Myths, realities, and solutions towards high-integrity forest carbon credits


15:30 - 17:00, Tuesday 9 May 2023


Sheikh Zayed Centre

Meeting ID: 985 9116 1211
Passcode: 77931189


Policy makers, donors and the private sector are increasing bilateral. multilateral and market-based funding to harness the potential for forest-based climate mitigation. The voluntary carbon market has boomed lately; companies are interested in investing in REDD+ and other nature-based climate solutions. Simultaneously, forest carbon offsets also face fierce criticism for frequent lack of additionality (inflated reference levels and poor performance), greenwashing of private sector emissions, and thus slowing the energy transition away from fossil fuels, while allegedly ignoring broader socio- environmental goals. This side-event will highlight both the concerns and objections raised, and the potential benefits of forest carbon credits, and options for designing crediting system to mitigate those concerns and maximize the wide portfolio of benefits that may be achieve through REDD+. Accurate and transparent measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of emissions is a vital part of forest carbon market. Any effectiveness assessment needs to validate the additionality by comparing an observed outcome with a hypothetical counterfactual (business-as-usual scenario). Establishing a counterfactual that discriminates confounding effects is key to high-quality forest carbon credits. However, we have too few rigorous impact assessments of REDD+ effectiveness, which has contributed to the absence of clear guidance on good implementation practices. This posts challenges to stakeholders in committing themselves more to forest carbon mitigation to meet targets for emissions reductions and market-based solutions.

This session brings together globally leading experts to:

  • share the latest scientific findings on the effectiveness of forest carbon projects, based on CIFOR’s long-term Global Comparative Study on REDD+ (2009-2023) ·      
  • strengthen the community of practice to foster learning and collaboration amongst scientists and practitioners in refining and improving MRV system for forest mitigation policies.
  • discuss the challenges and prospective solutions in moving towards high-integrity forest carbon credits and effective forest-based mitigation of climate change.

The section will be organized in a hybrid format and consist of keynote presentations, followed up by panel discussion and interaction between speakers and audiences.


  • Erin Sills – North Carolina State University and CIFOR-ICRAF senior associate
  • Sven Wunder – European Forest Institute and CIFOR - ICRAF senior associate
  • Arild Angelsen – Norwegian University of Life Sciences and CIFOR-ICRAF senior associate
  • Kevin Brown – Wildlife Conservation Society
  • Pham Thu Thuy – CIFOR-ICRAF 


Moderator: Sven Wunder

  • Forest carbon market- Status, concern, and introduction for the section– Arild Angelsen
  • Evolution of crediting standards and Key areas needing more support from scientific community - Kevin Brown
  • Methods comparison and challenges for accounting system – Erin Sills
  • Effectiveness of forest carbon projects and REDD+ - Sven Wunder

•    Pham Thu Thuy
•    Arild Angelsen

 Plenary discussions
 Key messages – Sven Wunder