ne of the most significant outcomes of the United Nations Climate ChangeConference in Cancun (COP16) was the much-anticipated agreement onReducing Emissions from Deforestation and ForestDegradation (REDD+) - part of a set of decisions toadvance a legally-binding global climate changeagreement with the ultimate goal of reducing global emissions. The REDD+ mechanism aims to make forests indeveloping countries more valuable standing than cutdown by creating a financial value for the carbon storedin standing trees, and includes the role of conservationand enhancements of forest carbon stocks andsustainable management of forests. The COP16agreement on REDD+ is indeed an encouraging step forward for a mechanism that is largely seen as one of the most promising solutions for climatechange mitigation. THE EVOLUTION OF REDD+The seed for the REDD+ mechanism was planted atCOP11 in Montreal in 2005 when the governments ofPapua New Guinea and Costa Rica introduced theconcept of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation indeveloping countries (RED). The concept was referredto the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and TechnicalAdvice (SBSTA) for elaboration. Since then, SBSTAhas been discussing and addressing several importanttechnical and methodological aspects of REDD+, frommeasurement, reporting and verification to governanceand the definition and inclusion of safeguards. The2007 Bali Action Plan consolidated and expanded theRED concept by including reference to policyapproaches and positive incentives on issues relatingto reducing emissions for deforestation and forestdegradation (adding the second "D" to "REDD") indeveloping countries, and the role of conservation,sustainable management of forests, and enhancementof forest carbon stocks in developing countries (addingthe "+" to "REDD+"). Despite a great deal of momentum and awarenessraising for REDD+ in 2009, COP15 in Copenhagenfailed to produce a global legally binding climatechange agreement including REDD+. With far lessexpectations for REDD+ heading into Cancun,countries came together in December 2010 to adopt abalanced package of agreements to support enhancedaction on climate change, including the first-everagreement defining the REDD+ mechanism from apolicy perspective, under the UN FrameworkConvention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). While notall aspects of REDD+ are fully addressed, notably thefinancial aspects and the role of carbon markets, thearchitecture of the mechanism is now almost complete. Outside the UNFCCC processes, there have beennumerous multi-lateral and bi-lateral initiatives andpilot projects for REDD+ readiness. The objectives ofthese initiatives have been to promote country-levelactivities on REDD+ readiness, support capacitydevelopment and knowledge, mobilise requiredfunding, pilot REDD+ activities and share early lessonson country actions. The expectation, although notalways realised, has been for all these initiatives to complement and not compete with the UNFCCC process. DEFINING REDD+The text on REDD+ in the COP16 agreements outlinesRight:Dr Yemi KaterereTHE ROAD AHEAD FOR REDD+042POST-CANCUN REMARKSODR YEMI KATERERE, HEAD OF THE UN-REDD PROGRAMME SECRETARIAT
REDD+ countries to keep working on and investing inreadiness efforts. Other important features of the Cancun agreementsinclude designing a Green Climate Fund that aims toraise and disburse US$100 billion per year by 2020 toprotect poor nations against climate impacts and assistthem with low-carbon development. The Cancunagreements also provide for a standing committeeunder the Parties that will, among otherresponsibilities, undertake measurement, reportingand verification of support provided to developingcountry Parties. For the UN-REDD Programme and other actorsinvolved in readiness and fast-start activities, theCOP16 agreements provide better guidance on whatthe REDD+ framework will include and what workneeds to be done. The agreements provide someelaboration on the activities that developing countriesneed to undertake in the development andimplementation of REDD+, such as a national plan,national reference emission levels and robust andtransparent national forest monitoring systems2-all of which are work areas that the UN-REDD Programme and other readiness initiatives have beensupporting for the past two years. The work thatREDD+ countries undertake in implementingreadiness activities between now and 2012 will beimportant next steps in supporting the implementationof the Cancun agreements.THE CHALLENGES AHEADThere is little doubt that to make REDD+ work, themost important and difficult work still lies ahead. TheCOP16 agreement on REDD+ represents a roadmaptowards a legally binding comprehensive agreementthat is expected to be finalised in Durban, South Africaat COP17. From now until Durban, the remaining keyelements will need to be finalised, including howREDD+ financing will work. At the same time, REDD+efforts around the world are rapidly evolving outsidethe UNFCCC process. If this continues without the guidance of a fully-defined mechanism, the risk is that REDD+ couldeasily become a series of fragmented anduncoordinated approaches too weak to address one ofthe world's most immediate sources of globalemissions. Also, the increasing number of REDD+initiatives outside the UNFCCC process couldpotentially undermine the UNFCCC process itself. Aconvergence between the UNFCCC processes andthose complimentary, yet external, to it will becomeincreasingly important. A challenge in fully defining a comprehensive REDD+mechanism under time pressure will be to ensure earlylessons on REDD+ from diverse sources are sharedPOST-CANCUN REMARKS043the scope and type of eligible activities to beundertaken to slow, halt and reverse forest cover andcarbon loss. Safeguards - a hotly debated issue overthe past two years - were one of the biggestbreakthroughs in the REDD+ negotiations. Theagreement now recognises the need to "promote andsupport" safeguards and requests that a "system forproviding information on how safeguards are beingaddressed and respected" is developed1. Safeguardsinclude critical issues such as forest governance,respect for the knowledge and rights of IndigenousPeoples and members of local communities andactions that are consistent with conservation of naturalforests and biological diversity. The REDD+ text in the Cancun agreements also supports a phased approach to countries reaching their readiness objective and provides methodological guidance to continue working onnational REDD+ strategies. Politically, the agreementon REDD+ provides a positive signal for donors and?