Reports & Analysis
Safeguards Highlighted at UN-REDD and Ecuador Event in Bonn
The UN-REDD Programme and Ecuador's side event at the UN's Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) focused on new tools and country progress in addressing REDD+ safeguards.
Through presentations from the UN-REDD Programme, Ecuador, Viet Nam, the Climate Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) and Tebtebba (Indigenous Peoples' International Centre for Policy Research and Education), more than 120 participants from 30 countries and various governmental and non-governmental organizations were given an overview of some of the concepts and tools being developed to address safeguards in REDD+ implementation.
|More than 120 participants from 30 countries and various governmental and non-governmental organizations attended the UN-REDD and Ecuador joint side event.
Safeguards—a hotly debated issue over the past two years— were one of the biggest breakthroughs in the REDD+ negotiations at COP16. The Agreement on REDD+ now recognizes the need to “promote and support” safeguards and requests parties to develop a "system for providing information on how safeguards are being addressed and respected." Safeguards include critical issues such as forest governance, respect for the knowledge and rights of Indigenous Peoples and members of local communities and actions that are consistent with conservation of natural forests and biological diversity.
The UN-REDD Programme presented its approaches and related products on safeguards, namely:
- Draft Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria and associated risk identification and mitigation tool
- Participatory Governance Assessments (PGAs) for REDD+ designed to identify governance challenges and recommend responses
- Guidelines on stakeholder engagement and free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) and its draft Guidance for the provision of information on REDD+ governance
CCBA gave an overview of its Social and Environmental Standards Initiative, which is developing a framework for reporting social and environmental performance using a multi-stakeholder assessment process, and will identify key principles, criteria and indicators for the standards.
Both Ecuador and Viet Nam gave overviews of how their countries are addressing the dimension of safeguards in their REDD+ readiness and implementation efforts. Ecuador highlighted its work in the area of Social and Environmental Standards (SES) and plans to work with UN-REDD Programme Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria in a complementary manner. Viet Nam looked at the progress and challenges of upholding Indigenous Peoples' right to FPIC and recourse mechanism as part of the country's REDD+ strategy. Tebtebba shared Indigenous Peoples experiences in relation to safeguards, highlighting some inroads that have been made as well as the gaps that still need to be addressed, especially in the area of land tenure.
"If we don't settle land tenure in the early stages of REDD+ implementation, we run the risk of expanded civil conflicts and the ultimate failure of the REDD+ concept," said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Executive Director of Tebtebba.
Some participants expressed concern that consultation processes with Indigenous Peoples are not happening as systematically as they should, and called on the UN-REDD Programme to play a strong role in ensuring these processes are consistently occurring in countries. Others expressed skepticism about how expeditious the process of defining and implementing safeguards would be, given how long it took the international community to come to a consensus on the issue.
|A participant from DRC poses questions to the panel on how quickly REDD+ safeguards can be addressed.
A conclusion that emerged from the side event is that the various approaches, tool and standards for REDD+ safeguards currently being developed can and should be used in a complementary way moving forward, as is planned in Ecuador. Countries also underscored the need and desire to share lessons and learn from each other, for which the UN-REDD Programme and others can play a catalytic role.
The joint UN-REDD Programme and Ecuador side event took place at the Ministry of Environment building on 7 June 2011, at the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference happening until 17 June in Bonn, Germany. Presenters included Clea Paz-Rivera, National Programmes Officer for the UN-REDD Programme; Joanna Durbin, Director of The Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance; Carola Borja, Director of Mitigation for the Ministry of Environment in Ecuador; Pham Manh Cuong, Director of Viet Nam's REDD+ Office; and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Executive Director of the Indigenous Peoples International Centre for Policy Research and Education (Tebtebba). The side event was moderated by Thais Linhares-Juvenal, Senior Officer for the UN-REDD Programme.
Click here for presentations from the event.