Features & Commentary
Update on UN-REDD's Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria
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.
The UN-REDD Programme’s Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria (P&C) are being developed with the aim of promoting social and environmental benefits and reducing risks from REDD+. The P&C will provide the UN-REDD Programme with a framework to ensure that its activities take account of the safeguards agreed upon at the UNFCCC meeting in Cancun in December 2010. Parties agreed to "promote and support" a specific list of safeguards and to provide information on how the safeguards are being "addressed and respected" throughout the implementation of REDD+ activities. The P&C are intended to support countries in their operationalization of these safeguards, and may also be used in the evaluation of national programmes and strategies by reviewers and other national stakeholders.
The draft P&C emerge from our understanding of the major potential opportunities and risks from REDD+, together with commitments that have been made through other multi-lateral environmental agreements and REDD+-relevant standards. They consist of six principles and 18 criteria, addressing issues such as: democratic governance, equitable distribution systems, gender equality, respect for traditional knowledge, consideration of stakeholder livelihoods, coherence with other developmental and environmental policy objectives both nationally and internationally, avoidance of natural forest conversion, minimization of natural forest degradation, maintenance and enhancement of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and minimization of indirect adverse impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
This first draft version of the P&C was presented at the UN-REDD Programme's sixth Policy Board meeting in March 2011. An earlier version of the social P&C had been released at the 5th Policy Board meeting, together with a social risk assessment tool (now called the Risk Identification and Mitigation Tool). Following review by the Policy Board, experts worldwide, and other interested stakeholders, the P&C will be revised and the tool will be further developed to include environmental aspects.
The UN-REDD Programme will then work with individual countries to test and refine the P&C and tool. An interim report will be submitted to the UN-REDD Programme Policy Board in October 2011, and the P&C is expected to be finalized by the end of 2011. The UN-REDD Programme operational guidance will be developed for the application of the P&C for all future National Programmes, in order to realize social and environmental benefits and avoid harms.
|Lera Miles and Emily Dunning work for the Climate Change and Biodiversity Programme of UNEP's World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) in Cambridge, UK.