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Research Report

Key issues in REDD+ verification: Study commissioned by CIFOR

Michael Dutschke
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2013
Pages: 26
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-1)

    The present study was prepared under the impression of an impasse at the Doha Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in agreeing upon Methodological Guidance for Activities Relating to REDD+. The draft conclusions proposed by the Chair (UNFCCC 2012) are a document full of brackets. Brackets in negotiation texts indicate the presence of alternative and optional text that has not (yet) been agreed among the parties. The Subsidiary Body for Technical Advice (SBSTA), during the first week of the meeting, was unable to come to an agreement to be decided at the high-level...

  2. (pp. 2-4)

    The Annex to the document on ‘Methodological guidance…’ (UNFCCC 2012) defines ‘Elements for a possible draft decision on modalities for national forest monitoring systems and measuring, reporting and verifying’.

    Judging from the text in brackets, the main unresolved issue is the ‘provision of adequate and predictable support, including financial resources and technical and technological support to developing country parties’, a phrase that appears with small variations in not less than seven bracketed paragraphs. While investing the systems for measurement, reporting and verification (MRV), developing country parties are dissatisfied with the lack of long-term financial commitment by developed countries. This refers...

  3. (pp. 5-6)

    The dispute can best be described as proxy conflict between the country representatives of Brazil and Norway representing their respective negotiation groups.

    Norway is the single Annex I party that allocates most funds for REDD+, as unilaterally committed at the Bali Conference in 2007. These REDD+ funds are declared ODA. In the case of Norway, REDD+ funds are clearly new and additional, because they are accounted separately from any other ODA. In the current state of negotiations, donors of REDD+ funding use national-level verification to satisfy the taxpayers’ demand for aid effectiveness. Norad, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, has...

  4. (pp. 7-11)

    UN-REDD defines REDD+ verification as ‘[t]he process of formal verification of reports, for example the established approach to verify national communications and national inventory reports to the UNFCCC’ (UN-REDD 2009).

    Verification is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for environmental integrity and with it the effectiveness of REDD+ funding. We will walk through the technicalities of the whole national REDD+ process, concentrating on risks for environmental integrity.

    When talking about MRV under REDD+, the following issues need to be clarified: (1) what is REDD+, and (2) which type of landscape is a forest that qualifies under REDD+? We will further...

  5. (pp. 12-13)

    The above paragraphs have shown that national-level REDD+ methodologies are works in progress on all fronts. Verification is just one piece of the jigsaw puzzle the parties are putting together. In this paper, we propose solutions for REDD+ verification only.

    None of the interviewees denied the need for verification, but one developing country negotiator asked the question ‘What is actually so special about forests that REDD+ verification procedures should go so far beyond what is required for National Communications and their Update Reports?’ This, however, speaks more to the ICA process than to REDD+ verification.

    In practice, most REDD+ activities...

  6. (pp. 14-14)

    Contrary to its initial design, REDD+ is increasingly becoming an ODA mechanism. The verification debate needs to be understood in the context of the arguments around aid conditionality.

    For a results-based mechanism like REDD+, verification should be a normal procedure within a whole suite of MRV rules. This opinion is shared in principle by all negotiators and observers.

    Bilateral activity-based REDD+ is subject to contractual law between the implementing partners and usually includes MRV procedures.

    International regulation on verification is needed exclusively for multilateral funding under a mechanism of the Climate Convention, such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in...