provide assurance to indigenous peoples and local communities, civil society and investors that safeguards are really and truly addressed and respected before countries can access results-based finance.”

Definition: Safeguards
· Indigenous peoples and local communities must be protected (e.g., livelihood security)
· Biodiversity must be ensured (e.g. enhanced ecosystem resilience through increased biodiversity)
· Governance improvements (e.g. strengthened tenure/use/access/management rights)
· Adopted in 2010 by COP16 (Cancun) in decision 1/CP.16 (paras 69, 71[d] and 72).

SBSTA – Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice
SBI – Subsidiary Body for Implementation
COP – Conference of the Parties

REDD+ Safeguards Working Group (R-SWG) is a North-South group of civil society and indigenous organizations cooperating to ensure effective implementation of safeguards and the achievement of benefits for communities, climate and biodiversity through the global REDD+ mechanism. It currently comprises more than 25 organizations and is facilitated by the Ateneo School of Government in Manila.