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Research Report

Analysing REDD+: Challenges and choices

Edited by Arild Angelsen
Maria Brockhaus
William D. Sunderlin
Louis V. Verchot
Editorial assistant Therese Dokken
Language editing, project management and layout Green Ink Ltd
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2012
Pages: 456
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. ix-x)
    Tony La Viña

    I welcome this latest book from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) ‘Analysing REDD+: Challenges and choices’. It is a book that climate change negotiators, national and local policy makers, development agencies, forest institutions and organisations, and REDD+ practitioners will find interesting, relevant and useful. It provides excellent information and analysis and is released at an opportune moment as the global community gears up for the next round of climate change negotiations, which will certainly include REDD+, and perhaps will scale it up even more.

    This book follows two earlier REDD+ volumes from CIFOR, ‘Moving Ahead with REDD: Issues,...

  2. (pp. xi-xii)
    Arild Angelsen, Maria Brockhaus, William D. Sunderlin and Louis V. Verchot
  3. (pp. 1-12)
    Arild Angelsen, Maria Brockhaus, William D. Sunderlin and Louis V. Verchot

    REDD+, as an idea, is a success story. It has generated excitement about possibilities for getting underway on climate change mitigation quickly and cheaply. REDD+ has also been broad enough to serve as a canopy under which a wide range of actors can grow their own trees. It has been through an intensive process of conceptualisation, design and implementation – even if it is still far from realising its fundamental goal, namely large-scale emission reductions. No idea for saving the world’s tropical forests has generated anywhere near the same excitement and commitment of funds as has REDD+.

    However, to scientists...

  4. Part 1. Understanding REDD+

    • (pp. 15-30)
      Maria Brockhaus and Arild Angelsen

      Analysing REDD+ with 4Is – institutions and their path-dependencies and ‘stickiness’, actors and their interests, ideas and information – can be useful to understand what hinders or enables change.

      Transformational change beyond the forestry sector is required to fully realise the mitigation potential of REDD+, but economic interests and power structures pose challenges to such change.

      REDD+ can also serve – and already does to some extent – as a game changer. New economic incentives, new information, growing public concern about climate change, new actors and new policy coalitions all have the potential to generate transformational change.

      This chapter introduces...

    • (pp. 31-50)
      Arild Angelsen and Desmond McNeill

      As an idea, REDD+ proved extremely popular, in part because it was sufficiently broad to accommodate different interests. But the concept has evolved, driven by the absence of a new international climate agreement, strong business as usual interests, a large number of actors with diverging agendas, and experience in the field.

      Major changes in REDD+ include the following: i) the focus has moved from carbon only to multiple objectives; ii) the policies adopted so far are not only, or even primarily, directed at achieving result-based payments; iii) the subnational and project, rather than national, levels are receiving a large share...

    • (pp. 51-66)
      Pablo Pacheco, Louis Putzel, Krystof Obidzinski and George Schoneveld

      Globalisation and market and financial liberalisation have increased the exposure of forests to global trade and investment, which has aggravated the historical trends of deforestation and forest degradation.

      The main forces that compete with REDD+ include a growing integration of food, energy and financial markets, an increasing level and volatility of commodity prices, and a new wave of large-scale investments in agriculture.

      For REDD+ to reduce pressures on forests, while stimulating the transition to more equitable and sustainable development, measures are needed on the supply and demand side to stimulate the adoption of forest-conserving land uses, de-incentivise the conversion of...

  5. Part 2. Implementing REDD+

    • (pp. 69-90)
      Monica Di Gregorio, Maria Brockhaus, Tim Cronin and Efrian Muharrom

      Achieving emission reductions through REDD+ requires four preconditions for overcoming politico-economic hurdles: i) the relative autonomy of nation states from key interests that drive deforestation and forest degradation; ii) national ownership over REDD+ policy processes; iii) inclusive REDD+ policy processes; and iv) the presence of coalitions that call for transformational change.

      Formulating and implementing effective national REDD+ strategies is most challenging in those countries where international actors are the sole force driving REDD+ policy processes.

      New coalitions capable of breaking up institutional and political pathdependencies will need the participation of state elites and the engagement of business actors to affect...

    • (pp. 91-110)
      Kaisa Korhonen-Kurki, Maria Brockhaus, Amy E. Duchelle, Stibniati Atmadja and Pham Thu Thuy

      REDD+ is a multilevel endeavour that must ensure that global demands, national and subnational structures, local people’s needs and aspirations are all linked in efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. If these interconnections are disregarded, REDD+ could fail.

      Enhancing and harmonising information flows between local and national levels are essential for accountable measurement, reporting and verification and emissions leakage control. Sound information flows across the levels can also enhance the negotiation power of disadvantaged groups and ensure a more effective, efficient and equitable REDD+.

      To reduce the risk of conflict, REDD+ multilevel governance systems must match incentives...

    • (pp. 111-128)
      Charlotte Streck and Charlie Parker

      REDD+ finance is at an inflection point: while short-term finance is available, disbursements are slow and investment opportunities scarce; at the same time, there is no adequate and predictable long-term strategy to meet the financial needs of REDD+.

      In the absence of ambitious climate change mitigation goals, for the foreseeable future most REDD+ finance will be mobilised by the public sector. During this interim phase, in which financing for REDD+ is likely to be fragmented and channelled through various agencies, it will be important to test a variety of financing options that leverage private sector finance and directly address the...

    • (pp. 129-152)
      Cecilia Luttrell, Lasse Loft, Maria Fernanda Gebara and Demetrius Kweka

      Before designing effective benefit sharing mechanisms for REDD+, it is necessary to resolve the question of what REDD+ seeks to achieve. The objectives profoundly affect the design of benefit and cost sharing mechanisms.

      Benefits are not only financial. Few REDD+ projects are providing direct financial transfers to households in their early stages, thus benefit sharing requires attention to a wide range of activities.

      The legitimacy of the decision making institutions and processes is critical. Legal clarity is needed, as is consensus as to which institutions have the right to make decisions and attention to procedural rights.

      The distribution of benefits...

    • (pp. 153-176)
      Anne M. Larson, Maria Brockhaus and William D. Sunderlin

      At the national level, efforts to address land and carbon tenure issues have been limited, although REDD+ has brought unprecedented international attention to tenure and other rights of forest peoples.

      Project level interventions to address tenure encounter substantial obstacles if they do not have national backing; at the same time, national land registration institutions are often inadequate for effectively addressing the central, underlying issue of customary tenure rights.

      REDD+ policy makers can move forward on macro level approaches by attacking the underlying drivers of deforestation, while proceeding in parallel to target solutions to specific tenure problems; both, however, are likely...

    • (pp. 177-192)
      William D. Sunderlin and Erin O. Sills

      Most REDD+ subnational projects intend to combine the integrated conservation and development project (ICDP) approach with payments for ecosystem services (PES).

      Under conditions of policy and market uncertainty, this hybrid structure enables proponents to make early progress on project establishment, and the ICDP approach can serve as a fallback option if PES fails to materialise.

      Yet this hybrid structure is a challenge because ICDP has often underperformed, and because proponents tend to play up ICDP and play down PES in consultations with local stakeholders, with potential negative consequences for effectiveness and equity.

      REDD+, defined broadly, is an umbrella term for...

    • (pp. 193-208)
      Ida Aju Pradnja Resosudarmo, Amy E. Duchelle, Andini D. Ekaputri and William D. Sunderlin

      Local forest users in sampled REDD+ project areas understood REDD+ to be fundamentally about forest protection; simultaneously, they hoped that local REDD+ projects would improve their incomes and worried that they could negatively affect their livelihoods.

      Villagers depend extensively on proponents for information about REDD+ and the local REDD+ project, and there may be a need for independent knowledge brokers or legal advisers.

      The key challenges for REDD+ projects are: i) to communicate to villagers how REDD+ projects work, the opportunities and risks, and the rights and responsibilities; ii) to involve villagers meaningfully in the design and implementation of the...

    • (pp. 209-230)
      Liwei Lin, Subhrendu K. Pattanayak, Erin O. Sills and William D. Sunderlin

      Countries with a higher biodiversity index and jurisdictions with more protected area are more likely to have forest carbon projects, corroborating proponents’ assertions that they consider biodiversity co-benefits when selecting sites.

      Jurisdictions with higher deforestation rates and forest carbon densities in Brazil and Indonesia are more likely to have forest carbon projects, consistent with a focus on additionality. However, projects also tend to be located in more remote (and possibly less threatened) areas in Brazil.

      Villages inside project boundaries (in a sample of REDD+ projects studied by CIFOR) depend largely on agriculture, emphasising the challenge of reducing deforestation without undermining...

  6. Part 3. Measuring REDD+ performance

    • (pp. 233-246)
      Sheila Wertz-Kanounnikoff and Desmond McNeill

      REDD+ aims to achieve a defined impact – reduced emissions – and payments may be made based on performance towards achieving this goal. This implies that there must be assessments of the results of REDD+ programmes.

      In the medium-term, most payments will be for readiness and policy reforms, rather than proven emissions reductions. Hence good performance indicators are critical for all three REDD+ phases, in particular for phase 2 where the focus is on policy performance.

      Valuable lessons on governance indicators can be learned from the aid sector: avoid seeking the perfect indicator and use expert judgment extensively.

      REDD+ aims...

    • (pp. 247-260)
      Manuel Estrada and Shijo Joseph

      Over the past few years, robust standards and methods have been developed to estimate emissions from deforestation at the project level.

      Because the first full-fledged REDD+ baseline and monitoring methodologies were adopted only recently, many pioneering projects might not comply with them, running the risk of losing opportunities in carbon markets.

      The next generation of projects should learn from this experience by identifying or developing suitable methodologies before investing in the development of their baselines and measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) systems.

      Accurate and transparent estimates of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and carbon stock enhancements...

    • (pp. 261-278)
      Louis V. Verchot, Kamalakumari Anitha, Erika Romijn, Martin Herold and Kristell Hergoualc’h

      The lack of country and region specific data poses a serious limitation to converting area estimates of deforestation and forest degradation to carbon stock change estimates for most tropical countries. Thus we cannot make accurate and precise estimates of emissions and removals in national REDD+ programmes and REDD+ demonstration activities.

      Progress on building the institutional capacity of countries to conduct forest inventories and other measurements for improving greenhouse gas inventories in forestry and other land use sectors has been slow in most non-Annex I countries.

      The above constraints can be overcome if coordinated, targeted investments are made and productive partnerships...

    • (pp. 279-300)
      Martin Herold, Arild Angelsen, Louis V. Verchot, Arief Wijaya and John Herbert Ainembabazi

      Developing forest reference (emission) levels for REDD+ is an urgent and challenging task, given the lack of quality data in many countries, genuine uncertainties about future rates of deforestation and forest degradation and potential incentives for biasing the estimates.

      The availability and quality of data should determine the methods used to develop reference levels. Consideration of the drivers and activities causing deforestation and forest degradation will be important for adjusting reference levels to national circumstances.

      A stepwise approach to developing reference levels can reflect different country circumstances and capacities and will facilitate broad participation, early startup and the motivation for...

    • (pp. 301-316)
      Pamela Jagger, Kathleen Lawlor, Maria Brockhaus, Maria Fernanda Gebara, Denis Jean Sonwa and Ida Aju Pradnja Resosudarmo

      Early adoption of national- and project-level social and environmental standards suggests that REDD+ policy makers, project personnel and investors value REDD+ safeguards.

      To gain national-level buy-in for REDD+ safeguards, national sovereignty must be recognised and competing safeguard policies should be harmonised.

      The REDD+ safeguards dialogue needs to move away from highlevel international discussions and towards action. This includes introducing guidelines, low-cost strategies and capacity building to support the interpretation, implementation, monitoring and reporting of safeguards.

      REDD+ safeguards are policies and measures that address both direct and indirect impacts of REDD+ on communities and ecosystems. They do this by identifying, analysing...

    • (pp. 317-334)
      Frances Seymour and Arild Angelsen

      Changes in REDD+ over the past five years have led to significant shifts in the size and composition of financing and the likely pace and cost of implementation, as well as to the divergence of interests across actors and levels. Challenges resulting from these changes include increased ‘aid-ification,’ sequencing problems faced by project proponents and uncertain rewards from REDD+ efforts by forest countries and communities.

      Lessons learned from the first generation of REDD+ initiatives include the importance of the jurisdictional scale in between national and local levels for land use decision making, the need for cross-scale coordination to address issues...

  7. (pp. 335-364)
    Louis V. Verchot, Maria Brockhaus, William D. Sunderlin and Arild Angelsen