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Forests have gained centre stage over the last few years, thanks in large measure to the concept of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD+), which has played a major role in international climate change negotiations. Through REDD+, significant financial, intellectual and political resources have been mobilised to address issues such as the underlying causes of deforestation, land tenure, the rights of Indigenous Peoples and other forest-dependent communities. As world leaders meet in June at "Rio+20" - 20 years after the 1992 Rio Earth Summit - it is important to recall that forests continue to contribute directly and indirectly to the livelihoods of billions across the world. For livelihoods to improve, poverty to be eradicated and for countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change, forests remain a key part of the equation. REDD+ can provide valuable lessons on how forests can contribute to a range of multiple benefits such as food security, biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services and helping countries embark on paths to sustainable development. It will be difficult to meet Rio+20's goal of securing renewed commitment and an institutional framework for sustainable development without making forests part of the solution. Over the past three years, the UN-REDD Programme has provided support to partner countries across Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean, to get ready for REDD+. During the readiness phase, countries prepare a roadmap outlining the steps to be followed, such as preparing a REDD+ strategy, reviewing institutional frameworks, creating a benefit sharing mechanism and registry of all REDD+ activities, developing systems for measurement, and establishing a reference level and robust systems for reporting and verification. The participation of key stakeholders, including Indigenous Peoples, other forest-dependent communities and civil society organisations remains vital to the entire process. The results and lessons that have emerged so far in REDD+ readiness and early implementation, can provide valuable inputs into several dimensions of the sustainable development discussions at Rio+20. Firstly, enacting both REDD+ and sustainable development policies are political processes that require the development of enabling conditions, including a cross-sectoral approach that coordinates efforts within governments as well as between the public and private sectors. This coordination requires access to improved data about key sectors; national-level policy action led by governments that promotes harmonisation with existing programmes, policies and laws; and coordination of international and multilateral programmes and funding sources. Weak capacity to plan and implement has emerged as a key challenge for REDD+. Moving forward, both REDD+ and sustainable development efforts will need to invest significantly in developing institutional capacities, and strategic partnerships that involve multiple state actors as well as the private sector. To enhance the benefits and mitigate the potential negative impacts of REDD+ and other economic development interventions, social and environmental safeguards are essential for identifying synergies and trade-offs in the provision of the multiple benefits forests can provide. It is also critical for both approaches to focus on how governance reforms can be addressed in a manner that does not undermine issues of livelihoods, national economic development and sovereignty. All of these efforts will require clear, targeted and consistent communication to avoid misperceptions. Historically, economic development activities have transformed landscapes in ways that have led to deforestation, displacement of people and loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. The transformation of forested landscapes has also resulted in increased carbon emissions. Expansion of land used for agriculture in developing countries is by far the greatest driver of deforestation globally. For this reason, an isolated sector approach focusing solely on forests cannot succeed. REDD+ provides an opportunity to shift the development paradigm away from destructive uses of forests and towards their conservation. Besides having benefits for climate change mitigation, this shift also has the potential to conserve forest biodiversity and ecosystem services such as water purification, soil retention and tourism, as well as reduce poverty and improve livelihoods of people living in and around forests.One pathway to meet these broader goals is a sustainable or "green economy" transition. Promoting such a transition means that countries develop in a manner that both reduces poverty and maintains and enhances the natural resource base. The development of REDD+ strategies provides an opportunity to promote efficiencies in natural resource management as well as catalyse a range of low-carbon alternatives, approaches and technologies in a way that can ? Pictured: Haiti" The results and lessons that have emerged so far in REDD+ readiness and early implementation, can provide valuable inputs into several dimensions of the sustainable development discussions at Rio+20 "FORESTS 077

contribute transformative investments in natural capital while also developing human and social capital.A "landscape" approach to REDD+ and sustainable development is part of the process of identifying and achieving transformative investments to reduce potential negative impacts and to address tradeoffs, by facilitating a more coordinated approach to planning and policy formulation. This approach aims at maximising synergies between sustainable agriculture and REDD+ and ensuring that food production and forestry do not compete for natural resources. This is possible by looking at large, connected geographic or forested areas to fully understand natural resource conditions and trends, natural and human influences, and opportunities for balancing the needs for conservation, restoration and development. As a result, there is great potential for synergy between REDD+ and goals such as food security, the establishment and clarification of tenure rights for local communities and Indigenous Peoples, and concepts of equity. As a way forward for making landscapes more resilient in the face of climate change, "climate-smart agriculture" seeks to direct agricultural development along pathways that lead to sustainable increases of agricultural productivity and adaptive capacity of agricultural communities. Climate-smart agricultural practices Above: Indigenous forest community in GabonRight: Tapajos Forest Legal Deforestation" REDD+ provides an opportunity to shift the development paradigm away from destructive uses of forests and towards their conservation. "078 FORESTS