Safeguards in REDD+

Putting REDD+ Safeguards and Safeguard Information Systems Into Practice

Authors: Leo Peskett, Kimberly Todd

Key Messages

  • Countries undertaking REDD+ activities need to develop country-level approaches that enable them to respond to requirements outlined in recent United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreements, which aim to ensure social and environmental risks are minimized and benefits enhanced. REDD+ countries also need to carefully consider further objectives that the country approach may need to achieve, such as responding to the requirements of organizations providing support for REDD+ activities.
  • In order to develop a country-level safeguard approach that is responsive to the Cancun Agreements, it is useful to define the generic elements of such an approach. This could help to coordinate and harmonize activities.
  • A country-level REDD+ safeguard approach can be thought of as comprising two main elements: 1) policies, laws and regulations (PLRs) that clarify the objectives and requirements to address the specific risks and benefits of REDD+ in the country; and 2) a safeguard information system (SIS) that collects and provides information on how safeguards are being addressed and respected. Cross-cutting institutions and processes are likely to be needed in the design and operation of these elements.
  • REDD+ safeguard approaches can build extensively on both existing country PLRs, as well as systems for collecting and reporting information. However, existing systems and institutions will need to be carefully assessed by countries in order to determine how well they meet the objectives and identify gaps.
  • While the means to address and respect REDD+ safeguards will vary between countries, based on national circumstances, there are generic steps that may be useful for countries to consider for the development of their safeguard approaches.
  • New PLRs and information systems may be required where countries do not have existing systems in place or where the suite of PLRs in place needs to be enhanced or supplemented with other measures. These are most likely to be required for some of the more unique attributes of REDD+, such as carbon rights, which are often not defined in existing legislation.
  • A number of internationally developed instruments already exist that aim to support countries to develop REDD+ safeguards. The proliferation of different instruments has caused confusion in some countries in regards to their objectives, scope and structure. However, the different international safeguards instruments can help support countries on the development of different parts of their safeguard approaches, and therefore should be seen as complementary.

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Source: UN-REDD Programme
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