Analysing REDD+: Challenges and choices


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Analysing REDD+: Challenges and choices is the third book in a series of highly recognised REDD+ volumes from CIFOR. It was launched at CIFOR's official onsite side event during Rio+20, which discussed how transformational change is required to realise the forest sector's climate change mitigation potential through avoided deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). Climate change is a key global challenge and forests are a key part of the international mitigation agenda. REDD+ offers the opportunity to transform the forest sector in a manner consistent with the vision of a green economy.

For the past four years, CIFOR and partners have been conducting a Global Comparative Study on REDD+ on policy development and the challenges of implementation. In this presentation, CIFOR scientists discuss the results of this work that are relevant to the objectives of Rio+20 and the development of a green economy.

For a copy of the publication, visit

For more information about the Global Comparative Study on REDD+, visit

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Analysing REDD+: Challenges and choices

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  2. Analysing REDD+: Challenges and Choices Arild Angelsen, CIFOR & Norwegian Univ. of Life SciencesTHINKING beyond the canopy Rio, 18 June 2012
  3. 2012 3rd edited volume 20092008 3  
  4. 3 generations of REDD+ research Focus   Key  ques+ons   Books  1   Designing  REDD+   What  should  REDD+  look  like  to   Moving  Ahead   and  learning  from   be  effec>ve,  efficient  and   Realising  REDD+   related  experiences   equitable  (3E)?     (Analysing  REDD in  the  past   +)  2   The  poli>cal   How  is  REDD+  being  decided   Analysing  REDD+   economy  and   and  implemented,  and  why?     implementa+on  of   (What  hinders  or  enables   REDD+   decision  and  implementa>on  of   3E  REDD+  policies  and  projects?)  3   Assessing  the  impact   Does  REDD+  work?       of  REDD+   (How  can  REDD+  work  beNer?)   (All)   (How  should  REDD+  outcomes   be  measured?)   THINKING beyond the canopy
  5. The GlobalComparative Study on REDD+ (GCS) §  3 research components + 1 knowledge sharing §  A diverse set of questions and methods §  A large number of partners §  12 countries THINKING beyond the canopy
  6. THINKING beyond the canopy
  7. Structure of the book THINKING beyond the canopy
  8. THINKING beyond the canopy
  9. How to achieve transformational change (TC)?§  Definition of TC a shift in discourse, attitudes, power relations, and deliberate policy and protest action that leads policy formulation and implementation away from business as usual policy approaches that directly or indirectly support deforestation and degradation§  Examples of TC§  changes in economic, regulatory and governance frameworks, including the devolution of rights to local users§  removals of perverse incentives: subsidies and concessions that serve selective economic interests and stimulate DD§  reforms of forest industry policies and regulations that effectively reduce unsustainable extractionREDD+ and TC: a chicken – egg problem THINKING beyond the canopy
  10. 4 Is framework REDD+  Interna+onal  Policy  Arena   REDD+     Agenda  SePng:   incen>ves  +  ideas   REDD+  Na+onal  and  Subna+onal  Ac+on  Arena   Ins>tu>ons    Path  Dependency  and  S>ckiness   Informa>on   Data,  Knowledge   Ideas   Interests   Actors   prac>ces   Beliefs,  Discursive   Materialis>c,   Individual,  Organized  Business  as   Transforma+onal  usual   ShiSs  in  incen>ves,  discourses  and  power  rela>ons   Change     Policy  Process   Output:  Policy  decision   Outcome:  Policy  impact   -­‐ broader  policies  &  ins+tu+ons   -­‐   emissions/-­‐removals   -­‐ Specific  policies  and  measures     -­‐   livelihoods     -­‐ admin  and  technical  capacity     -­‐   biodiversity   -­‐ admin  and  technical  capacity     THINKING beyond the canopy
  11. How to achieve TC?1. Changing economic incentives§  International financial resources exogenous to the national and subnational systems§  The core REDD+ idea: REDD+ should change the basic benefit–cost equation§  Win-win-lose-lose: •  large actors likely to lose (politically unacceptable to compensate) •  full international compensation of REDD+ costs is unrealistic THINKING beyond the canopy
  12. … how to achieve TC 2. New ideas and information§  A new discourse on the value of standing forests and their role in CC, a potential “game changer”§  Spotlight on old and new issues & need for change of BAU •  Indigenous/local rights, conflicts local – external uses •  Governance & corruption§  Redefine roles between developed and developing countries: poor countries providing services to the world3. New actors and coalitions§  Changing economic incentives and new ideas and discourses can lead to shifts in power relations among key actors§  New actors enter the REDD+ arena and gain power and influence in decision makingIn the end: money speaks louder than words THINKING beyond the canopy
  13. REDD+ and the global economy (Chapt 4)§  Globalisation and market & financial liberalisation •  Increased exposure of forests to global trade and investment •  Aggravate historical trends of DD •  REDD+ implementation more challenging, but also opportunities (influencing market chains)§  Implications for REDD+ •  REDD+ as PES more expensive: § need for other policies •  Look at both demand and supply side§  Detailed studies of 3 regions THINKING beyond the canopy
  14. The evolution of REDD+ (Chapt 3)§  REDD+ - as an idea - has been extremely successful •  A good idea (CC, result-based, significant funding, burden sharing) •  Sufficiently broad/vague to accommodate different interests§  REDD+ has evolved significantly, driven by: •  the absence of a new international climate agreement •  strong business as usual (BAU) interests •  a large number of actors with diverging agendas •  experience and learning THINKING beyond the canopy
  15. REDD+ at 4 key arenas THINKING beyond the canopy
  16. Key trendsObjectives: CO2 Co-benefitsPolicies: PES Broad PAMs Forest policiesScale: National Local/projectsFunding: Rich pay poor REDD+ countriesFunding: Market Public (aid) 16  
  17. A dilemma§  REDD+ has attracted many actors with different agendas and ideologies, each trying to get a piece of the perceived REDD+ cake.§  Result: a diversified and less focussed REDD+ agenda, which risks losing the initial characteristics of REDD+ that made it attractive in the first place.§  But: broad coalitions of different interests and actors with different ideologies are needed to get the political support for REDD+ and can also be a basis for transformational changes.
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  19. Part 2a: Implementing REDD+: National Level Perspectives§ Politics and Power (Chapt 5)§ Scales of Governance (Chapt 6)§ Financing REDD+ (Chapt 7)§ Who benefits and why (Chapt 8) THINKING beyond the canopy
  20. Political economy framework THINKING beyond the canopy
  21. Politics and power in national REDD+ policy processes§  REDD+ requires 4 preconditions to overcome politico- economic hurdles: •  Relative autonomy of nation states •  National ownership over REDD+ policy processes •  Inclusive REDD+ policy processes •  Coalitions calling for transformational change§  Formulating and implementing national REDD+ strategies most challenging in countries where international actors drive REDD+§  Breaking up institutional and political path dependencies will need participation of state elites and business actors THINKING beyond the canopy
  22. Actors shaping the policy discourse (% with a REDD+ position in media) THINKING beyond the canopy
  23. Multiple levels and multiple challenges for REDD+§  REDD+ a multilevel endeavour •  Must ensure the interconnections of global demands, national and sub-national structures, and local peoples’ needs and aspirations.§  Sound information flows important •  Between local and national levels are essential for accountable MRV and leakage control. •  Across the levels can increase negotiation powers of disadvantaged groups and ensure the 3Es§  REDD+ multilevel governance systems must match incentives and interests with transparent institutions to reduce conflict THINKING beyond the canopy
  24. Multilevel governance mechanisms THINKING beyond the canopy
  25. Financing REDD+ THINKING beyond the canopy
  26. Financing REDD+§  Where are we? •  Short term finance available, yet slow disbursement and scarce investment opportunities •  No adequate and predictable long-term strategy to meet REDD+ financial needs§  Interim phase with no ambitious CC mitigation goals: •  REDD+ finance will be mobilized by the public sector •  Likely to be fragmented and channelled through various agencies •  Thus, need to test financing options that leverage private sector finance and directly address DD§  Options for financing: •  Middle income countries: self finance, engage in results-based agreements with donors and international agencies •  Fragile states rely on ODA-type finances, combining financial support, technical assistance, and policy guidance THINKING beyond the canopy
  27. Who should benefit and why?§  Designing effective benefit sharing mechanisms for REDD+ •  Must first determine what REDD+ seeks to achieve as the objectives affect the design of benefit and cost sharing mechanisms§  Benefits are not only financial •  Few REDD+ projects are providing direct financial transfers •  Thus benefit sharing must tend to a wide range of activities§  The legitimacy of the decision making institutions and processes is critical •  Legal clarity •  Consensus on which institutions have the right to make decisions •  Attention to procedural rights THINKING beyond the canopy
  28. Discourses on who should benefitEffectiveness and efficiency vs equity discourses Equity  discourse  1:  benefits  should  go  to  actors  with  legal   rights   Equity  discourse  2:  benefits  should  go  to  low-­‐emi0ng  forest   stewards  Equity  discourse  3:  benefits  should  go  to  those  incurring  costs  Equity  discourse  4:  benefits  should  go  to  effec6ve  implementers   THINKING beyond the canopy
  29. Examples of potential REDD+ beneficiaries and the costs and benefits they may accrue THINKING beyond the canopy
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  31. Part 2b: Implementing REDD+ Subnational projects§ Why tenure matters (Chapt 9)§ REDD+ projects combine old and new (Chapt 10)§ Local stakeholder hopes and worries (Chapt 11)§ Implications of landscape location (Chapt 12) THINKING beyond the canopy
  32. Tenure matters in REDD+§  Although unprecedented attention to forest tenure, national action limited§  Project-level action faces substantial obstacles if no national backing§  National institutions often inadequate to address customary rights§  Policy makers ought to address underlying causes of DD and target tenure issues in parallel, though both likely to face strong resistance THINKING beyond the canopy
  33. Forest tenure distribution in 2008 THINKING beyond the canopy
  34. Exclusion rights and practice THINKING beyond the canopy
  35. REDD+ projects as hybrids§  Most projects intend to combine ICDP and PES§  Advantages under policy and market uncertainty: Ø Make early progress on project establishment Ø Fallback if PES does not go ahead§  Yet there are challenges: Ø ICDP has underperformed Ø PES is played down and this might have negative consequences THINKING beyond the canopy
  36. Proponent expectations on impacts THINKING beyond the canopy
  37. Local hopes and worries§  Local forest users in sample understood REDD+ is fundamentally about forest projection; they hoped REDD+ would improve incomes and worried would hurt livelihoods§  Local participants depend on proponents for information about REDD+, and there may be need for independent brokers or advisers§  Key challenges: Ø Communicate clearly to villagers Ø Involve them meaningfully in design and implementation Ø Balance forest protection with welfare concerns THINKING beyond the canopy
  38. Local understanding of REDD+ THINKING beyond the canopy
  39. Hopes & worries concerning REDD + THINKING beyond the canopy
  40. Location of forest carbon projects§  Across countries: •  Countries with a higher biodiversity index and jurisdictions with more protected area§  Brazil and Indonesia: •  Jurisdictions with higher deforestation rates and forest carbon densities§  6 GCS countries: •  Sample villages that are inside project boundaries depend on agriculture, emphasising the challenge of implementing REDD+ without undermining agricultural livelihoods THINKING beyond the canopy
  41. Distribution of REDD+ projects THINKING beyond the canopy
  42. Mean values of factors considered in site selection in municipalities &districts with & without REDD+ projects THINKING beyond the canopy
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  44. L. Verchot
  45. Chapter 13 Performance indicators and REDD+ implementation §  REDD+ and payments may be made based on performance, which implies that there must be assessments of the results of REDD+ programmes. §  In the readiness phase support will go to policy reforms, rather than proven emissions reductions. Good performance indicators are critical in this and all three REDD+ phases. §  Valuable lessons on governance indicators can be learned from the aid sector: avoid seeking the perfect indicator and use expert judgment extensively.
  46. Indicators§  Challenges: •  Monitor results •  Must be credible to stakeholders •  Appropriate for the objectives of the each REDD+ implementation phase.§  Rationale: •  Management: keep efforts on track •  Evaluation: assess success of actions§  Lessons from ODA experience: •  Timing of assessment (3-5 y) vs. timing of outcomes & impacts (10-15 y) •  Attribution problems •  Reliability of information
  47. PHASE  3   PHASE  1     PHASE  2   RESULTS-­‐BASED   READINESS   POLICY  MEASURES   ACTION  Implementa+on   Input  indicators  metrics   •  Readiness  funds   disbursed   •  Consulta>ons  done   Output  indicators   •  Pilot  projects   •  R-­‐PP  approved  Performance   Output  indicators   Outcome  indicators  metrics   •  Strategies,  policies   • Gross  deforesta>on   and  laws  adopted   • Increased  share  of   •  Ins>tu>ons  (MRV   restored  na>ve   etc.)  in  place   forest   • Cover   Impact  indicators   • Quan>fied  changes   in  carbon  emissions   Input Output Outcome Impact Results chain
  48. Chapter 14 Baselines and monitoring in local REDD+ projects §  Robust standards and methods have been developed to estimate emissions from deforestation at the project level. §  Because baseline and monitoring methodologies were adopted only recently, many pilot projects do not comply. §  The next generation of projects should identify or develop suitable methodologies before investing in the development of their baselines and MRV systems.
  49. IPCC has developed measurement methods that serve as the basis for several standards§  VCS •  VM0004 – Avoid planned LUC •  VM0006 –Mosaic D&D •  VM0007 – REDD •  VM0009 –Avoided mosaic deforestation •  VM0015 – Avoided unplanned deforestation§  ACR REDD framework module •  Planned deforestation •  Unplanned deforestation •  Extraction of fuelwood
  50. MRV survey of 17 demonstration projects show most do not meet requirements of VCS or ACR§  Prior LU often difficult to verify in spatially explicit way§  Projects limit monitoring to the project area; no reference region or leakage belt§  9 of 17 project developers modeled historical rate of deforestation in the project area; three are in the process§  3 of 17 projects use spatial models to project the location of future deforestation; the other 14 rely on expert knowledge§  13 project have RS images for more than three points in 10 year period§  7 of 17 projects have high resolution data (<10m); all have medium resolution data (10–60m).
  51. Chapter 15 EFs: Converting land use change to CO2 estimates§  Lack of data limits converting area estimates of DD to carbon stock changes in most tropical countries.§  Institutional capacity to conduct inventories and measurements for improving GHG inventories in AFOLU has been slow in non-Annex I.§  Constraints can be overcome with investments in productive partnerships between technical services in REDD+ countries, intergovernmental agencies and ARIs during the readiness phase.
  52. Two methods are available for estimating EFs C  uptake  via   growth  Gain – loss method Disturbance   C  Stock   Harvest  Stock difference method C  stock  at   C  stock  at   >me  1   >me  2  
  53. Chapter 16 A stepwise framework for developing REDD+ RELs§  Developing RELs is constrained by lack of quality data.§  Data availability and quality should determine the methods for RELs. Consideration of drivers of DD will be important for adjusting RELs to national circumstances.§  A stepwise approach to developing RELs will facilitate broad participation, early startup and the motivation for improvements over time, alongside efforts to enhance measurement and monitoring capacities.
  54. Criteria for comparing country circumstances and strategies
  55. Expand on the Stepwise approach and link it to the financial incentive baseline Historical   Na+onal  deforesta>on   circumstances   and  forest   relevant  for   degrada>on   BAU  (e.g.,   Na+onal   Other     drivers)   circumstances   considera+ons     relevant  for   (e.g.,  efficient   FIB  (e.g.,   use  of  funds  &   BAU  baseline   capabili>es)   uncertainty)     Financial  incen+ve  benchmark  (FIB)   (compensa>on  benchmark)  baseline  
  56. REDD+ safeguards in national policyChapter 17 discourse and pilot projects§  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 towards action. This includes introducing guidelines, low-cost strategies and capacity building to support the interpretation.
  57. Some key findings§  REDD+ safeguards are a set of norms or institutions that guide expectations surrounding social and environmental outcomes of REDD.§  Several international and nonprofit organisations have articulated safeguard standards for REDD+ policies at the national level (e.g. FCPF)§  Countries have little capacity to monitor social and biodiversity impacts.§  There is uneven compliance with safeguards in demonstration projects
  58. The book’s 5 key messages§  As an idea, REDD+ is a success story: •  Significant result-based funding to address an urgent need for climate change mitigation •  Sufficiently broad to serve as a canopy, under which a wide range of actors can grow their own trees§  REDD+ faces huge challenges: •  Powerful political and economic interests •  Coordination across various government levels and agencies; •  Benefits to balance effectiveness and equity •  Tenure insecurity and safeguards must be genuinely addressed •  Transparent institutions, reliable carbon monitoring and realistic reference levels to build result-based systems THINKING beyond the canopy
  59. … key messages§  REDD+ requires - and can catalyse - Trans Change •  New economic incentives, New information and discourses, New actors & New policy coalitions; all have the potential to move domestic policies away from the BAU trajectory.§  REDD+ projects are hybrids in high deforestation areas: •  Mix the enforcement of regulations and support to alternative livelihoods (ICDP) with result-based incentives (PES). •  Projects located in high deforestation and high forest carbon areas, yielding high additionality if they succeed.§  ‘No regret’ policy options exist: •  Build political support and coalitions for change. •  Invest in adequate information systems. •  Implement policies desirable regardless of CC objectives. THINKING beyond the canopy
  60. Thanks We acknowledge the support from: NORAD and the Ministry of Environment of Norway, AusAID (Australia), European Commission, Dept. of Energy and Climate Change & Dept. for Int. Dev. (UK), FinAid (Finland), Fonds Français pour lEnvironnement Mondial (France)    &  all  research  partners  and  individuals    that  have  contributed  to  the  GCS  research