Latest developments on legal preparedness support for REDD+
Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo received UN-REDD Programme legislative support for the implementation of REDD+ at the country level.
In Africa, national counterparts have identified specific recommendations and legal options to enact legal reforms in Kenya, and consultative processes to enact legal reforms have begun in DRC. In Latin America, Guatemala and Honduras will soon start planning activities to assess their forest legal frameworks related to REDD+, focusing on climate change and Payment for Environmental Services.
In Kenya, major forest, land and carbon tenure issues have been analyzed and summarized. Legal advice has been provided to draft REDD+ provisions and to clarify and regulate major REDD+ legal issues prioritized by the Government through the Readiness-Project Proposals. Specific activities related to these achievements include the assessment of the principal forest related laws in light of the new Constitution (2010), which have a direct impact on REDD+, and a comparison of forest land tenure rights defined by statutory laws, with land customary rights allocated in selected pilot areas. The analysis of different legal options was carried out through desk research and followed by participatory workshops. Particular attention was paid to the most marginalized or vulnerable groups of rural society, particularly women, and the principle of equitable sharing of benefits.
Legal options regarding the adoption of new legislation refer to rules for access and use rights, for sharing revenues between the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and other forest actors (e.g. community associations, county governments), and for establishing and implementing Forest Management Agreements between KFS and other actors, in addition to legislation on community land (to be finalized and enacted in the Parliament).
With UN-REDD targeted support, initiated in 2012, Kenya recently completed two other complementary studies on governance issues addressing the following questions:
- What lessons can Kenya learn from current land-based carbon projects to inform a future national benefit sharing system?
- What are corruption risks in REDD+ in Kenya, and how to build on the country’s existing strengths to counter them?
In DRC, legislative support is focused on contributing to the elaboration of the legal diagnostic produced by GAJ (legal team). This diagnostic prioritizes the legal aspects of the REDD+ national strategic framework’s seven pillars that need to be reformed in the short, medium and long term. It also prioritizes supporting consultative processes in legal reforms to harmonize the forest and land codes in line with the Constitution (2006) ; reforming the ministerial decree on the procedure of validation for REDD+ projects; and promulgating the decree on community forestry.
In Guatemala and Honduras, respectively, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and the National Forest Institute have recently expressed the need for and will receive targeted legislative advice in the analysis of climate change and property rights related to environmental services. A new climate change law is soon expected to be adopted in Guatemala, while in Honduras the major challenge will be to reform the current forest law to improve the implementation of REDD+ and other trade-off mechanisms. Both countries have also underlined the need to strengthen legal capacities at the institutional level, while taking into consideration the engagement of relevant REDD+ stakeholders in any process of law reform.