ASB’s Partnership contribution to global climate talks

By Elizabeth Kahurani

Little can be said about progress made on the REDD+ agenda during the Bonn UNFCCC Climate Conference in June. The meeting ended without agreement on REDD+ financing while discussions on technical issues regarding safeguards and drivers of deforestation were postponed to the 18th conference of the parties meeting in Doha. The stalement on financing arose from disagreement by parties on whether to include the private sector or rely on public funds in the implementation of REDD+.

At the meeting, ASB Partnership and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) found opportunities to disseminate findings from ongoing research on these two key policy issues highlighting key messages from a REDD+ Expert Workshop on safeguard information systems and private sector engagement held earlier in Nairobi Kenya in April 2012.

The main messages for the negotiators were:

  1. REDD+ Safeguard Information Systems do not necessarily require new mechanisms, methodologies or indicators, as there are opportunities to build upon existing architecture. These opportunities include methods and processes to report on obligations and provide information under international agreements, national legislation, bilateral and multilateral agreements and REDD+ pilot-level initiatives.
  2. Private sector engagement and finance is central to REDD+ success. Private sector involvement can help bridge the financing gap between public sector financing and developing country needs, as well as make vital contributions to REDD+ initiatives by providing technical expertise. Increased private sector involvement in REDD+ hinges on policy clarity and certainty.

A detailed summary of the key messages can be obtained here

Download full report from the workshop

Modes of determining reference emission levels should be part of the discussions

If and when parties agree on the mode of financing, developing countries need to go through the technical process of identifying reference emission levels as a basis of accounting for carbon stored and ascertaining that claims to any reductions in emission levels is authentic. It is therefore important that discussions on financing take place in tandem with those on how reference emission levels (REL) should be determined, taking into consideration varying issues and contexts within and among developing countries.

To guide discussions on this, ASB Partnership scientists made submissions to the UNFCCC with recommendations on an effective approach towards implementing REL. Highlights of the submission include:

-          REL calculation techniques should apply to different stages of forest transition, at (sub)national level to fulfill fairness and efficiency principles, as a starting point for NAMA and REDD negotiations

-          In the absence of an internationally agreed forest definition all efforts to segregate ‘forest’ related emissions as part of land-based emissions remain contested

-          Rather than ‘objective’ REL definitions, linked negotiations at the national-international level with that at subnational-national level will have to clarify what a country can and want to take responsibility for as reference emission level within its Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions and/or as basis for supported REDD+ activities

The full submission can be accessed here

As parties carry on with negotiations and discussions leading up to COP 18 in Doha, these evidence provides a road map to sound decisions that assure sustainable actions in combating climate change.

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