On the Road to a REDD Agreement: Engaging Negotiators and Land Managers
By Florence Bernard & Elizabeth Kahurani, ASB Partnership
On January 25-26 2011, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and ASB brought together 15 REDD negotiators and experts from Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Nepal, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Brazil, Cameroon, Ghana and United States to a REDD Development Dividend Task Force meeting in Manila, Philippines. REDD development dividend entails: quality (ensuring sustainable development benefits), quantity (ensuring robust REDD investments) and regional distribution (ensuring that smaller countries are able to benefit from REDD). This meeting kicked off the second phase of activities for a project that aims to build REDD capacity for negotiators and land managers in developing countries. The project is funded by Norwegian Agency for Development and Cooperation (NORAD).
The REDD task force meeting in Manila explored salient issues in the development of REDD modalities and processes, as well as options and a path forward for international negotiations. These include modalities of strengthening Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) for REDD, with a key challenge being how countries decide on what to include or leave out in the MRV process and how this affects the accuracy and acceptability of results. After lengthy deliberations, it was agreed that countries need guidance to enable them make realistic decisions based on their own context. Another issue under discussion was co-benefits such as poverty alleviation, community livelihoods, technology transfer, and biodiversity conservation - generally benefits that come as a result of taking action to conserve forests. In relation to this, participants discussed the architecture of efficient information sharing system and different benefit sharing mechanism options that need to be considered.
At the same time, it was noted that countries need guidance on establishing minimum standards for policies and procedures that address both direct and indirect REDD impacts to communities and ecosystems, so as to mitigate risks. These are safeguards for which the meeting expressed the need for effective implementation and monitoring systems.
A review of related REDD+ progress and actions saw participants share national experiences so as to identify synergies that can lead to possible collaboration. In addition, participants shared their perspectives on the REDD+ outcomes in Cancún. “Cancun sorted the major political arrangements, but there are still a number of ‘to do’ at Durban COP 17 as these issues are more technical-related than political,” one of the participants said. Highlighting the need for urgency to act, another participant expressed, “If we do not properly address the issue of deforestation now, it might be too late by 2015.”
While opening the meeting, the Vice-Chair of the Climate Change Commission of the Philippines, Mary Ann Lucille Sering, took the opportunity to assure participants of the Philipino governments’ commitment and support to such REDD+ discussions.
The next stop for the IISD/ASB project will be in Cameroon and Vietnam where two regional workshops will be held. Collaborative policy briefs and papers will be developed as part of the outcomes from these engagements. Indeed, such a process that captures the views of national and regional governments contributes greatly to efforts in finding an efficient and effective strategy to implement REDD.