Happy New Year! It's been a busy month and a half since our last UN-REDD newsletter, with our focus firmly on supporting our partner countries and the REDD+ negotiations at the United Nations' Climate Change Conference (COP17) in Durban, South Africa in December.
The UN-REDD Programme was pleased to host a number of very valuable REDD+ side events during the Climate Talks, as well as support the Joint Declaration of Intent for REDD+ in the Congo Basin. You can read highlights from all these activities on the UN-REDD Programme blog.
Since Durban, we've been reflecting on the outcomes and implications of COP17 for the UN-REDD Programme. In terms of overall outcomes, we remain encouraged that the Parties agreed to move forward with the “Durban Package” that includes a roadmap to develop a legally-binding instrument for all countries, an agreement on a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, and a set of decisions to operationalize the Cancun Agreement, including making the Green Climate Fund operational.
With respect to REDD+, we were pleased to see the progress made on safeguards, reference levels and reference emission levels. Parties decided to set reference levels on a historical basis, adjusted according to national circumstances; and regarding safeguards, it was decided that countries will be required to report on their nationally-based safeguard actions as part of their national communications. Durban did progress the discussion on REDD+ financing and methodologies, however the negotiations leave us with a lack of clarity on the scale and channels for financing of REDD+ activities in Phase 3.
For REDD+ to take off, it will depend on the speed at which the discussions on a legally-binding agreement proceed and the availability of finance. It will also require a serious commitment from developed countries to mobilize significant climate funds from both private and public sources. What is also clear coming out of COP17 is that mitigation and adaptation activities need to be better integrated. This makes sense since those affected by climate change live in landscapes where the synergy between mitigation and adaptation defines their reality.
We begin this New Year with a sense of encouragement and a clearer picture of the work needed moving forward. As the UN-REDD Programme newsletter enters its third year in circulation, we promise to continue to bring you all the latest developments and analysis from our work and the work of our partners, as we remain committed to realizing the potential of REDD+ as a critical part of the climate change solution.
Head of the UN-REDD Programme Secretariat