Welcome to the WLT Ecosystem Services programme REDD+ pages. In the following pages, we explain:
- What is meant by REDD+
- What validated REDD+ Projects the WLT supports
- The REDD+ training we have provided
- What role WLT will play in REDD+ in the future
Forests and climate change
Given that up to 18% of global GHG emissions are caused by forest destruction and damage, forest protection and restoration must play a central role in the fight against climate change. We cannot avoid dangerous climate change without quickly halting then reversing forest loss and degradation.
For further information on the role of forests and terrestrial habitats in regulating the global climate, please see our Forests and ecosystem carbon page.
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation – REDD+
REDD describes the processes of reducing GHG emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. REDD+ is a term used to expand the scope of REDD activities beyond avoided deforestation and degradation activities to include forest restoration, rehabilitation, assisted natural regeneration, sustainable management and/or afforestation/reforestation. Biodiversity conservation and community benefits are optimised within this framework, which may also include supplementary carbon sequestration strategies (e.g. reforestation, agro-forestry components) as appropriate to site conditions.
REDD+ emerged from a concept tabled by Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica for the Coalition for Rainforest Nations (CfRN) at the 11th annual UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP-11). On 9 December 2005, the UNFCCC Parties agreed to begin a process of further consideration of REDD+ with the objective of finalizing recommendations by COP-13 in 2007.
The fact that CfRN, a group of countries supporting key tropical forests, tabled the REDD+ concept gave substantial weight to the proposal. Recognising that dangerous climate change could not be avoided unless forest loss and degradation was addressed, the CfRN proposed that negotiators consider mechanisms to deal with the issue.
Soon after, the Stern review reinforced the point that REDD+ could have a very high positive impact on forests if deployed across all tropical forest nations. Furthermore, preventing the loss and degradation of forests can be taken forward relatively quickly and at comparatively low cost. It therefore offers a way of achieving early gains in addressing climate change.
An international framework for the delivery of REDD+ is emerging, in part from work by the United Nations REDD+ Programme (UN-REDD) and the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (WB-FCPF). The focus is now on the development of national-level policy frameworks for future REDD+ delivery. In addition, several state and private foundations are supporting both policy work and REDD+ pilot projects at specific forest sites.
REDD+ delivers many additional benefits
But perhaps the greatest attraction of REDD+ is its multiple benefits. Forests not only store carbon. They are also storehouses of biodiversity, and underpin the livelihoods of many of the world’s poorest people. Successfully halting forest loss and degradation is thus key to addressing many other social priorities.
WLT REDD+ projects are independently validated
To ensure they are genuine, the benefits of a given REDD+ project can be evaluated by a third party, and, if the effects meet certain defined standards, the project can be validated by an independent body. Subsequent performance is then regularly verified.
Globally, there are several independent bodies that validate REDD+ projects meeting their defined criteria. The WLT is supporting the Paraguay Forest Conservation Project, which has been validated by the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA). As well as satisfying all the standard CCBA criteria the project was awarded a ‘Gold’ level of validation in recognition of the outstanding biodiversity co-benefit is achieves.
In view of these benefits, the WLT actively promotes REDD+ projects for larger-scale initiatives, already being involved in one validated initiative in Paraguay and participating in the development of another in India. REDD+ techniques and approaches are also central to the smaller offsetting projects delivered through our Carbon Balanced programme.
The WLT is actively working on one validated REDD+ project, the Paraguay Forest Conservation Project, and is investigating a second in India. In addition, REDD+ forms a key component of our Carbon Balanced programme. These site-level REDD+ projects test and demonstrate the techniques for delivery of forest protection and regeneration under future national policy. Our REDD+ training assists partners as they seek to engage in climate change issues and contribute to further REDD+ projects on the ground.
Knowledge exchange and networking for African NGOs: using carbon as a funding mechanism for conservation.
In 2010, WLT, in collaboration with the IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands (IUCN NL), developed and carried out a training programme on the use of carbon as a funding mechanism for conservation with the aim of enabling our African partner NGOs to benefit from increased carbon funding opportunities. The programme focused on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) in particular as it is considered the most promising bio-carbon financing mechanism for the future. The programme was funded mainly by IUCN NL’s Ecosystem Grants Programme with additional contributions from the WLT.
Workshops were held in Ghana and Uganda and attended by participants from 21 organisations from all over Africa. The objective was to assist partners through training and networking to assess whether REDD+ was a suitable option for their organisation and to improve access to carbon funding, thereby adding to their conservation effectiveness and long term financial sustainability. This would also create a network of stronger African NGOs positioned to profit from carbon opportunities, spreading knowledge and capacity to mitigate climate change whilst delivering many other environmental benefits.
The programme has received excellent feedback and confirmed the need and demand for capacity building in this area. It is clear that good, innovative demonstration projects are needed to get policy-makers to start talking with project implementers and to help link the climate negotiations to practical experience. Early success is important for leveraging more political acceptance and stakeholder interest.
WLT has produced a report based on the training programme “Using carbon as a funding mechanism for conservation; Is REDD+ right for you? An introductory Guide” collating the main outcomes which we hope will be of use to a wider audience. The report provides introductions to key issues and aims to condense the most useful outcomes from the two workshops, focussing on key points raised, questions, barriers and lessons learnt from both the trainers’ and participants’ experiences.
One of the key outcomes from these workshops was the realisation of the commitments required from a NGO to fully engage in a REDD+ project and that it is not necessarily suitable for everyone in their present capacity.
- So how does an organisation know if it is ready to tackle a REDD+ project?
- What sort of questions do they need to ask themselves?
- And if they’re not ready, what alternatives are there to help prepare for future engagement?
We hope this report will help NGOs answer these questions and will add to existing resources. For example we include a feasibility study template with extensive guidance notes drawn from trainers’ experience and feedback from the Climate Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) who develop project standards. This is a key document of any REDD+ project development plan and we hope this template will provide useful guidance.
The training was held in English but both French and English versions of this report are available. They are available in both interactive PDF format and CD for those NGOs who have difficulties accessing the internet.
More information can be found and will be posted on IUCN–NL’s Nature and Poverty portal: http://www.natureandpoverty.net/carbon-africa/
Halting forest loss and degradation through REDD+ is now firmly established, at least in principle, as central to efforts to avoid dangerous climate change.
The WLT anticipates that REDD+ will become a key example of how the Ecosystem Services value of forests can be quantified and safeguarded. We expect policy makers to recognise the additional, non-carbon Ecosystem Services delivered by forests and put in place mechanisms to enable their protection.
The role for the WLT
The WLT will continue to look for opportunities to support the development of certified REDD+ projects where these support our core mission and that of our partners: namely to protect imminently threatened tropical forests of outstanding biodiversity value.
In particular, our Carbon Balanced programme already achieves high quality REDD+ outcomes, and we are actively investigating formal validation of these projects through the Climate, Communities and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA). As a developer of large-scale REDD+ projects in the current ‘pilot’ phase of international REDD+, WLT will deliver projects that showcase the concept’s ability to provide multiple benefits.
In addition, we will seek to facilitate continuing networking among our partners such that the experiences gained through REDD+ engagement enhances capacity as widely as possible.
We will also actively explore how REDD+ experience can be used to address other market failures, notably failure to properly value the non-carbon Ecosystem Services provided by forests and other habitats.