REDD+ is a key climate change mitigation and adaptation strategy featured in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of many African countries. A number of African nation states have been making a lot of progress with the development of their national REDD+ programmes and are moving closer towards implementation. There is an increasing focus on meeting the REDD+ safeguards requirements (these safeguards for example protect the interest of native people and local communities). However, with limited guidance from the UNFCCC, meeting the safeguards is a challenge for many countries.
To share experiences, lessons learned, and discuss common challenges, issues and potential solutions, the Ghana Forestry Commission organised a Regional South-South Learning Event, supported by SNV, Climate Law and Policy (working together in the 'Operationalising National Safeguards for Results-based Payments from REDD+’ project), and the United Nations Environment/UN-REDD Programme that took place on 12 and 13 June in Accra.
The event was attended by participants from twelve developing countries developing national REDD+ programmes: Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Uganda, Zambia, Peru and Vietnam.
The event opened with presentations from UN-REDD, Worldbank/FCPF and the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The remainder of the event was structured around the three UNFCCC safeguard requirements i.e. 1) implementing REDD+ in a manner consistent with the Cancun Safeguards principles; 2) having a Safeguards Information System (SIS) in place; and 3) submitting a Summary of Information on addressing and respecting the safeguards. The framework presentations on requirements, emerging guidance/lessons and global progress and key country experiences were provided by global experts and key country safeguards focal points.
Discussions on REDD safeguards
The event participants
To maximise interactions between countries and participants, the presentations were followed by facilitated group discussions centred on each of the three themes, under guidance from international experts.
Some of the key reflections from these discussions:
- Countries are demonstrating strong national ownership of processes in building National REDD+ safeguards frameworks that are based on their own national institutions;
- There has been significant recent progress on developing Safeguard Information Systems;
- The first Summaries of Information on REDD+ safeguards will emerge soon.
Overall, the event generated some extremely detailed, passionate and rich discussions which clearly showed the countries desires to share knowledge and learn on this relatively new topic and reiterating the value of South-South learning events in general.