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Investing in Good Governance for REDD+

The UN-REDD Programme held a governance side event at the Bonn Climate Talks in August, where participants discussed existing national REDD+ governance initiatives and explored ways to enhance country ownership of REDD+ governance through multi-stakeholder approaches.

On 5 August, the very day that the REDD+ text was discussed in the AWG-LCA, the UN-REDD Programme held its side event, “Investing in Good Governance for REDD+: Seeking Common Ground” at the Bonn Climate Talks. Based on the idea that information about governance efforts needs to be shared more widely and systematically, the event sought to deepen a common understanding of the range of governance activities required - and sometimes already undertaken - to prepare an efficient, equitable and effective REDD+ mechanism. Participants discussed existing national governance initiatives that relate to REDD+ readiness, with specific examples from Philippines and Ecuador.

Investing in Good Governance for REDD+ : Panelists at the UN-REDD Side event in Bonn, 5 August 2010

In his opening remarks Charles McNeill, UNDP Senior Policy Adviser on REDD+ in the UN-REDD Programme, noted that often when different actors speak about governance for REDD+ they may be talking about distinct aspects of governance. For example, some think about it in the context of illegal activities and corruption, while others focus on governance as a coordination issue or stakeholder engagement. “Today, we’ll try to unpack elements of governance for REDD+, based on specific country examples,” said McNeill.

Florence Daviet, Associate Manager at the World Resources Institute, presented an analysis, first launched last May at a Chatham House/UN-REDD Programme workshop, of what REDD+ countries have identified as governance challenges in their national UN-REDD Programmes and Readiness Preparation Proposals. Recurring elements across 16 documents have been found to be:

  1. Stakeholder consultation and participation in REDD+ planning and implementation
  2. Transparency and accountability of REDD+ systems and processes
  3. Government coordination in REDD+ planning and implementation
  4. Legislative reform and enforcement

“Consensus on some issues such as unclear tenure and weak law enforcement are universally mentioned”, she highlighted. She pointed to possible gaps such as gender issues and strategies to engage women, the role of the judicial system, and strategies to engage local government and law enforcement bodies, and overall plans to monitor these elements.

Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, chair of the Tebtebba Foundation and REDD+ negotiator for the Philippines, spoke of the development of the national REDD+ strategy in the Philippines, a process initiated and driven by civil society. In the Philippines, she noted, the Indigenous Peoples Act recognizes certificates of ancestral domain titles and claims, and a recognition of free Prior and Informed Consent. Civil society organizations hired experts and engaged with the department of forestry to develop a proposed REDD+ strategy that relies on implementation by local governments. Although some critiques were raised that indigenous peoples were not sufficiently engaged in the preparation of this draft, Tauli-Corpuz noted that it is useful and integrates different drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. The challenge now will be to ensure that traditional practices of indigenous communities are sustained and reinforced and that capacity is built to do so.

Marco Chíu, Undersecretary of Climate Change in the Government of Ecuador, examined Ecuador’s approach to REDD+ governance through UNDP’s framework of legality (rules), legitimacy (proper functioning of institutions and their acceptance by the public) and participation (efficacy of government and the achievement of consensus by democratic means). Legal instruments, he pointed out, are delimited by provisions in the National Constitution, the National Development Plan, the National Environmental Policy and the Presidential Executive Decree 1815. He described Ecuador’s institutional arrangements, and a process of stakeholder involvement that is being developed and includes information, consultations, engagement and capacity building, and will start its implementation with a focus on indigenous peoples this year. He noted challenges in defining modalities for decision making that balance urgency and consultation, ensuring legitimacy, building and maintaining trust, and adequate platforms to secure long-term processes.

John Samuel of UNDP’s Oslo Governance Centre presented on Democratic Governance Assessments for REDD+, an approach to be supported by the UN-REDD Programme that emphasizes national ownership and accountability. These assessments, he noted are developed and owned by the key stakeholders and citizens of a given country, and they help to build the national and local capacity of the government and forest-dependent communities. Samuel explained that the assessments have more validity and impact than externally driven assessments and are both a practical and a political approach. The best safeguard, he noted, is when people claim their rights, participate in the process and have ownership of it. “Unless and until there is ownership”, he emphasized, “change just won’t happen”.

Discussions touched on how to include women in designing REDD+ strategies; the role of local stakeholders in independent monitoring; the relationship between good governance and ensuring fair benefit-sharing mechanisms; and the tracking of poverty alleviation outcomes. Victor Fodeke, head of the newly formed Nigeria REDD Technical Committee, highlighted that the message he’d take home was one of “information, consultation, engagement, and capacity building.”

In this issue


5 New Countries Join the UN-REDD Programme

UN-REDD in Latin America

New Resources for REDD+ Negotiators

Subscribe to UN-REDD’s New RSS Feed
Reports & Analysis

Investing in Good Governance for REDD+
Looking ahead

XXIII IUFRO World Congress
23 - 28 August 2010, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Workshop on Forest Governance and REDD in Latin America and the Caribbean
30 August - 3 September 2010, Oaxaca, Mexico
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