DRC Advances Work on REDD+ Safeguards and Multiple Benefits
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continues working on its REDD+ framework strategy, and important work is ongoing to advance REDD+ implementation.
DRC is currently developing a Safeguard Information System (SIS), and within the DRC’s work on multiple benefits supported by the UN-REDD Programme, the country is starting to use spatial planning software to identify priority areas for capturing the multiple benefits of REDD+.
Three years into a rich national REDD+ process, DRC is now entering a phase of consolidation of its readiness phase while entering into its implementation phase by kicking-off on-the-ground REDD+ experimentation and investments. Following a recent joint mission of partners from the UN-REDD Programme, FCPF and Norway, a number of priorities were agreed for the coming months:
- Consolidating all the work produced in the last three years into a national document devising the general direction of REDD+ reforms and investments in the future. The National REDD+ Coordination (CN-REDD+) will intensify its efforts to produce a national framework REDD+ strategy for the DRC in time for the UNFCCC COP 18 in Doha.
- Finalizing the design of DRC's national REDD+ fund by the end of 2012 and operationalizing it in 2013 (the specific institutional structures of the fund will only be put in place once sufficient funding is secured). The ambition of this fund is to introduce specific funding streams for performance based payments while providing direct access to national entities.
- Scaling up REDD+ experimentation through projects and programmes that can pilot the different strategic REDD+ interventions on the ground. Close to US$85 million has already been secured for new projects and investments through the Forest Investment Program and the Congo Basin Forest Fund.
As an initial step for developing a Safeguards Information System (SIS), UN-REDD Programme colleagues from UNEP facilitated a working session at the CN-REDD in August. Experts from the Monitoring Committee (Comité de Suivi) of social and environmental risks and benefits (a multi-institutional group set in place by the Ministry), the World Bank, Conservation International, and the three UN-REDD Programme agencies (FAO, UNDP and UNEP) contributed to the two-day workshop. Colleagues from CN-REDD and from UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) gave presentations on the current governance structure of REDD+ monitoring and ongoing work on national REDD+ standards and general background of SIS, as well as on the collection of information on socio-economic and biodiversity impacts.
The main output of this working session was the elaboration of a detailed outline for the Environmental and Social Management and Monitoring Framework of REDD+ activities in DRC that can be linked to national standards and feed into a national SIS. Within the next few months, next steps towards developing a SIS will be the full elaboration of this Environmental and Social Management and Monitoring Framework. To identify relevant risks, responses and indicators within this framework, the CN-REDD’s social and environmental expert are considering the application of the benefit and Risk Tool (BeRT) developed by the UN-REDD Programme.
As part of ongoing work on multiple benefits supported by the UN-REDD Programme, DRC is also looking at enhancing capacities for the accounting of multiple benefits in spatial REDD+ planning, so as to provide decision-support for the development of a REDD+ strategy. Marxan, a conservation planning software, is a potentially powerful tool to identify solutions that can reach a number of interwoven objectives (e.g. emission reductions and biodiversity conservation targets) in the most cost-effective way. Closely collaborating with institutions and experts in the DRC, UNEP-WCMC is planning to provide an illustrative example and guidance material on how Marxan can be used for national REDD+ planning.
A stakeholder consultation meeting was organized in order to present the Marxan tool and to discuss the setting of realistic targets in the Marxan exercise. Based on the initial work, UN-REDD Programme colleagues at UNEP-WCMC will work closely with its partners in DRC in order to produce an example solution that is tailored to the REDD+ context there.