The United Nations Collaborative Programme
on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation
and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries
Support to countries on Safeguards and Multiple
Benefits of REDD+

The main purpose of REDD+ is to mitigate global climate change. REDD+ also has the potential to deliver other benefits, both environmental and social, to countries that choose to implement it. To ensure that REDD+ delivers benefits and that risks are reduced, the UN-REDD Programme supports countries in their work on applying the UNFCCC’s REDD+ safeguards, and on land-use planning for REDD+.

Safeguards and Multiple Benefits Updates

Biodiversity, Ecosystem
Services and REDD+
Countries at a Glance

Forests provide a range of ecosystem services, and host the biodiversity that underpins these services. The services provided by any particular forest may include climate change mitigation, water regulation, cultural benefits, and production of food, fuel or fibre. REDD+ actions can protect or enhance these services by preventing loss or degradation of forest ecosystems and biodiversity, or restoring forest ecosystems.

Forests vary in their importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, and also in their likely response to forest management actions. The benefits and risks of REDD+ will thus depend on the location and type of REDD+ actions. Planning approaches to reduce risks and promote benefits may include: identifying priorities for benefits, putting safeguard policies in place, identifying risks and benefits that may arise from specific actions and selecting locations for these that secure high-priority benefits with low risks. The UN-REDD Programme supports countries in their efforts to integrate this thinking into their REDD+ strategies and development plans.

Social Benefits and Risks
of REDD+

In addition to securing ecosystem services that benefit people, social benefits such as improved livelihoods and stronger governance, may arise from implementing REDD+. There are also some social risks from REDD+, and the Cancun safeguards are intended to minimise these. To help countries to ensure positive outcomes, the UN-REDD Programme has developed the following:

Many UN-REDD Programme partner countries are developing approaches to ensure that their REDD+ plans take account of the Cancun safeguards, including through enhancing social and environmental benefits. Recent outputs are available below.


Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • Mapping potential biodiversity benefits from REDD+. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2012. (English, French)


  • Carbon, biodiversity and ecosystem services: Exploring co-benefits. Nigeria: Preliminary Results, 2010 (English)


  • Using spatial information to support decisions on safeguards and multiple benefits for REDD+ in Tanzania, 2013. (English)
  • Methodological brief, 2013. (English)
  • Getting ready for REDD+ in Tanzania: a case study of progress and challenges, 2010. (journal paper; Oryx)
  • Carbon, biodiversity and ecosystem services: exploring co-benefits. Tanzania, 2009 (English)



  • REDD+ Environmental Safeguards and Multiple Benefits Workshop, 2012. (English)


  • Strengthening benefits from REDD+ for biodiversity, ecosystem services and livelihoods – A guide to tools and resources that can help to plan for multiple benefits from REDD+ in Indonesia, 2012. (English)
  • Options for REDD+ action: what are their effects on forests and people, 2012. (English, Bahasa Indonesia).
  • Using spatial information to promote multiple benefits from REDD+ in Indonesia, 2012. (English, Bahasa Indonesia)
  • Cross-Sectoral Analysis of Policy and Legislative Frameworks that are Relevant to REDD+ Implementation in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, 2012. (English, Bahasa Indonesia)

Viet Nam

  • Ecosystem services from new and restored forests: tool development, 2010 (Multiple Benefits Series 5, English)
  • Methods for assessing and monitoring change in the ecosystem-derived benefits of afforestation, reforestation and forest restoration (Multiple Benefits Series 6, English)

Latin America and the Caribbean


  • Registro de datos útiles para la toma de decisiones en relación a REDD+ y sus beneficios multiples, 2010 (Multiple Benefits Series 7, Spanish)


  • Carbon, Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services: Exploring Co-benefits Ecuador. 2010. (English, Spanish)


  • The potential economic values of the multiple benefits from REDD+ in Panama: a synthesis of existing valuation studies, 2014 (Technical report, English)
Multiple Benefits Updates

Launch of the Policy Brief on ‘REDD+ and the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets: Promoting Synergies in International Forest Conservation Efforts’

October 2013

‘REDD+ and the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets: Promoting Synergies in International Forest Conservation Efforts’ is the UN-REDD Programme’s fifth Policy Brief.
Read full article…

Workshop Held in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Spatial Planning Tools for Achieving Multiple Benefits from REDD+

June/July 2013

Policy-makers and technicians brought together to test software and mapping tools for the purpose of REDD+ planning for multiple benefits.
Read full article…

UN-REDD Hosts Regional Workshop on Social and Environmental Safeguards

April 2013

REDD+ experts from across the Asia-Pacific region gathered in Bangkok, Thailand to share experiences and build capacities for better understanding of safeguards system in REDD+.
Read full article…

UN-REDD Hosts Regional Lessons Learned Workshop on Social and Environmental Safeguards

April 2013

At a recent consultative workshop in Bangkok participants shared knowledge and experience on safeguard policies in REDD+.
Read full article…
By: Kanwar Muhammad Javed Iqbal and Pasang Sherpa

Workshop: REDD+ Beyond Carbon: Safeguards and Multiple Benefits

December 2012

The UN-REDD Programme workshop “REDD+ Beyond Carbon: Safeguards and Multiple Benefits”, organised by UNEP-WCMC on behalf of UNEP, was held from 13th-15th November in Cambridge. The workshop bought together 46 delegates, including representatives from 14 UN-REDD Partner countries from all three of the world's major forested regions – Africa, Latin America and Asia, alongside  members of civil society and indigenous peoples organisations. Read more...

Biodiversity Monitoring for REDD+

December 2012

UNEP-WCMC, with the financial support of the UN-REDD programme, has written a paper on biodiversity monitoring for REDD+ published in the journal "Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability" this week. The paper observes the following three challenge to biodiversity monitoring for REDD+: choosing which aspects of biodiversity to monitor, the difficulty of attributing particular changes to REDD+ and the likely scarcity of resources for biodiversity monitoring. It proposes three responses which may address these challenges: 1) agreed policy targets that identify what should be monitored; 2) making links to existing biodiversity monitoring and to monitoring to estimate GHG emissions and removals; and 3) developing clear theories of change to assist in determining which changes in biodiversity can be attributed to REDD+. The paper is available on the journal website here.

REDD+ Day at CBD COP11

November 2012

At the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP11 meeting last month in India, the UN-REDD Programme hosted a full day event on REDD+, and launched its second Policy Brief on the multiple benefits of REDD+.
Read full article…

Safeguards Consultation Workshop Report

August 2012

The UN-REDD Programme participated in a multi-stakeholder safeguards consultation workshop hosted by the Ateneo School of Government and HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation in the Philippines (31 March-1 April 2012). The report of the workshop, which includes recommendations on the implementation of governance and biodiversity safeguards, is now available on the workspace. .

DRC Launches New Report on Mapping Biodiversity Benefits from REDD+

July 2012

The UN-REDD Programme recently supported the release of a new report which provides analyses on the relationship between biomass carbon stocks, biodiversity, land use designations and pressures on forests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Read full article…

UN-REDD Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria Welcomed at the UN-REDD 8th Policy Board Meeting

April 2012

Following discussions at the eighth UN-REDD Policy Board meeting held in Asuncion, Paraguay 25th-26th March, the SEPC were welcomed by the Policy Board as a guiding framework for the UN-REDD Programme. Read more...

New GIS Toolbox to Map Potential for Multiple Benefits from REDD+

January 2012

A new GIS toolbox has been released to assist in mapping the potential for multiple benefits from REDD+. Comments are very welcome. Read more

Report on Multiple Benefits of REDD+ in Ecuador now Available in Spanish

November 2011

With support from the UN-REDD Programme, the summary report on multiple benefits of REDD+ in Ecuador is now available in English and Spanish. Read full article…

UN-REDD Social and Environmental Criteria Open for Public Consultation

October 2011

We invite you to comment on a new version of the UN-REDD Programme Draft Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria. This public consultation process will last 15 October to 31 December 2011. More information...

Download the draft Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria (English, Spanish and French).

Download the feedback form (English).

Update on UN-REDD's Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria

April 2011

Emily Dunning and Lera Miles of UNEP's World Conservation Monitoring Centre provide an overview of the UN-REDD Programme’s draft Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria which were recently presented at the Programme's Policy Board meeting in Viet Nam. Read full article...

Biodiversity Benefits of REDD+

The UN-REDD Programme recently convened a workshop exploring the biodiversity benefits of REDD+ in Nairobi, and Elifuraha Isaya Laltaika, the elected representative of indigenous peoples in Africa to the UN- REDD Programme Policy Board, highlights the challenges and opportunities discussed. Read full article...

Curbing Climate Change and Boosting Biodiversity

New country maps pinpoint places where investments in carbon can contribute to community livelihoods and wider conservation goals. Read full release...

 Brochure released: Beyond Carbon: Ecosystem-based benefits of REDD+

The brochure is being released at the Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of Parties in Nagoya, Japan, 18-29 October 2010. An accompanying CD contains some of the contents of these web pages.

 Global Expert Workshop on Biodiversity Benefits of REDD+

Held from 20-23 September 2010, this workshop was hosted by the Convention on Biological Diversity in cooperation with the UN-REDD Programme. The workshop identified risks and opportunities for biodiversity from REDD+, and priorities for action.

Making REDD+ Work for Biodiversity and Livelihoods

UN-REDD Programme officers, Wahida Patwa-Shah and Julie Greenwalt, highlight what REDD+ efforts need to do in order to protect the multitude of social and economic benefits derived from biodiversity and ecosystem services. (With contributions from Lera Miles)

Policy Briefs

REDD+ Beyond Carbon: Supporting Decisions on Safeguards and Multiple Benefits
English Español - Français

Putting REDD+ Safeguards and Safeguard Information Systems into Practice
EnglishEspañol - Français

REDD+ and the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets: Promoting Synergies in International Forest Conservation Efforts 
English - Español - Français

Key resources

REDD+ safeguards in UNFCCC COP 16 (Cancun)and COP 17 (Durban) decisions

Framework for supporting the development of country approaches to safeguards
English - Español - Français

´Beyond Carbon´ brochure

Other publications

Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria

A proposed country approach to the Cancun safeguards
English - Español - Français

Country Approaches to Safeguards Tool (CAST)

Benefits and Risks Tool (BeRT)

Mapping toolbox