I. In THE PRESS
27 June 2011, Mongabay
A raft of new studies show that protecting Southeast Asia's forests could provide an enormous economic lift for Southeast Asia.
27 June 2011, SciDevNet
The European Union donated € 2 million to Mexico (U.S. $ 2.8 million) to initiate early action to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), by an agreement signed this month (June 8).
24 June 2011, UN-REDD
The UN-REDD Programme’s Policy Board agreed in an inter-sessional decision in June to welcome Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Honduras, Mongolia, Pakistan and Peru as partners of the Programme and official observers to the UN-REDD Programme Policy Board.
22 June 2011, Mongabay
Forests in sub-Saharan Africa account for roughly a quarter of total tropical forest carbon, according to a comprehensive assessment of the world's carbon stocks published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
22 June 2011, Ecologist
Global study finds forests provide one-fifth of household income in rural communities and says access for them should be prioritised in REDD-type conservation projects
Tropical forests more effective than temperate forests in fighting climate change
16 June 2011, MCPFE
European ministers responsible for forests made the historical decision yesterday to launch negotiations for a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests.
6 June 2011, NatureNews
Rainforest nations failed to agree on formal commitments last week during the United Nations-backed Summit of the Three Rainforest Basins in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. Among the shelved proposals was the creation of a permanent body to coordinate efforts between rainforest regions.
31 May 2011, Ecosystem Marketplace
Wildfires in the US are growing larger and more severe — a trend expected to worsen with climate change. Top forest managers see getting ahead of the wildfire curve as the best solution, deploying preventative treatments to remove potential fuels before a fire occurs. Doing so isn’t cheap, however, and many policymakers and forest managers have been highlighting the greenhouse gas emissions caused by wildfires. But can carbon money really come to the rescue?
30 May 2011, Bioscience
New research shows international plans to pay developing countries to reduce tropical forest destruction may increase rural poverty because critical income streams to rural people have been ignored.
29 May 2011, NatureNews
A scheme to pay people in developing countries to curb carbon emissions from deforestation is plagued by 'leakage' — trees that aren't cut down in one forest are just cut down in another to provide people with the resources they would have foregone. But a study by an international team of scientists has come up with a way of dealing with leakage.
26 May 2011, Ecosystem Marketplace
In the global fight against deforestation, incentives for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) typically mean countries should improve from their historical rate of forest loss. But with vast and relatively undisturbed forests, Guyana is pushing for a bold new model for REDD payments, with Norway's backing, and not everyone is happy about it.
II. UNFCCC negotiations and related discussions
The Bonn Climate Change Talks and UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies 6 – 17 June 2011
The latest round of climate change meetings under the UNFCCC was held from 6 – 17 June 2011 in Bonn, Germany. The session included the two subsidiary bodies, the 34th sessions the SBSTA and SBI, as well as the fourteenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) and the sixteenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments of Annex 1 parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP).
Agreements reached in COP 16 in Cancun in December 2011 were hailed as a “balanced” outcome that represents an important stepping stone toward a final agreement. After this month’s meeting in Bonn there is cautious optimism that this could happen at COP17 in Durban, South Africa in December 2011.
While some progress was made on technical issues related to the implementation of the Cancun Agreement, several topics were held back due to the interconnectedness of the two negotiation tracks, and some parties reconsidered provisions of the Cancun Agreement. The question of the future of the Kyoto Protocol, i.e. a second commitment period and the looming regulatory gap between Kyoto Protocol commitment periods, surfaced in many groups, with back-and-forth exchanges among developing and developed countries.
It was agreed to resume the session of the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP before Durban this next round of AWG meetings will take place from 1 to 7 October 2011 in Panama City, Panama and parties have expressed their intention to start drafting text then, in order to ensure a successful outcome for COP 17.
Issues related to forests
The forest issues addressed at Bonn included REDD+ and forest management accounting rules for Annex 1 countries under the Kyoto Protocol (LULUCF).
The Cancun Agreement (COP16) confirmed the scope of REDD+, outlining five mitigation activities as well as principles and safeguards to be respected while undertaking these activities. The focus in Bonn was how to deal with the unresolved issues related to reference (emission) levels; the financing of REDD+, modalities to address measuring; reporting and verification (MRV) of REDD+ activities; and how countries will provide information on safeguards.
As part of the decision from Cancun, SBSTA was requested to work on these technical/methodological issues in relation to REDD+ and the AWG-LCA was asked to continue to work on the issue of REDD+ financing and report to COP17 in December 2011.
The developments in the SBSTA session in Bonn:
- Forest reference emission levels and forest reference levels
SBSTA discussed the issue of national forest reference emission levels and/or forest reference levels as a benchmark to assess the changes in forest cover and carbon stocks. Clarification is needed on many issues, including the difference between forest reference emission levels and forest reference levels, the definition of forests, adjustment of reference levels according to national circumstances, consistency between national and sub-national levels, and the possibility of including safeguards.
- System for providing information on how the safeguards are addressed
Parties identified (but did not agree to, in the end) a list of principles for the system(s), including transparency, reliability, adaptability to national circumstances, regularity, predictability, consistency and comparability. Some parties supported using national communications to report on safeguards. The draft conclusions adopted by the parties consist of a list of points to be considered as general guidance for submissions. This guidance indicates that information system(s) should include characteristics, design, provision of information, potential barriers for addressing and respecting safeguards and other relevant issues.
- Measuring, reporting and verification
Parties discussed what characteristics MRV for REDD+ should have, inter alia: they should be consistent with any guidance on MRV for NAMAs; non-intrusive and respectful of national sovereignty, circumstances and capabilities; simple; transparent; flexible; and cost-effective. However, in the final decision, countries only agreed to the fact that the characteristics for MRV should follow what is already agreed in appendix I of 1/CP.16.
Parties also agreed to request the Secretariat to facilitate an expert workshop on REDD+ before COP 17 in Durban. They also invited submissions from parties and observer organizations on issues related to the discussion in SBSTA.
In Bonn the AWG-LCA also addressed the question of the REDD+ financing modality (e.g. fund-based, market-based or a mix of the two), also with the aim of reporting to COP17. Many developing country parties raised the issue of the additional funding required for REDD+ readiness, including the need for more focus on capacity building from the early stages. Also, some parties said public financing should play a greater role in the readiness phase of REDD+ – with a focus on capacity building - and that the third phase should build on “a basket” of (alternative) financing options. This could include public funding at the national and international levels; a possible REDD+ window under the Green Climate Fund (see points under Finance below); and market mechanisms. However, several parties warned against using market mechanisms for REDD+. Finally, it was emphasized by many parties that each country should be able to decide on the sources of funding they would seek. Highlighting information gaps, many countries underscored the importance of MRV of finance for REDD+.
Also on finance for REDD+ separate negotiations are taking place in the Transitional Committee of the new Green Climate Fund. The Green Climate Fund is intended to support projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing countries using thematic funding windows. Funding for REDD+ could be a separate thematic funding window.
Discussions on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) were linked with the key issue of what happens in the case of a gap between the current commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and the next commitment period, or if agreement cannot be reached to continue the Kyoto Protocol.
Many parties expressed concerns about the fact that, should access to CDM credits be made conditional on second commitment period targets, parties might be forced to create their own rules through bilateral deals. Other parties emphasized the role of the CDM in promoting sustainable development and technology transfer in non-Annex I countries. A group of parties underscored that access to the flexibility mechanisms, including Joint Implementation and the CDM, would be difficult to agree to in the absence of a second commitment period.
The earlier discussion on including additional forest activities in the CDM, such as those related to replanting or restoration of “forests in exhaustion”, i.e. forests which are no longer productive, was not continued. SBSTA however requested the Secretariat to prepare a synthesis report based on parties’ submissions and will continue considering the issue at SBSTA 35 in Durban.
Under the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, accounting for emissions from a number of land use activities has been voluntary. This could potentially undermine the effectiveness of emission reduction targets. Because of this, parties have been negotiating possible changes to the framework of LULUCF for the last three and a half years.
The key issue in relation to LULUCF lies with accounting rules for forest management, for which reporting was made optional under the first commitment period. One of the central unresolved issues is the baseline for accounting for changes in emissions from forest management. This is important because the determination of whether emissions have gone up or down entirely depends on how the baseline is set. Agreement on this issue remains elusive after the Bonn session.
Apart from the overall discussion on forest management, the areas of debate include: whether a cap should be applied to emissions and removals from forest management; if and how emissions from extraordinary occurrences (“force majeure”) would be accounted for; how to set a baseline or forest reference (emissions) level; and how to factor in changes in forest carbon stocks that are not caused by human intervention. In Bonn, progress was made on how to address harvested wood products and how to deal with force majeure.
Parties also addressed technical questions. A proposal was made for flexible land use for planted production forests. References were made to full land-based accounting and definitions related to forests. A very comprehensive streamlining of the text was also agreed, integrating various options and parties’ concerns, and reducing the negotiations text from 40 to 12 pages.
Apart from being a major issue in relation to forestry, agreement on revised LULUCF accounting rules for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (after 2012) could influence the level of emission reduction commitments by Annex 1 parties and thereby have a significant influence on emission pledges by parties. Furthermore, the approaches agreed under LULUCF might have an effect on developing countries as they might be reflected in the modalities to be agreed upon for REDD+.
III. Events & meetings
12 June, Bonn, Germany
The REDD+ Partnership Meeting on 12 June meeting included a progress report of the Voluntary REDD+ Database (VRD), a discussion on financing gaps and overlaps, a preliminary review of the effectiveness of multilateral REDD+ initiatives and a discussion on future priorities for the Partnership. The attendees appreciated the progress of the VRD development and the discussion gave a substantive basis for action on improvements. Partners concluded that immediate priorities for the Partnership should be to enhance the completeness of the data in the VRD, to intensify communication among Partners on the reporting of financing data, and to increase the time dedicated to workshops in the Partnership. Prioritized topics for future discussion include financing options, safeguards, drivers of deforestation, results-based actions and institutional arrangements.
18 June, Köln, Germany
The REDD+ Partnership Workshop themed “Scaling up REDD+ Finance” took place on 18 June, and it covered four themes: mobilizing private sector finance, lessons from the fast‐start (practical pilot experiences of scaling up result‐based incentives), characteristics of the funding needs for REDD+ and barriers to scaling up REDD+ finance/enabling environments. Major topics of discussion were the problems of market based mechanisms, the need for public-private partnerships in development and implementation of innovative financing options, and the need for local adaptation of financing mechanisms based on local drivers of deforestation and forest degradation.
International Year of Forests, 2011
UN General Assembly has designated 2011 as International Year of Forests. The secretariat of the UN Forum on Forests serves as the focal point for the implementation of the International Year of Forests, in collaboration with governments, the members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and international, regional and subregional organizations and processes as well as relevant major groups. More.
Africa Carbon Forum
The third All-Africa Carbon Forum - “Marrakech Plus 10" - regional trade fair and knowledge sharing platform for carbon investments. The event is being co-organized by the Nairobi Framework partners - UNFCCC, UNDP, UNEP/UNEP Risoe, IETA, UNITAR, UNCTAD, the World Bank, and the African Development Bank. More.
Payments for Ecosystems Services: What role for a green economy?
The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment and the Finnish Environment Institute. The aim of the workshop is to address issues linked to payments for different ecosystem services, particularly in the forest and water sectors, to explain the sectoral relevance of environmental research linked to the valuation and payment of ecosystem service. More.
Climate Change and Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture: State of Knowledge, Risks and Opportunities
Organized by the Commission for Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This seminar will include presentations covering forest genetic resources and discussions will include setting the policy scene, and agriculture biodiversity and climate change. More.
UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies
The third part of the sixteenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP 16) and the third part of the fourteenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA 14). More.
FAO European Forestry Commission and UNECE Timber Committee
The European Forestry Commission (EFC) is one of six FAO Regional Forestry Commissions that cover the world's major geographic regions. More.
FAO Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission
The Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC) is one of six FAO Regional Forestry Commissions that cover the world's major geographic regions. This year’s theme is “New challenges – new opportunities”. More.
Asia Pacific Forestry Week
The Second Asia-Pacific Forestry Week, promises to be the most significant forestry event of the year in the Asia-Pacific region. More details will be available soon on the website of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Week. More.
Forest Day 5
Forest Day 5 will seek to inform the UNFCCC global agenda and forest stakeholders on ways to implement an international REDD+ funding mechanism that produces social and environmental benefits, above and beyond avoided emissions. The event will have a particular African focus, looking at the tropical forests of the Congo Basin and elsewhere, and the continent's wide expanses of dry forest areas. More.
V. Publications, Reports and other media
Points of Reference, Finding Common Ground among Reference Level Approaches to Move REDD+ Forward
Union of Concerned Scientists
This paper presents an overview of the literature on all the major methods for establishing reference levels that have been proposed to date, and it draws from that overview some fundamental conclusions for guiding negotiators as they work out the details of global REDD+ mechanisms. The paper.
Modalities for REDD+ Reference Levels: Technical and Procedural Issues
The Modalities for REDD+ Reference Levels report identifies key terms, over arching principles and analyzes technical and procedural issues central to the development of REDD+ Reference and Reference Emissions Levels. This analysis is undertaken to inform the Government of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative and other key stakeholders and government negotiators in the run up to COP-17. The report.
Global Corruption Report Climate Change Extract: Forestry Governance
The book provides essential analysis to help policy-makers, practitioners and other stakeholders understand risks and develop effective responses at a critical moment when the main architecture for climate governance is being developed. The report.
FAO & ITTO
This report was prepared as a background document for the Summit of the Three Rainforest Basins, taking place in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, on 31 May-3 June 2011. It draws on work undertaken by the FAO Forestry Department and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), two international organizations at the forefront of providing information on these forests and promoting their sustainable management. The publication.
Making Biodiversity Safeguards for REDD-plus Work in Practice
UNEP & WCMC
The report provide operational guidelines to assist countries in implementing biodiversity safeguards for REDD-plus and address both the potential risks to biodiversity presented by REDD-plus, and the many opportunities for REDD-plus to benefit biodiversity conservation. The report.
REDD-plus and Biodiversity
The report aims to inform National Focal Points and other biodiversity experts about REDD-plus design and implementation efforts. The report.
Some Key REDD+ Players
Carbon Trade Watch
The publication is an overview of some of the key players who are behind designing, implementing and profiting from REDD+. The publication
Guidance For the Provision of Information on REDD+ Governance
This draft document offers a guidance for the provision of information on key governance issues for implementing REDD+, including REDD+ safeguards. The guide.
Reforming forest tenure Issues, principles and process
The publication is intended to provide practical guidance for people involved in forest policy reforms associated with tenure and for those reflecting on the effectiveness of existing tenure systems. The main target audience is government policy-makers and others concerned with addressing forest tenure reform in ways that achieve desired forest management objectives, which generally encompass sustainable forest management and improved rural livelihoods. The publication identifies key issues that need to be addressed when approaching tenure reform, formulates a set of principles to be followed, and proposes a deliberative, adaptive process for undertaking tenure reform. More.
International Dialogue on REDD Readiness - summary report
The Forests Dialogue has just released a summary report for its International Dialogue on REDD Readiness, which took place in Gland, Switzerland on 17-18 March 2011. This Gland Dialogue summary outlines the main discussion points as well as some practical ways forward and stakeholder actions suggested by participants to overcome challenges identified throughout TFD’s REDD Readiness Initiative. More.
Framework for Monitoring and Assessing Forest Governance
FAO & PROFOR
This new framework seeks to guides countries through the process of assessing the laws, institutions, management, policies, and social conventions that establish how forests are used and who can use them. It includes a thorough checklist for identifying and addressing governance problems. More.
BioCarbon Fund Experience - Insights from Afforestation and Reforestation CDM
This report presents insights from the BioCF’s seven years of experience designing and implementing A/R CDM projects in 16 developing countries. All of the projects directly benefit poor farmers. The report is intended to inform project developers of the challenges and opportunities that A/R CDM projects have encountered on the ground. The report.
Reports on REDD+ and Stakeholder Engagement
As part of the REDD Alert programme ICRAF has released three papers that explore issues related to stakeholder perceptions of REDD+. Stakeholder Perspectives on 'Fair and Efficient' Benefit Distribution along the C-REDD Value Chain. Local Perspectives on REDD+ in Comparison with Those at the International Negotiation Tables and their Representation in Quantitative Scenario Models. Abatement Cost Curves Relating Past Greenhouse Gas Emissions to the Economic Gains they Allowed. More.
Status of tropical forest management 2011
The report provides a assessment of progress being made towards sustainable forest management (SFM) in ITTO member country and identifies remaining challenges and notes that 26 of 33 surveyed countries are participating in at least one initiative related to REDD. The report.
Forest Carbon Project Officer
WWF Laos Country Program
The Forest Carbon Officer will lead the development and implementation of Forest Carbon projects for WWF Laos, building on the recommendations of the RESET report and taking advantage of country-specific and relevant regional opportunities for raising financial support for WWF field projects through REDD+ and for influencing national and regional REDD+ policy development. More.
Senior Program Officer, Forest Carbon
The successful candidate will be responsible for following and developing advocacy strategies around international institutions working to develop forest carbon policy, including the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Interim REDD+ Partnership, and international financial institutions. More.
REDD+ Projects Manager – Climate Program, Ecuador
The REDD+ Projects Manager will contribute to strengthening the institutional and local capacity required to facilitate the implementation of REDD+ demonstration activities, policies and legal framework in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. (S)he will do so by coordinating the development of climate-related elements of the Rainforest Alliance and partners’ activities in sustainable agriculture and forestry and supporting the development of REDD+ strategies in the regions of interest to the AmaZONAS Andinas project. More.
REDD Technical Experts
The main function of the two positions is to support the conceptualization and technical development of several new REDD projects in Peru and Brazil, including direct participation in deforestation modeling and PDD writing. Both experts will work under the direction of the Principal Forestry Advisor and/or the Sr. Forestry and Sustainability Specialist. More.
REDD Countries Database
The REDD Countries Database is a centralised and collaborative database of the diverse and rapidly evolving range of ongoing REDD activities in tropical forest owning nations. Organized and aggregated by country, the REDD Countries Database summarizes key information across a range of areas including policies, plans, laws, statistics, activities and financing. The database.
Finance Portal for Climate Change
This portal was designed in response to a mandate by the COP, requesting the secretariat to collect information on activities funded in developing countries to implement the Convention. The Portal aims to assist parties in monitoring the financial mechanism of the Convention, in particular through provision of information on bilateral, multilateral and regional resources provided by developed country parties to developing countries; and inform the intergovernmental process under the UNFCCC and relevant stakeholders on the mobilization of resources to support developing countries in implementing their commitments under the Convention, in particular with regard to the preparation of national communications. The portal.
Platform on Climate Funding Options
This Platform aims at providing comprehensive guidance on financial options available for climate action in developing countries. It contains information on where to access the wide range of funds available from multilateral and bilateral institution, as well as public and private sources. The site include information about how funds are governed and whether projects are eligible and users are invited to be a resource to share their experiences with investment projects and offer feedback and comments on ongoing projects. The site.