Safeguards in REDD+

REDD+ Beyond Carbon: Supporting Decisions on Safeguards and Multiple Benefits


It is increasingly recognized that REDD+ can contribute to a range of policy goals in addition to climate change mitigation. It can promote biodiversity conservation and secure the provision of ecosystem services including water regulation, timber production, erosion control and the supply of non-timber forest products1. Social benefits, such as improved livelihoods (including from car- bon payments), clarification of land tenure, and stronger governance, may also arise from implementing REDD+. It is also widely acknowledged that REDD+ carries certain social and environmental risks. Many of these risks are addressed by the UNFCCC’s Cancun Safeguards and the related measures adopted by multilateral and other REDD+ initiatives2. Some of these safeguards also call for action to enhance the benefits from REDD+.

Read more: REDD+ Beyond Carbon: Supporting Decisions on Safeguards and Multiple Benefits


Informal Additional Sessions of the Ad Hoc Working Groups

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Bangkok, 30 August – 5 September 2012

Finance for safeguards implementation is essential to attract and sustain funding

To attract and sustain funding, REDD+ finance must operate within a governance framework capable of demonstrating compliance with social, environmental and governance safeguards. REDD+ must also be competitive in terms of risk and return, which is currently not the case. Forests are seen as a challenging environment fraught with regulatory uncertainty and perverse incentives for unsustainable practices.


Briefing Paper on "Additional Guidance on REDD+ Safeguards Information Systems"

What was agreed in Durban?

To obtain results-based finance for REDD+, developing country Parties should have in place a system for providing information on how safeguards are addressed and respected - a safeguards information system (SIS). Some guidance was provided on these systems, and Parties agreed that in Bonn in May 2012, SBSTA would consider the need for further guidance to “ensure transparencyconsistencycomprehensiveness and effectiveness when informing on how all safeguards are addressed and respected and, if appropriate, to consider additional guidance” and report to COP18. They also agreed that a summary of information on how the safeguards are being addressed and respected should be provided periodically and in national communications by developing country Parties undertaking REDD+ activities, or through communication channels agreed by the COP, and tasked the Bonn SBSTA meeting with discussing the timing and frequency of the summaries.

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REDD+ Safeguards in National Policy Discourse and Pilot Projects

Early adoption of national- and project-level social and environmental standards suggests that REDD+ policy makers, project personnel and investors value REDD+ safeguards.

To gain national-level buy-in for REDD+ safeguards, national sovereignty must be recognised and competing safeguard policies should be harmonised.

Read more: REDD+ Safeguards in National Policy Discourse and Pilot Projects

Putting REDD+ Safeguards and Safeguard Information Systems Into Practice

Authors: Leo Peskett, Kimberly Todd

Key Messages

  • Countries undertaking REDD+ activities need to develop country-level approaches that enable them to respond to requirements outlined in recent United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreements, which aim to ensure social and environmental risks are minimized and benefits enhanced. REDD+ countries also need to carefully consider further objectives that the country approach may need to achieve, such as responding to the requirements of organizations providing support for REDD+ activities.
  • In order to develop a country-level safeguard approach that is responsive to the Cancun Agreements, it is useful to define the generic elements of such an approach. This could help to coordinate and harmonize activities.

    Read more: Putting REDD+ Safeguards and Safeguard Information Systems Into Practice

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