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Transforming REDD+ Lessons and new direction


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Presented by Arild Angelsen of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) at the GLF Bonn 2018 (1 Dec 2018)

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Transforming REDD+ Lessons and new direction

  1. 1. Transforming REDD+ Lessons and new direction GLF , 1-2 December 2018, Bonn Germany 1 Arild Angelsen Professor, School of Economics and Business, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Ås, Norway & Senior Associate, CIFOR , Bogor, Indonesia
  2. 2. • 10 years of CGS-REDD+ research • CIFOR and partners • Almost 500 publications • Phases of research (i) designing REDD+ and learning from related experiences in the past (ii) the political economy and implementation of REDD+ (iii) assessing the impacts of REDD+ 2008 2009 2012 2018
  3. 3. Our approach: Constructive critique A critical, evidence-based analysis of REDD+ implementation …. without losing sight of the urgent need to reduce forest-based emissions to prevent catastrophic climate change REDD+ objective vs. framework (1) the objective of reducing emissions and increasing removals from forests in developing countries (2) an umbrella term for actions at all levels, aimed at forest-based mitigation, or a more narrow definition: (i) only activities relying on results-based payments (PES) (ii) only mechanisms within the UNFCCC framework
  4. 4. Transforming REDD+ to be transformational • A new global climate change architecture • Paris: NDCs take centre stage • Domestic and aid funding, and perhaps carbon markets in the future • A changing global political climate • Strong warnings from IPCC • But, climate deniers in high offices • Increasing gap between political will and climate necessity • An evolving REDD+ • Lessons learned • Expectations management
  5. 5. Overview 1. Building blocks, including finance 2. National politics and coordination problems 3. Assessing impacts 4. Evolving initiatives • Explaining (s)low progress
  6. 6. Theory of Change • A REDD+ theory of change is expected to outline pathways using conditional incentives to achieve reduced emissions. But as practised, REDD+ has evolved into a diversity of measures, while the core element, conditionality, has rarely been applied. • Confusion arises when actors fail to distinguish between REDD+ as the outcome of reduced emissions and the framework to achieve them. Convoluted objectives, unclear donor commitments, and competing ideas about what REDD+ is and should pay for (compensation level, beneficiaries), complicate its implementation. • The way forward lies in recognising ideological differences for more constructive debates, clarifying technical objectives and embracing pragmatism in implementation.
  7. 7. Financing REDD+ • A small group of donors and multilateral institutions dominate international REDD+ funding, making it potentially vulnerable to political fluctuations. Readiness funding from established mechanisms is drying up, jeopardizing newcomers’ ability to tap into future public or private funding. • REDD+ needs political and financial support from both REDD+ developing countries and developed countries. Developing countries and communities have already contributed their own funding and support to REDD+ implementation, and this should be better acknowledged in global REDD+ funding discourse and negotiations. • High expectations of private sector finance are not matched by observed flows and commitments, and the best available data on private sector REDD+ initiatives has limited depth and coverage. Enhancing private sector investment in REDD+ requires enabling conditions such as carbon rights, tenure security and law enforcement.
  8. 8. Results-based payment • Results-based payment (RBP), the main innovation brought by REDD+, has also been the most challenging to implement. Three key challenges for RBP are: what to pay for, how to set reference levels, and whom to pay; these challenges are at risk of biases, including a ‘cherry picking’ of numbers. • Current and emerging RBP initiatives are hybrid approaches. As such, they make compromises on key RBP principles, such as payment based solely on results, recipient discretion (on how to achieve results) and independent verification of results. • Minimising these risks requires learning from previous experiences to develop a clear rule book for the Paris Agreement, as well as institutional checks and balances. Managing these risks would help preserve the effectiveness (environmental integrity) and efficiency of RBP in REDD+, and thus its long term political credibility and financing.
  9. 9. Information-driven change • Information use throughout the REDD+ policy process is influenced by interests of powerful agents of deforestation and forest degradation. Actors have different capacities and resources to access, process and provide information, as well as to contribute to policy decisions about REDD+. • Information on direct drivers and underlying causes of tropical forest change is improving with new technologies and data sources. However, guidance and (financial) support are needed to move from technical data to actionable information, and ultimately effective REDD+ interventions. • New information technologies offer new opportunities, but also come with diverse implications and new risks. National forest monitoring systems will need to address participation, transparency, accountability and coordination to counteract the differences in the capacities, resources and powers (decision making or political) of various stakeholders.
  10. 10. NDCs and national policy integration • Many developing countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) recognise the important role of forests and have put forward mitigation measures; however, these measures do not directly aim at reducing emissions. • REDD+ is included in most developing countries’ NDCs and climate change policies, but drivers of deforestation and forest degradation are not fully acknowledged. • NDCs will be ineffective in achieving their intended outcomes unless they include clear policies and measures to tackle the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, as well as a transparent monitoring and evaluation framework.
  11. 11. Multi-level governance • It is important to distinguish between coordination failures in REDD+ policy and implementation that can be addressed through improved coordination, and those that arise from fundamental differences in goals and interests. • To improve the chance of finding more equitable solutions, collaborative multiactor processes and forums should be designed with specific attention to local context, addressing power differences not only through procedural justice, but also through attention to underlying sources of inequity. • Not all solutions can be negotiated, such as when highly unequal power relations combine with entrenched differences of interest. Other important options include regulations and law enforcement, and support for collective action by grassroots actors and coalitions for change.
  12. 12. Land and carbon tenure • REDD+ implementation at national, subnational and local levels has resulted in some progress on tenure, but this is far from enough to ensure the proper functioning of REDD+. • In some countries (e.g., Peru, Tanzania and Indonesia), REDD+ implementation has raised the profile of tenure reform in national politics and policy; but it has largely failed to deliver notable gains on the ground. • Major obstacles have been business-as-usual interests favouring forest conversion, the long legacy of exclusion of forest dwellers (notably indigenous peoples) from land-use decision-making, and the fact that concrete efforts to ameliorate tenure have occurred at local project level without sufficient national policy support.
  13. 13. National forest policies • National and subnational policies contribute to forest conservation, but their effectiveness is low on average, especially in the tropics. • No particular policy instrument stands out as a ‘silver bullet’. Achieving the multiple objectives of REDD+ will require policy mixes that are sensitive to local contexts. • More rigorous evidence on the effectiveness of forest conservation policies is needed, especially from Africa.
  14. 14. Forest impacts of subnational initiatives • Only a few studies assess the impacts of local REDD+ initiatives on forests, due to the financial, methodological, data and political challenges of implementing rigorous impact evaluations. • Local REDD+ projects and programmes frequently include a mix of interventions, i.e., incentives, disincentives and enabling measures. Disincentives are used to reduce deforestation, and incentives – either conditional on results or not – are used to help minimise the trade-offs between carbon and well-being outcomes. • The scarce evidence that is available on local REDD+ outcomes shows modestly encouraging results for forest conservation and carbon stock enhancement. Three projects using conditional incentives showed positive results for forests, through reducing the negative impacts of smallholder agriculture and firewood collection.
  15. 15. Well-being impacts • Several studies on well-being outcomes of REDD+ interventions found small or mixed effects on livelihoods or welfare, which were more likely to be positive when incentives were offered. • The slow pace of REDD+ implementation, and lack of robust studies quantifying both its forest/land-use and well-being outcomes, make it difficult to draw conclusions about trade-offs. But separate evidence on similar local-level PES initiatives points to challenges for designing REDD+ initiatives that are both effective at reducing forest carbon emissions and strongly pro- poor. • Results that are more equitable and long-lasting are more likely when local people are genuinely involved in REDD+ programme design and implementation.
  16. 16. Subnational jurisdictional approaches • In a study of subnational jurisdictions across 12 countries, which together contain 28% of the world’s tropical forests, all 39 jurisdictions had made formal commitments to reducing deforestation. Most (38 of 39) had also taken concrete actions to implement these pledges. • The majority of these sampled jurisdictions have developed and implemented integrated jurisdictional strategies, robust jurisdiction-wide multistakeholder processes, and quantifiable, time-bound targets that define their vision of sustainability – despite a scarcity of international climate finance to support these and other interventions. • Annual deforestation decreased between 2012 and 2017 in just under half of jurisdictions (17 of 39), although any links between actions taken by subnational governments and observed trends in deforestation are yet to be analysed.
  17. 17. Private sector pledges • There are three approaches to private sector commitments on zero deforestation: individual company or group-level adoption of voluntary standards; sector- wide supply chain-based interventions; and mixed supply chain and territorial initiatives at jurisdictional level. • The main implementation challenges of these approaches are the limits of voluntary standards, traceability systems that are difficult to implement, selective actions that cannot deliver at scale, associated leakage effects, and persistence of segmented supply chains. • Approaches have evolved to deal with such challenges, however progress requires committed companies to increase implementation efforts, other supply chain actors to adhere to commitments, and governments to harness the potential of jurisdictional approaches.
  18. 18. CSA, yields and deforestation • Sustainable intensification of agricultural production, a key component of climate-smart agriculture, can potentially conserve forests. However, higher yields may provide incentives to expand agricultural land into forests, so policies need to incorporate forest-specific measures to ensure land- sparing outcomes. • Sustainable intensification policies aimed at supporting forest conservation must take into consideration the characteristics of the commodity, farm practices and context, including capital intensities, market conditions, scale of adoption, target location, and accompanying forest governance and conservation policies. • National REDD+ strategies promoting forest conservation can benefit from promoting sustainable intensification, but thus far few countries combine the two approaches.
  19. 19. Forest restoration • Initiatives that aim to restore degraded forests and landscapes share many goals with REDD+. However, few restoration projects track forest carbon impacts, since pledges are mainly based on area to be restored, and many projects do not include the establishment of reference levels or carbon monitoring in their activities. • Many restoration projects in Latin America focus on increasing vegetation cover and re-establishing ecological processes and biodiversity. However they do not directly address the causes of degradation, which are remarkably similar across the tropics. • The restoration goals selected by the studied projects in Latin America and the Caribbean tended to reflect the aims of the donors, rather than the specific causes of degradation. Multilateral donors contribute the largest amounts of funding to large-scale restoration initiatives and have strong social agendas.
  20. 20. Summarising REDD+ FINANCE AND BUILDING BLOCKS • USD 1.1 – 2.7 billion/year in international REDD+ funding • Results-based payment, REDD+’s innovative feature, largely untested • International funding (public & private) remains scarce, and demand through carbon markets is lacking • Anecdotal evidence on the impacts on national policies
  21. 21. … summarising INTERMEDIATE OUTPUTS & OUTCOMES • REDD+ helped forests gain prominence on the international and some national policy agendas • 50+ countries put REDD+ in NDCs and have national REDD+ strategies, but major coordination and implementation issues remain • National REDD+ initiatives improved countries’ monitoring capacities and understanding of drivers • Increased stakeholder involvement, and platforms to secure indigenous and community land rights • Jurisdictional approaches covering 28% of tropical forests • 350 REDD+ projects, covering 43 million ha
  22. 22. …. summarising IMPACTS • Current lack of data and solid impact studies larger than we hoped • National REDD+ policies • most show some significant reductions, but small effect size • Local REDD+ initiatives • modest but positive outcomes for forests • Well-being impacts limited and mixed • more likely positive when incentive components are included • Micro-macro paradox of development aid • crowding out, leakage, or too small
  23. 23. Explaining modest outcomes Expectations were too high (‘optimism bias’) 1. ‘REDD+ is the wrong medicine’ a) REDD+ relies too much on RBP b) REDD+ relies too little on RBP c) REDD+ has become projects, not national policy reforms (‘project-ification’) d) REDD+ has not granted tenure rights to indigenous peoples and local communities 2. ‘The dosage is too small’ 3. ‘The disease has progressed too far’ 4. ‘Recovery is possible, given more time’
  24. 24. How can REDD+ become more effective? • Diversifying and coordinating the cure • Results-based payment with diversification • Better coordination and country ownership • Being at the table “if you are not at the table, you are likely to end up on the menu” (Roberto Borrero) • Finding the right dose • International finance nudges • … but domestic incentives decide Redesigning incentives can conserve forests, increase economic efficiency and improve government budget balance • Bold policies are sorely needed
  25. 25. … more effective • Nurturing optimism by stressing positive side effects • A positive, exciting narrative on forests • 1/5 of local income from forests • bio-pumps and ‘aerial rivers’ • Shortening the long road to recovery • Experimentation needs support • Be brave and assess impacts • Impact assessment is not story-telling by donors, proponents or beneficiaries • … but a set rigorous approaches; the main problem being to estimate the counterfactual • Impact Assessment is not an afterthought; design and collect data from day 1 • Risky for proponents
  26. 26. REDD+’s next decade REDD+ the teenager. Which scenario will unfold? 1. REDD+ matures as initially envisioned • RBP, national policy integration, local-national synergies, etc. • The big issues are gradually solved 2. REDD+ as RBP/PES fades away, as another fad • Risk that REDD+ the objective loses ground & new fatigue • A new fad and buzzword emerges 3. REDD+ objective survives, but a new acronym (?) & revised approach • A broader toolbox • The toolbox should be subject to scrutiny and constantly revised • Ideologies, interests & past positions should not bias that assessment • The name is substitutable, but … the objective is not
  27. 27. Danke • And a big thanks to the authors, reviewers, research partners, respondents, funders …..