Friday, 29 April 2016


-Dr.Debesh Bhowmik
 Journal of Education in Emerging Indian Society
  Vol-II , Number-1 , Jan-Dec,2015 , pp 262-272
APH Publishing Corporation-NewDelhi

UNFCCC Negotiations on REDD:A Brief Note
Dr.Debesh Bhowmik (Retired Principal)

This article defines REDD and REDD+ in a clearly manner and relates them with climate change targets where nature can provide up to 30% of the necessary emissions reductions needed to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius. It incorporates all the REDD negotiations from the Kyoto Protocol to Paris convention where conservation of forest, sustainable forest management, carbon trading, transfer of technology to support adaptation and mitigation actions, the creation of a new REDD+ institution; incentives for non-carbon benefits; green climate fund-its scope ,contribution and source of funds from private and public ,bilateral or multilateral, and implementation of policy approaches were mentioned  as key agreements. But the gap between negotiations and policy actions should be minimized through common laws and recommendations by international institutions.

Key words- REDD, REDD+, Forest management, Emission reduction

I.An introduction on REDD
REDD, or reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, is one of the most controversial issues in the climate change debate. REDD involves some kind of incentive for changing the way forest resources are used. As such, it offers a new way of curbing CO2 emissions through paying for actions that prevent forest loss or degradation. These transfer mechanisms can include carbon trading, or paying for forest management.
REDD, as currently conceived, involves payments to developing countries that will prevent deforestation or degradation that would otherwise have taken place. The source of this funding can be from carbon trading, where actors in industrialised countries offset their own emissions by transferring funds as carbon credits to developing countries. Or it can be some other mechanism such as a trust fund, which does not depend on offsets. The payments then, in principle, go towards actions that enable developing countries to conserve or sustainably use their forests (say, through more appropriate harvesting of wood and other forest products), when they might otherwise not have been able to do so.
REDD is described in AWG/LCA as “Encourages developing country parties to contribute to mitigate actions in the forest sector by undertaking the following activities, as deemed appropriate by each party and in accordance with their respective capabilities and national circumstances:[i] reducing emissions from deforestation,[ii]reducing emissions from forest degradation,[iii] conservation of forest carbon stocks,[iv]sustainable management of forest,[v]enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

Four key challenges have been identified,[i] measuring carbon,[ii]making payment,[iii] accountability and [iv]funding.
Trading the carbon stored in forests is particularly controversial for several reasons:
·         Carbon trading does not reduce emissions because for every carbon credit sold, there is a buyer. Trading the carbon stored in tropical forests would allow pollution in rich countries to continue, meaning that global warming would continue.
·         Carbon trading is likely to create a new bubble of carbon derivatives. There are already extremely complicated carbon derivatives on the market. Adding forest carbon credits to this mix would be disastrous, particularly given the difficulties in measuring the amount of carbon stored in forests.
·         Creating a market in REDD carbon credits opens the door to carbon cowboys, or would be carbon traders with little or no experience in forest conservation, who are exploiting local communities and indigenous peoples by persuading them to sign away the rights to the carbon stored in their forests.
Yet many REDD proponents continue to argue that carbon markets are needed to make REDD work. Environmental Defense Fund, for example, on its website states that, “ Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, which EDF helped pioneer, is based on establishing economic incentives for people who care for the forest so forests are worth money standing, not just cleared and burned for timber and charcoal. The best way to do this is to allow forest communities and tropical forest nations to sell carbon credits when they can prove they have deforestation below a baseline.”
While there has not yet been any agreement on how REDD is to be financed, a look at some of the main actors involved suggests that there is a serious danger that it will be financed through carbon trading. The role of the World Bank is of particular concern, given its fondness for carbon trading.
On the other hand, REDD+ is a way to compensate people who manage forests better, but in doing so it takes away some short-term economic benefits. It can help staunch the loss of forests and enhance their capacity to capture and store carbon. Forests lose this ability when they are:
·         Removed completely through deforestation (the first D in REDD+) or Damaged by human activity (the second D in REDD+).The "plus" takes the mechanism to another level. It enhances the land’s capacity for carbon storage by rewarding activities that improve forest health. Not only are carbon stocks protected by avoiding forest damage or outright clearing, they are also increased by measures such as better forest management, conservation, restoration, and afforestation. REDD+ is also concerned with much more than carbon, and could improve biodiversity, water quality, and other vital environmental services. And it could help ensure livelihood security and clear rights for local communities and indigenous peoples.
II.REDD and climate change
Research indicates that nature can provide up to 30% of the necessary emissions reductions needed to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius .Deforestation and forest degradation through agricultural expansion, conversion to pasture, infrastructure development, destructive logging, fires etc., account for nearly 17 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that approximately 25% of deforestation emissions can be abated at a cost of less than $20 per metric ton of carbon dioxide . Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) attempts to create financial value for the carbon stored in forests, offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development. REDD+ goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation, and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

It is predicted that financial flows for greenhouse gas emission reductions from REDD+ could reach up to US$30 billion a year. This significant north-south flow of funds could reward a meaningful reduction of carbon emissions and support new, pro-poor development, help conserve biodiversity and secure vital ecosystem services. According to the influential Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, the resources required to halve emissions from the forest sector up to the year 2030 could be between US $17 billion and $33 billion per year.

Further, maintaining forest ecosystems can contribute to increased resilience to climate change. To achieve these multiple benefits, REDD will require the full engagement and respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities.
Women and men have different roles, rights, responsibilities, knowledge, use of and access to forests, specific attention to women’s needs and contributions is key to efficient REDD+ strategies and programmes. Women’s rights and resource needs must be recognized, and the roles they can play as leaders, participants and beneficiaries in REDD+ must be carefully considered and reflected at every stage. The gender component of REDD+ may vary from country to country depending on local situations. The cross-practice initiative is engaged in strategic planning and implementation of a gender strategy that seeks to:
  • link REDD+ mechanisms to existing national development strategies
  • establish means for forest communities, indigenous peoples and women to participate in the design, monitoring and evaluation of national REDD programmes
  • ensure that REDD+ funds and benefits are equally accessible to poor women and men who manage the forests
  • involve civil society organizations, and women-led community based organizations
  • ensure that REDD+ programmes do not restrict women’s access to the resources  they depend on for their livelihoods.
The gender and UN-REDD Programme teams are currently guiding the development of a joint study, called “the Business Case for Mainstreaming gender in REDD+” that will illustrate how inclusive, equitable, and gender-sensitive design and implementation will result in more efficient and effective REDD+ projects and programmes. If appropriately designed and implemented, REDD+ has the potential to serve as a vehicle for sustainable human development. The role of women in protecting and managing forests, and their right to equal access to resources, is an important component for an equitable, effective and efficient REDD+.
III.Climate summits and REDD
In its infancy, REDD was first and foremost focused on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. However, in 2007 the Bali Action Plan, formulated at the thirteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-13) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), stated that a comprehensive approach to mitigating climate change should include “[p]olicy approaches and positive incentives on issues relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries; and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries” . A year later, this was further elaborated on as the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks was upgraded so as to receive the same emphasis as avoided emissions from deforestation and forest degradation .
Finally, in 2010, at COP-16 (15) as set out in the Cancun Agreements, REDD became REDD-plus (REDD+), to reflect the new components. REDD+ now includes:
(a) Reducing emissions from deforestation; 
(b) Reducing emissions from forest degradation; 
(c) Conservation of forest carbon stocks; 
(d) Sustainable management of forests; 
(e) Enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
Within its remit, REDD+ has the potential to simultaneously contribute to climate change mitigation and poverty alleviation, whilst also conserving biodiversity and sustaining vital ecosystem services. The details of a REDD+ mechanism continue to be debated under the UNFCCC , and the considerable financial needs for full-scale implementation have not yet been met.
[A]The Kyoto Protocol
At COP-13,in Article 2, the Kyoto Protocol refers to the protection and enhancement of sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases, sustainable forest management practices and afforestation and reforestation activities . The inclusion of the above practices was restricted, as it was only afforestation and reforestation activities that were considered eligible for generating credits under the Clean Development Mechanism.
[B]COP-7, Marrakesh, 2001
At COP-7 in 2001 it was decided, as part of the Marrakesh Accords, that only afforestation and reforestation qualified as LULUCF activities capable of generating carbon credits under the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol (Decision 17/CP.17) . Reducing deforestation or forest degradation was excluded from the decision due to concerns of leakage . The concern was that reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation was unlikely to achieve a net reduction in emissions due to the fact that whilst reduced in one area, the same pressures may present themselves elsewhere, as the emissions producing activity is merely relocated .
COP-11 saw the Coalition act through the governments of Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica in requesting that “Reducing emissions from deforestation [RED] in developing countries and approaches to stimulate action” be included in the agenda. It was proposed that, in generating credits from RED activities, developing countries could gain access to carbon markets that would incentivise the protection of forests by making their worth greater in their carbon value than from industries requiring their destruction .The issue received extensive support and Parties generally agreed on the issue’s importance in the context of climate change mitigation . Governments subsequently agreed to a two-year work programme and agreed to initiate consideration of the issue at the twenty-fourth SBSTA (Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice) session in Bonn, May 2006. This would involve both consideration of the Parties’ views and recommendations on RED-related issues with a specific focus on scientific, technical and methodological issues .
The Bali Action Plan, under Decision 1/CP.13, outlined a commitment of the Parties to address enhanced action on climate change mitigation, including the consideration of “Policy approaches and positive incentives on issues relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries; and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and forest carbon stocks in developing countries” . The Bali Action Plan also established a subsidiary body to conduct the process, the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA).
A further decision (Decision 2/CP.13): ‘Reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries: approaches to stimulate action’ was adopted . Whilst the Decision itself in referring explicitly to deforestation maintains the limited scope of RED, it also importantly acknowledges that “forest degradation also leads to emissions, and needs to be addressed when reducing emissions from deforestation” and affirms “the urgent need to take meaningful action to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries” (REDD) .
This decision provided a mandate for several elements and actions by Parties relating to RED, including: i) strengthening and support of current efforts; ii) capacity-building, technical assistance and technological transfer to support methodological and technical needs of developing countries; iii) identifying and undertaking activities to address the drivers of deforestation, enhance forest carbon stocks via the sustainable management of forests, and; iv) mobilise resources to support the above .
[E]COP-14, Poznań, 2008
At COP-14 in Poznań, the SBSTA reported on the outcomes of its programme of work on methodological issues associated with REDD policy approaches and incentives . In its report, in response to pressure from some developing countries, the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks countries was upgraded so as to receive equal emphasis as deforestation and forest degradation . This saw the early progression of REDD to REDD+  and recognised that conservation, the sustainable management of forests and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks play as equally an important role in emissions reductions through protecting carbon stocks, as preventing deforestation and forest degradation. The “+”improved the potential of REDD to achieve co-benefits such as poverty alleviation, improved governance, biodiversity conservation and protection of ecosystem services .

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1 comment:

  1. Great content. I really enjoyed while reading this content with useful information, keep sharing.

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