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Myanmar takes major step in getting REDD+ ready

Blog | Wed, 09 Dec, 2020 · 5 min read
Myanmar forest

Myanmar submits its first Summary of Information on Safeguards to the UNFCCC, making progress towards REDD+ Readiness.

Myanmar’s first Safeguards Summary of Information, submitted to the UNFCCC online platform in late August 2020, sets out the country’s progress to date in addressing and respecting the Cancun Safeguards for REDD+.

Summaries of Information are key requirements for countries participating in REDD+; a country needs to produce these reports in order to be eligible for results-based payments. In addition to meeting the safeguards requirement, Summaries of Information allow a stocktaking of progress on REDD+ safeguards issues and can provide a valuable means of communicating about this progress and remaining challenges with partners and stakeholders.

As of September 2020, 17 countries have submitted at least one Summary on the UNFCCC platform.

In this first Summary, supported by the UN-REDD Programme and produced before full implementation of REDD+, Myanmar has focused on reporting about the development of its national safeguards approach and safeguards information system (SIS), how the nationally clarified safeguards are being addressed in the country (particularly through the current framework of policies, laws and regulations), and where possible, on early efforts to respect the safeguards. The document also identifies key challenges and next steps.

Some of the next steps include: improving policy and institutional arrangements to support the safeguards during REDD+ implementation; developing detailed guidance on how to implement the safeguards in the Myanmar context; and further operationalisation of the SIS. Drafting the Summary of Information has also highlighted the need, as well as opportunities, to expand on stakeholder and community engagement in the future.

Aung Thant Zin, CEO of Myanmar Environmental Rehabilitation Network (MERN), who was directly involved in the development of the Summary, states: “The Summary is an important source of information for reviewing and aligning forest governance approaches, such as REDD+ and FLEGT. Civil society organizations are playing a key role not only in the process of developing the Summary, but also applying the safeguards in actions”.

Myanmar’s Summary was developed throughout 2019 through a participatory approach and approved in 2020. A multi-sector Working Group, including relevant government departments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) led the document’s preparation. In addition to a national consultation workshop in October 2019, the Summary was also shared online for stakeholder feedback.