Features & Commentary
Understanding REDD+ and FLEGT Linkages Through Country Experiences
The UN-REDD Programme recently released two new studies on the linkages between REDD+ and Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade processes in Cameroon and Central African Republic.
By: Emelyne Cheney and Marjo Maidell
The Forest Policy Team of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the EU FAO FLEGT Programme, and the UN-REDD Programme have been working together since 2012 to study the linkages and possible synergies between REDD+ and Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). The aim has also been to analyze the interface between both initiatives and forest policy planning processes (also called national forest programmes). A series of country case studies from the Central and West African regions have emerged from this collaboration, as well as events to share and learn from country experiences. A workshop session organized in Accra, Ghana during the regional conference in October 2012 on the implementation of bilateral trade agreements, also known as Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs), generated lively discussion on the needs, challenges and opportunities to create linkages between the two processes.
This body of work indicates that realizing synergies between REDD+ implementation and FLEGT VPA is not only possible, it is also desirable to strengthen the processes respectively. For instance, the significant advancement of FLEGT in Cameroon after the country signed a VPA in 2010 has provided stronger forest governance structures on which to build REDD+ readiness efforts. In turn, REDD+ has brought a renewed momentum to carry through the legal reforms necessary for the forest sector to engage in new initiatives, such as REDD+ and FLEGT.
Below are some key findings from the Cameroon study, which have also emerged from the experiences of the Central African Republic and other countries in the region.
- The implementation of REDD+ and FLEGT VPAs present a number of common work areas, many of which are also integral parts of national forest policy planning processes. These areas include stakeholder participation, capacity-building and awareness-raising, clarification of tenure rights, reviews and revisions of legal frameworks, and private sector engagement.
- Synergies can be created through: (i) sharing lessons collected by the processes, (ii) building on the relevant achievements of one process to advance another; and (iii) identifying joint activities which can be delivered in a timely way for both processes.
- Possibilities for creating synergies between REDD+ and FLEGT are country-specific, and appropriate actions are best identified through multi-stakeholder participatory processes.
- One of the main obstacles to the realization of synergies is the lack of awareness and communication across processes and their main actors at national and sub-national levels.
- Support may be needed to revise national forest policies and laws to integrate REDD+ and VPA processes into the long-term vision and development of the sector.
REDD+ is being negotiated and developed by countries to reduce forest loss and mitigate the effects of climate change. FLEGT is being implemented through VPAs between the European Commission and developing countries. VPAs aim to ensure the legality of timber products imported from these countries to EU markets.
While different, the two initiatives promote the sustainable management of forests and place a great emphasis on forest governance for their success. Their implementation processes present many similarities and possible interactions, bringing opportunities for synergies.
Coordinating REDD+ and VPA implementation can help achieve progress towards common objectives, such as increased transparency, effective stakeholder participation and widespread law enforcement. Linking REDD+ and VPA processes can also improve the long-term sustainability of the processes themselves and support the efficient allocation of resources deriving from them. Finally, joint efforts by the processes can bring stronger momentum for broader national issues such as tenure reforms and cross-sectoral coordination.
The UN-REDD Programme and partners will continue to raise awareness on the linkages between REDD+ and FLEGT. A regional workshop and an international meeting are planned for 2013 to share county experiences and further a common understanding between the initiatives. Upon request, the UN-REDD Programme will consider providing targeted support to countries in the Central and West African regions to facilitate information-sharing and coordination between stakeholders involved in the REDD+ and FLEGT processes. Additional studies on Ghana and Liberia are being finalized and will be made available soon.
|Emelyne Cheney is Natural Resources Officer at the FAO. She provides technical assistance to countries on REDD+ safeguards and governance related activities within the UN-REDD Programme.
||Marjo Maidell works as an Associate Professional Officer in the Forest Policy Team of FAO. She coordinates and provides technical support to the implementation of activities on the linkages of REDD+ and FLEGT in the context of national forest planning processes.