Tuesday, November 30, 2010

REDD+ Standards for Equity, Social and Environmental co-benefits

This 30th day of November has been quite busy with numerous events in the main side events in the Cancunmesse. Nevertheless communication in the hotel where I stay has remained a nightmare as people ‘rush’ with their laptop computers to get the signal (available only at the first floor / lobby area), in order to file news and to communicate before the end of the day. This causes a lot of congestion that is not planned for (no seats or adequate tables in this area).

That aside, I attended 2 interesting side events on REDD+ Social and Environmental Standards organized by CARE, Climate Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) the Ministry of Environment of Ecuador.

Standards in REDD are much needed for both Government led programmes, policies and strategies, in the same way we need them for the growing number of REDD+ projects. But this initiative only focuses on the Government led programmes.

While activities that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) and contribute to conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+) have the potential to deliver significant social and environmental co-benefits, many have also highlighted the serious risks, particularly for the indigenous Peoples and local communities.

Hence standards can be used by governments, NGOs and financing agencies to support the design and implementation of REDD+ programs that respect the rights these groups and generate significant social and environmental co-benefits.

These standards developed by CARE, CCBA, participating states (Brazil, Ecuador, Indonesia, Nepal and Tanzania), have so far undergone substantive consultative process and have been tested in 3 of the 5 countries (Brazil, Ecuador and Indonesia) with complementarities from existing ones – UNREDD, World Bank and UNFCCC among others.

The advantage of having these standards (like in business / trade) is to secure quality of the service or products that will be acceptable ‘in the market’ (in this case by the local communities and Indigenous peoples). For example, this secures that social investment plans are derived from a process that is inclusive and participatory instead of having a few individuals to decide for the rest without justification and accountability for the decision taken.

Ecuador Indonesia and Brazil have piloted these standards, which gives East Africa some point of reference for the future when looking for case studies on standards for REDD+. This initiative provides pointers to the need for information and awareness of communities as an essential ingredient of success. Probably this will inspire development of standards for the fast growing REDD+ projects that also need harmonization for the benefit of local communities and other stakeholders. More information on CARE / CCBA’s REDD+ Social & Environmental Standards (June 2010) can be accessed from the link: www.climate-standards.org/REDD+

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