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OPINION: COP19 delivers Warsaw Framework for REDD+ Action


Kinga Lodge of CDKN’s Negotiations Support Team reports on one of the most notable outcomes from the international climate talks in Warsaw, Poland.

One of the most significant outcomes of the 19th session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)—which concluded last week in Warsaw—was a package for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) in tropical forest countries. Six years of intense and often polarised negotiations, following the Bali Action Plan of 2007, have culminated in agreement on an international REDD+ architecture; it will enable tropical forest countries to receive payments for both ‘readiness’ and results on REDD+.

The Warsaw Framework for REDD+ Action package includes the following elements:

  • Under the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) of the Convention: The foundation of a REDD+ Mechanism is established, whereby  national REDD+ entities will meet annually and provide recommendations to the Conference of Parties (COP) to improve the effectiveness of finance to support the implementation of REDD+ actions within and outside the Convention.
  • Under the SBSTA: The methodological guidance is completed, including decisions on Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) and reference levels (the reporting baseline) as well as a national forest monitoring system and safeguards information system, all of which are critical for kick-starting REDD+ implementation.
  • A decision of the COP: The process for results-based finance for REDD+ has been started. While the decision is long in words and short in substance, it will establish an information hub and provide the basis for a request for a forum of the Standing Committee on results- based finance. This decision clearly provides for links to the Green Climate Fund. These are small steps indeed, but steps forward nonetheless.

Many regard this package as a significant milestone in the global effort to reduce deforestation and promote conservation and sustainable management of forests. The success that REDD+ enjoyed is in large part due to the fact that the process was raised and is led by developing countries: the owners and stewards of the rainforests.

This package enables the start of REDD+ implementation with adequate and predictable  financial, and technological support to rainforest countries. It is also worth remembering that REDD+ will play a key role in closing the ‘mitigation gap’: the gap between all countries’ stated ambitions to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and the actual level of reductions that must be achieved to bring greenhouse gas concentrations within ‘safe’ levels (as informed by robust science).

Parties to the UNFCCC are endeavouring to reach an inclusive, global agreement on climate change by 2015 which will only come into force in 2020. REDD+ will be a central element of this larger 2015 agreement. The mitigation potential of REDD+ must also be considered fully in the period between now and 2020, when REDD+ pilot actions should be quantified and recognised as an important contributor to emissions reductions and to closing this overall gap.

One of the key advocates behind the Warsaw REDD+ package is the Coalition for Rainforest Nations (CfRN). CfRN works to help rainforest nations represent their interests in the UNFCCC and related negotiations. CfRN is an intergovernmental organisation founded in 2004 at the urging of heads of state from tropical forest countries. Today, it represents over 50 developing countries that participate voluntarily in various CfRN initiatives. At COP19, the CfRN’s statements were endorsed by 28 countries.*

CDKN has provided operational support to the CfRN Secretariat during the past two years. The Secretariat has given technical assistance to the member countries, organised capacity building workshops, written policy briefs and statements and submitted views on behalf of its members. CfRN also plays a key role in coordinating the group of members and enhancing collaboration among them.

“This 2013 ‘REDD+ Action Framework’ is a hallmark achievement for implementation of REDD+ in rainforest countries, and one that would never have been possible had it not been for the tireless and unrelenting negotiations led by the Coalition for Rainforest Nations”Andrew Bishop, Guyana.

For tropical forests to survive, the leaders of developing countries must have confidence that the necessary finance will be effectively, efficiently and fairly mobilized to overcome existing drivers of deforestation. The Warsaw Framework for REDD+ offers our best chance ever!”  Federica Bietta, CfRN.

CfRN has published a paper “Supporting international climate negotiators: lessons learned by the Coalition for Rainforest Nations” to highlight how effectively support developing countries in negotiations on REDD+ issues.

 

*Footnote: Bangladesh, Belize, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Kenya, Laos PDR, Liberia, Nigeria, Panama, Republic of Congo, Solomon Islands, Togo, and Uganda

We occasionally invite bloggers from around the world to provide their experiences and views. The views expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily those of CDKN.

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