This week, Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation will host the first-ever "Oslo REDD Exchange". This workshop will bring together REDD+ practitioners and technical experts, the scientific community, Indigenous Peoples, forest communities, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations and international organizations from around the world that are directly involved in “making REDD+ work”. It will focus on safeguards and REDD+, with a particular emphasis on the exchange of experiences from the field.
Several UN-REDD Programme colleagues and I are delighted to be attending this worthwhile exchange. In particular, I will be delivering, jointly with Benoit Bosquet, Coordinator of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), a keynote speech at the opening of the event on, REDD+ sustainability elements from a multilateral perspective. It has certainly proven a worthwhile exercise to step back and assess the most important elements of REDD+ from a multi-lateral perspective that will contribute to its sustainability in the long-term. Among the many elements needed, here are some of the points our talk will touch upon:
- Institutional arrangements: From high-level political commitment, to national policies and laws that recognize the role of local institutions for effective resource management.
- Convergence with UNFCCC negotiations: REDD+ efforts around the world are rapidly evolving outside the UNFCCC process. If this continues without the guidance of a fully-defined mechanism, the risk is that REDD+ could become a series of fragmented and uncoordinated approaches too weak to address one of the world's most immediate sources of global emissions.
- Stakeholder engagement: REDD+ needs to continue to be a unique platform for many Indigenous Peoples and forest-dependent communities to engage with governments in the management of forests.
- Implementation processes and frameworks: REDD+ needs to be embedded into national economic development policies and low-carbon development strategies, using harmonized approaches.
- Partnerships: The REDD+ landscape is multifaceted and complex, necessitating a range of partnerships, from multilateral initiatives such as the FCPF and UN-REDD Programme to critical partnerships with civil society, Indigenous Peoples, donors and the private sector.
- Managing expectations: There are mounting expectations that REDD+ can equally benefit all forests, constituencies and countries, and that these benefits could be substantial. The reality is that REDD+ is likely to require difficult trade-offs, and reconciling expectations will be challenging.
- Governance challenges in the design and implementation of REDD+: Addressing the design of safeguards to present guidelines to meet minimum standards and prevent undesirable outcomes or actions in REDD+. Provision of meaningful support for alternative livelihoods, and strengthen the conditions for resilient people and forests (tenure, benefits, decision-making authority, reconcile power/authority with responsibility of environmental custodians) are all part of this.
Despite the challenges of making REDD+ sustainable, it continues to play a critical role in catalyzing important national debates about where countries' forests fit into national economic development policies.
I look forward to seeing many of you in Oslo for a rich two-day discussion on these issues.
Head of the UN-REDD Programme Secretariat