The road to UNFCCC COP 18 and beyond - Energy and Climate Change Contents

8  REDD+

82. REDD+ is a UN programme focussed on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD+). Emissions from the forest sector and changes in forests count for over 17 % of global greenhouse gas emissions.[111] REDD+ includes the UN-REDD programme, which creates a financial value for the carbon stored in forests and offers incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forestry. REDD+ goes beyond just avoided deforestation to include "conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks."[112]

83. According to the Center for International Forestry Research the three main issues regarding REDD+ which needed to be resolved at the Durban conference were:

  • Funding for REDD+;
  • Reference levels from which countries could start their Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV); and
  • Guidance on how to implement reporting of 'social, governance and environmental' safeguards.".[113]

We address each of these in turn below.


84. It is expected that at COP 18 countries will hold a REDD+ finance workshop and produce a technical paper on the sources of financing for REDD+.[114] Reuters reported that at Durban "most of the difficult decisions [about finance] were put off until next year's climate summit and few observers expect to see a REDD market emerge this side of 2020."[115] Prof. Jouni Paavola said that private finance had a crucial role to play in delivering funds for REDD+.[116]

85. DECC acknowledged that the rate of progress of REDD+ funding "has been very disappointing" and said that there were difficulties in disbursing both private and public funds to "REDD projects with real integrity". We note that this difficulty is in large part the result of disparate and often inconsistent legislation regarding forest governance and property ownership in forested nations. The money was there, but was not being spent. DECC added that while private funding will "absolutely" play a crucial role in the long term, it was even more challenging to unlock private sector funding than public. [117]

86. We recommend that DECC investigate why the disbursement of funds into REDD+ projects has been so disappointing. We recommend that the Government support work to resolve such legislative anomalies that hamper the deployment of finance at scale to tackle deforestation. The Department should clarify what steps are being taken to prepare for the REDD+ finance workshop at COP 18.

Reference Levels

87. Reference levels are intended to be used by countries as the common baseline against which to compare, for example, how much they can avoid emissions by undertaking a specific set of management activities.[118] These reference levels are used in the MRV system. Parties in Durban agreed to a set of technical guidelines for ensuring that reference levels had environmental integrity.[119] Decisions to be made at Doha will include how to measure and monitor emissions due to forestry within these technical guidelines. In their evidence DECC asserted that they will push for biennial reporting to start in 2014.[120] The Committee supports this aim and recommends the Government negotiate strongly to this end.


88. At Durban "a framework for systems of reporting on the implementation of REDD+ safeguards" was developed, but the content of those systems was not decided on. This work will be continued at COP 18.[121] Several non-governmental organisations criticised the wording of the safeguards, calling them "weak" and "bad news for millions of indigenous people".[122] DECC stated that the guidance should be built upon safeguards and reporting requirements that are "already covered by international conventions."[123] They added that progress needed to be made in Doha with regard to "how forest nations would report against those safeguards."[124]

89. There are a number of countries critical to the climate change challenge in relation to forestry that do not have the governance procedures in place to participate in a global carbon trading process. Sir David King reported that "a Government that benefited its own members and their bank accounts somewhere simply by the tradable commodity would not be brought into the fold." [125] In addition, the forest areas in some developing countries are not under the control of the central government, which is a powerful argument for the continuation of REDD+.[126]

90. We recognise the importance of REDD+ in tackling emissions from forestry, particularly with regard to developing countries where the forest areas are not under the control of the central government. We recommend that the UK and the EU press for stronger and more detailed social, governance and environmental safeguards for REDD+ projects.

111   IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, Mitigation of Climate Change: Introduction, 2007, p 105 Back

112   UN-REDD Programme, About UN-REDD+, Back

113   "3 sticking points to tackle on REDD+ in Durban, says facilitator", Center for International Forestry Research, 15 November 2011, Back

114   "REDD+ finance, indigenous rights protections move forward in 2012 with boost from Durban Negotiations", Environmental Defense Fund News and Blogs, 7 February 2012, Back

115   "Private sector finance eyed for U.N. forest projects", Reuters, 11 December 2011, Back

116   Q 161 Back

117   Q 219 Back

118   Q 157 [Prof. Jouni Paavola] Back

119   UNFCCC, Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action, Fourteenth Session part four, 9 December 2011 Back

120   Q 221 Back

121   "REDD+ finance, indigenous rights protections move forward in 2012 with boost from Durban Negotiations", Environmental Defense Fund News and Blogs, 7 February 2012, Back

122   "Private sector finance eyed for U.N. forest projects", Reuters, 11 December 2011, Back

123   Ev 62 Back

124   Q 221 Back

125   Q 109 Back

126   Q 110 Back

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© Parliamentary copyright 2012
Prepared 25 July 2012