Making REDD+ deliver for everyone

Article, 11 October 2011

With deforestation and forest degradation being the third largest global contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, forests have an enormous role to play in any attempts to combat climate change.

An international scheme called REDD+ (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest degradation, conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancement of carbon stocks) offers a financial incentive to keep trees standing and reduce global greenhouse emissions. Our workshop on 27 November shared perspectives on how we can make REDD+ deliver for people who depend on the forests.  

Man chopping tree with axe

The event programmes are listed below.

REDD Realities: Lessons Learned from REDD Pilot Projects in Tanzania

The Tanzania Natural Resource Forum and other organisations have been engaged in on-the-ground implementation of REDD since 2009. Since then, the NGOs and communities implementing the projects have worked together to share lessons learned and advocate for sound policies and developments that are in the best interest of communities. This side event will share lessons learned during that time and present the outputs of a workshop entitled, ‘REDD+, poverty reduction and sustainable development: are there cost-effective pro-poor options?’ being held prior to COP17.  

Wednesday 30 November
16.45 – 18.15
Venue: Durban Exhibition Centre (DEC)
All welcome


REDD+, poverty reduction and sustainable development: are there cost-effective pro-poor options? 

Our workshop on Sunday 27 November is for sharing perspectives from government, academia, non-governmental organisations, community leaders, private sector, or donors on what REDD+ can learn from participatory forest management. We are all learning, and sharing can help us avoid making the mistakes of past interventions, while capitalising on positive lessons already out there. The questions we will be addressing are:

  • How can REDD+ benefit the poor?
  • What is the latest thinking on risks, and how can adverse impacts from REDD+ be minimised?

Workshop agenda

The day will open with a keynote address from Dr. Yemi Katerere, Head of the UN-REDD Secretariat.  The programme also includes panel speeches from Professor Virgilio Viana, CEO of Brazil’s Amazonas Sustainable Foundation and Professor George Kajembe, of the Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania.

The workshop is not about sitting and talking amongst experts, but engaging with those who are in the front line in negotiation and decision-making on climate change mitigation and adaptation. We will be bringing key messages from this workshop to negotiators and other key practitioners.


‘Amazon Evening: a South-South exchange with Africa’

Dr. Isilda Nhantumbo, Senior Researcher in IIED’s Natural Resources Group, will be a panel speaker at this half-day conference. Experts on the Amazon Basin, home to the world’s largest tropical forest and dozens of REDD+ pilot projects, will meet with scientists from Africa, home to the second-largest tropical forest, to share experiences and discuss challenges and opportunities for the coming years. The event is organised by Centre for International Forestry Research and Amazonas Sustainable Foundation.

Friday 02 December
14.00 – 20.00
Suncoast Conference Centre
Entrance requires registration
More information and registation

REDD+: unanswered questions

If it works, REDD+ will provide a valuable service to the environment and to society that is worth paying for – protecting biodiversity, reducing poverty and contributing to a more sustainable type of development.
While Cancun made some milestones, and countries are moving fast to develop their national strategies for REDD, many questions remain unanswered, such as:

  • Will financial payments be based on effort and/or actual reductions in emissions?
  • How will the money work?
  • How will it get into the right people’s hands?
  • How will any global fund  operate?
  • What is the role of private sector  and how and when would it be appropriate to engage with it?

Further questions remain over how monitoring results will work and what the means of measurement are.

Safeguards: doing no harm

While the benefits of REDD+ are potentially quite high, it could result in it doing more harm than good. It is critical countries plan to demonstrate they are sticking to safeguards – precautionary principles or practices that lower the likelihood of any social or environmental risks – during the process.

If forest dependent people are going to benefit, for example, they cannot lose their rights to forests. They also need to benefit fairly, which means designing a system for the REDD+ payments and non monetary benefits to be distributed fairly. Safeguards have to be integral to the policies, institutions and financing systems. These safeguards can be secured through participation in decision-making, transparency, accountability and equity at every stage of the REDD+ process.

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