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Ensuring inclusive, transparent and accountable national REDD+ systems: the role of freedom of information

Executive Summary

The central role of access to information in REDD+

This report examines how the right of freedom of information – i.e. the right of every individual to have access to information held by public bodies, subject only to narrow exceptions – has been or can be used in the context of REDD+ countries activities. REDD+ is proposed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to mitigate climate change by providing positive incentives to developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and conserve, manage and enhance forest carbon stocks.

Put simply, freedom of information (or “access to information”, see text box) means that individuals have a right to access any information held by the government, subject to exceptions necessary to protect vital public interests – for example, national security. Governments should make information available on request, but they should also ensure that information that is of public interest is made available proactively, without individuals needing to lodge requests.

The right to freedom of information is protected under international human rights, environmental and anti-corruption law. In the last decade there has been a sharp increase in the number of countries that have adopted freedom of information legislation, accompanied by an increase in international standard-setting in the area of freedom of information. Good practice lessons have emerged.

The success of REDD+ will depend on a number of factors. These include both technical aspects such as the ability to produce measurable, reportable and verifiable forest carbon estimates, and governance aspects such as reducing corruption risks, the free, prior and informed consent and full and effective participation of the populations directly corruption law. In the last decade there has been a sharp increase in the number of countries that have adopted freedom of information legislation, accompanied by an increase in international standard-setting in the area of freedom of information. Good practice lessons have affected by national REDD+ policies and measures, and the traceability of and accountability for payments made and received to ultimately achieve reductions in deforestation and forest degradation. Access to information is crucial for the success of REDD+ both as a prerequisite for full and effective engagement of stakeholders and as a foundation for transparency and accountability. In addition to their obligations under international law, REDD+ countries are expected to meet higher standards of transparency and participatory decision-making processes, including through the provisions of the Cancun Agreements that require that REDD+ participating countries developinformation systems on REDD+ safeguards.

Source: UN-REDD Programme



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