The 2015 Paris Agreement has given a new impulse for the implementation of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) programs. This was confirmed at the Oslo REDD Exchange conference, hosted by the Norwegian government last June, which was attended by 511 participants from 47 countries. The conference highlighted the importance of REDD+ for reaching the Paris Agreement's goal of reducing global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees F).
Leaders at this week's UN Climate Summit unveiled “The New York Declaration” on forests, which many hope will inject life into efforts to reverse forest loss.
While the Declaration is not an “official” UN agreement—and has been carefully worded to avoid the appearance of commitments being binding—it is a positive development. If governments and business take it seriously going forward—and civil society watchdogs hound them sufficiently to do so—it would yield significant impacts.
Brazil is a big investor in environmental stewardship, including several government-managed funds meant to protect the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. However, new analysis shows that in many cases, these funds aren’t being properly managed.
The just concluded U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit focused attention on Africa’s promises and challenges, including energy, agriculture and the $14 billion in investment pledged by companies. The visiting heads of state—just shy of 50—also discussed climate change and its effects on crop production, nutrition and food security. New research by the World Resources Institute and Rights and Resources Initiative on the climate dividends of secure community land rights can help Africa address these challenges.
As the struggle continues to protect forests around the world, REDD+ implementers should look to cultivate and strengthen institutions and mechanisms of accountability.
Though REDD+ includes an international accountability mechanism, case studies in Brazil and Indonesia, where civil society participated in and challenged land-use decisions, demonstrate that this will probably be insufficient for achieving REDD+ goals.
Indonesia’s forest moratorium, a policy aiming to protect an area the size of Japan from development, represents one of the most ambitious conservation schemes ever established in the country. But is it actually making progress in improving the forest sector?