UN-REDD Advances Work on Safeguards and Multiple Benefits of REDD+
The UN-REDD Programme recently brought together forestry experts from across the world to increase awareness of the multiple benefits of REDD+, and build capacity for developing REDD+ safeguards.
The three-day workshop, entitled "REDD+ Beyond Carbon: Safeguards and Multiple Benefits", bought together 46 delegates, including representatives from 14 UN-REDD Programme partner countries from Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean, alongside members of civil society and indigenous peoples organizations. The UN-REDD Programme workshop was hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme – World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) in November in Cambridge, UK.
|(From left) Margaret Athieno Mwebesa (Ministry of Water and Environment, Uganda), Bridget Nkor (Forestry Commission, Nigeria) and Kekilia Kabalimu Alfred (Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Tanzania) take part in an interactive break-out session.
As part of its UN-REDD Programme work, UNEP supports countries in their work on safeguards, the quantification, valuation and mapping of multiple benefits and monitoring the impacts of REDD+ on ecosystem services and biodiversity. The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to share country experiences of REDD+ planning for multiple benefits and safeguard implementation, as well as South-South learning and the opportunity to learn about the decision-support offered by the UN-REDD Programme.
The workshop stressed the fact that forests play a vital role in climate change adaptation and mitigation, but they are also vital for biodiversity, ecosystem services such as water catchment and soil conservation, and the livelihoods they afford forest communities.
“A properly-structured REDD+ mechanism cannot just look at carbon, it needs to take into account potential benefits and also potential risks that come from valuing forests based on carbon,” explained Ms. Julie Greenwalt, Programme Officer for UNEP.
“Discussion has gone from being focused on carbon and climate change mitigation to looking at forests more comprehensively, taking into consideration how forests contribute to sustainable development and biodiversity conservation. It's by looking at the whole picture that the mechanism is properly understood by the international community but also by national and local communities,” added Ms. Greenwalt.
“Different countries are taking different paths, and it's all relatively new, so the best way to figure it out is by bringing people together. Those who are interacting with the forest on a daily basis understand these issues best, so this is a great opportunity for all of us,” said Mr. Barney Dickson, Head of the Climate Change and Biodiversity Programme at UNEP-WCMC.
For Mr. Roney Samaniego of Panama's national environment authority (ANAM), workshop sessions on safeguards proved invaluable. “Although there is discussion on safeguards going on in Panama, this workshop has advanced my thinking. It's given me ideas I can take back with me about how to bring stakeholders together and get them on the same page,” he said.
Panama is one of the UN-REDD Programme partner countries to have used spatial planning software, called Marxan, to identify priority areas for protecting coastal and marine biodiversity; an experience from which the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is keen to learn.
“One of the biggest benefits of this meeting is sharing what has been done in DRC, and seeing how other countries' experiences are evolving. Latin America has fought against deforestation and in Asia they are really trying to conserve what they have as we have done in DRC,” said Mr. Roger Bokwala of DRC's Ministry of the Environment.
Indonesia is facing similar issues, according to Ms. Laksmi Banowati from the country's UN-REDD Programme. “The most important thing is to know more about safeguards, valuation and mapping, and about the status of other countries – we want to learn what's going on in other countries,” she said.
|More than 40 forestry experts from Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean participated in the recent UN-REDD Programme workshop on safeguards and multiple benefits.
“Most challenging for Indonesia now is monitoring and a Safeguards Information System. We've done a lot on safeguards, certification and governance but until now have not had monitoring systems. We need support on how to collect safeguarding information and put it into one system,” added Ms. Banowati.
The UN-REDD Programme also took valuable lessons from workshop, especially on the need for capacity building and the close connections between environmental and social risks and benefits, a point stressed by Ms. Mina Setra of Indonesia's Indigenous People's Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN).
“You can't separate the environmental from the social. Forest degradation happens due to social problems and vice versa, it's all connected. Multiple benefits means social and cultural as well as economic and environmental benefits,” said Ms. Setra.
The full workshop report is available to download here.
The presentations from the workshop can also be found on the UN-REDD workspace.