Expert Group Defines Options for Panama's REDD+ Implementation
The UN-REDD Programme in Panama has convened a multidisciplinary team of experts that is developing scenarios to assist policy makers in implementing REDD+.
The UN-REDD Programme in Panama launched its work last month on the definitions of scenarios for implementation of REDD+ in Panama. The work involves a multidisciplinary team of experts in the areas of economics, forestry, statistics, Geographic Information Systems, rural development and modeling. The work is intended to assist policy makers in defining options for implementation of REDD+ that can fully take into account environmental and social benefits. The focus on understanding forests not only as potential sources of carbon payments but as vectors of environmental and social services requires that policy makers have information about costs and benefits from different implementation options. The objective is not just to maximize monetary flows from carbon payments but to realize the vast array of environment and social benefits that forest can provide.
Different designs of a REDD+ programme will deliver different combinations of carbon, environmental and social benefits, which can complicate decision-making. For example, stakeholders may want to explore designs of REDD+ that: improve the connectivity between previously isolated protected areas; protect critical water catchment sectors, improve income of rural communities from sustainable land use activities; and allow for an attractive flow of REDD+ payments. The multidisciplinary team will look at how this mosaic of conservation and production activities would look like, and what the associated benefits and costs would be.
These are not easy scenarios to navigate because the challenge is not one of finding the maximum for a single variable but rather to try to find the “best balance” among several. The definition of the “best balance”, however, is not a technical but rather a political decision and as such it is of critical importance that decision makers work with good quality information about benefits and costs for different options.
This is the objective of the work launched in September. It will involve the development of scenarios for the implementation of REDD+ that take into account current land use trajectories, the estimated impact of national development plans and options to realize environmental and social benefits. The work will make extensive use of modeling tools that will allow policy makers to wind-test different options according to their nationally-stated priorities. The Programme expects to have the first results during the second quarter of 2012.