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REDD+ Safeguards Week in Paraguay: an innovative, high-impact experience

Blog | Fri, 16 Dec, 2022 · 8 min read
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REDD+ Safeguards Week in Paraguay: an innovative, high-impact experience


From November 28 to December 2, the course, Safeguards Week in Paraguay, was held with the aim of strengthening the capacities of the various agencies and institutions implementing the Paraguay + Verde project. The sessions were organized by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MADES) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The Paraguay +Verde project contains the Green Climate Fund's (GCF) REDD+ Results-based Payments Programme under which the country received a $50 million grant for reducing 26 million tonnes of emissions between 2015 and 2017. 

Paraguay + Verde is the result of a remarkable REDD+ readiness process supported by the UN-REDD Programme. It will be led by the Government of Paraguay, with the support of UNEP as an accredited entity to the GCF, and with the collaboration of FAO and UNDP. Its resources will be used to finance the National Forest Strategy for Sustainable Growth (ENBCS) and for the implementation and capitalisation of the Climate Change Fund.

The Safeguards Week in Paraguay course involved an average of 35 people per day, with 57 percent women and 43 percent men; 54 percent representatives of public institutions (MADES, the National Forestry Institute - INFONA, the Technical Secretariat for Economic and Social Development - STP, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock - MAG); 43 percent from United Nations agencies (FAO, UNDP and UNEP), and 3 percent from the NGO sector. Laura Lapalma, safeguards coordinator for the PPR of Argentina, shared the project's experience in the application of safeguards tools and lessons learned in the process. 

During the five days, the team of safeguards experts from the project, including Fatima García and Venus Caballero, with the technical support of international experts Judith Walcott and Mariano Cirone from UNEP, and with the participation of different government agencies, developed a series of sessions related to the management of environmental and social risks in REDD+. There was a special emphasis on the practical tools available to Paraguay +Verde to promote the alignment of its activities with the applicable safeguards.

Key conclusions of the course:

  • All projects with activities in territory carry environmental and social risks that must be adequately managed to ensure the continuity and good performance of the project, especially in the case of REDD+.
  • Special attention needs to be paid to risks that may affect women and girls so as not to exacerbate gender gaps and violence, especially in vulnerable groups.  
  • The framework of safeguards applicable to the project is composed of the Cancun Safeguards, the GCF safeguards and UNEP's own safeguards, in an integrated manner to facilitate their joint and complementary approach.
  • Paraguay +Verde has a series of tools for the environmental and social management of the project, including the Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP), the Gender Action Plan, the Indigenous Peoples and Cultural Heritage Plan, a Gender and Safeguards protocol, and a guidance guide for free, prior and informed consent
  • Applying and reporting on safeguards in the project is the responsibility of all entities implementing the activities, as well as coordinators and direct and indirect responsible parties. 
  • The project will ensure compliance with the safeguards through a permanent monitoring system in order to avoid, reduce and/or minimize the negative impacts that may arise in the execution of activities and to propose improvement actions if necessary. 

This week's experience allows us to conclude that the process of capacity building on safeguards is a fundamental aspect of Paraguay +Verde. Therefore, new workshops will be developed involving different actors, sharing lessons learned from the application of safeguards in the territory. Future workshops will focus on strengthening the country's Safeguards Information System (SIS) and the project's Attention, Complaints and Claims Mechanism through a series of sessions in 2023.

Integrating and coordinating the efforts of the implementing actors, both public institutions and United Nations agencies, together with the appropriate participation of other involved actors, allows for effective and efficient environmental and social risk management, which facilitates the fulfillment of the objectives that Paraguay +Verde has for both its forests and society.


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Venus Caballero

Engineer in Human Ecology, Gender Specialist of the Paraguay+Green Project.

Fátima García

Engineer in Human Ecology, Safeguards Specialist of the Paraguay +Verde Project.

Judith Walcott

Coordinator of the UNEP Safeguards Expert Team for the Paraguay+Verde Programme.

Mariano Cirone

Lawyer. Expert on safeguards and financing for REDD+ in LAC. Member of the UNEP Safeguards Expert Team for the Paraguay +Verde Programme.