With 12 weeks to go before the negotiations in Copenhagen, there is a visible momentum and excitement around REDD. However, there also remains much skepticism and doubt that a deal can be reached at COP 15 in Copenhagen. Some have even suggested that it is time to openly consider Plan B in the event that there is no agreement on REDD.
In view of this, the High level event on REDD convened by the United Nations Secretary-General on 23 September couldn’t come at a more critical time. Speaker after speaker pleaded support and commitment to sealing the deal on REDD.
But it was the President of Guyana who challenged everyone to focus on the opportunities that REDD offers rather than on the problems and challenges. While it is accepted that REDD issues are complex, previous negotiations such as the Kyoto Protocol faced similar complexities and challenges, yet agreement was reached.
It is this positive spirit and thinking that is needed to make a case for an agreement in Copenhagen. That REDD is doable and is a win-win solution for the environment and people is undeniable and largely recognized.
But progress hinges on leadership. Some countries, like Norway and Guyana, have made substantial commitments to REDD -- one in financial terms and the other in forest area. We need to see more examples such as these ones. More developed and developing countries need to step forward and make clear commitments that will spur the rest to move ahead with REDD.
Head of the UN-REDD Programme Secretariat