This working paper presents positive trends and overarching gaps in how countries designing programs to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) are proposing to address governance challenges. It can serve as a starting point to help governments, donors, and civil society groups identify where additional analysis, financial support, and capacity-building are needed to build effective REDD+ strategies, systems, and institutions.

Key Findings

  • Discussions of stakeholder participation, non-carbon monitoring, and cross-sectoral coordination are the strongest in terms of the number of readiness proposals that identify issues as relevant for REDD+, discuss key challenges and options, and propose clear next steps (e.g., studies, processes, institutional support costs).

  • Few REDD+ countries consider specific design op¬tions or challenges related to REDD+ benefit sharing, conflict resolution, or revenue management systems, although most include plans to address these issues as readiness activities move forward.

  • Relatively few readiness proposals identify specific next steps to address land tenure challenges or estab¬lish mechanisms to coordinate with local institutions during REDD+ planning and implementation.

  • Cross-cutting issues such as vertical coordination of REDD+ programs and coherence of proposed new REDD+ bodies with existing forest sector institutions have not been explicitly considered in most readiness proposals to date.

Delivering on the commitments made in the readiness proposals will be crucial to building stakeholder confidence and scaling up financial support for REDD+ programs. We make three recommendations that can help countries make short-term progress on REDD+ objectives and ultimately develop effective and equitable REDD+ programs:

  • REDD+ countries, donors, and civil society stakehold¬ers should consider gaps identified by our analysis and work to ensure that readiness activities promote comprehensive and integrated approaches to designing REDD+ strategies, systems, and institutions.

  • REDD+ countries should improve efforts to prioritize and sequence readiness activities to enhance transpar¬ency on how readiness financing is allocated to differ¬ent readiness needs.

  • REDD+ countries should develop transparent and ac¬countable domestic systems for tracking progress on readiness activities to ensure that readiness proposal commitments to well-governed REDD+ programs are carried out in practice.

Executive Summary

Developing countries are receiving new financial and technical support to design and implement programs that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degrada¬tion (referred to as REDD+). Reducing emissions from forest cover change requires transparent, accountable, inclusive, and coordinated systems and institutions to govern REDD+ programs. Two multilateral initiatives— the World Bank-administered Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and the United Nations Collaborative Pro¬gramme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries (UN-REDD Programme)—are supporting REDD+ countries to become “ready” for REDD+ by preparing initial strategy proposals, developing institutions to manage REDD+ programs, and building capacity to implement REDD+ activities.

This paper reviews 32 REDD+ readiness proposals sub¬mitted to these initiatives to understand overall trends in how eight elements of readiness (referred to in this paper as readiness needs) are being understood and prioritized globally. Specifically, we assess whether the readiness proposals (i) identify the eight readiness needs as relevant for REDD+, (ii) discuss challenges and options for addressing each need, and (iii) identify next steps to be implemented in relation to each need. Our analysis found that the readiness proposals make important commit¬ments to developing effective, equitable, and well-governed REDD+ programs. However, in many of the proposals these general statements have not yet been translated into clear next steps.