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Climate Action 2014-2015

DEFORESTATION AND REDD+

DEFORESTATION AND REDD+ MAINSTREAMING EMISSION REDUCTIONS ACROSS THE LANDSCAPE By Peter Holmgren, Director General, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) As REDD+ has evolved and expanded, numerous opportunities, synergies and challenges have emerged, particularly with respect to tenure and financing. CIFOR’s on-going Global Comparative Study on REDD+ offers lessons for achieving the transformational change necessary to make the framework succeed. These are issues that transcend the forestry sector and resolving them demands coordination across multiple sectors and policy integration across multiple scales. Since its inception, REDD+, or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, has evolved from a tool for climate change mitigation based on carbon storage into a complex, multifaceted framework operating across multiple governance levels. Its mission has similarly expanded to encompass a potential overload of objectives. The REDD+ Framework within the UNFCCC draws together human rights (with particular emphasis on the rights of indigenous peoples), biodiversity conservation, stronger governance in developing countries, and, most recently, acceptance of carbon and non-carbon benefits, alternative approaches and linkages with adaptation. Similarly, the finance discussion has moved beyond carbon markets and offsetting to include multiple sources of finance. As research from CIFOR’s Global Comparative Study on REDD+ shows, this evolution of REDD+ has generated a range of opportunities and synergistic approaches across these multiple objectives. At the same time, challenges for its implementation have emerged: close alliances between large-scale business and state sectors, without tackling the underlying causes of deforestation; the need for more certainty about finance; and significant and complex tenure issues. As REDD+ continues to evolve and move into the broader landscape, the evidence suggests that success will require reform beyond the forestry sector to include tenure and other aspects of governance. REDD+ practitioners will need to seize the opportunities and confront the challenges that arise as they integrate efforts across multiple scales and increase coordination across sectors and landscapes. THE NEED FOR CLARITY OF TENURE At the subnational level, REDD+ is unfolding in an environment where existing tenure regimes create challenges for its implementation. For REDD+ to succeed, it is necessary to identify not only those in the community who will hold the legal right to the anticipated stream of REDD+ benefits, but also those who will bear the responsibility 128

DEFORESTATION AND REDD+ for ensuring the completion of REDD+ activities. Moreover, REDD+ stakeholders – community members and proponents alike – may require enforceable rights of exclusion to protect REDD+ activities against outside claims, such as claims from those seeking to convert forests to non-forest uses. Yet assuring tenure clarity and security for local stakeholders is difficult in many tropical developing countries, because the state has formal ownership over vast areas of the forest estate and it often remains unclear what legally constitutes ‘forests’ outside this estate. Furthermore, governments’ positions on customary claims and formalisation of access or ownership rights may not yet be aligned with efforts to establish a community forestry foundation for REDD+. These landscapes are also often characterised by power imbalances between large-scale agribusinesses and communities at the forest frontier. Under these conditions, many REDD+ proponents view tenure as their priority challenge, even more so than the (currently) disadvantageous economics of REDD+. If REDD+ is to fulfil its promise, proponents must develop an in-depth understanding of the landscape in which they are operating. They must understand the wider context of landuse planning around their sites, and the dynamics of unplanned migrations, spontaneous colonisation, appropriations and competing land claims, all of which might undermine their efforts. They must be fully apprised of the dynamics of developments not only in agriculture and forestry, but also in mining and infrastructure. They must also understand the elements of governance across scales that can either undermine them. BUILDING ON EXISTING POLICIES AND INSTITUTIONS In a national context, CIFOR’s Global Comparative Study on REDD+ has found that REDD+ processes move towards transformational change more rapidly in countries where related policy changes have already paved the way for them. For example, the impetus behind the "REDD+ processes move towards transformational change more rapidly in countries where related policy changes have already paved the way." marked drop in Brazil’s deforestation rate dates back to 2005, well before REDD+, with command-and-control policies and commodity-chain-focused interventions including livestock and soy boycotts. CIFOR’s analyses of successful REDD+ policies have identified the need for a combination of features within a country. First, countries that have already initiated changes to their institutions have made greater progress in designing REDD+, so long as the pressure on forest resources is high, or effective forest legislation, policy and governance are also in place. Second, a sense of national ownership and the presence of coalitions for transformational change are also important – but are effective only in an enabling institutional setting. At the same time, some of the more successful countries are working towards changing their national land management and tenure policies which can support the implementation of REDD+. For example, Brazil’s Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) requires that at least 80 per cent of private land be under forest cover (in accordance with the Brazilian Forest Code), and is a prerequisite to land titling through the national Terra Legal programme. For this reason, proponents in Brazil work closely with government as a key partner in promoting environmental compliance and clarifying tenure arrangements. Evidence shows, however, that the use of the registry alone has not led to reduced deforestation in the states of Pará and Mato Grosso, and implementation challenges for Terra Legal are yet to be fully overcome. Proponents in Indonesia employ functionally similar instruments to assist in enforcing rights of exclusion. Proponents are using the relatively new hutan desa (village forest) category of tenure to claim formal management rights for communities, thereby building a bulwark against counterclaims by oil palm concessionaires. Similarly, REDD+ proponents are using the Ecosystem Restoration Concession (ERC) to consolidate tenure rights over forests targeted for protection, over and against the plans of competing land uses. In both cases, however, proponents report that bureaucratic procedures remain a challenge. JURISDICTIONAL LESSONS Dozens of REDD+ initiatives are under way at the ‘jurisdictional’ scale, that is, across a formal governance unit such as a state, province, municipality or district. In theory, advantages of this approach are the leverage of state authority; coordination among branches of government and across sectors (e.g. agriculture, forestry, infrastructure, mining, social welfare) and scales (local to national levels); access to at least lowlevel operational funding; and greater potential to address leakage. Certifying organisations have taken note of these advantages. The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) has developed a Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+ framework for accounting and crediting at national and subnational scales, and CCBA and CARE have created the REDD+ Social and Environmental Safeguards Initiative for jurisdictional REDD+ programmes climateactionprogramme.org 129